30 Sep 2011

Planned super-centre 'shot-in-arm' for Putaruru

2:50 pm on 30 September 2011

An investor in a planned rural super-centre in the South Waikato town of Putaruru says it will be a shot in the arm for the small community, which is still feeling the effects of the loss of 230 jobs when the Carter Holt Harvey Mill closed in 2008.

The $35 million project will be based on the old 14.5 hectare sawmill site.

The project is awaiting resource consent but the three Tauranga-based investors behind the scheme hope to start building work in six months time with a view to completion by 2016.

They say local contractors will be used where possible.

One of the investors, Sam Wulff, says Putaruru is the ideal spot for a rural centre, which will include a five hectare agri-park, operating as a permanent agricultural field day, a tertiary education centre and a museum featuring a farming hall of fame.

He says a huge amount of traffic passes through the town thanks to its position on state highway one and the east/west route between Tauranga and the King country.

It's central location in the rural Waikato is another advantage.

Mr Wulff says it will also be attractive to farmers because Putaruru is is a small centre, where everything is easily accessible.

He concedes there will be some doubling-up with some shops in Putaruru's main street but he believes the venture will also attract new business.