Armidale regional Council representatives flew to Melbourne to meet with members of the Costa senior executive and hold discussions about ongoing expansion of Guyra's tomato farm on Thursday, March 5.
Mayor Simon Murray, Cr Peter Bailey and council general manager of business Scot Macdonald made the trip, which Cr Murray described as very productive.
"Cr Peter Bailey came because of his long-standing association with Costa," he said.
"Costa wanted to talk more about the expansion of the northern tomato farm, the one that is on the New England Highway.
"It was a briefing and a discussion about where they go from here, and we basically got an outline on how they were progressing.
Cr Murray said Costa was trying to finish roofing that would allow them to capture clean water for use. He said fitting out the sheds would then be needed and it would require about $35 million to take the project forward.
Cr Bailey said, following recent challenges with the drought, the talks were needed and very positive.
"We went to talk to them about the future expansion of Costa's, up to 300 odd jobs, further investment and further enhancing the Guyra region as almost like a horticultural centre of excellence," Cr Bailey said.
"It's trying to do more things, not only for the Guyra community, but for the Armidale region in general. Some of the workers live down here and some of the university students get scholarships from Costa to study, so it's a good relationship."
Cr Bailey said the meeting lasted for about an hour and a half.
"I think they wanted to get a vision of where we thought things were going. One of the things that blew them away was our community's great capacity to drop their own personal water use," he said.
"It has given us a significant amount of water for the future, and we've probably now got one of the lowest usages of any community in NSW."
Cr Bailey said he thought it was too soon to declare the drought as being over.
"It will be a lot easier when we get the dam to 70 or 80 per cent ... my attitude is that we're now in a situation where we've got to stay on permanent water restrictions, even if the dam went to 100 per cent," he said.
"I think that's a good conservation measure, and just makes good sense."
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