REVEALED: Shock move in Warwick Saleyards overhaul
Southern Downs Regional Council is set to potentially throw millions of dollars behind an unplanned third design of the Warwick Saleyards, despite concerns it could lead to its "inevitable demise".
Councillors will this week vote on whether to approve a recommended "major redevelopment and enhancement of the existing facility" at Wednesday's ordinary meeting, diverting from their two former options.
The redevelopment would be less extensive and cheaper than either of the masterplanned Brownfields or Greenfields options, which would see either a total overhaul of the existing site or a complete relocation.
Initial costs for this third option are estimated at $7.5 million, with "whole life" expenses at $19,937,942.
These totals would prove far less costly than either the Brownfields or Greenfields sites, for which the price of the upgrades alone would average $15 million each.
While neither a masterplan nor business case study has been undertaken for the smaller project, the SDRC agenda stated the overhaul would address concerns surrounding safety, traffic management, animal welfare, and site amenity.
With the 2020/21 budget only allowing for design work on any project, SDRC indicated they would apply for government grants at the earliest opportunity.
Both the Brownfields and more minor redevelopment options were labelled better than the Greenfields alternative for existing connections to amenities and future rail access.
Results of a public survey on both the Brownfields and Greenfields proposals were included, with residents expressing divided opinions.
"Some great new (or relatively new) facilities that would be wasted. Current site is convenient. Really hard to give an option when we do not know where the alternative site is," one resident wrote.
"Quite clearly, a Greenfield site will be required to build a state-of-the-art saleyards to take us into the future," another resident said.
Selecting the third option would go against recommendations from saleyards superintendent Bernie Brosnan, who strongly advocated for the Greenfields option in a letter to the council.
"A decision to stay on the current site could effectively set in stone an inevitable demise of the saleyards for the Southern Downs in the short to medium term," Mr Brosnan wrote.
Using predominantly recycled water and effluent disposal were also noted as environmental concerns for any of the potential upgrades, with run-off from the existing site currently flowing into Bracker Creek.
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