To sell or not to sell saleyards?

MAVIS MOHAMMED, of the Richmond Valley Ratepayers and Residents’ Association, would like to know one thing.

Why has the Richmond Valley Council called for expressions of interest for the lease or sale of its Casino Regional Livestock Exchange if it has no intention of selling it?

About 30 people attended a meeting in Casino on Monday called by the association to discuss the council’s position on the saleyards.

Last month, the council voted to call for expressions of interest to lease or purchase the saleyards, but said this did not mean the saleyards were up for sale.

Instead, the council said it was just following due process because it had been app-roached by two operatorsinterested in buying or leasing the facility.

Monday’s meeting wasattended by Federal Page MP Janelle Saffin, who voiced her opposition to a potential sale of the saleyards, Mrs Moh-ammed said.

Ms Saffin reportedly said the saleyards were too important to the local meat processing industry, which employs 800 people, for it to be sold.

Six out of the nine councillors – Cr Mustow, Cr Cox, Cr Morrissey, Cr Kinnish, Cr Wheatley and Cr Crawford – also attended the meeting.

However, Mrs Mohammed said the six councillors, in agreeing to attend, said they would be unable to answer questions.

“It was very frustrating,” she said. “We are not getting information.”

Mrs Mohammed said she wanted to know why the council was continuing to pursue a possible sale or leasing arrangement when there was overwhelming community opposition to it.

She said the association was concerned over what might happen to the saleyards if it was no longer run by the council.

“We are worried there might be an increase in costs to cattle producers,” Mrs Mohammed said.

“It could even be closed down.”

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