AFTER community outrage at Scenic Rim Regional Council's decision to close the Beaudesert saleyards on Helen Street, the mayor has announced the closure may be delayed until the end of the year.
Council said it had advised saleyards' operators Hayes & Co in August last year that their lease on the site at Helen Street would end in 12 months.
In an article published in the Beaudesert Times on June 11, Hayes & Co owner Peter Hayes said he had not been notified last August but had only found out about the closure two weeks prior.
"The letter was the same one we would have received every year saying the lease would be reviewed in August, nothing about us being kicked out," he said.
"Whatever council employee wrote that letter, they didn't put much thought into it. I even showed it to two councillors who agreed the letter was badly written and the wording suggested our lease would go on as usual."
Council said the closure was to enable the Beaudesert Town Centre Revitalisation project to proceed.
Scenic Rim Mayor Greg Christensen said with the lease due to expire in August, council had met with community representatives last month and was considering the issues raised.
"We recognise the importance of ongoing access to a pig and calf sale for some of our local producers and have active discussions underway for such an option to continue," he said.
"An extension of the existing lease until December 2020 may be considered to allow these discussions to progress."
Mr Hayes said the sales had been given a verbal reprieve but there was yet to be anything in writing.
"There were no plans to demolish the saleyards any time soon, so they've given us until the end of the year. It's a Band-Aid solution really," he said.
Mr Hayes said council had suggested the fortnightly pig and calf sales be moved to Beaudesert Showground and while that might provide a reasonable alternative, he was unsure if the Show Society would be keen to say yes.
"We'd rather stay where we are," he said. "It's a real country Paddy's Markets feeling. Apparently council has copped some flak over this and they admitted that the sales bring people in who spend money in local shops.
"Only people power is going to save us now, so everyone keep onto your councillors."
Cr Christensen said the continuing operation of the saleyards in their current state would significantly disrupt the concepts and principles of the precinct and would require significant modification of the business case that had already gained state and federal government support through grant funding
Council said the saleyards had been at the Helen Street site since the late 1940s or early 1950s and concerns had been raised about the safety of those attending the sales as the "outdated layout did not provide the separation of people and animals consistent with modern saleyards".
"The condition of the current saleyards is very poor and, if council had not carried out emergency repairs three years ago to bring them to a minimum safety standard, the yards would have been closed then," Cr Christensen said.
But Mr Hayes said the structure was in good condition.
"The roof is brand new and the electrical system is excellent," he said. "We do regular repairs and I can't see why they couldn't just incorporate it into the scheme."
Following a meeting with stakeholders last month, council said it would assess the saleyards for structural condition, operational safety, cost estimates for upgrading and maintenance, and the potential impact on the redeveloped site if the yards were to remain.
"As a result of this meeting, we have taken their views on board and are considering them as part of the broader picture," Cr Christensen said.