IMPROVEMENT PLAN: Southern Downs councillors have approved the upgrade of catwalks in the Warwick sheep saleyards.
IMPROVEMENT PLAN: Southern Downs councillors have approved the upgrade of catwalks in the Warwick sheep saleyards. Sophie Lester

Warwick saleyards set for upgrades

WARWICK'S sheep saleyards are up for a $50,000 makeover.

Southern Downs councillors approved the move to increase the 2016/17 budget via the yard infrastructure levy to improve and install catwalks at the sheep saleyards.

The upgrade follows a visit from a Work Health and Safety coordinator last month, who recommended the upgrades to provide a safer working environment for the auctioneers using the yards.

Of the five catwalks in the yards, none have handrails and five are 60cm wide steel mesh, while three wooden catwalks are only 23cm wide.

The decision to upgrade all catwalks to steel mesh with handrails on either side was passed unanimously in Thursday's council meeting.

Councillor Yve Stocks said as the council derived income from the saleyards, it was their responsibility to maintain them to a high level.

Saleyards advisory committee member councillor Rod Kelly said it was important to act quickly on safety issues at the council-owned facility, regardless of cost.

"The saleyards are a very valuable resource to council,” Cr Kelly said.

"The upgrades come down to being a safety issue.”

Other councillors spoke to the practicality of having the saleyard upgrades funded by the council-imposed infrastructure levy.

"The project will be solely funded from the infrastructure levy council introduced a little while ago,” Neil Meiklejohn said.

"Looking at the pictures included in the report it looks quite daunting to be up on those catwalks,” Councillor Marika McNichol said.

"I'm really pleased the levy will be used for improving the safety of the people using the yards.

"The upgrades are pretty self-funded as far as levy goes, Cameron Gow said.

"It's something I think we should be considering this route with all of our business centres.”



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