WORK for "one of the best saleyards in the country" with a roof big enough for Suncorp Stadium has started.
Page MP Kevin Hogan toured the Casino site yesterday to inspect the first stage of the $14 million development.
"If you are one of the 1200 people employed by the meatworks, are a cattle producer, or a small business in the region, this is great news," Mr Hogan said.
"We are going to end up with one of the best saleyards in the country.
"We know that Casino is the beef capital of Australia, and it's a very important industry for our region.
"The roof would cover Suncorp Stadium (in Brisbane)...it's going to be great for animal husbandry."
He said stage one was scheduled to be finished in the first quarter next year and hopes are the whole project would be finished by the end of next year.
Phase one included upgrade work in the holding yards, relocation of a manual crush, stormwater connection and site preparation for the tank installation.
Phase two started in July and includes:
- Removal and storage of existing roof over the receiving area
- Removal of rails, gates and fences in the receiving area
- Clearing and grubbing of the receival area
- Installation of 400kl tank and associated stormwater connections
- Redesign and construction of new multipurpose pens in the receiving area
- Drilling of bored piers and construction of roof columns with associated concrete works
- Construction of roof span, insulation, electrical and data cabling, roof sheeting, LED lighting
- Initial construction of semi-automated four way drafts
Richmond Valley Council general manager, Vaughan Macdonald, said it will include "state of the art" advancements.
"It will include technology and Wi-Fi so that we are ready for online selling and marketing to boost the attractiveness of this selling centre for producers," he said.
"The second stage will be another large roof and soft floor throughout.
"The cattle will be healthier, heavier in their stay in the yards and it will bring better outcomes."
President of the Auctioneers Association, David O'Reilly, said the upgrade will change things "dramatically" in terms of animal welfare.
"A lot of the forestry country has gone back into cattle over the last couple of years so there will be more cattle that will come back into this area now that was originally tree plantations," Mr O'Reilly said.
Mr Hogan said the project will create more jobs for local people and bring money into the region.
The work is being been carried out by construction firm Wiley.
The Federal Government kick started the multi-million dollar development with a $3.5 million grant under the Stronger Regions Fund, which has been matched by the council.