Large numbers of livestock trucks in Ballarat's CBD may be a thing of the past with the opening of the new Miners Rest saleyards.
While anyone selling livestock coming from south of Ballarat have been left with little option other than to take their trucks through town, those coming from the north, east or west may have an easier task than they previously did at the Delacombe Saleyards.
This comes after a 16 year wait for the Miners Rest Saleyards to open.
Those traveling out of Ballarat on the Sunraysia Highway will notice reduced speeds leading up to the new saleyards.
The VicRoads Western Regional Director Mal Kersting told The Courier in a statement “As an interim measure and to improve safety, the speed limit along the Sunraysia Highway near the saleyards has been reduced to 80 km/h while drivers adjust to the changed conditions and the increased levels of traffic around the site.”
As a safety precaution, the Central Victoria Livestock Exchange (CVLX) has carried out road and access improvements, including widening the Sunraysia Highway to include dedicated turning lanes for trucks entering and leaving the site.
CVLX has indicated the saleyard relocation may actually reduce the frequency of these vehicles driving through town.
During the planning process, CVLX developed a detailed traffic impact assessment which concluded there would actually be an overall reduction in the level of livestock vehicles travelling through central Ballarat as a result of the site's location.
Truck drivers heading to the new site may avoid the city by using the Ballarat-Carngham Road and Dyson Drive intersection and using the ring road.
The announcement of a roundabout on the intersection has now stalled for over two years.
Alfredton resident Tracie Abson has flagged the turn as problematic.
“The lack of speed limit signs along Carngham-Road once you turn off Dyson Road is a problem,” she said.
“The visibility is quite poor I feel, given where the power poles (on the intersection) are placed and a lot of people do take silly chances when they pull out onto Ballarat-Carngham Road.
“I’ve lived down there 19 years now and the traffic growth is absolutely incredible. It’s only going to get much busier and it’s an absolute pain in the backside.”
Ms Abson said she felt the introduction of a roundabout could be conducive to alleviating any danger.
Having the stockyards situated further out of town will be a welcome sight for some, as one business employee along La Trobe Street said.
“It’s going to clear the traffic up, make the roads a bit safer for our customers,” the employee said.
“We won’t lose business, people are going to come to us regardless if the stockyards are here or in Miners Rest.”
There are still many traffic questions remain, such as whether Gillies Street South will be reconnected to La Trobe Street.
Heritage office will be safe
Everything but the office may be set to go at the former Delacombe Saleyards.
Following the saleyards move to Miners Rest, what happens to all the equipment and materials at the Delacombe site is up in the air.
City of Ballarat Infrastructure and Environment Director Terry Demeo confirmed in a statement “The Delacombe saleyards have a heritage listing over the office. Beyond the area has not been recognised in earlier analysis for heritage significance.”
Mr Demeo also confirmed the rest of the site will be demolished, however they are still working through what will happen with the materials on the site.
There is currently no timeline for the demolition.
Many residents and livestock sellers have voiced their emotions following the upcoming move to Miners Rest.
“I’ve met some great characters and got a mountain of memories in my 30 years at those yards, so to move is really going to be bittersweet,” HF Richards manager Bernie Nevins said.
The saleyards have been in operation since 1961, and will see their final day of operation on Tuesday.
What’s next for the Delacombe site?
What will come of the Delacombe Saleyards is the question buzzing around La Trobe Street businesses.
Ballarat City Council have put aside $60,000 towards the site, but will be used for remains a mystery.
The former saleyards have been identified for the “La Trobe Street Saleyards Precinct Urban Renewal” project.
The project will aim to “provide a significant opportunity to establish a gateway to the city from the west.”
“There is so much potential to stimulate and activate more than 100 hectares of centrally located land on the fringe of Victoria Park through the successful redevelopment of the Latrobe Street Saleyards Precinct Urban Renewal project,” Mayor Samantha McIntosh said in a statement.
No specific details exist regarding the project, which has left businesses scratching their heads.
“We just want to know what’s going there because it’ll have a big effect on us,” Ballarat Bakery owner Rod Pope said.
Mr Pope’s bakery sits directly across from the land.
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