Needing room to grow

Swanport Harvest owner Don Ruggiero, pictured right, said the future of his business hinged on a request to the Murray Bridge council to rezone his land to allow it to be sold because encroaching developments around the Jervois Road farm meant further expansion was impossible.
Swanport Harvest owner Don Ruggiero, pictured right, said the future of his business hinged on a request to the Murray Bridge council to rezone his land to allow it to be sold because encroaching developments around the Jervois Road farm meant further expansion was impossible.

A MURRAY Bridge based producer says his business could double in size if his land is rezoned, but it will struggle to survive if the process takes too long.

Swanport Harvest owner Don Ruggiero, pictured right, said the future of his business hinged on a request to the Murray Bridge council to rezone his land to allow it to be sold because encroaching developments around the Jervois Road farm meant further expansion was impossible.

“The problem we’ve got here is, because we’ve had a lot of non-complying developments around us, we’ve become landlocked,” he said.

“We’re struggling to survive here because we can’t expand.”

Mr Ruggiero said his workforce could double if he could find more suitable land but the recent drought and the global financial crisis had exhausted capital reserves, meaning the business would struggle to finance a relocation.

“If we subdivide we can accumulate some money to move but we will have to start looking around now,” he said.

“For us it’s very urgent but we’ve just got to go through the process.”

“If they do it in an 18 month or two year timeframe then we’ll be fine but if it goes longer we’ll have to close down,” he said.

Mr Ruggiero said he had been in discussions with the Murray Bridge council about rezoning the land for some time.

“The council have been very, very good about it, especially over the last two years - it’s been very positive,” he said.

He said there were no plans to move the business, which supplies major retailers like Woolworths with lettuce and other produce, out of Murray Bridge.