Ballarat’s livestock trade will be fully shifted from Delacombe by July as construction on the new state of the art Miners Rest facility ramps up.
Work on the $24 million site near the intersection of the Sunraysia and Western highways began in mid-2017. The early stages of framing began going up late last year.
More than 57 tonnes of rock has been trucked into the site which will become the largest of its kind in Victoria once fully operational.
Central Victorian Livestock Exchange regional manager James Thompson said the new facility would offer greater efficiency and higher animal welfare standards.
“The layout and the flow of it is a big advantage for efficiencies,” Mr Thompson said. “You’ve got pens which can be opened up and different sized pens which are easily configurable and that’s a major advantage...you’ve got a lot more flexibility and better utilisation of space.”
More than 30,000 square metres of selling pens will be undercover, a major advantage compared to the ageing site at Delacombe.
The new site, which is about 8000 square metres larger than the existing facility, will also boast a series of paddocks where livestock can be housed before and after sales.
All up the new saleyards will occupy more than 45 hectares of land. Vehicles will access the saleyards from the Sunraysia Highway, with the bulk of traffic expected to turn back toward Ballarat.
Six dams will be set up around the new facility including a 60 megalitre irrigation dam, which use treated water to irrigate the surrounding paddocks.
Livestock will benefit from new soft flooring which will be installed across the facility.
The final stages of construction come after a long period of opposition from some Miners Rest community members and stock agents alike.
T.B White and Sons Director Leo White said despite initial concerns around design elements of the Miners Rest facility, the livestock community was now “100 per cent behind it”.
Mr Thompson said most concerns had been put aside once earthworks began last year.
“It’s really hard to look at a piece of paper with a drawing on it or a picture and know what it’s going to look like,” Mr Thompson said. “The real turning point is when it opens up and people are physically in there because that’s when they can see and feel the difference.
“At the end of the day it will be a huge benefit for the region.”