THE City of Greater Bendigo could consider spreading future industrial growth over multiple sites, attendees at a forum this evening heard.
The forum, at the Capital Theatre, was the first in a process to create a new Industrial Land Development Strategy for the city.
The existing strategy is 16 years old.
An audit is underway to identify potential industrial land sites.
Forum attendee Don Erskine, of Industrial Conveying Australia, raised concerns with seeking a single, large industrial land site for Bendigo.
“Big manufacturing is not going to happen,” he said.
With more than 40 years of experience to his name, Mr Erskine spoke of manufacturing and the areas devoted to the industry disappearing in cities.
“But employment hubs aren’t,” he said.
“In Bendigo, we’ve got an ideal opportunity to have a number of these scattered around the city.”
He described employment hubs as a mix of commercial businesses, small manufacturers and local traders.
While Mr Erskine highlighted the potential challenges with attracting ‘big manufacturing’, others sought to highlight the importance of creating opportunities for manufacturers to come to Bendigo and to prosper.
Bendigo resident Ian Dean, and Bendigo Manufacturing Group chair Mark Brennan were among them.
Mr Brennan was one of three members of an expert panel, which also consisted of the Victorian Planning Authority’s Brett Davis and REMPLAN’s Nick Byrne.
Flexibility to provide for a range of industrial opportunities was agreed by all to be an important factor for the council and the Victorian Planning Authority to build into the new strategy.
Once the audit is complete, the city will investigate at the potential sites to further determine their suitability.
The city will then have to adopt a strategy, and have it become part of the planning scheme.
Bendigo regional sustainable development manager Trevor Budge said it would be important for council to have as much community engagement as possible.
It follows community uproar over the council’s plans to compulsorily acquire a 311-hectare section of farming land belonging to the Carter family for an industrial park in Marong.
Planning minister Richard Wynne rejected the council’s plans in July, dubbing the proposal ‘well intentioned’ but noting it ‘ignored the strongly held views of the land owners and was not justified in the circumstances’.
It was acknowledged at this evening’s meeting that much had changed since the Industrial Land Strategy 2002 was adopted.
The City of Greater Bendigo is conducting an online survey into industrial land use, which is open until December 12.
The new strategy is expected to be finalised by mid-2019.
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