Mayor gets saleyards vote over line

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Mayor gets saleyards vote over line

Robust conversation around the Grant District Council Saleyards Transformation Project at City Council’s recent meeting resulted in a split vote in the decision to financially support the project.

The casting vote was made by Mayor Lynette Martin.

“There was robust conversation around this issue in the chamber with elected members weighing up how much a potential contribution should be to support our neighbours, alongside the relevance of the project for city residents and ratepayers,” she said.

“Ultimately there was a 50/50 split in the votes, and I as Mayor had the casting vote.

“In the spirit of partnership and shared regional benefit I voted for the recommendation that council contributes to the project as outlined in the report.”

All elected members were present at the March monthly meeting, with councillors Sonya Mezinec, Paul Jenner, Frank Morello and Jason Virgo voting in favour.

Councillors Mark Lovett, Max Bruins, Josh Lynagh and Kate Amoroso voted against.

It was decided council will contribute $77,000 to the Grant District Council Saleyards Transformation Project over two financial years, subject to approval in council’s 2024-25 budget process.

“The decision follows a deputation from Grant Mayor Kylie Boston and councillor Barry Kuhl at City Council’s February meeting regarding the project,” Mayor Martin said.

“The project aims to make the saleyards a central hub in the region to enhance regional supply chains and increase market sales.

“Both councils have a history of commitment to supporting major projects that are of benefit to our shared community.

“Some recent examples include the Mount Gambier Regional Airport upgrade, Wulanda Recreation and Convention Centre, and telecommunications infrastructure upgrades.”

The agenda provided answers to questions arising from Grant council’s deputation.

“The report recommendation for the contribution of $77,000 is based on the formula derived from Grant council contribution to Wulanda,” Mayor Martin said.

“It should also be noted that City of Mount Gambier recently committed $29,800 to fund improved telecommunications at Caroline which is in DC Grant area but we felt beneficial to support because we will also benefit.

“The City of Mount Gambier did contribute $500,000 to DC Grant airport project and that demonstrates our commitment to support major projects for the benefit of our region.”

In her report, Corporate and Regulatory Services general manager Jane Fetherstonhaugh said over the past two financial years (2021-2022 and 2022-2023), the saleyards generated over $274m in sales.

Cr Lovett spoke to the motion stating he would be voting against the recommendation.

“I believe we have worked well with Grant, however considering they generated over $274m I think Grant DC should reach out to other surrounding councils that have graziers and ask them,” he said.

“I think it would be more beneficial they work with other electorates that are mostly graziers.”

While Cr Bruins congratulated Grant council on the project, he voted against the recommendation.

“Given what I feel is limited benefit of the saleyards project to the actual ratepayers of Mount Gambier I vote against it,” he said.

Cr Bruins acknowledged City Council’s contributions to Grant and vice versa.

“I’m more than happy we have worked collaboratively on those projects given they are significant benefits to the residents of Mount Gambier and to receive the contribution from Grant, with significant portion of Grant residents benefiting from the use of Wulanda as an asset,” he said.

Voting in favour, Cr Paul Jenner said the saleyards was a driver for both communities.

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