Greater Shepparton City Council's former sustainability director Dean Rochfort believes the city is well placed for a prosperous future.DARREN LINTON November 8, 2012 4:51am
Dean Rochfort leaves Greater Shepparton City Council at the end of the month for the fast-growing City of Wyndham.
Dean Rochfort leaves Greater Shepparton confident the city has a bright future.
After eight years as Greater Shepparton City Council’s director of sustainability, Mr Rochfort said the economic base, future planning and generous community spirit all boded well for the future.
Mr Rochfort leaves at the end of the month to guide sustainable growth at City of Wyndham, between Melbourne and Geelong.
The city adds the equivalent of Benalla to its population every year.
‘‘It is a fantastic opportunity for me career-wise,’’ he said.
‘‘It is the fastest-growing municipality in the state.’’
He leaves behind a major piece of unfinished business, the Goulburn Valley Freight and Logistics Centre.
Under his direction, the project has passed through the land acquisition, planning and design stages, but is yet to attract the major tenant that will kickstart the development.
‘‘Council has had three firm offers, but they haven’t been the right people at the right time,’’ he said.
Mr Rochfort said the project had been shaped to take advantage of the Goulburn Valley Hwy bypass and a possible rail link.
It also fitted with Victorian and Federal Government approaches to dealing with a doubling of freight during the coming decades and increased global demand for food.
‘‘Strategically, the project is right,’’ he said.
Mr Rochfort also supported Shepparton Show Me as an appropriate vehicle for business promotion.
But he said the time was right for a review, along with the review of the rating strategy, a forthcoming review of the central business district strategy and a new retail strategy to address, among other things, the drift to online shopping.
‘‘At the end of the day the customer is king and the challenge is to adjust,’’ he said.
While the council had received the brunt of criticism for the number of empty shops in the city, Mr Rochfort said much of the work the organisation did went unseen.
He cited examples such as business support and training, and long-term planning to allow businesses such as Unilever and Tatura Milk Industries to expand.
Mr Rochfort said while a lot of the public focus could be on ‘‘chasing smokestacks’’, much of the real economic development work was about supporting and enhancing what already existed.
He pointed to commercial building approvals, the best in the north-east, as proof Greater Shepparton was growing its economic base.
Mr Rochfort is the last executive domino to fall, leaving chief executive Gavin Cator with a completely new team of directors.
‘‘The emotional intelligence and knowledge is something we are going to miss,’’ Mr Cator said.
‘‘I am disappointed that Dean is leaving us at a time of significant change in the organisation.’’
Elements of the vision for revitalising the Shepparton central business district are falling into place.
The Tungamah Football Netball Club has completed a fairytale season to clinch the Picola and District Football Netball League South East Premiership with an emphatic 106 point win over the Katamatite Tigers at Tungamah.
Billed as ‘Fabulous Flowers and Fine Food’, Tatura’s Anglican Church Parish had a successful fundraiser on Thursday, September 4.
Member for Swan Hill Peter Walsh will announce upgrades to Bendigo to Echuca rail line, as well as a further upgrade to the Deniliquin line for rice freight, during celebrations at Echuca Railway station tomorrow.
David and Katrina Christie’s Nanneella dairy farm is now home to one of the biggest sheds in the district, a 160m by 37m monster.
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Seymour event packs out St Mary's College on Saturday night.
People travelled from all around the region to attend an open day at the Berrigan Rural Fire Service on Saturday.
Mia Mia Cricket Club is about to field its first cricket team since 2001
Cobram Mens Shed chips away at the issue of mental health but calls for more space.
Breakout seasons from Deni Rovers Jamie Thorpe and Nick Hay have seen the pair rewarded with respective best and fairest titles.
Now the Murray-Darling Basin Plan is enshrined in law, many opponents of the controversial plan to return irrigation water to the environment appear to have lost interest.
More than 320 000 foxes and 1500 wild dogs had been eradicated under the bounty scheme in the past three years.
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