Com­plex still pos­si­ble

It was the op­por­tu­nity of a life­time for Pu­taruru, so what hap­pened to the But­ter­milk Com­plex? Pet­rice Tar­rant re­ports.

South Waikato News - - NEWS -

It was a promis­ing story for Pu­taruru in 2011 – trans­form­ing the old Pu­taruru Carter Holt Har­vey site into an agri park, cre­at­ing 40-plus jobs in the process.

A 5-hectare agri park was pro­posed to dom­i­nate the ‘‘ five- year de­vel­op­ment’’, cov­er­ing all as­pects of farm life from ru­ral ma­chin­ery and sup­plies through to ter­tiary- level ed­u­ca­tion, in­clud­ing a long- over­due New Zealand Farm­ing Hall of Fame and a his­tory of agri­cul­ture shed.

So what ever hap­pened to the ex­cit­ing But­ter­milk Com­plex pro­posal?

South Waikato News con­tacted di­rec­tor Dave Mac­far­lane, one of a Tau­ranga trio that pur­chased the 14.5ha Princes St property.

He said it was not a failed de­vel­op­ment, ‘‘it just hasn’t hap­pened yet’’.

Sam Wulff, Paul Washer and Dave Mac­far­lane ex­pected con­struc­tion of the com­plex to start in April 2012.

At the time, Wulff said that the wors­en­ing eco­nomic out­look was not a de­ter­rent for the de­vel­op­ers.

But Mac­far­lane said they just could not get people ‘‘across the line’’ when it came to leases.

It was la­belled a five-year de­vel­op­ment in 2011 and Mac­far­lane said that num­ber still stands to­day.

‘‘That idea is still there, we have some ten­ants on site on the property but just the big plan hasn’t even­tu­ated at this stage.’’

But he is a hope­ful per­son.

‘‘In the property game it’s just a tim­ing thing. Things hap­pen, some­times it just takes a while. This was pretty for­ward think­ing and we still think it’s the best site in the Waikato for it, if not the uni­verse.’’

He said there were bet­ter signs in the econ­omy than what was there be­fore.

‘‘We be­lieve it can still hap­pen in the fu­ture, it’s just get­ting bums off seats re­ally, get­ting people to com­mit to be­ing there ... it’s just get­ting the ball rolling.’’

What the project needed was for people to oc­cupy that site, he said.

‘‘There were 200 people who had jobs on that site when Carters, in all their wis­dom shut it down, and our goal is to have 200 people back work­ing on that site.’’

Plans de­layed: This is how the Tau­ranga busi­ness part­ners en­vis­aged the But­ter­milk Com­plex would look.

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