Council to seek saleyard interest

RICHMOND Valley Council will call for expressions of interest for the purchase or lease of the Casino saleyards.

However, in deciding to take a closer look at the future operations of the selling centre, the council has gone to great pains to stress that it has not decided to sell or lease the facility.

Speaker after speaker at last week's council meeting reassured the community that the council was merely testing the water.

The council even went as far as adopting a motion confirming that no decision to sell and or lease the saleyards had been made.

The spotlight was turned on the future of the saleyards after the council called a public meeting last month to garner community sentiment on the possible sale of the council-owned and operated selling centre.

The council was prompted into action in the wake of two separate approaches over an 18 month period to sell the saleyards.

Cr Robert Mustow told last week's council meeting that before making any decision on the sale-yards, the council should see if there was any organisation or individual seriously interested in buying or leasing it.

However, Cr Mustow reassured the community that the decision did not mean the facility was up for sale.

Mayor Col Sullivan said he had been contacted by numerous people about the future of the sale-yards, with the vast majority supporting the council's continued ownership and operation of thefacility.

In agreeing to call for expressions of interest for the purchase or lease of the saleyards, the council said they should address 11 key criteria.

They included:

Experience in operating similar facilities;

Experience in managing requirements for the national Livestock Identification Scheme, EU cattle, quality systems for saleyards, protected area cattle, animal welfare, saleyards safety systems, and the selling of cattle and bobby calves in saleyards;

A business plan and fee structure for the next five years;

A proposed capital improvement program for the facility for the next 10 years;

Any proposed changes to the management of the complex including sale days, curfews, access arrangements, the role of agents and their employees, existing leases at the complex, access to the truck wash, and effluent re-use and bio-solids management;

Proposals for the transfer/management of existing council staff;

Advice how the would-be-purchaser/lessee could provide a better community outcome than currently provided;

Advise on how saleyard users would be consulted with and included in any decision-making process in the future;

Advice on any changes to management of the agents, including access arrangements, fee proposals, numbers, consultations, role and accountabilities.

The council also agreed to hold another public meeting to discuss the future of the saleyards as soon as possible after any expressions of interest were received and evaluated.

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