Ballarat City Council have given the green light to its Central Victoria Livestock Exchange Plan, despite a Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal hearing looming on the controversial saleyards relocation.
The council announced works at the new saleyards site in Miners Rest can start almost immediately, after it advised RLX Investment Company Pty Ltd, the developers behind the multi-million dollar proposal, it endorsed the development plan, including its various technical reports.
The move has sparked outcry from residents fighting to stop the project.
No Miners Rest Saleyards group member Grant Tillett told The Courier two residents had gone to VCAT to challenge to the appropriateness of the works authority issued by the Environmental Protection Authority.
“The council have absolutely no authority to issue a works permit,” Mr Tillett said. “The fact is, that yes, an EPA works authority has been issued, but before the expiry of the 21 day cooling off period an objection was lodged with VCAT in accordance with the rules.
“The effect of this is that the works authority is now “stayed” pending at least the first VCAT hearing which is set down for next month.”
He said if the VACT application was successful it could prevent works from commencing.
He also accused the council of siding with RLX ahead of the community. The first VACT hearing is scheduled for November 18.
The council said in a statement the assessment and endorsement of the development plan is a standard administrative matter and comes after the EPA issued a works approval for the development.
It said it was required to wait for referrals from relevant authorities in relation to the applicant’s submitted documentation before it could make a decision to endorse the development plan.
Ballarat chief executive Justine Linley said under the Ballarat planning scheme the council is within its right to endorse a development plan which is consistent with any EPA Works Approval. She said it was a matter for VCAT to consider the validity of the appeal.