WAGGA is on the cusp of a development boom, with more than $640 million worth of projects on the drawing board.
The 28 projects, which include the $282 million Wagga Base Hospital redevelopment and $63 million ROBE investment, have been dubbed "wealth generators" and are expected to strengthen Wagga's standing as the regional hub for industry.
With Wagga’s population expected to expand to 80,000 over the next 20 years, Chairman of the Wagga Business Advisory Committee Bob Connolly has pin-pointed the $55 million Riverina Intermodel Freight and Logistics (RIFL) hub and $11.6 million airport redevelopment as the two major investments which will have the greatest impact on Wagga’s growth.
Mr Connolly believes the Australian Airline Pilot Academy in Forest Hill has played a key role in filling a big gap in the market for aviation education and with Douglas Aerospace preparing to invest $5 million at the airport site, he said Wagga City Council are in an optimum position to develop Wagga’s link to the aviation sector – both for commercial and private carriers.
With the government looking at ways too decrease the amount of freight being transported by road, Mr Connolly believes the RILF will be a critical link which will benefit Wagga and path the way for new job opportunities.
“All this activity is wealth generation if you are bringing in new industry,” he said.
While the list of developments include the $8.5 million international motel on the corner of Lake Albert Road and Edward Street and the $7.1 million redevelopment of Robertson Oval, Business Advisory committee member
Peter Hurst said there are also a number of smaller items
such as the redevelopment of the Lake Albert Apex Park Playground and the new boat ramp which are of interest for different demographics.
Committee 4 Wagga CEO Chris Fitzpatrick agreed with Mr Hurst, saying that while the “big ticket” items bring in jobs, developers and organisations needed to take an integrated approach to market Wagga in the future.
He would like to see developments which create opportunities for young people to stay in Wagga, or ensure that the city’s services and infrastructure could encourage them to return.
“Don’t talk at people, talk to people,” Mr Hurst added.
“We have to tap into the generation to see what they want and how we can accommodate them.”