THE multi-million dollar upgrade of the Northern Rivers Livestock Exchange saleyards at Casino is in its final design and planning approval stage, with construction likely to start by June and reach completion by December.
Queensland construction and engineering company Wiley & Co has been awarded the tender for the upgrade.
The $7 million expansion and redevelopment is being funded by Richmond Valley Council, through $3.5 million in borrowings under the NSW Government’s Local Infrastructure Renewal Scheme, and the Federal Government providing dollar-for-dollar funding under its National Stronger Regions Fund.
The NRLX facility currently rank seventh in New South Wales saleyard standings for throughput, accounting for just over 107,000 head of cattle last financial year – just behind Tamworth, but ahead of Gunnedah. Throughput for the first half of the current financial year was ahead of the same period last year.
Richmond Valley Council general manager Vaughan Macdonald said Wiley’s innovative design proposal would deliver Council’s requirements of roof structure, gate and pen upgrades, walkways, storm water management, electrical upgrades, perimeter fencing, security, and soft flooring.
The council had scope to negotiate with Wiley for further improvements in Stage 1, to utilise the full $7 million budget. Options under consideration included semi-automated drafting, automated gates, power upgrades, improvement of the existing roof, and resolving flooring issues in the post-sale holding yards.
Mr Macdonald said the improvements would result in the highest animal welfare and work, health and safety standards, thus strengthening the reputation of the NRLX as the number one facility on the NSW North Coast.
“Wiley recently completed the $12 million Dalby saleyards redevelopment, and a key feature was the company’s ability to stage the construction enabling the facility to continue to operate at full capacity,” he said.
Mr Macdonald said the economic benefits from the livestock exchange were critical to the prosperity of the Richmond Valley community, and planned upgrades would modernise the facility, making it the leading saleyards on the NSW North Coast.
He said the Richmond Valley community derived significant direct economic benefit from the NRLX, with sales turnover likely to exceed $100 million this year.
Richmond Valley Mayor Robert Mustow said his council wanted to develop a leading-edge facility and leave future generations with infrastructure which paid its own way and had sufficient reserves to fund necessary upgrades. The NRLX was Council’s largest generator of economic activity, and the forthcoming upgrades were a once-in-a-generation opportunity to cement Casino’s place as the Beef Capital of Australia, he said.
Click this link to view a concept video of the completed facility.