THE old holding pens have been cleared away and the holes drilled for the columns holding up the new roof at Casino's Northern Rivers Livestock Exchange.
The capacity crowd at the All Breeds Sale on Saturday could see for themselves the extent of the work to be done as part of stage one of the comprehensive upgrade to the saleyards.
A roof sheltering buyers and agents from the sun and rain, soft flooring to protect animals' feet and to prevent slippages, and automatic drafts to reduce the risk to those herding the stock are among the objectives of this part of the upgrade, said Richmond Valley Council project and performance officer Brad Birney.
The work will be replicated for stage two, Brad said, which can now proceed following straight on from stage one, thanks to a $7million contribution from the State Government, which was announced last week by visiting NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.
Previously based upon $3.5million of federal funding, matched by $3.5million from the council, the funds available have now doubled to $14million.
The team working within council and its general manager, Vaughan Macdonald, had "kept the dialogue open” with Member for Clarence, Chris Gulaptis, and Federal Member for Page, Kevin Hogan, who had both been enormously supportive, Mr Birney said.
Council projects co-ordinator Ben Zeller said the modernisation of the exchange had multiple goals: improving animal welfare, environmental management, workplace health and safety, and increasing cattle throughput capacity by 40%.
"The upgrade will make it one of the most modern facilities of its kind in Australia,” Mr Zeller said.
Doing the work is Brisbane commercial construction company Wylie and Co, which has just completed an upgrade of the Dalby Saleyards, providing softer flooring and shade over its 1.6ha, along with automated drafting and fast weighing facilities.
Ms Berejiklian, who was joined in Casino by Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis to make the announcement, said the Casino upgrade was "a major piece of local infrastructure”. She said the upgrade would provide an estimated $50million boost to the local economy.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.