A SINGLE proposal to replace the Caramut Road saleyards is being explored by Warrnambool City Council.
Council director of corporate strategy Kevin Leddin, said the expressions of interest process that began three years ago had brought forth only one detailed submission for consideration.
Details of the proponent remain confidential while the council explores aspects of the proposal, including location.
A meeting of council within months will examine the proposal.
“Council is awaiting clarification on some aspects of the proposal,” Mr Leddin said.
The council passed a motion three years ago to seek expressions of interest to build and operate a replacement saleyards within 20 kilometres of Warrnambool.
Mr Leddin said the distance from Warrnambool would be part of the discussion on the proposal.
If council accepted the proposal, it would take some years to become reality.
Similar projects in other centres have taken at least five years to begin operating.
Planning and environmental permits are invariably major hurdles.
Selling through saleyards has declined by 10 per cent across Victoria during the past decade as vendors find other ways to sell.
However, Warrnambool has suffered a steeper decline, falling from 104,000 to 79,000.
Saleyards manager Paul White said direct selling, particularly to Midfield and feedlots, was the main factor behind the decline.
He said the export of live cattle also contributed, as well the area of farming land taken out of meat production by blue gum plantations.
With the centre likely to remain operating for several years, upgrades will continue, including $80,000 worth of new lighting in the near future.
Mr White said roofing the centre was not on the agenda.
“The design and size would make it very difficult to roof,” he said. ‘‘That would be something for a greenfield site.”