The "significantly long" amount of time it would take to pay back the $6 million saleyards investment is a concern for most Warrnambool councillors who are now seeking community feedback on its future.
Councillors are unsure whether to make the upgrade a priority, and have launched a survey to gauge public sentiment on the issue.
The council has set a November timeline to make the final call on the future of the ageing livestock exchange which has escaped possible closure a decade ago.
They have vowed to fight to save the yards from closure, and farmers called on councillors to "spend the money" to save the saleyards.
Mayor Vicki Jellie said the council had some difficult decisions to make on the future of the saleyards which she said was a commercial operation.
"It was a split decision but the majority of councillors are concerned about the significantly long payback time associated with such a large investment and whether it should be a council priority," she said.
A report to councillors had found that the saleyards had a finite future at the site which could be 20 years - about the same amount of time it could take for the facility to cover the cost of the upgrade under the worst-case scenario.
But the mayor also flagged at the council meeting that the cost of the upgrades could exceed the $6 million price tag.
Cr Jellie said there was now an alternative livestock selling centre at nearby Mortlake, and the council wanted to know how the community felt about the future of the saleyards.
...the majority of councillors are concerned about the significantly long payback time- Mayor Vicki Jellie
The consultation, which includes a survey that went out this week, will help inform a final decision on the saleyards.
Cr Jellie said that once the survey results had been analysed, the council would arrange separate focus group discussions with the various stakeholders including agents, residents and transport operators.
"At this stage we anticipate making a final decision on the future of the saleyards at the November meeting of council," she said.
The survey - which closes on August 26 - is available online at www.yoursaywarrnambool.com.au or a printed version can be accessed from the council offices.
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