Albury mayor Kevin Mack reckons rate capping was trigger for Wodonga council closing its tourist information centre

Promoting the region: Albury mayor Kevin Mack with then Wodonga mayor Rodney Wangman at the launch of a twin cities visitor guide in 2014.
Promoting the region: Albury mayor Kevin Mack with then Wodonga mayor Rodney Wangman at the launch of a twin cities visitor guide in 2014.

WODONGA’S doomed visitor information centre is a victim of rate capping in the city, Albury’s mayor believes.

Kevin Mack said his council had no intention of following Wodonga by shutting down its tourist centre at the Albury railway station.

“We’ve got a choice whether we stay as we are or whether we go digital (as Wodonga has decided),” Cr Mack said.

“We’re happy with the status quo and I suppose we will be picking up business that would normally go to Wodonga.

“It’s not in our purview at the moment (to change).

“My personal view is this could be another victim of rate capping, but that’s life, we’ve been under rate capping for six or seven years.”

Wodonga Council has suffered a public backlash since deciding on Monday night to close its Hovell Street visitor centre and replace it with digital terminals.

Cr Mack said in his days as a Wodonga police officer he had seen the drawbacks of the info centre’s site.

“Our visitor information centre is centrally located,” he said.

“I think the issue for Wodonga was the geographical location.

“I don’t know how many times, when I was working in Wodonga I saw RVs trying to find a place to park near there.

“The geographical location made it difficult to get to.”

In response to the fallout from the decision, Wodonga Council chief executive Patience Harrington issued a statement to The Border Mail.

She noted the council would have a manned tourism trailer to cater to out-of-towners at major events and festivals.

“Tourism remains a priority for council and it will continue to invest in attracting visitors to the city including event attraction, working with our destination marketing and profiling, developing our tourism industry and ensuring digital avenues inform and encourage visitors to the city,” Ms Harrington said.

“Research suggests visitors are making plans prior to arrival, predominantly online, and we need to influence potential visitors at this point.”