Council to backflip on saleyards relocation

WELLINGTON Shire Council appears to have admitted defeat on its attempt to build a new saleyards complex at Fulham.

At tonight’s meeting, councillors will vote on improving the current facility on Saleyards Rd and negotiate with lessee the Victorian Livestock Exchange about its future.

In its draft budget, which will also be discussed tonight, council has allocated $800,000 for the upgrade.

Council had purchased land on Hopkins Lane, opposite the Fulham Correctional Centre, in 2006 for new saleyards. At the time, council indicated a two-year wait before the new facility would be open.

A struggle to pay the multi-million dollar price tag and disagreements, including objections from parts of the farming community, over the appropriateness of the project have led to the proposal failing to advance.

VLE management had suggested building saleyards at Rosedale, but council was keen to keep the facility closer to Sale.

As part of a business deal with the previous lessee, VLE took over the lease, due to end in 2032, of the council-owned facility in 2006.

Since then, there have been issues between the two parties over the management agreement and the state of the saleyards.

The condition of the saleyards had been cited as a factor in business being lost to other saleyards such as Bairnsdale, Koonwarra and Pakenham, which have more modern facilities like soft flooring.

Council has prepared a number of reports into the future of livestock selling facilities in Wellington Shire.

The latest, finished last year, outlined the business case for development options, including upgrading the current saleyards, keeping them as is, and building a new one.