Meeting fails to cut Warrnambool City Council ties to saleyards developer

A PUSH for Warrnambool City Council to cut ties with the favoured developer of a new regional saleyards fizzled out at a municipal meeting this week.

Cr Brian Kelson put forward a motion to sever ties with Regional Infrastructure Proprietary Limited (RIPL) following rancour over the city council’s move towards eventually closing the Caramut Road saleyards.

The motion proposed council should formally advise RIPL it had no objection to the company establishing a rival livestock exchange in the Western District, despite being in direct competition with Warrnambool’s saleyards.

It also called for the council to withdraw from any relationship with RIPL.

Councillors voted 4-3 to reject the motion at the city council meeting on Monday evening, with several Warrnambool Livestock Agents Association representatives present for the debate.

Cr Kelson said his motion would have brought debate over the saleyards to an end, nearly four years after a similar proposal was knocked back by the city council in early 2010.

“It’s time this ended, that RIPL be thanked and sent on their way because it’s creating too much uncertainty,” Cr Kelson said.

Warrnambool mayor Michael Neoh said the expression of interest process was ongoing, adding Cr Kelson’s motion would terminate a proper investigation of how best to deal with the future of a livestock exchange in the region. “All points raised will be considered but there is an expression of interest process and that remains in place,” Cr Neoh said.

Councillors voted last month to conduct further consultation with livestock agents, farmers and other interested parties after several months of debate over the future of the Caramut Road site, which has been operational since the early 1970s.

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