Wodonga's urban square running behind

THE most prominent public space on the former railway land in Wodonga is at least another 12 months away from being finished.

Places Victoria, which is redeveloping the 3572-square metre urban square on the Junction Place site, has confirmed the original completion date of this year would not be met.

The square will be bordered by the realigned Elgin Boulevard, an extended Church Street, and High Street, which is set to reopen in less than a month.

When completed, the major intersection of High Street and Elgin Boulevard will provide direct pedestrian access to the urban square.

A Places Victoria spokesperson said a start on design work for the urban square would be made later this year, but construction wouldn’t be completed until the first half of next year.

“This is so we can do planting and landscaping in the autumn to avoid Wodonga’s summer heat,” the spokesperson said.

Concept plans for the three public spaces within Junction Place were officially revealed nearly a year ago by Victorian Planning Minister Matthew Guy and Environment Minister Ryan Smith.

In September 2012, Places Victoria and council agreed to an “infrastructure apportionment plan” for Junction Place which spelt out financial commitments of both parties and timelines.

The urban square is expected to cost $2.3 million to “landscape and activate”, with ongoing maintenance costs of more than $50,000 a year.

Wodonga Council is expected to confirm funding in its draft budget due for release in mid-May.

Wodonga mayor Rod Wangman and Cr Anna Speedie have voiced their frustration at the lack of progress being made on the urban square.

A building which held a former Thai restaurant and whitegoods outlet is awaiting demolition.

A car yard next door on the corner of High and Bond streets will be redeveloped as part of the Junction Place overhaul.

The extension of Church Street through Junction Place is being completed as part of the Elgin Boulevard re-alignment works.

The other public spaces in Junction Place are an east-west promenade between the former railway station building and goods shed, and an area adjacent to the railway station building and goods shed.

Under the 2012 timeline, the work should have gone to tender in January.

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