New town adjacent to Evandale could be an agritourism capital

RIDGESIDE: The land bought is about double the size of Evandale. The Northern Midlands Council will consider rezoning the area in July.
RIDGESIDE: The land bought is about double the size of Evandale. The Northern Midlands Council will consider rezoning the area in July.

A new town near Evandale could be one of the state’s primary agritourism attractions, according to a peak tourism body. 

Tourism Northern Tasmania chief executive Chris Griffin met with Traders in Purple on Tuesday to discuss the potential of a 242-hectare settlement a few kilometres east of Evandale. 

Mr Griffin said the proposed new town, which has the working name of Ridgeside, could provide a massive tourism boost for local producers. 

“The discussions we’ve had [with the developer] were oriented around agritourism and about building a centre for food excellence for small producers,” he said.

“It would be great to allow an advantage for local farmers and producers...to evolve and grow their brand.”

Traders in Purple recently bought two lots of land spanning between Logan Road and White Hills, which is double the size of Evandale. 

Traders in Purple chief executive Brett Robinson said the company wanted to turn the land into a multi-use development, potentially featuring residential real estate, short-term accommodation, an artisan village and botanic gardens. 

The developers will submit a proposal to the Northern Midlands Council in July to rezone the area and make the site available for a large-scale development.

Tourism Industry Council chief executive Luke Martin said the investment into Northern Tasmania was welcomed, however noted the project would not get off the ground for many years.

“There are a lot of steps to go through and it would be years until any sod is turned,” he said.

“There are so many developments happening in the short-term in Launceston that we should concentrate on and we need to be careful not to put all of our eggs into big projects.”

The proposal has been met with some resistance at Evandale, with a community meeting planned for next week to discuss the proposal. 

Northern Midlands Business Association member Ian Goninon said it was important for all parties to see the the developer’s plans before forming strong opinions. 

“[The community meeting holders] have got a bit in front of themselves, because there really is limited detail,” he said.

“There’s no need to be jumping at shadows before any plans have been released.”