WANGARATTA’S saleyards upgrade will go ahead, but uncertainty still surrounds who will prepare the project’s design and cost estimate.
Cr Paul O’Brien succeeded with a revised motion this week that ensured roofing, lighting, soft flooring, sprinkler system and water catchment are part of stage one.
A condition of his motion was that council staff firstly seek a design and cost estimate and not employ a consultant.
“If council staff can’t do this and need a level of professional help I will support that,” Cr O’Brien said.
“But I don’t want us spending $150,000.
“The best outcome would be if we could spend $25,000 to $30,000 with the team we’ve got here.”
Cr O’Brien said the first stage of his proposal could cost $2.5 million.
The project stalled last month when the council baulked at spending up to $150,000 on a consultant to design and cost the project.
That decision upset saleyards users and a special meeting of the agriculture and agribusiness advisory committee was called on the issue.
The committee is chaired by Cr Noel Amery, who was one of the councillors who had opposed engaging consultants.
The committee this week handed the council a revised recommendation included seeking expressions of interest from appropriate parties to come up with a design and cost.
But the committee’s three-point motion was overlooked for Cr O’Brien’s plan and it gained unanimous support.
His plan included constructing 40 more cattle pens and changes to the configuration of the yards in later stages.
Cr O’Brien said he was determined to see the project go ahead.
“Our saleyards are more than 30 years old and we need to ensure our assets are maintained and kept competitive,” he said.
“It will lead to better animal welfare and environmental outcomes.
“From an occupational health and safety perspective, it will help employees who work there.”
The committee’s priorities for the project included roofing the cattle and sheep sections, soft flooring, drainage, yard configuration and additions and altering the sheep yards to cattle yards, creating at least 40 more selling pens.