Award winning Alpine Nurseries Alstonville was formally opened today with a ribbon cutting ceremony by Member for Ballina, Tamara Smith.
The event commenced with a welcome by Managing Director, Peter Knox, followed by a comprehensive tour of the site, allowing more than 80 visitors to come behind the scenes and witness the workings of a large-scale, 21st century wholesale nursery.
The property, which was formerly a potato farm, was custom designed by Water Management Consultant, Chris Rolfe to exceed industry benchmarks in water collection, purification and recycling. It has been comprehensively developed in stages over a 12 year program.
Today, the nursery cultivates more than a million plants for distribution Australia-wide, boasts 10km of irrigation pipe alone, and employs over 30 staff. Many of Alpine’s team have received TAFE training on-site, right up to Diplomas in Frontline Management.
“From the very beginning, we were looking to purpose design the nursery to ensure water efficiency, drainage and treatment, plus integration of performance. The site is designed to current best practice, and what’s significant here is that every single recommendation was adopted in full, resulting in a world class nursery that sets new benchmarks,” said designer, Chris Rolfe.
“The location boasts minimal waste and maximum conservation, where a large percentage of the water used is captured onsite and effectively recycled. In addition, the site uses the very latest technology to ensure efficiencies, including a potting machine that can pot 15,000 plants a day. Worldwide, there are only a handful of nurseries operating at this level,” he said.
The 50 hectare site that is now Alpine Nurseries Alstonville was purchased in 2004, and is the realisation of a dream for Managing Director, Peter Knox.
“We are really excited with what we have created here at Alstonville. We’ve taken our time and done things the right way the first time, and it’s gratifying to reach the end of the development process and see our vision realised,” said Peter Knox.
“Our plants feature in some of the best homes and gardens of Australia, as well as distinguished commercial and infrastructure projects, through our close association with high end residential landscapers,” Peter said.
Alstonville Nurseries Alstonville was the winner of the National Large Production Nursery Award in 2011 and 2014, and in 2014 was the Australian nominee in the International Association of Horticultural Producers World Awards.
A key feature of the nursery is the recreation of a ‘Big Scrub’ styled strip of rainforest along Youngman’s Creek that flows through the property. The rainforest is a labour of love for staff member Doug Blythe, and features more than 6,500 plants that are indigenous to the Alstonville region.
“The setting here at Alpine has been enhanced by planting extensive gardens that make it a great place to be, while building homes for the many and varied wildlife at the site. Nursery Manager Bruce Wilson and I are also particularly proud of the many staff that have built rewarding careers at the nursery, developing into industry-leading professionals,” Peter said.