SEVERAL businesses have opened their doors in the past two months across the Central Goldfields Shire.
The shire is currently experiencing growth in new businesses and development applications.
Businesses that have opened their doors in the past two months include Maryborough Podiatry, Burgz - Maryborough and Pedro's Ink in Maryborough.
A new gym development is also planned in Dunolly.
Central Goldfields Shire mayor Chris Meddows-Taylor said it was wonderful to see the growth despite the impact the pandemic had brought to the small business community.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a significant increase in people leaving Melbourne to relocate to rural and regional centres. Locally, here in the Central Goldfields Shire, this has led to demand for houses and, in some cases, new business opportunities," he said.
Council has also seen a consistent number of planning permit applications, with 24 permits approved during July and August.
Council has also approved four development permits for Homes Victoria in the past 12 months. Once constructed, this will see 10 additional dwellings in Maryborough.
Cr Meddows-Taylor said council expect the population growth to increase over the coming years as individuals and families realise the economic benefits of living and running a business in a regional and rural community.
"There's no doubt that the opportunities to working remotely from a city office has also helped drive this trend," he said.
Pedro's Ink owner Peter Duffy said he was grateful to council for all of their help, guidance and support with starting this business venture.
"I lived in Carisbrook when I was young, and moved to Melbourne where I started my tattoo apprenticeship and worked at my craft for over 15 years," he said.
"A year ago I decided to follow my dreams of moving back to the fantastic town of Maryborough to raise my children in the country and open a quality, clean, friendly and professional tattoo shop in the heart of town."
Mr Duffy said a year ago, he decided to follow his dreams of moving back to Maryborough to raise his children in the country.
"(Our shop is) open quality, clean, friendly and professional tattoo shop in the heart of town," he said.
"I decided instead of letting covid get us down- the family should stick together, grab a paintbrush and start renovating through these lockdown periods- making the 'glass half full' and ending up with a shop we could all be proud of.
"I thank everyone in the community for being so supportive and I look forward to giving my 100 per cent and spreading a little happiness in these difficult times."
Central Goldfield Shire economic development officer Brian Gould said council was committed to making it as easy as possible for residents to access permits for business purposes.
"Last year we introduced the Better Approvals Process - a new, streamlined permit application process making it quicker and easier for new and existing businesses to get the permits they need to operate.
"I work with our community to determine what permits, exemptions or prohibitions apply across our statutory planning, building, environmental health and local laws departments.
"Currently, we are receiving around two to three new business enquiries via each week."
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