New livestock saleyards at Wodonga have been given the go ahead by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) – with conditions.
Palisade Regional Infrastructure will build the facility at North Barnawartha, three kilometres north of the Murray Valley Highway/Hume Freeway junction. It is expected to take about 12 months to complete.
The existing livestock exchange will continue to operate as is until the new $24 million site is up and running.
But construction will not start until Regional Infrastructure provides further documentation to the local council, including an environmental management plan for the centre.
Regional Infrastructure director Garry Edwards said they were confident about their application and were pleased with the outcome.
"The proposal for the new facility has been developed over the past three years and was the most comprehensive study and development application ever done on a new livestock selling centre," he said.
"We will now see a new modern, undercover facility, with a soft floor selling area and automated individual animal handling systems as well as bulk animal handling systems."
Mr Edwards said one of the biggest improvements at the new site would be its environmental sustainability.
"The new livestock handling facilities will be water self-sufficient, with the only water taken onto site being used for the canteen, saving something in the magnitude of 50 megalitres a year," he said.
"Rainwater storage facilities will capture and reuse for stock watering and truck wash, where at the current site it is clean drinking water from the Wodonga community that goes into those things."
Save our Saleyard group secretary Ron Evans said they "reluctantly accept the umpires decision" and hoped the new conditions ensured the protection of the environment.
"We have found it intriguing from the start that they are intending to put a complex like this on the bank of a flood plain of Murray River," he said.
Mr Evans said another concern was the new location of the saleyards being further away from the city centre.
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