By Raquel Mustillo
GRANT District Council has given the green light to a transformational $5m project of the Mount Gambier and District Saleyards, which it believes will improve animal welfare and boost working conditions for users.
Elected members voted in support of the project plan for the council-owned saleyards – which includes a new 13,600m2 cattle yard roof, holding pen reconfigurations and the installation of solar panels – at last week’s monthly meeting.
Council said the proposed upgrades at the facility – which generates an average $118.6m per year – would support the region’s agricultural industry and develop capacity to enable broader regional growth.
According to a staff report, the project cost is estimated in the vicinity of $5m, with council funding $1.8m or 38pc of the project.
“Council’s contribution of $1.8m towards the project will be included in the Mount Gambier and District Saleyards budgets for the 2020/21 and 2021/22 financial years and secured by existing cash reserves,” council said.
“This amount has been factored into the saleyards long-term financial plan and shows that the facility has the cash reserves to undertake the project with a conservative estimation of 70,000 cattle per annum going through the facility.
“If and when funding is received, a project group will be formed to manage the project, which is likely to be one lump tender for design and construct, noting that we already have a roof design.”
Councillors supported two grant application for the projects comprising of $2.2m under the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund and $850,000 from the State Government.
If funding is secured, the project will also comprise of the provision of soft flooring throughout the cattle selling area to reduce foot soreness and maintenance labour requirements, security cameras and lighting and a new sprinkler system to help suppress dust.
AV, audio and networking is also earmarked for the facility, which council hopes will facilitate online sales.
Other inclusions are replacing the concrete slabs on the buyer’s walkways, a trough watering system, soft flooring, security cameras and LED lighting and a toilet at the weighbridge.
According to the report, the roof – which is estimated to cost $2.7m – will improve conditions for workers and safeguard against inclement weather.
The project will also include the re-roofing of the old calf shed and the raising of the Brian Collins and Bob Cranwell roofs to enable more selling pens in the busy season.
Council will undertake the overall project management, governance, risk management and delivery of the project, with an external project manager to be appointed for management of the construction.
The saleyards is the largest cattle livestock exchange facility in the Limestone Coast and facilitated $593m worth of livestock transactions over the past five financial years.
Currently, the saleyards is serviced by four full-time employees and one part-time employee.
The project is estimated to be complete and available for use in November 2022.