The preferred operator of a regional saleyards says the potential project has always had the scope to be constructed within 40 kilometres of Warrnambool’s municipal boundary.
Regional Infrastructure Proprietary Limited (RIPL) chief executive Garry Edwards said the project had always worked to a guideline of 40 kilometres from the Warrnambool-Moyne border, rather than from the city centre.
Warrnambool Stock Agents Association (WSAA) has argued the city councillors had provided assurances the regional exchange would not be built in the Terang or Mortlake districts.
But a map given to the group by RIPL showing the two towns within range of a potential site has cast doubt, WSAA members claim.
Mr Edwards said the 40-kilometre radius simply set a boundary for developers to work with and believed the naming of any location was premature. “The map and the 40-kilometre radius is just a guideline — it simply sets a boundary,” the RIPL chief executive said.
“We’ve had discussions with a number of interested landholders, so a site for the exchange could be 10 kilometres away, it could be 20 kilometres away but that 40-kilometre radius is the stopping point, not a starting point.”
Warrnambool mayor Michael Neoh this week labelled the claims as “misinformation” and said the catchment area has always been set at 40 kilometres from the municipal boundary.
WSAA president Kieran Johnstone said Cr Neoh had assured stock agents and farmers that Mortlake would not host a regional exchange.
“Michael Neoh has said Mortlake is off limits and now he changes his tune saying it’s going to be 40 kilometres from the council boundary,” he said.
“That means Mortlake is within range, the maps show it’s within range so he hasn’t been consistent.”