Horticulture

New facility will grow jobs

By Country News

A new hydroponic fruit and vegetable farm will bring about 200 new jobs to Benalla.

Planning permission for the facility received the green light at the Benalla Rural City Council Planning and Development Committee meeting last Wednesday.

Prior to councillors voting to approve the project, Mayor Don Firth commended council’s planning and engineering staff for their work.

‘‘This is another step in the right direction for Benalla; I am more than happy to recommend this to council,’’ Cr Firth said.

Councillors unanimously voted to approve planning for the facility, which will occupy a site on the corner of Gardner Rd and Midland Hwy.

Due to the size of the project, construction will take place in four stages, each providing about 50 jobs.

One greenhouse will be produced during each stage, ranging in size from 4.64ha to 4.8ha, with the final footprint covering more than 18.8ha of the 58.9ha site.

The land on the proposed site will need to be cleared and some native vegetation removed, however a condition of the permit will require a landscape plan to be submitted.

—Simon Ruppert