Report spells out good and the bad in Central Highlands
THE differences between the Central Highlands in 2010, and the Central Highlands now are stark - and they are not positive.
In the Commercial and Industrial Audit released by the Central Highlands Regional Council comparing 2010 data with 2015 data, a mostly gloomy picture is painted, but with some rays of light shining through.
Perhaps most concerning in the report is the number of vacant commercial premises around the regions, with Rolleston presenting the biggest difference.
In 2010, there was not a single vacant business premise in Rolleston; now there are five, a whopping 27.6% vacancy rate for the small town.
Similarly Emerald jumped from 22 vacancies in 2010 to 59, with a rise in available floor space from 2555sq m to 10,750sq m largely due to the construction of the Homemaker Centre which lies mostly empty.
waterwater also dropped considerably, with 25 vacant shops now compared to 10 five years ago.
Meanwhile, it is the Gemfields that seem to be booming, with some of the only seemingly positive results in the report.
Rubyvale had a jump from 19 to 21 businesses, and Sapphire had 17 rise to 21.
Most surprising when compared to the other results was absolutely no loss of businesses recorded.
Anakie and the Willows both had six commercial businesses in 2010 and retained six through to 2015.
The report stated that "more than half (56%) of the businesses in the Gemfields are commercial businesses including shops, cafes, caravan parks and motels".
Also included in the report is a graph displaying the Emerald Airport traffic from July 2008 until January 2015.
The airport peaked in July 2012, but has now dropped to a level seen last about January 2012 just before a massive spike.
The airport has had a relatively steady decline in numbers since July 2012, but has had a rise from a low point of 15,000 passengers monthly to almost 20,000 passengers each month.
No. of commercial businesses 2015
Other towns: 19
Vacant/underdeveloped commercial land (ha)
Emerald: 2010 1.8ha versus 2015 15.8ha
Blackwater: 2010 5.2ha versus 2015 4.1ha
Capella: 2010 0.1ha versus 2015 0.4ha
Springsure: 2010 0.7ha versus 2015 0.3ha
Tieri: 2010 0.9ha versus 2015 4.6ha
Rolleston: 2010 0.2ha versus 2015 0.2ha