Objection to​ Indigo Council's earthmoving grand deal for Chiltern industrial area

CEO Gerry Smith
CEO Gerry Smith

A resident has raised questions over Indigo Council’s proposal to lease a depot in Chiltern to an earthmoving company without considering other tenders.

The council’s $2.25 million “Chiltern Placemaking Project” contains a plan to transform a depot on Anderson Street into two blocks for industrial operators.

The first industrial lot would be leased to A&C Earthmoving for $3500 per year after the company committed to invest $120,000 in infrastructure and create two new jobs.

The plan was put out for public submissions before a final decision.

Chiltern resident Joanne Johnston objected to the proposal, sending a letter to chief executive Gerry Smith questioning why the council would not put the industrial lot out for public tender like it planned to do with the second lot.

“Why was no other business given the opportunity to apply to lease site one? This is far from fair and equitable to any other interested parties,” she said. “Entering into this financial arrangement is a very poor business decision by council and will return very little, if any, profit in the long term.”

Mrs Johnston also objected to the council paying $87,000 to put services on the site before renting it to the private business and having steel fencing along the Hume Freeway.

Indigo councillors voted 6-1 at February’s meeting in favour of putting the industrial project out for public comment and Cr Larry Goldsworthy said it was very important to the community.

“I believe it will be a development which gives some growth prospects to the township of Chiltern and will be the beginning of an industrial area which the town sadly needs,” he said.