New saleyards: where does 40km limit start?

MORTLAKE and Terang remain potential sites for a new regional livestock exchange, setting off the latest grenade in the ongoing saleyards feud.

Warrnambool Livestock Agents Association (WLAA) claim the council had long assured the sector that any independent saleyards site would be located within 40 kilometres of the city centre.

But Warrnambool mayor Michael Neoh has labelled the claims as “misinformation” and said the catchment area has always been set at 40 kilometres from the municipal boundary.

Representatives from WLAA met with potential developers Regional Infrastructure Proprietary Limited (RIPL) this week and were handed a map that notes six different radii from the municipality boundary rather than the city centre, although the document does not make specific reference to the livestock exchange.

The map, produced by the city council, shows the 40-kilometre perimeter encompassing districts including Hexham, Mortlake and Kolora in the north-east as well as Terang, Dixie, Mumblin (south of Terang), Cobrico and Elingamite in the east. 

WLAA president Kieran Johnstone said the July 2012 map highlighted a 40-kilometre radius that included Mortlake, despite assurances the town was outside the scope of a potential livestock exchange.

“We are concerned that this goes against what the council has been saying for a long time — that Mortlake is on the cards,” Mr Johnstone said.

“Building a saleyards at Mortlake would mean many of the farmers who sell their stock in Warrnambool will not head this way anymore.

“This map is less than two years old and the council have been pushing to relocate the saleyards for nearly five years. 

“There’s a big difference between 40 kilometres from the post office or the centre of Warrnambool and the council boundary.”

Cr Neoh said the claims from the WLAA were part of “ongoing misinformation” from some stock agents.

He said the city council had always been clear that any potential independent exchange would be based within 40 kilometres of the municipal boundary.

“There’s a lot of misinformation out there and this is just another example,” Cr Neoh said.

“The council have been quite clear on this; the saleyards would be located within 40 kilometres from the council boundary. Not from the GPO, not from the city centre (but) from the council boundary.

“Kieran Johnstone needs to come out and say who, when and where it was said that it would be 40 kilometres from the GPO because that’s never been the case and just part of the innuendo that keeps going on.”

The map is labelled “Warrnambool and Surrounding Areas” and features a comprehensive labelling of the south-west’s towns and hamlets along with several lines highlighting the distance from the city council’s boundary.

RIPL state operations manager James Thomson was contacted by The Standard yesterday but did not respond in time for deadline.

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