No Rivers Park as proposed, council told

BALLARAT City Council officers have been told the proposed Rivers Park development at Woodmans Hill will not continue in its current form. 

It comes months after Rivers Australia was bought out by retail giant Specialty Fashion Group (SFG) for just $5 million. 

The changes to the proposed development were listed in the upcoming council meeting agenda, which will be tabled this Wednesday. 

Council officers were advised the development “will not proceed in the form previously proposed”. 

The agenda calls for the owner of the land to withdraw the current planning scheme amendment request and planning permit application.

“The warehousing component of the development is no longer to be pursued and the cabin accommodation component may be expanded,” the agenda says. 

Last August Rivers Australia lodged an application with the council to develop Rivers Park at Woodmans Hill which would include a warehouse, shop and a resort. 

In October Ballarat City Council mayor Joshua Morris and councillor Amy Johnson showed their support for the development, by supporting a motion in a council meeting to amend the Woodmans Hill Gateway Precinct Master Plan. 

But a few weeks after the motion was carried, Rivers Australia was bought out by SFG. 

The project was expected to involve $50 million in direct investment and would secure 400 jobs in Ballarat. 

The February 26 agenda notes the current zoning on the development would not be changed. 

In December SFG chief executive Gary Perlstein told The Courier that 180 Rivers employees in Ballarat would continue their jobs as normal. 

Mr Perlstein said the company’s marketing campaign would change. 

“The Rivers business has been advertising price; we want to start advertising comfort and quality,” he said. 

Neither Cr Morris nor SFG could be contacted for comment before deadline yesterday.

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