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  • What is the significance of the Kongwak Butter Factory?
    The detail below is a direct extract from the Victorian Heritage Database: The former Kongwak Co-operative Butter & Cheese Factory complex is of local historical, aesthetic, and architectural significance to South Gippsland Shire. Historically, the complex demonstrates the importance of the dairying industry to the development of the Kongwak township and district and is important for its ability to illustrate in one location the key phases of growth that occurred from the Federation to postwar periods. It includes the 1941 cheese factory, which illustrates the change to cheese production that occurred as a result of World War 2 and is believed to be the only surviving example of its type in the Shire.
  • What is happening at the Kongwak Butter Factory?
    An exciting redevelopment of the Kongwak Butter Factory will see new life poured into the existing historic buildings. A new general store, restaurant, accommodation and market garden (to support the restaurant) are planned for the redeveloped site, as well as an art gallery and event space. The whole redevelopment is sensitively designed to fit harmoniously with the natural landscape and town amenity. It will be a celebration of the town’s history, and showcase for local produce, arts and culture.
  • What experience can locals and visitors expect?
    When in operation, the Kongwak Butter Factory will renew the small town vibrancy in the Kongwak township, which once existed. The Kongwak Market has helped shape Kongwak's cultural identity since it has been operating, but the old factory site has provided only an interesting visual backdrop. The redeveloped Kongwak Butter Factory is being designed for people to meaningfully connect. Locals and visitors will enjoy open green space, creative exhibitions, historic storytelling, quality cuisine, local produce, locals’ nights and a unique event space to create lifelong memories.
  • What will the restaurant offer?
    Within the old Cheese Factory, there will be a warm and welcoming restaurant offering quality food, with a focus on sourcing from the local region. Seating up to 130 people during normal operations, we envisage a bustling, vibrant, energetic experience where stories will be told, shared and made.
  • Where can people stay?
    Accommodation is limited in the area. The old Butter Factory currently provides accommodation for up to 16 people across 5 bedrooms. This will be expanded to 40 suites, mostly twin bed.
  • What will be stocked at the general store?
    In the old Cheese Factory building we will have a small store offering weekly grocery needs such as milk (from the local region), freshly baked goods, cheese, wine and cured meats. Barista made coffee and eventually take-away food will be available as well as artwork and gifts.
  • How will the region’s local arts and culture be represented?
    The Kongwak Butter Factory will become a hub for creative activity, with a unique artist in residence program, a curated program of arts and culture exhibitions and experiences for the community, guests and visitors to enjoy.
  • Who owns Kongwak Butter Factory?
    The Kongwak Butter Factory site was purchased privately in 2020. Two of the owners, Damien and Gemma have experience in engineering, business and innovation and have a special connection to South Gippsland. The couple have two young children who enjoy their time spent in the Valley of Peace. Both Damien and Gemma are managing the restoration and redevelopment project, as well as having worked on the site to manage and improve its condition since buying it. The owners feel a deep sense of obligation and commitment to saving these beautiful buildings.
  • Will there be onsite parking?
    Yes. Our private off-street parking will be sufficient for all proposed activities on the site and will include accessible parking. We will also make our carpark available to market visitors to address the challenges that are experienced with car-parking on Sundays within the Kongwak township.
  • Do you have approval to redevelop?
    We are currently going through all planning approval requirements with our town planner and relevant authorities. An early works package has been approved to conduct critical maintenance work on the Cheese Factory.
  • When do you plan to open?
    The masterplan for the redevelopment is nearing completion and following planning approvals we plan to start construction in early 2024. All going well, we look forward to welcoming guests to the Kongwak Butter Factory in 2025, in time to celebrate the site's 130th anniversary!
  • What is the current state of the Kongwak Butter Factory buildings?
    The old Butter Factory building houses a 5-bedroom residence and large outdoor entertaining areas and lawn surrounded by the Foster Creek. The old Cheese Factory building condition has deteriorated significantly since its last operation in the 1960s. We have received structural engineering advice that if critical maintenance and restoration works are not completed in the near future, the building will be at risk of being demolished.
  • How is the heritage of the Kongwak Butter Factory being maintained?
    A heritage consultant has been onboard to guide the design from the start. This has ensured that high value heritage elements will be preserved and brought back to life.
  • How will wastewater be managed?
    All wastewater needs to be managed in line with EPA standards. The farmland adjacent to the Butter Factory property has been purchased to unlock the wastewater management challenge for the site and ensure that it can be managed in line with these standards. The wastewater treatment system will treat the wastewater to a standard higher than a typical septic system, producing recycled water suitable for irrigation. The system creates no odour at all (you can stand on top of it and not smell anything), and a holding dam with recycled water will be used to store some water in the wetter months. This type of solution is common, meets EPA standards, and will have no impact on the Foster Creek.
  • How will the Foster Creek be preserved?
    As part of our redevelopment of the Kongwak Butter Factory, we will support rehabilitation of the Foster Creek. A Waterway Management Strategy has been developed and includes bank stabilisation and revegetation to restore the health and amenity of the creek back to the ferny gully that it once was.
  • What other sustainable initiatives are planned?
    We are very committed to sustainability, environmental and agricultural outcomes. In delivering on these commitments, we will look to revegetate parts of the site which will improve the habitat for wild animals and birdlife. We will also increase the productive use of the site through the proposed market garden and broader agricultural use.
  • How will noise be managed?
    An acoustic study has been conducted to fully assess potential noise impacts and how these can be mitigated to comply with stringent levels as defined in EPA guidelines. Acoustic controls have been nominated including insulation and double-glazing. Operating controls such as timing and allowances for outdoor operations have also been nominated.
  • How will the community be engaged as part of the project?
    We have carefully considered community feedback through this design phase, whilst ensuring the commercial viability of the project. A Community Reference Group (CRG) has been established to engage with local relevant community groups. Through this CRG, we have conducted direct consultation with 11 different community stakeholder groups, meeting to showcase our full plans, answering questions and taking on board feedback. There has been further follow up with these stakeholder groups as requested and required, as well as extensive broader conversation with individual community members when approached and through casual interactions.
  • How can I stay up to date on this redevelopment?
    All information relating to construction, progress updates and new exciting announcements will be posted to this website. You can sign up to receive notifications using our subscribe form. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact us via our 'contact us' form.

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