A $20 million Echuca West business investment, at risk of running off the rails because of Victorian Government red tape, has finally been given the green light after five years in a political black hole.
It includes a 3200 square-metre supermarket and 500 square-metres of retail space, which could accommodate three to five retail stores, depending on final fit out.
And the developer, Nathalia-based Dellcorp Industries, has thanked Member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh for his pivotal role in getting the project – which will create 80 jobs in Echuca-Moama when completed – over the line.
Dellcorp’s Andrew Liddell said “if it wasn’t for the Member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh, the application may still have been sitting in the pile”.
“Peter gave it that final push through, the project was sitting with DELWP (Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning) and becoming stale, so I suspect without his help it could possibly still be there,” Mr Liddell added.
Mr Walsh said the project only needed one more tick from the Andrews Labor Government to go ahead but its disinterest left Dellcorp and the whole project hanging in the wind.
In the end, he said, he was able to make direct representation to the relevant Minister and get that final rubber stamp.
“You can’t just put a project of this size in a regional hub on the back burner – I am just sorry Dellcorp didn’t bring me the problem sooner because we could already be well on the way to having the complex up and open but I am delighted it is finally going ahead,” he said.
“To have been forced to wait five years when absolutely everything else you need is good to go is just ridiculous.”
Mr Walsh said during construction, Dellcorp, itself a regional enterprise, would have a focus on local trades, with work expected to start this year.
“That’s even more good news for the local economy, especially at a time such as the one we are all going through,” Mr Walsh added.
The project needed final signoff for land rezoning and a planning permit and that arrived this week.
Which means residents in the rapidly expanding west of Echuca could be shopping there before the end of next year.