Another $3 million could be spent upgrading the city's saleyards in this year's Warrnambool council budget, but one councillor is not happy with the project being spoken about as if it was a done deal.
The budget, which has gone out for public consultation, will allocate between $1.8m and $3 million for works at the livestock exchange.
That is on top of the $2.56 million that was allocated in last year's budget, bringing the total cost over two years to as much as $5.6 million.
"The economies of scale make the proposition of an upgrade across the entire site viable," the council says.
The big spend comes after the collapse of a concrete walkway in October 2020, and a $1 million project to erect a new roof after securing $430,000 in state government funding.
But councillor Ben Blain questioned why the new works were being spoken about as if a decision had already been made by councillors about proceeding with the project.
Councillor Debbie Arnott told Monday's public meeting, during discussion on the revised Council Plan, that the city would invest in the livestock exchange.
But Cr Blain said he was concerned about Cr Arnott's statement, as well as mayor Vicki Jellie's foreword in the revised Council Plan which says: "council will invest in our livestock exchange which remains a focal point for the region's agricultural community and we will also investigate the possibilities and opportunities provided by Flagstaff Hill".
I suppose it doesn't matter if we haven't been informed, it looks like the works are going ahead....- Ben Blain
"Personally I find it hard to understand how the mayor's foreword in this strategic document can be so confident of a decision on an item that there has been no resolution of council on," he said.
"I haven't been presented with anything that shows the scope of the works or costing of these works. I suppose it doesn't matter if we haven't been informed, it looks like the works are going ahead according to the summary in the council plan."
Cr Blain said as far as he understood, there had been no resolution from the council on the future of the saleyards.
"As a councillor, I have no where near enough information to be making any kind of informed decision on this item," he said. "So I do ask why is it even in the forward of the council plan?"
Saleyards profits are expected to increase in the 2022-23 budget to $366,000, up from an expected profit of about $210,000 this financial year. User fees are set to increase 18 per cent, rising from $1.17 million to $1.38 million.
The public can give feedback on the council plan and budget at a community cafe on May 11 at the Lighthouse Theatre between 5.30pm and 7.30pm.
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