Saleyard expansion beefing up town's economy
STAGE one of the Biggenden Saleyards expansion is expected to be complete within a week, and the economic benefits are already in sight.
Owner Stephanie Whitaker said stage one of the drafting facilities was almost finished, taking them a step closer to finishing a project that would help drive the town's economy.
"It's a three-stage development and we're operating as we go, in conjunction with cattle sales,” Mrs Whitaker said.
Mrs Whitaker, who talked about the development at the Wide Bay Burnett Organisation of Councils Regional Economic Development Forum, said the whole facility was being rebuilt.
The $3.7 million project consists of the demolition of the existing yards, the preparation of the new site and the construction stage.
There are new double-deck and single-deck loading ramps being built, as well as 34 holding pens and 390 selling pens.
Mrs Whitaker was grateful to receive funding from a Federal Government grant to help with the saleyard expansion.
"I can't acknowledge enough that this Federal Government is actually supporting private enterprise,” she said.
As the project progresses, the impact has already been positive for the town.
"You can see a positive flow-on already in the community, there's a bit of buzz around town,” Mrs Whitaker said.
In each stage of the expansion, the Whitakers have employed Burnett and Wide Bay businesses such as electricians from Gayndah, Biggenden suppliers and local earth moving companies.
There were six additional jobs created in the construction phase, and four permanent positions will be created after construction.
The Biggenden Saleyards will not only be a selling space for cattle, but also bring visitors to the town every fortnight.
"That'll be a spin-off that will really surprise us,” Mrs Whitaker said.
She said they had already seen more and more visitors coming to the saleyards, with plenty of caravans stopping by.
"I'm quite happy to tell the story about how great our beef is,” Mrs Whitaker said.
She said spectators would come into the town and spend money, boosting the economy of the town's other businesses.
The expanded saleyard's new additions also aim to make the saleyard experience safer for everyone.
"At least now it'll be safer for them to come through and watch a sale happen,” Mrs Whitaker said.
The saleyards, which have been in operation since the 1950s, already sell an average of 38,000 head of cattle a year.