New vision for Putaruru mill shared
Amega-agriculture centre proposed for the former Putaruru sawmill site could increase job opportunities as the training, retail and tourist facility evolves, its new owner says.
Purchased by three Tauranga property investors in October, the 14-hectare site was mothballed after Carter Holt Harvey closed the mill in late 2008, resulting in 212 job losses.
Group spokesman Dave Macfarlane said the industrial-zoned land at Totara St was ideally located in central Waikato to become a one-stop shop for agriculture, horticulture and forestry industries.
‘‘ Putaruru has taken a beating with job losses. We could potentially replace a similar number of jobs lost at the mill.
‘‘ Smaller communities have a heart and soul but sometimes don’t realise what they are sitting on and it takes an outsider to come and sell the bigger vision,’’ he said. ‘‘ We are keen to hear feedback from the town about the proposal.’’
The property was bought for an undisclosed amount, and the new owners have not ruled out capitalising on any tourism benefits from the New Zealand Cycleway Putaruru to Rotorua project or an agricultural-based tourism venture.
Mr Macfarlane said the final businesses would be dictated by the market and adjustments could be made to the buildings if required.
‘‘So far, there has been an encouraging level of interest.’’
NEW START: The former Putaruru sawmill on Princes St could become a home for agricultural industries.