​EPA guidelines to curb flooding risk at Miners Rest saleyards site

Victoria’s Environmental Protection Authority has laid out guidelines for the construction of the Miners Rest saleyards which it says will negate effects of flooding on the site.  

FLOOD FEAR: Heavy rainfall earlier this month caused the proposed site of the new Ballarat Saleyards in Miners Rest to flood. Picture: Merlyn Fox

FLOOD FEAR: Heavy rainfall earlier this month caused the proposed site of the new Ballarat Saleyards in Miners Rest to flood. Picture: Merlyn Fox

Earlier this week, the developers behind the controversial Ballarat saleyards relocation announced physical works at the Miners Rest site will begin early next year.  

It comes days after Ballarat City Council gave the green light to its Central Victoria Livestock Exchange Plan on Friday, despite a Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal hearing looming on the controversial saleyards relocation.

Construction works at the Sunraysia Highway site are able to start almost immediately, after the council advised RLX Investment Company Pty Ltd, the developers behind the multi-million dollar proposal, it endorsed the development plan.

But the move has sparked outcry from residents who fear the nearby Burrumbeet Creek is at severe risk of flooding.

No Miners Rest Saleyards spokesman Phil Dixon said residents remained concerned about the stockpiling of animal waste and bioproducts and lack of flood mitigation.

"Recent rain has caused the site to be completely inundated with flood water," he said. "RLX say there will be ponds and dam to mitigate flooding... but the inevitable reality the site will be flooded again and the animal waste and contaminated water within these dams and ponds will flow straight into the Burrumbeet Creek.”

At least two residents have already lodged applications with VCAT to challenge to the appropriateness of the works authority issued by the EPA.

An EPA spokesman said the Victorian environmental body had investigated flood controls relating to the saleyards development as part of its works approval assessment.

However, he said specific flooding control and prevention measures are managed by the Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority (CMA) rather than the EPA.

“EPA’s responsibility in relation to flooding was to ensure there would be no adverse impact on Burrumbeet Creek,” he said. “During its assessment, EPA confirmed with the CMA that the proposed design of the saleyard flood control measures are adequate and will not adversely impact water quality in the creek.”

He said to ensure this occurs, developers will be required to undertake water quality monitoring to confirm that any discharge into the creek meets the modelling assessments provided to EPA.

The Courier contacted the Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority but it did not respond before the paper’s deadline.