MYSTERY surrounds the exact size of Miners Rest saleyards with fears it could be up to 25,000 square metres larger than the original plans exhibited by Ballarat City Council.
Documents seen by The Courier show council’s first plans measured about 45,000 sqm, compared to the current designs which measure almost 70,000 sqm in size.
Plans that went before a state government appointed independent panel last year show the yards had increased to measure about 53,334 sqm.
An engineer’s report handed to The Courier revealed external sheep yards at the site have significantly increased since the plans were first exhibited to the public.
Plans originally exhibited showed the sheds to be 19,840 sqm compared to final designs which measure 32,205 sqm.
The number of roofed cattle yards also appeared to have increased.
Resident Werner Oellering said recommendations which came off the back of an independent panel review were now redundant because they were based on a smaller development being built.
He said residents were never officially notified of the changes to plans by the council or Regional Infrastructure Pty Ltd (RIPL) which manages the site.
He said the new plans presented a greater risk to residents with their fears about noise, odour, environmental damage, flooding, bio-hazards and traffic intensifying.
When contacted by The Courier Ballarat mayor Des Hudson was unable to confirm the exact measurements of the $20-million plus development.
However, he said the saleyards were “slightly” expanded to alleviate concerns about limitations in the original plans raised by stock agents and farmers.
Cr Hudson said the intent behind the saleyards as a livestock agency remained the same.
He also said it was his understanding there wouldn’t be any further impact on residents as a direct result of the amendments.
The Courier sought clarification from the council on the varying sizes of the proposal but it directed all inquires to RIPL.
RIPL managing director Garry Edwards said the original size of the saleyards, including all pens and holding yards, was 65,926 sqm.
He did not comment on the current size of the yards.
However, he said minor amendments had been made to the sheep facility layout based on stakeholder feedback.
The outside holding yards were also re-positioned to improve traffic flow.
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