Tyers transformation

A former fire risk in the centre of town is set to be transformed into a symbol of security in Tyers.

A Blue Gum plantation will give way to a housing development some 16 years after the land was purchased by aspiring developers, who will see their vision realised at last.

Long-time Tyers residents Steve Plunkett and Chris Vellios purchased the plantation from its previous owners about the turn of the millennium and have been slowly cutting through red tape ever since.

Now with the green light to start development, with earthworks slated to start in the next month, ‘The Acreage’ is on track for stage one and two completion by April or May.

It will feature about 80 lots, all on blocks larger than an acre, which Mr Plunkett hopes will revitalise the township.

“We could see the town slowly dying. We saw this as a way to do something for the town we’ve lived in for decades and at the same time provide for our own retirement,” Mr Plunkett said.

“We’re very excited about it. We’ve put a lot of time, effort and money into it and it’s good to see something finally coming to fruition.”

Mr Plunkett said the development would both mitigate a fire hazard and provide people a rare opportunity for land in Tyers, which last became available in the 1970s and ’80s – when he moved to the area.

“The blue gum plantation was right in the middle of town and if it ever caught fire, which it almost did a few times, it would have probably burned down the entire town of Tyers,” he said.

“So we got rid of that and we’ve used the proceeds, and plenty more (moneys), to do that.”

Mr Plunkett said ‘The Acreage’ would be attractive to the younger demographic, including children of Tyers residents who bought land in the ’70s and ’80s, offering an alternative to the average suburban block size.

“Now our kids are into their late 20s and 30s and there’s no opportunities for anyone else to move in,” he said.

“But all the infrastructure like the kindergarten, school and sporting facilities are sitting there and they’re all fantastic, but we’re all past having kids.

“There’s this sort of gap and a lot of young people want more modern houses. This is an opportunity for them to get hold of something because I don’t think there’ll be any more land released (in Tyers) for another 30 years.”

Mr Plunkett said his company, Yorksville, was investing millions into the infrastructure of the development and would seek to use local workers during the construction phase.

He said apart from a couple of dissenting voices, the town was largely behind the project.