The first sod of soil was turned on Wednesday on Costa Group’s $67 million expansion of its tomato glasshouse operation at Guyra, already the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.
Costa Group’s senior management were joined by state MP Adam Marshall, Mayor Simon Murray, councillors, fellow parliamentarian and Guyra resident Scot Macdonald and representatives from the University of New England for the exciting development, which will see another 10 hectares of glasshouse built on its site to the north of Guyra.
The new expansion will grow snacking and cocktail tomato varieties.
Mr Marshall said the development, which is expected to be operational by mid-2020, would create another 150 jobs for the region
“This is a huge investment by the Costa Group, their second expansion at Guyra, and a massive vote of confidence in Guyra and our region,” an excited Mr Marshall said.
“This level of private business investment is not often seen anywhere in regional NSW, let alone the creation of another 150 jobs in one project.”
This is a huge investment by the Costa Group, their second expansion at Guyra.- Adam Marshall
Costa Group already operates 30 hectares of glasshouse space for tomato production at Guyra – 20 hectares at the original site to the east of Guyra and 10 to the north – employing around 600 people.
The northern site will be extended by this project.
Mr Marshall said the decision to invest in expanding the tomato farm was underpinned by the certainty of a back up water supply, which was created with the announcement earlier this year of $12.38 million from the state government to construct a water pipeline from Malpas Dam to Guyra.
“The water pipeline will not only drought-proof Guyra, it provides water security for business like Costa,” Mr Marshall said.
“The glasshouses are almost entirely water self-sufficient, but the pipeline will provide certainty of a back up supply of local water should there be a prolonged dry period. The pipeline has been the catalyst for this huge investment.”