Kangaroo skips into action

Southern Queensland operator Kangaroo Bus Lines has a green light to start earthworks for a new depot this week after years of planning

Kangaroo skips into action
Kangaroo skips into action

By David Goeldner | February 15, 2011

Kangaroo Bus Lines leapt into the future this week at the launch of southern Queensland’s newest industrial estate – Motorway Business Park Burpengary – which will see the operator relocate into a larger depot by the end of 2011.

Motorway Business Park Burpengary’s 36 hectare site at Old Gympie Road is the latest in a lengthening line of industrial and residential developments by QM Properties, and this recent venture solves a pressing space problem for Kangaroo’s expanding bus fleet.

Kangaroo Bus Lines will take title of 3.03 hectares, with earthworks starting by the end of February.

After a three year-approval process, Kangaroo Bus Lines Managing Director Daryl Webster joined the launch celebrations marked by a sod turning ceremony on Monday officiated by Moreton Bay Regional Council Mayor Allan Sutherland and QM Properties Managing Director Jon Haseler.

Sutherland says the Moreton Bay region has paid attention to the needs of local businesses with ‘growing pains’, where space to expand has been in short supply.

"We had the opportunity over the last few years since amalgamation to take a bigger view of the region," he says.

"The philosophy of the Moreton Bay Regional Council is to treat everyone as our customers, and ‘Skippy’ (Webster) is a very important customer."

Sutherland says Webster was one of the first through the new regional council’s door after Redcliffe Shire Council amalgamated with two other nearby councils – Caboolture and Pine Rivers – in 2008.

"We will stand back here in ten years and realise just how important this site is as buses link up with trains and keep our workforce moving into the city and working regionally and locally," he says.

QM Properties Managing Director Jon Haseler says the Burpengary site was bought in the early 1980s from Australian Paper Mills.

"We’ve owned the land since the early 1980s and about five years ago we formed a joint venture with Property Solutions," he says.

"Kangaroo Bus Lines and ourselves negotiated the first deal here at Motorway Business Park"

Haseler says it’s a significant project for the local area.

"Kangaroo Bus Lines is an important group within the local region.

"They employ 160 people and operate 90 buses."

Haseler is aware that Kangaroo Bus Line’s current Morayfield site is very restrictive.

"This site at Burpengary will give them the opportunity to expand," he says.

Property Solutions Managing Director Kevin Miller has added considerable industrial park development experience to the site.

"We started Motorway Business Park at Yatala in 2000 as a conurbation between Brisbane and the Gold Coast on the Pacific Motorway, and we see Burpengary as a similar conurbation between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast," Miller says.

"Strategically we always saw this as an industrial site and initially we need some large clients to be the catalyst for others to follow."

Miller says the network of roads to be built into the site will be wide enough to accommodate heavy vehicles, such as buses and prime movers, but is not limiting the park’s occupants to heavy transport, preferring to see a mix of businesses settling into the site.

He also is mindful of nearby residents and will provide landscaped buffers throughout the park.

"The community would like us to landscape the site with buffers, which we will do," Miller says.

But, he adds, any park infrastructure or landscaping to be completed won’t restrict Webster from getting an early start on developing Kangaroo Bus Lines’ own block.

"Daryl can get going on his block straight away," Miller says.

Webster commissioned DZine to design Kangaroo Bus Lines’ Burpengary depot after visiting the Dyson Group’s Bundoora facility in Melbourne a few years ago.

With Neil Dyson’s assistance, Daryl and Darren Webster teamed up with DZine’s Michael Rus to design something similar for Kangaroo.

Webster was convinced DZine was right for the task, given their background in designing facilities for heavy vehicle operations, including a string of Star Track Express terminals.

"They are very familiar with laying out things for heavy vehicles," Webster says.

Since the first plans were developed a few years ago, Webster has modified Rus’ original design after being left with a tighter post-GFC depot budget, wiping off $2 million outlay from $18.6 million down to $16.6 million for the land and buildings at Burpengary.

"So we took a million off the cost of the block and another million off the building," Webster says.

"And we’ve gone to a two story office building and reduced land space, but it will all work out."

The eventual outcome will be a sizable improvement on the 16,000 square metres currently occupied by the operator at Morayfield – located five kilometres to the north-west of Burpengary – where 90 buses are crammed into space for 50.

The new Burpengary site will provide for 142 buses.

"So there’s plenty of room for growth," Webster says.

"There’s no point in building something just to replace what we’ve got."

As for the sod-turning launch of the new industrial estate, Webster was left smiling.

"It’s been years in the making so we’ve reached the stage now where it’s going to happen," he says.

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