IT’S official, stage one of Burnett Livestock & Realty’s rebuilding program of the Biggenden Saleyards is now in full swing.
For Burnett Livestock and Realty’s Lance and Stephanie Whitaker, the redevelopment has been years in the making.
“We are very excited to finally be under way,” they said.
Stage one has so far involved the demolition of the lower part of the yards, including the holding pens and larger cable yards, before the construction of two drafting facilities is able to begin.
Mrs Whitaker said these facilities would include a new dip, a double-deck loading ramp, new holding pens and the first section of new selling pens.
“While this is happening we are still all systems go at the yards,” she said.
“We have strategically planned how we will continue operating fortnightly cattle sales around the construction.”
Mrs Whitaker said Burnett Livestock & Realty wanted to bring their clients along for the journey and ensure they knew the construction phase would not negatively impact their sales.
“Once the program is completed we will have a completely rebuilt selling centre that is current with all animal welfare, animal behaviour and safety requirements and processes,” she said.
The redevelopment also aims to employ locals for the construction work and engage local contractors where possible.
Mr Whitaker said the saleyards played a vital role, not just economically, but also provided an unmistakable backdrop to the social vibrancy experienced within the community on sale days.
“From an economic perspective, visitors spend money in town which then supports other small businesses, which is vitally important for rural communities,” he said.
Overseeing the redevelopment of the saleyards will be John Roots, who is moving away from the livestock team to take on this new role.
Mrs Whitaker said they aimed to fill his livestock sales role leading up to Christmas.
It is hoped the redevelopment will be finished by February-March but this will depend on the weather.