Council working on water project for future jobs growth

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East Gippsland Shire Council is facilitating an upgrade of the South Bairnsdale Industrial Estate’s water supply to meet higher firefighting standards for large buildings, after advocating the importance of the project to the Victorian Government.

Development in the estate is being limited by a firefighting water supply that is not designed to cater for buildings over 500m2.

Council is working with the region’s urban water corporation, East Gippsland Water, and the Victorian Government on the project which will support economic growth and jobs in Bairnsdale.

The Building Code of Australia requires buildings over 500m2 to have firefighting standard water pressure and flow rates much greater than currently provided to the estate.

Anyone in the estate wanting to construct a building over 500m2 of floor space currently needs to install a private firefighting service.

This private service can add an estimated $50,000-$150,000, depending on scale, to the cost of building at the owner’s expense. This is an impediment to development; reducing land values and limiting development, economic growth and jobs in East Gippsland.

Council’s proposed solution has an estimated total project cost of $2.4 million.

East Gippsland Water has already committed $1.1m to water upgrades for part of the estate, which are now underway to help meet potential growth. The Victorian Government has provided a grant of $500,000 and Council is considering providing another $400,000 contribution to the project.

Council’s General Manager Bushfire Recovery Stuart McConnell said Council is proposing to raise the extra $400,000 needed to fund the project through a special charge scheme.

“The special charge scheme would require a one-off payment from lot owners for blocks that can accommodate buildings over 500m2 floor space and will benefit from this scheme. The costs will be spread out across the significant number of lots in the area,” Mr McConnell said.

Any landowner with a block smaller than 550m2, or who has already installed a private fire service will not be required to contribute to the scheme.”

Council is consulting property owners in the estate and will hold information sessions in late January 2021.

If you would like to discuss this project further, please contact Stephen Kleinitz, Senior Economic Development Officer on 5153 9500.

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