Old mill site gets new lease on life
THE region's farming future and timber milling past will come together when Bundaberg family business Sunfam takes over the site of the former Burnett Sawmill in East Bundaberg.
Sunfam, which sells farming chemicals and designs, manufactures and fits irrigation systems for the rural sector, has been looking for a new home since 2012, with both its Bourbong and Campbell Sts sites at capacity.
Sunfam director Ian Loeskow said the decision to buy the 4.5ha site along Cran St was an easy one because the property ticked a lot of boxes.
"The family's been operating an irrigation business out of the site in Bourbong St, it dates back to 1970, or just before,” he said.
"In 2004 we took on the second site over in Campbell St, where we mainly sell our farm chemicals and fertilisers from, and we're at the stage now where we're at capacity on both sites.
"We needed somewhere for expansion and ideally there was a criteria we were looking for.
"Something close to the current Bourbong St site, because we've had customers coming there for nearly 50 years, so it had to be close, this side of town and ideally big enough that over the next few years we could amalgamate all the businesses back into one site and still allow for expansion.”
Mr Loeskow said their was an air of confidence in the rural sector, which meant they felt investing in the new location was the right move.
"There's a lot of growth going on in the Bundaberg area, the sugar price is very strong and the tree cropping side continues to expand with avocados and macadamias in particular,” he said.
"The small crop industry is quite buoyant too and while some of those things can change, I think the underlying current in Bundaberg is confidence and growth.”
Mr Loeskow said they hope to begin construction within 12 months and complete what they want to do within three years.