Earthworks at Stawell’s $100 million Nectar Farms development has been deliberately delayed until after winter to avoid cold temperatures and heavy rainfall.
Nectar Farms chief executive Stephen Sasse said works would resume in August.
“You won’t see any major activity on site until August because the temperature is such that if we get heavy rain, and Stawell gets a high percentage of rain over July and August, there would be a lot of mud when we would be trying to do earthworks,” he said.
“We expect to hand over the job to our contractor in July and expect to see serious activity in August.”
A block of land purchased by Nectar Farms 12 months ago recently appeared as for sale on Monaghan’s Real Estate website.
Mr Sasse said the lot was not required and was not connected to the chunk of land where the first shed is set to be placed.
“It just does not work- effectively I don’t need it because I might be able to do something useful with it if I own the land in between, but I don’t,” he said.
“The only reason we are getting rid of it is because we probably should not have bought it in the first place.
“It was completely unsuitable for what we wanted to do- it was too small, not connected to the main piece of land and not the right geography.”
Following the breakdown in plans to build a similar $116 million glasshouse project in Oberon earlier this year, Mr Sasse was confident the Stawell project would still go ahead.
“We have full confidence in the project,” he said.
“We will see glasshouse equipment start to arrive in shipping containers from Holland in October.
“We also expect to be hiring labour at the back-end of next year.”
Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development Jaala Pulford said she was confident the Nectar Farms project would be delivered and provide “much needed” jobs for the region.
“It's fantastic news for Stawell,” she said.
“A new, hi-tech food industry to the region marks an important step in supporting the local community.”
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