MVM appeal for rental accommodation
Workers may have to be bussed from Invercargill to the Mataura Valley Milk construction site at McNab by the end of this year due to a shortage of rental accommodation in Gore.
MVM general manager Bernard May said about 80 workers were currently on site as construction of the $200m plant's buildings continued but numbers were expected to reach about 300 by Christmas when processing equipment was also being installed.
Rental accommodation in the Gore district has been under pressure for some time due to the influx of workers and the situation was expected to get worse as the number of the workers at the plant increased.
"It's been managed reasonably well at the moment but we have to expect that temporary housing will be stretched by then, especially in Gore.
"We have discussed bussing them in from Invercargill each day where there is more accommodation."
May said anyone who had accommodation that was "surplus to requirements" could contact Babbage Consultants, who were keeping a list of what was available.
"Certainly anyone who has a spare room or something like that that they could rent out for a while should get in touch. We're looking all over the district for accommodation."
Gore and districts mayor Tracy Hicks said the Gore District Council had been proactive with real estate agents in the district in the search for accommodation for workers.
"We certainly want to be able to encourage people to make accommodation available. It is probably always going to be tight but we would really like to see as many people accommodated in the district as possible. It's good for the local economy - it's a good complaint to have."
The plant would employ 65 fulltime workers when it was completed in August 2018, and was expected to pump an estimated $90m into the local economy.
Work on the plant was progressing "very well", May said.
"We have the panels up to the 12 metre mark and we are getting consent to get them up to the 20 metre mark on the drier building. By May we expect to be about half way.
"We will be starting to see the fitout on some of the processing equipment in May."
The plant would be commissioned in May, June and July of 2018 and would begin taking milk for processing from farmers in August.
It will produce infant formula, milk powders UHT cream and small amounts of skim and whole milk powder for international markets, including China.
MVM is majority owned by China Animal Husbandry Group, a subsidiary of a Chinese state owned enterprise.