Kyogle Council approve blueberry packing plant

KYOGLE Council have unanimously approved a development application from Blue Mountain Farms for a $3 million blueberry packing plant at Tabulam.

The packing plant will be located on Tabulam Road directly across the Clarence River from Blue Mountain Farms existing blueberry farm.

Kyogle Council Mayor Councillor Danielle Mulholland said when built, the packing plant was expected to create 22 permanent jobs.

"This is on top of the approximately 500 plus seasonal workers that the farm is expected to employ to harvest the blueberries each year," she said.

Many of the seasonal workers are likely to be backpackers who will stay locally and further boost the local economy.

"Blueberries not only help showcase the area's agricultural diversity but also have the potential to provide a substantial boost to the local economy through the influx of permanent and itinerant workers to the area who will need accommodation, food, fuel and the like," Cr Mulholland said.

"The Council has worked closely with Blue Mountain Farms to ensure that any development control issues could be appropriately addressed and to get this important industry activated in our local area.

"This has included holding talks with members of the local community about opportunities for providing additional accommodation for workers."

Independent analyses for the council have shown that the operation of the packing plant is expected to bring at least $8.9 million of additional economic output to the area with $4.7 million of value-adding to the Kyogle economy annually.

Council's Executive Manager Development and Planning Manfred Boldy said the council would receive significant Section 94 Developer Contributions as well as additional works from the applicant towards road upgrades along Tabulam Road as part of the consent conditions for the packing plant.

"This is expected to make the stretch of the road between the intersections with the Bruxner Highway and Jacksons Flat Road considerably safer," he said.

Work on the packing plant is expected to start almost immediately.

Blueberries will be packed fresh from the farm and will then be transported to distributors for supermarket outlets in Australia and some international markets.

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