THE new Northern Victoria Livestock Exchange at Barnawartha North is due to be completed in time for major calf sales in January 2015.
Work is finally under way on the $20 million project.
Walsh Earthmoving has started preparing the 110 hectares of former farmland for a mid-year start on construction of the new saleyards.
They will replace the Wodonga saleyards, which have operated at Bandiana for 35 years and are Victoria’s largest cattle selling yards.
The present work is the culmination of a process that began in 2008 when Wodonga Council controversially decided to sell its municipal saleyards business to Palisade Investments for associated company Regional Infrastructure to operate.
Producers and agents mounted an unsuccessful challenge to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal to thwart the relocation to Barnawartha North.
Palisade Investments development manager Paul Brown visited the site last week and was confident the new saleyards would be completed by the end of the year.
“There were certain community matters that needed to be dealt with before we could start,” he said.
“They take a lot of time and naturally there are human emotions involved.
“But there is an element of certainty and security out of our past experiences.
“We tend to do things slightly better every time and we will get this one done more quickly.”
Palisade Investment has built new saleyard complexes at Carcoar and Tamworth.
Features at Barnawartha North will be soft floorings, undercover laneways and selling pens.
The site will include 192 selling pens, 70 dual-purpose receival pens and more than 12 loading ramps.
The council has called for tenders to build roadway turning lanes at the complex at an estimated cost of $850,000.
Mr Brown said the assembly of the new yards was scheduled to begin in July, with Queensland-based Brice Engineers one of the major players.
“The core engineering work is being done in Townsville before being migrated down,” Mr Brown said.
“But by and large the vast majority of work is done on site and will be delivered by way of a local workforce.”
Mr Brown said local plumbers and electricians had secured work, which he said would bring a lot of revenue and business to the region.