Wodonga's 'urban square' going around in circles

WORK on Wodonga’s new “urban square” between the old railway station and High Street has stalled, and mayor Rod Wangman says he’s frustrated.

Places Victoria, which is supposed to create the square on old railway land next to the former level crossing, recently had its chairman and board sacked.

The Wodonga Council has decided to write to the new Places Victoria board and ask what’s happening with the urban square and to confirm the budget.

And it wants to know when two former shops will be demolished to facilitate the project.

Places Victoria is yet to give the council the designs for the square, which will also abut the extension of Church Street into the Junction Place precinct.

Cr Wangman said the development needed to keep momentum so it wasn’t left in an “inappropriate condition” waiting for Places Victoria to move.

“It’s a great frustration that the chair of Places Victoria has been removed,” he told the April council meeting.

“But I have faith in the current government, or future governments, that the planning ministers who have the control of this project will be able to avail themselves to support our city in moving things along at a quicker rate.”

A staff report to councillors stated no landscaping would be undertaken directly near the square until it was built, leaving the surrounds incomplete.

Cr Anna Speedie said the non-receipt of the initial designs from Places Victoria for the urban square was a continuing concern.

“This is going to be a principle and prime place in our city,” she said.

“It is absolutely fundamental, in my opinion, that it does not get left sitting as a dust bowl (and) that construction commences and continues as per the agreement.”

Cr Speedie told the council she thought the agreed time was in June or July.

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