Estate “a blight on Yarrawonga”
“All businesses in this estate have paid millions of dollars in rates over the last 30-40 years and they have done little or nothing to improve the infrastructure,” owner of BEC Electrical Peter Birthisel said.
“I have been here in business since the estate was established in the 1980s and little has been done to maintain and improve its infrastructure.
“The streets flood, there are potholes everywhere, the lighting is poor, it’s just basically become a hazard for everyone who uses it and it’s an eyesore. The old saleyards site has also been left, nothing seems to be happening there also except a big pile of a rock.”
John Bastin proprietor of Yarrawonga Flooring said the state of the roads and drainage and the overall look of the estate is “a blight Yarrawonga and on businesses located in the estate and Yarrawonga in general”.
“I operate a retail section of my business here and customers have to negotiate puddles and potholes. Sometimes they need to pull on gum boots just to get in here. Many of my customers are 50 plus and it’s a real safety concern.”
Mr Bastin believes Moira Shire Council needs to fulfill their obligation and maintain the streets and drainage to an acceptable standard.
“The swale drains here are in poor condition, they have filled up with clay and just hold water.
“We have tried sending letters and emails to council, but nothing has been done.
“I have been told by a local councillor there is budgeted money but then later by council management there is nothing in the budget for the next three years.
“They need to fix thing now. We get a little bit of rain, and the area is flooded.”
Mr Bastin said the current state of the street is not good for doing business and it is deterring any potential investment and expansion by existing businesses while at the same time discouraging any new business thinking of setting up in the estate or for that matter Yarrawonga in general.
“It’s costing Yarrawonga more money in investment I believe.”
The estate now boasts various retail businesses, dance studios, a gym and even a church along with the usual industrial and bulky good type businesses associated with such an estate’s zoning.
Moira Shire General Manager Infrastructure Andrew Close told the Yarrawonga Chronicle that council recognises the industrial estate concerns of business owners and confirmed money has been budgeted for infrastructure upgrades.
“Yes, the standard of infrastructure (at the estate) does need to be improved,” Mr Close said.
“Council has allocated $200,000 in contribution toward this project. This funding was allocated in a previous budget which has been carried over into the current financial year to be available, should the majority of benefiting landholders support the special charge scheme progressing.”
Local businesses in Yarrawonga’s industrial estate are concerned about the everdeteriorating state of Acacia and Melaleuca Streets and are pleading with council to budget more money to fix it.
A special charge scheme suggested by council where property owners are asked to assist in paying for infrastructure works has been rejected by Mr Birthisel.
“The money for much needed infrastructure works should have been budgeted from the millions of dollars in rates collected over the last thirty odd years, these works should be paid by council not property owners,” Mr Birthisel said.
Mr Bastin said he would not be a part of any special charge scheme.
“We should not have to pay for these works. I would consider boycotting paying our rates all together if that was the only solution from council.”
Mr Close said council is still working on the scheme and costs.
“Work on the scheme preparation is continuing with the design and proposed apportionment of costs to be finalised,” he said.
“Once this is completed, we will survey the property owners who would be contributing to the scheme on whether they still support a special charge scheme to upgrade the infrastructure.”
Mr Close also said council is investigating potential uses for the decommissioned saleyards site.
“However, our priority has been to ensure the successful delivery and completion of the many grant-funded projects that are currently in progress across the shire,” he said.