There's a lot happening at the Ballarat West Employment Zone, with the first generation of businesses thriving and more on the way.
Excitingly, the intermodal freight hub - which would connect the Ararat train line almost directly to the Western Freeway - is now a step closer after receiving a subdivision permit approval from the City of Ballarat.
The freight hub was part of original designs from several years ago that also included an "innovation hub" and materials recovery facility or All-Waste Interchange, and a waste to energy plant.
READ MORE: BWEZ freight hub encouraged
It's expected to be built on the southern side of the precinct, close to Liberator Drive for direct Link Road and freeway access, as well as eventually the expanded Ballarat airport.
According to Development Victoria, which manages the precinct with the City of Ballarat, tenders for civil works are expected to go out later this year.
Council's permit will "provide the basis for how future industries will locate next to the terminal" at the freight hub.
Nearby, the precinct's residential area, Acacia, has sold out all 92 blocks, with the final sales in November and settlements expected to be complete by mid-year.
In response to questions from The Courier, Development Victoria's group head Penny Forrest said in a statement another 24 industrial land lots will be released over the next year.
"The BWEZ project is progressing well and on track to deliver more local jobs and industries to the region," she said.
"More than 85 per cent of land within the initial stages at BWEZ has now been sold, and once established, these new tenancies will create over 450 new jobs for Ballarat."
The state government and council have consistently mentioned that more than 85 per cent of land has been sold since at least mid-2019.
In other BWEZ news, Development Victoria is continuing to work through "options" after troubled brewer Broo opted to leave the precinct late last year, and will have "more to say in coming months" regarding work to extend Liberator Drive around the proposed airport runway extension.
City of Ballarat mayor Daniel Moloney said in a statement council will begin work on the Liberator Drive and runway projects "upon confirmation of funding from the Regional Airports Program".
On the freight hub, he said it remained a priority for council.
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"We're really excited about the future prospects this hub will bring to the region," he said.
"The Intermodal Freight Hub is a priority for City of Ballarat as it will assist with regional connectivity and movement of freight in and out of the Ballarat West Employment Zone."
According to Development Victoria, as of January 2022, businesses operating or building facilities in the first stage of BWEZ include CHS Broadbent, Luv-a-Duck, Agrimac, Kane Transport, Findlay Engineering, Sovereign Civil, Westlab, Cervus, Pipecon, Office Vision, Chris's Body Builders, Michael's Group, Milestone Benchtops, MKM Constructions, and Tidy Group.
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