UPPERMOST in the minds of some Miners Rest is the relocation of the Ballarat sale yards to their town.
Last Sunday the action group ‘No sale yards for Miners Rest’ was at the Sunday market getting their view across and collecting signatures.
Bob Trevena spokesperson and action group member said the signatures were so that they can show council that they have a lot of support and are endeavouring at looking at alternative locations, which council may or may not have looked at.
“We feel they have just dumped it on us at Miners Rest without any consultation with any of the local residents,” Mr Trevena said. “They just come up with the plans and said this where we are going to put the new sale yards, no proper planning permits or anything like that, that they can show us where it’s been organised.” Mr Trevena added that the site could be seen from the local primary school.
“All the residents in Miners Rest are against it going there mainly because of the noise, the traffic and the area where it’s going is a flood plain, as well,” he said. The action group is not sitting back and telling the City of Ballarat that they do not want the sale yards; the group is actively looking for an alternative site.
“We have, in our action group, various other sub committees looking after fund raising, media to make people aware, and we also a group looking at alternative sites in different shires,” Mr Trevena said.
“They (council) are telling us if the sale yards go out of the shire our rates will go up but how can they justify that? “The land where they are now, if they got rid of it, it’s very valuable land and they would make money out of that.” The action group has invited council members to their meetings and councilors and the mayor have attended. “John Philips and Peter Innes attended a special Sunday meeting and we posed a lot of questions to them and they answered them to the best of their ability,” Mr Trevena said. “They did listen to our complaints and what our issues were, what we believed the council should be doing and what process they went through to organise it but they couldn’t really give us answers on that but Peter Innes wrote down all the questions down and he was going to get back with to us with answers,
“Quite a few residents went to the council meeting following that Sunday meeting and in question time a lot of the questions were asked again in front of the whole council. “It’s quite possible this may not get built until 10 years down the track – they could not tell us if RIPL had bought the land, if they had submitted their plans as to what they would build and they are trying to change the zone from farming to special use which we feel would let RIPL build an abattoir and what they like.”
Mayor of Ballarat Cr John Philips had this response. In response Mayor Cr John Philips said in 2008 council selected a preferred tender to operate the current set of yards and look for a new parcel of land and bring a planning application to council.
RIPL (Regional Infrastructure Pty Limited) was the preferred tender.
Cr Philips emphasised that RIPL would be building the yards, not council. “They would build those yards and own and operate them,” he said. “It is a planning application, the same as any other planning application that council receives, so in respect to the location, that was the choice of RIPL and not council and we are dealing with a planning application only at this point. “Whether we support or not support RIPL going ahead in that location is yet to be determined.” Cr Philips said at last council meeting they listened to the community who raised a lot of concern about the location. “We decided to put it out to an independent planning panel appointed by the planning minister to have a look at it and that will allow the community to put in submissions and speak directly to the panel, which I believe is set for mid June, and that will then give the community an opportunity to argue their point,” he said.
“Also any submissions that come in after the due date will be put to the panel right up to the week before the panel hears the submissions. “The planning panel will report back to council with their determination on what they think is right and wrong and then it will come back to a council meeting where the public will have a further opportunity to talk to council they always have that opportunity to talk to us at any time and we will then have to make a decision whether we support it or not at that time.” What is disappointing, Cr Philips said, is that RIPL has not consulted with the community enough and not talked to the community or to the agents.
“We have spoken with the agents and they have concerns, also,” Cr Philips said. “For me RIPL haven’t done enough work with the community to explain their application. I have spoken to the CEO of RIPL to tell him that I think that RIPL must come and speak with the community, must sit down with them and talk through anything they need to talk through. “In my opinion that’s’ their role. They don’t have to do it but it’s their role and it’s their money and their $20million facility that they are talking about building on their land that they are purchasing.”
Cr Philips said that he couldn’t see that the rezoning would make any difference because council still has to decide whether they will support the application or not. “The zoning is farming land at the moment and the permitted use for farming is a set of sale yards. I’m not sure that I actually support it, the changing of the zoning, but officers believe it gives more control to council when a building application comes to council,” he said. Cr Philips added that he was aware residents were worried that an abattoir would be built but wanted to allay any fears, saying, “There are no plans for an abattoir on this application that I am aware of and I have asked this question a number of times and it has been no every time.”
So far this objection by the Miners Rest group has been handled quietly, but if the committee for the sale yards goes against them, for what ever reason, hopefully a logical one, then the Miners Rest Committee should consider it and take their ruling because right now the yards are in the wrong place, and have been for about 50 years or more. We are not some livestock sale centre in the 1800s that can have a sale yard right in the middle of town. We are an inland city and the yards are in a most inappropriate place. The sooner this can be resolved the better, and as far as the sales companies are concerned they are there to make money, so should they be considered? I think not.
I have been driving past these yards every day for 30 years and some days the smell gags me, enough is enough!