Nhill food processing company Luv-a-Duck has promised to complete construction work at its Ballarat facility once the economic stress from the coronavirus pandemic has lifted.
The company's chief executive James Thompson confirmed work on the $20 million value-adding facility will soon pause, and that a number of workers in Nhill have been stood down or let go.
The coronavirus had hit the company hard - its hospitality customers were among the first businesses closed down, which Mr Thompson described as being "like a light switch had been turned off".
Work began at the Ballarat West Employment Zone facility in February, and Mr Thompson said flooring, walls, and roofing were being installed.
"The project still fits in with the growth plans in place, before the pandemic, but what we're doing now is focusing on transforming the business to ensure we remain viable in the face of these extraordinary times," he said.
"We lost in excess of 70 per cent of our food service market overnight, and the virus has impacted on all areas of our business."
He said the easing of some restrictions was showing some "green shoots" of hope, with production beginning to resume in Nhill.
"We're very strong around the fact that we'll come through this to the other side in a strong and viable position," he said.
"We are going to pause (the Ballarat facility), we have to focus on the retention of capital within the business, but we are going to return and finish off that project - we'll be reviewing that on a six-month by six-month basis."
City of Ballarat mayor Ben Taylor said projects at BWEZ would be one of the keys to bringing more jobs to the region in the pandemic's aftermath, as hospitality, tourism, and retail slowly recover - he pointed to Intermodal Freight Hub, which will connect road and rail freight at the site, as a project with massive potential.
Expressions of interest for that project ended this month, with more news expected by mid-year.
"Out of stage 1 and 1B (land releases at BWEZ), only three lots are left," he said.
"There is still construction happening, though it is difficult times, people are being cautious with spending."
BWEZ is a joint City of Ballarat project with the state government, covering more than 400 hectares.
A state government spokesperson said the project is "on track to meet its objectives as a smart manufacturing, food production and logistics precinct that will create ongoing jobs for locals".
"Developers are responsible for managing their projects to ensure completion within a three to five year period and the Victorian Government is providing flexibility for them to manage these timeframes," they said in a statement.
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