After what has been several years in the planning, the first sod has been turned at the North Oamaru Business Park.
Plans to develop a business park on the North End site go back to 2008, when the land was purchased by Oamaru Land Holdings Ltd, a company owned by Auckland businessmen Andrew and Michael Carpenter.
Of the 17 sites at the 22ha site, seven sites have been sold with the last confirmed sale coming in mid-October.
Oamaru firm AC Spivey Real Estate Ltd is promoting the sale of the sites, and agent Tony Spivey said work finally being under way was a positive sign that had the potential to translate into further sales.
“It’s a milestone for a whole lot of reasons, from time right through to development,” he said.
“It’s quite an exciting time really.
“This has taken time but it’s positive we are under way.”
Mr Spivey said the business park had its critics, and that many were sceptical whether the project would come to fruition at all.
“They’re not actually involved, but you have to have sceptics…the proof of the pudding is in the taste,” he said.
Mr Spivey believes the fact there is work taking place at the park has potential to create more interest from businesses eyeing a move to Oamaru.
“There’s a number of consents before council now and there’s a lot of interest.
“Whether businesses see it as a step forward I don’t know, but it’s got to be positive more than anything.”
Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher has supported plans for the business park since it was first mooted and was delighted to see progress being made.
“Several businesses have been progressing their consents through the system so they can get on with their buildings and it’s fantastic to see it starting,” Mr Kircher said.
“Hopefully it will silence those critics who kept talking about white elephants, as we see the positivity and investment of those prepared to put their money where their mouths are and that these initial developments will encourage others to make the decision to get on and grow with the Waitaki district.”
Te Pari Products Ltd, based in Humber St, purchased three Waitaki District Council-owned sites worth a total of $1.5 million in April 2014. The 4000sq m development will include a factory, warehouse and offices, and is to be constructed in two stages.