THE quality of the IGA supermarket to be built shortly in Meeniyan will be all the better thanks to a government grant of several thousand dollars.
The project developers, who include Chris Bettles, proprietor with wife Trudy McLauchlan of the IGA supermarkets at Foster and Mirboo North, were successful in their application for funding from the Commonwealth and Victorian government’s $10 million Victorian Bushfire Business Investment Fund.
More than 30 businesses across Victoria will receive capital grants of up to $500,000.
By far the largest grant is going to Marysville, the town probably worst affected by bushfire, where $3.8 million will be invested towards the construction of a new regional conference centre to drive the next stage of economic and social recovery.
The Victorian Bushfire Business Investment Fund attracted a range of applications from businesses, each subject to a rigorous assessment by independent business advisors and subsequently reviewed by a joint State and Federal government assessment panel.
The fund was established as a stimulus to create new jobs and attract business investment in communities affected by the Black Saturday and Gippsland fires.
Mr Bettles said he was “over the moon” to receive the government funding, announced by the Premier John Brumby and Federal Minister for Families Jenny Macklin last week.
He said the money would go towards a better standard of flooring and air conditioning for the supermarket at Meeniyan.
Mr Bettles is waiting for a building permit for his project, but hopes construction can begin before Christmas so that the supermarket will be completed by Easter.
“Once it is open it will provide employment for around 25 people in 12 to 14 full-time equivalent positions,” he said.
Other businesses in this part of Gippsland to receive funding include the Tarra-Bulga Guesthouse and Lyrebird Café (for refurbishment) and a Mirboo North engineering premises, which will be expanded.