MOYNE Shire Council will draw up scenarios for a potential new regional livestock selling centre after feedback from a Koroit community meeting on Wednesday night.
Co-operative ownership will be among the options and possible locations will be discussed with Southern Grampians and Corangamite Shire councils.
However, Moyne is unlikely to build and run a saleyards as a municipal enterprise, rather it would rely on private investment.
About 40 people at the meeting, mainly farmers and stock agents, indicated they opposed Warrnambool City Council’s moves to close its municipal yards on Caramut Road which have served the district since the 1970s.
The city council is looking to have Regional Infrastructure Pty Limited (RIPL) build and operate new saleyards within 40 kilometres of the municipal boundary.
RIPL is also looking at operating in Corangamite Shire, but livestock industry sources are concerned the company could go as far as Lismore.
The Koroit audience called for the shire to take an active role in finding an alternative venue.
A further meeting will be held at Mortlake Golf Club next Wednesday night to gauge community feeling in that district.
Moyne Shire mayor James Purcell said the meeting turnout gave an indication of what steps the shire should take next.
“We will work to achieve what is in the best interests of our ratepayers wherever the future new saleyards might be,” he said.
“Our officers will start working on it straight away and we aim to come up with a counter proposal to any other proponent.”
Moyne will prepare plans and costings for a no-frills livestock selling centre as opposed to a proposed investment of up to $18 million by RIPL.
Cr Purcell said under a co-operative ownership model there could be an option for the council to contribute land.
“However, at the end of the day if we come up with a model and farmers and agents don’t support it we won’t force it,” he said.
Cr Purcell indicated Moyne councillors were unlikely to support investment in a new municipal saleyards, but recognised the importance of having a suitable regional selling centre.
He said attempts to have discussions with the city council had failed, but he recognised the city’s authority in deciding the future of its operation.
Cr Anthony Keane said Moyne would need a strong indication of support from farmers and agents to take the issue to the next level.
Cr Jim Doukas said he understood Southern Grampians Shire Council was considering the future of Hamilton’s saleyards and he recommended discussions with that council on a regional operation.
“We need to work with Hamilton and convince them they have as much to lose as us if RIPL decides to build at Lismore,” he said.
Stock agents Phil Keane and Jack Kelly said “flash Harry” saleyards were not needed and the best approach was to have local co-operative ownership.