Wodonga to reveal its makeover plan

EDITORIAL:Community say is a must

WODONGA Council has entered the final stage of planning for the long-awaited overhaul of its city centre.

The council last night endorsed the draft city heart revitalisation plan, which when finalised in April, will be the blueprint of how the city will take shape over the next two decades.

The latest plan is a compilation of almost 60 reports relating to central Wodonga compiled over the past decade.

It will be the subject of an intensive five-week consultation period starting on Monday with the opening of an information office in the recently redeveloped Tooles building at the corner of High and Stanley streets.

Once completed developers and state and federal governments will have a firm view of how council will provide the basis for existing businesses to make further investment, the attraction of new businesses and increased visitation and events to central Wodonga.

Mayor Rod Wangman said the resurrection of the city had started with the completion of the The Cube, Quest Apartments and Huon Hill pub and Junction Place and major road upgrades in South and Watson streets.

The re-alignment of Elgin Boulevard was further evidence of the city changing.

Completion of the latest plan would position Wodonga to be ready for the next wave of investment, which is set to come from the Mann shopping centre project and more action on Junction Place.

“It really is an alignment document back to the longer-term strategy,” he said.

“You can actually stand in the middle of our city now and see dirt, holes, trees being removed and buildings being knocked down.”

Cr Wangman said central Wodonga would eventually have three key anchors, Woodland Grove, Junction Place and the Mann shopping centre.

The closure of Hovell Street to enable the creation of a large green space between Woodland Grove and The Cube remains an option.

But no final decision will be for another 18 months.

The former Stanley Street pool complex is still attracting interest from potential investors after being closed more than two years ago.

Cr Anna Speedie said getting the latest plan right was crucial.

“We’ve waited a long time for change,” she said.

“It is absolutely critical we have the right plan that underpins it and we can grasp every opportunity put before us.”

The plan has been pieced together by engineering director Leon Schultz.

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