Will the state government gift Warrnambool's Midfield Meats or objectors an early Christmas present with a decision on a proposed worker housing project? Midfield Meat unveiled plans early in 2022 for a village of up to 200 cabin-style homes in Eccles Street, Merrivale, but the proposal bypassed Warrnambool City Council and went straight to the state government. The proposal is now sitting on Planning Minister Sonya Kilkenny's decision waiting for her final decision. In revealing where the project was up to, the state government gave no indication when a decision was likely or if it was still on track for an announcement before Christmas. In August 2023, a Department of Transport and Planning spokesperson told The Standard that once a standing advisory committee's recommendations were submitted to the minister, they would be considered ahead of a decision being made later this year. A government spokesperson this week confirmed the minister was currently considering the standing advisory committee's recommendations relating to the Eccles Street project. In July 2023, the minister had referred the proposed Eccles Street planning scheme amendment to the Priority Projects Standing Advisory Committee for consideration. The matter was conducted "on the papers" without a public hearing. Eight submissions were received, with five objecting to the proposal. Issues raised included traffic, carparking, internal amenity and off-site amenity Merrivale residents had objected over concerns about increased traffic, noise and it being out of character for the area. But the council wrote a letter in support of a revised proposal, recognising the city needed more worker accommodation. When the plans were made public in March 2022, it was revealed the project would be done in stages with the first to house up to 100 workers. If the entire four stages of the project went ahead, 221 modern cabin-style accommodation as well as facilities such as kitchens, laundrettes, basketball courts and a gym would be created on the 12-acre site. The multi-million-dollar project within walking distance of the Midfield Meats' processing plant would be "like a Big4 caravan park for workers but there would be no caravans". In October 2023, Midfield Meat said it was only operating at 70 per cent capacity due to a lack of housing. The proposed village would house about 400 workers, and the company is proposing opening 25 per cent of the dwellings to employees from other businesses.