Wodonga mega markets to offset closure

WODONGA businesses will look to develop mega-market days and other major events to offset next year’s temporary closure of High Street.

The city’s main street will be closed at the former railway crossing from mid-January to late March as works start on the Elgin Boulevard re-alignment.

The Chamber of Commerce president Brett Drinnan met Wodonga Council this week to discuss how to minimise the impact of the closure on businesses.

The idea of mega-market days in conjunction with the Harvest Festival at the nearby Junction Place site in early March and another on the Australia Day weekend in late January will be advanced.

“We’ve gone to the retailers and told them we want to work with you, give us your ideas and concerns as well,” Mr Drinnan said.

“We want to hear both sides.

“But what we want to do is use key times over the next couple of months to highlight High Street.”

The High Street works will be the first part of the $4.3 million works being carried out in Elgin Boulevard.

Mr Drinnan is the regional manager for Dysons bus company which will also be affected by the closure.

Its buses are expected to detour via South and Smyth streets and Melbourne Road when returning from Albury.

“It is a three-month shutdown and it is daunting to hear the word shutdown used,” Mr Drinnan said.

“People are still going to have access to shops.

“But businesses will be worried how the closure will impacts on their bottom line which is totally understandable.”

Mr Drinnan said one of the company’s buses would also carry a Shop Wodonga logo during the works period.

The council’s economic development manager, Matt Taylor, said he hoped the council and businesses could working together during the boulevard re-build.

“The plans which we discussed focused very much on activating the central business area and linking in with existing activities to ensure people are aware that our businesses are open and trading,” he said.

“The council is very much aware this project will cause interruptions to people’s lives and it is important we focus on the outcome and the better city heart which will be provided as a result.”

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