Wodonga mayor Anna Speedie shocked at the abuse the council's staff and councilors have suffered from those upset at the city's focus on its ridges

WODONGA’S leader has lashed out at those involved in abuse, intimidation and vandalism linked to the city’s hilltop planning.

Mayor Anna Speedie told Monday’s council meeting she was appalled at the derogatory nature of some feedback given in response to the city’s blueprint for rises.

“Councillors and staff during the process have received repeated inappropriate correspondence and verbal comments,” she said.

Not democratic: Anna Speedie has blasted the behaviour of some objectors to the council's hillsides plan, saying they had been abusive and gone beyond having a difference of opinion.

Not democratic: Anna Speedie has blasted the behaviour of some objectors to the council's hillsides plan, saying they had been abusive and gone beyond having a difference of opinion.

“To personally target either is absolutely abhorrent to me and serves no proactive purpose.

“I’m not talking about holding a difference of opinion, that’s called democracy, I’m referring to the threatening and abusive comments that have been received in the past few months.

“There has also been wilful and deliberate damage to mountain bike tracks that have actually been built...by volunteers, not only does this put users – our community – in extreme danger, it is actually a criminal act.

“In my 11 years on council I don’t think I have or we have ever received calls from the public to raise serious concern of intimidation and feeling at-risk by other community members for holding a differing view and not wanting to support a petition.

“Working in such a negative and destructive way adds absolutely no value, only together can we may Wodonga a greater city to live in.”

Former mayor Rodney Wangman echoed Cr Speedie’s concerns, saying he was aware of intimidation and “pointing into people’s chests” which he considered un-Australian.

The council backed a motion to seek more feedback on the hilltops plan with the aim of having a final draft plan by May next year.

Meanwhile, the field for the city’s council election will be set on Tuesday.

Since the nominations opened last week 21 have been received.

New faces include Border Mail journalist David Johnston, 27-year-old Galvin Dunlop and Wodonga band leader Ron Mildren.

The Wodonga Ratepayers Association will host a meet-the-candidates forum on Tuesday night from 7 o’clock at the city’s RSL Club. 

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