Townsville has been through a hard couple of years. You know it, we know it and I’m almost certain all our bank accounts know it. The knee-jerk reaction in these circumstances is to tighten the purse strings and slim down the workforce to ride it out – but one local construction company, Markwell Group, did the exact opposite. Instead of firing employees, Markwell Group purchased a new block of land and turned it into a place that their employees could work from whilst business was quiet.
“[Buying] the subdivision meant getting into a lot more debt, but the reward is long-term and you need to have the vision to see that,” Gavin Markwell from the Markwell Group says.
“With any business, your employees are your key and you have a moral obligation to keep employees, but it’s hard to create jobs when there isn’t any,”
How it helped Townsville
Gavin’s purchase may have put his business in the red, but it also meant his bold move helped both families and the community he lived in.
“Pinnacle Views is a benefit to the community because it has kept people employed at a time when there was a lot of under-employment in Townsville,” says Gavin.
“The development of this block also puts $1.5million into the Council Community Chest,”
Going above and beyond
Helping employees, the community and council was a fantastic move, but Markwell Group took it one step further when they enacted a raft of environmentally friendly measures and created their own water supply to use on site, which was a huge relief for the city, which was struggling with water levels.
“One of the large drains we had to construct, we converted into a storm water catchment area and used that water to save us from using council reserves,
“Constructing Pinnacle Views gave us the opportunity to use recycled concrete. It was the first subdivision that had council approved recycled road base under the bitumen,
“Another thing we’ve done is recycle the top soil. We got a university professor in who tested everything and gave us a mix to make it a better quality topsoil,”
“No trees are to be knocked down without my permission. In some cases, we’ve moved house pads just to suit the trees and [if we do], we recycle timber into wood chip that has to come back to the site.” Gavin says proudly.
It’s hard to put your business in the red in an unstable economy with no crystal ball to tell you when it might get better, but forward-thinking businesses such as this are what keeps the region alive during times of struggle.
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