MINERS Rest residents have voiced contrasting views on the proposed saleyards to be built at their back door.
Concerns have been raised regarding the increase in trucks, pollution, smell and the appearance of the establishment, while other residents believe the $21 million saleyards would implement a business boom for the area.
Resident Malcolm Rock said he did not oppose the saleyards, which would be built about one kilometre from the town centre, as long as the town received some form of compensation.
“I don’t have any problems with the saleyards being built, in fact I think it will be good for the area,” Mr Rock said.
He expressed concern for increased truck-traffic on Howe Street, which is frequented by primary school pupils who walk or ride their bike to school.
“If trucks come through town it is a disaster waiting to happen, with all the kids who are riding their bikes to school up Howe Street,” Mr Rock said.
“Another road must be built to divert transport in and out of the yards around Miners Rest.”
Mr Rock was impressed by the finished product of the recently completed Horsham saleyards and said the Miners Rest project should incorporate aspects of its landscaping.
“There has to be plenty of tree planting. At the new Horsham saleyards they’ve planted thousands of trees and it looks great, you can barely even see it,” he said.
“I don’t doubt they will have state-of-the-art checks and balances.”
Father-of-two Justin Irving holds concerns for his family and is against the proposed construction.
"If trucks come through town it is a disaster waiting to happen"
His children attend the local primary school and use a crossing near the local tavern to get to school.
“There is quite a few kids riding their bikes to school, and if there are trucks parked at the hotel where the school crossing is it could be dangerous,” Mr Irving said.
“It’s busy enough at the moment, you don’t want to be held up with more trucks.
“The smell will also be pretty bad when the wind blows this way.”
It has taken three years and the assessment of 20 sites before Regional Infrastructure decided upon the Western and Sunraysia highways intersection site.
“People are concerned that it has taken them that long to decide to put it there,” Mr Irving said.
"I think it's good. The saleyards will bring more business to this side of town, I think it will boom. There's a sewerage farm just nearby so the smell won't be an issue either."
"I have no objection. People say these grand things about how bad it will be, but I don't agree. I can smell McCain's from here so the smell isn't concerning. Miners Rest is pretty dead and the business to come out of the saleyards will be great."
"I don't think anyone knows how it's going to affect them until it is actually there. We are near the freeway so we get noise anyway. The traffic will be the main issue for a lot of people but it won't affect where we live."
Lack of information
A LACK of information has led to a Facebook page opposing the proposed $21 million Miners Rest saleyards, members say.
The “No Miners Rest Saleyards” Facebook page was set up in March by resident Neil Braszell and has received 105 likes.
Mr Braszell said he was posting any research he could find about the planned saleyards, including Freedom of Information request results and Ballarat City Council briefing papers.
“There was not a lot of information available,” Mr Braszell said.
He said proponent Palisade Investment Partners hadn’t replied to requests for a residents presentation they gave in Ballarat in March and the council’s information had also been limited.
“We just want to get information out to people and to families around the area but it’s been a lot harder than I thought.”
Pending the council approval, the saleyards will be located on the north-west corner of the Western and Sunraysia highways at Miners Rest.
Mr Braszell said the Facebook page was receiving a lot of community support.
“We’re averaging on the site up to about 1000 people every time we post something.
“Anything I can find, I just try and put it out there. No one here really knows what’s going on.”
Mr Braszell said he also received information from other sources but always verified it before posting.
“It has to be factual information or I’m totally against it.”
He said his issues with the proposed site, 800 metres from his property’s rear, included increased traffic and its flood plain location.
If approved, the saleyards will be operated by Palisade Investment Partners’ saleyard arm, Regional Infrastructure.
Regional Infrastructure director Garry Edwards did not wish to comment on the Facebook page.
Ballarat City Council chief executive officer Anthony Schinck said Regional Infrastructure was expected to lodge a planning application later this year.
“This application will be considered by council like any other planning application, with opportunities for the community to have their say,” Mr Schinck said.
“The future of the current saleyards site will be resolved as part of a master planning process identified in the council plan 2013-17.”
Application to council
A PLANNING application for the proposed Miners Rest saleyards should be with Ballarat City Council by the end of the year.
Saleyard operator Regional Infrastructure director Garry Edwards said yesterday they were waiting for consultants to complete a range of reports before lodging the application.
“We’re also working through the process with the (Ballarat Livestock Selling Centre) Saleyards Advisory Committee and starting to finalise the design,” Mr Edwards said.
“We expect the final plans will be in by the end of the year.” Seven Ballarat stock agency representatives were shown preliminary plans last month, with Ballarat Stock and Station Agents Association president Gerry White saying capacity would be about the same as the current Gillies Street saleyards .
However, concern was raised about the number of unloading ramps, with 10 at the current site but only five planned for the new location.
The site is proposed for the Western and Sunraysia highways intersection, near Miners Rest.
It has taken three years for the site to be chosen, with 20 different options considered, including Windermere and Burrumbeet.
Regional Infrastructure has operated the current saleyards since May 2010 and will take over the new state-of-the-art Central Victorian Livestock Exchange when it opens, which is predicted to be March 2015.