Council need $800k for saleyards
IT is crunch time for a venue popular with the vendors and buyers of Coffs Coast cattle.
The Macksville saleyards is in urgent need of a top-level safety and compliance makeover but the Nambucca Shire Council which owns and runs the facility doesn’t have the money to bring it up to scratch.
At tomorrow’s regular monthly meeting the council will consider four options for the future of the yards.
One of them, considered a last resort, is to close the saleyards and then dismantle and sell off the associated infrastructure.
The options are being canvassed in the wake of a report which found 21 broad issues of non-compliance at the saleyards in breach of both the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Protection of the Environment Act.
The report concluded that remedying all areas of non-compliance to a minimum level is ‘conservatively estimated’ at $800,000 to ensure workplace safety and to mitigate the risk of litigation or penalties to council.
Of the other options one is to provide sufficient budget allocations to meet a three year upgrade plan. Given the trading history of the yards, however, the increasing cost of operations, the lack of market growth and the relatively small proportion of the community directly involved in the facility, that expenditure would be hard to justify.
A second option would be to address high priority risks at the saleyards and then offer the facility up for a long-term lease arrangement. That would necessitate a reclassification of the land to operational, a subdivision for leasing purposes and a possible redesign of the facility and the possible relocation of neighbouring stables. Another option to be considered will be to immediately seek a lessee who would share the costs associated with bringing the saleyards up to scratch.