by Allira Preece
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council has recently approved a Development Application (DA) for the construction of the $11 million Kew Industrial (KI) project which will be located on the western boundary of the North Coast Railway line between Kew and Herons Creek.
KI representative for developer Lawlor Services Pty Ltd (LSPL), Peter Newman, said the company aimed to make a positive contribution to the regional economy by creating local employment via the project.
"This is a really good deal for the community. The site is well located for labour markets because it's centred off the Camden Haven, Kew, Wauchope triangle," he said.
"The biggest benefit is likely to be an increased employment opportunity for locals and the increased use of their businesses. In our original forecasting we thought 1000 jobs would be created in the area. That's using some research from Southern Cross University of our industrial estate based on 100 acres of the development.
"That'd be about 170 jobs a year for six years. This means that the Kendall and Kew communities are going to have jobs at their doorstep for a long time so that's a really powerful thing," Mr Newman continued.
Hopkins Consultants and GHD Pty Ltd were approached by LSPL to support the preparation and submission of the DA, which included 41 large industrial lots available to purchasers and tenants who were looking to relocate their businesses to the area.
The KI development plans included a modern industrial park involving manufacturing, warehousing and freights with a focus on an intermodal terminal which would provide KI businesses with the chance to shift product from road to rail.
Mr Newman said the project would contribute major infrastructure for the Port Macquarie-Hastings region and would also provide a number of community benefits for the area.
"The costs of providing what will be the creation of major infrastructure will be met by private enterprise rather than local or state government and their ratepayers and we are also going to build a new road bridge over the North Coast Railway Line linking Herons Creek and Logans Crossing communities to Kew.
"In a longer term, the benefits for the community will be sealed road access from the highway right through to Logans Crossing and Herons Creek, and services including sewerage, water and telecommunications (probably fibre optics) will also be introduced or enhanced at the cost of the developer," he said.
"However there’s still a few months in the design of the work and probably 12 months in the construction stage, but every stage is checked by council and there's a lot of design details that will need to be finalised. People probably won't see buildings going up until mid 2010," Mr Newman continued.
A number of studies were carried out on approximately 200 acres of land, which included 100 acres zoned industrial and 100 acres of conservation land, before the company received their DA approval.
"The entire area had to be developed for industrial purposes, designed to be flood free and to ensure no additional impact on downstream properties," Mr Newman said.
"Comprehensive fauna studies have been carried out on the site and as a result significant corridors of land have been designated to provide animal corridors.
"Indigenous community representatives have walked over the whole property to see if there were any artefacts or heritage there. Everything's got to be checked. We don't want to cause any grief," he said.
The developers claim they will also aim to provide residences on Logans Crossing Road with an 100 metre buffer zone to prevent any impact from the development on those neighbours.
"Community consultation processes included public meetings, private meetings, personal interviews and telephone conversations," Mr Newman said.
He also said he wished to allay any possible fears people may have that the purpose of the development was to ‘steal’ jobs in the local area and shift them out of Port, out of the Camden Haven, Kempsey and Wauchope.
“That’s not the objective and that doesn't really help us."
"It's good business for us to bring new business .. it's bad business if we take a local business and steal it from someone else. That's not to say there are local businesses that might put their hand up and want to come, we've already had a few enquiries, but down the line these are big properties and big purchases. We're looking for people in Sydney and Melbourne and when we come to it we'll be looking for people locally who know someone with businesses in those places who would like to relocate or expand into the Mid North Coast region," he added.
Those interested in making further enquiries can contact Peter Newman at email@example.com and view the website at www.kewindustrial.com.au