Wodonga Council in firing line over strategy for Federation Hill

Striking sight: Looking across Wodonga from Federation Hill
Striking sight: Looking across Wodonga from Federation Hill

WODONGA Council has been hammered over plans for a lookout on Federation Hill and a nearby car park seen as a lure for drug dealing and burnt stolen cars.

McGaffins Road residents told a Wodonga Ratepayers’ Asssociation forum on Tuesday night of their anger over the council’s hilltop strategy.

Former Border Mail journalist John Cleary said he feared the damage a lookout road would create and believed a car park earmarked for an area off McGaffins Road would be a magnet for “anti-social elements”.

“We can anticipate late night parties in there, we can anticipate drinking bouts, we can anticipate theft, we can anticipate vandalism, we can anticipate motorbikes, we can anticipate drug deals and we can even anticipate the burning of stolen cars which happens now on Felltimber Creek Road,” he said.

Fellow McGaffins Road resident John Garratt said correspondence to the council had drawn a blank.

“I’m very disappointed in the council’s absolute zero response, even though I’ve emailed every councillor and the council themselves they can’t even be bothered to give me a reply,” he said.

“The council has no data that this will bring extra tourists into the area, it just seems to be done on whimsy and fancy.”

Mr Cleary has been circulating a petition opposing the hilltop strategy stating it will “severely and enduringly impact the residential properties and ratepayers directly located at the hill and residential interface”.

It asks the council to remove all slopes with “a high level of existing direct hill/residential interface” from the plan.

The meeting also heard from Save Hunchback Hill group members, who aired their concerns about mountain bike tracks.

The only councillor in attendance, Tim Quilty, said the city believed its feedback process had been unprecedented.

“As far as council is concerned they have never consulted as hard on anything ever before,” Cr Quilty said.

“What the community thinks maybe different.

“We’re going to bring the latest reports to the council meeting in two weeks, there’s still an opportunity for feedback now and there will be another opportunity now after that is presented for further changes.

“Councillors listen and there have been a fair number of changes from the previous document that’s gone out.”

Cr Quilty said he could not find Mr Garratt’s email.