The future of the Delacombe Saleyards site remains up in the air just two months out from the first sales at the new Miners Rest facility.
While the development of an alternative saleyards precinct has been one of the City of Ballarat’s most controversial projects over the past decade, the Miners Rest replacement is now in its final stages.
Despite the progress, the Environmental Protection Authority has not yet been engaged about the clean-up which will be required before the Delacombe site can take on a new life.
South Ward councillor Jim Rinaldi said he had been requesting updates on the future of the Delacombe block for two years, but was yet to receive any direction on its future.
“There’s been no rehabilitation plan done at all which is very concerning because this has been asked for for two years,” Cr Rinaldi said.
The Delacombe space is considered Crown Land which is managed by the City of Ballarat on the basis it is used as a saleyard. Council may opt to apply to use the land for a different purpose or return the block to the state government, however it will be required to pay for remediation works either way.
Among the potential future uses for the block are further industrial development, residential housing or use as a health and education hub.
Fellow South Ward councillor Ben Taylor said he hoped to see the early outlines of a master plan for the block developed by the end of the year. He said council needed to decide on a direction for the block before engaging in remediation works.
“(The site is) almost becoming the geographical centre of Ballarat as population grows,” Cr Taylor said. “We’ve got to make sure we do the right thing from a cost point of view.”
Victorian Planning Authority officers were recently given a tour of the site to gauge potential future uses.
City of Ballarat chief executive Justine Linley said “we’re not sitting on our hands”. “It’s not going to be a derelict site.”
When completed the new $24 million facility will occupy more than 45 hectares of land along the Sunraysia Highway.
CVLX spokesperson Garry Edwards said a date for the first sale at the new yards would be finalised next week.
Once up and running the entirety of Ballarat-based sales are expected to be transferred to Miners Rest in the space of months.
South Ward councillor Des Hudson said it was unlikely the issue would be resolved within this council term, but hoped to see action on the block within the coming four years.
“There’s been interested parties for a while but they’ve been waiting for council to complete this task,” Cr Hudson said.