MOREE’S gateway development is officially under way, with mayor Katrina Humphries turning the first sod of dirt to officiate the construction process last week.
Moree Plains Shire Council has committed up to $10 million for the new business precinct, which it hopes will boost economic and employment opportunities in the town.
Once complete, the massive project, located on two subdivisions of council-owned land in south Moree, will stretch about 1.6km in length, from the airport back to the north along Blueberry Rd estate.
It will house a centre for shops, such as car dealerships, a bulky goods section, light industrial buildings as well as a fast food area, motel, service station and car wash.
“This is an exciting initiative for us and the biggest project we’ve undertaken so far as a council,” Cr Humphries said.
“It is vital to keep kids in the community and this project is a way of doing so.”
When fully let, the development had the potential to inject as much as $200,000 into council’s rate base, Cr Humphries told The Leader last June.
By selling the vacant land, council had become the master of its own destiny, she said yesterday.
“I’m a capitalist and that land has been sitting there idle for lots of years,” she said.
MPSC project manager John Carleton said there had been a lot of interest in the project, with more expected once construction starts.
Project and infrastructure consultant Grant Hirst said there would be no specific retail outlets at the gateway development, to avoid conflict with retail stores in the main street.
He said there would also be a positive requirement for purchasers to build on the sites, which range in size from 3000 square metres to 50,000sqm, rather than leaving them vacant.
“If the town supports this project, Moree will be a successful and flourishing town,” Mr Hirst said.
The development will be built by a number of different contractors with a consistent design theme and is expected to take about five to seven years to complete.