Parklands Albury Wodonga report on Hunchback Hill will not be completed until end of the year to allow spring flowering to be assessed

Wildflower watch: The Smooth Darling Pea is among the flora which blooms on Hunchback Hill in spring. It is considered endangered.
Wildflower watch: The Smooth Darling Pea is among the flora which blooms on Hunchback Hill in spring. It is considered endangered.

A MUCH-awaited report on Wodonga’s Hunchback Hill has been delayed due to wildflowers.

Parklands Albury Wodonga, which oversees the area, has ordered the independent audit of the land which is used for mountain biking.

Chairman Daryl Betteridge said in June he hoped the assessment would be published in August.

Now it’s not expected until November or December.

“They’re looking for spring growth, to look at what wildflowers bloom, the concentration of them, and where they are in relation to track corridors,” Mr Betteridge said.

The delay means Wodonga’s revised hills plan will be published and subject to community feedback in the meantime.

It is due to be unveiled at this month’s council meeting and adopted in December, after a 28-day exhibition period. 

Mr Betteridge said that it was vital the audit was in-depth and the the council’s hills blueprint had no bearing on the timing of its completion.

“The rider with the consultant was we needed a report that was fair and unbiased, so it will stand up to review and leave people in doubt it’s independent, thorough audit,” he said.

“The timeline for it was open-ended; is there any correlation with the hill strategy of Wodonga Council? No.

“It’s really irrelevant to Parklands.”

The future of Hunchback Hill has been generated heated comments since Wodonga Council launched its hilltop plan last year.

It was again in the spotlight at a Wodonga Ratepayers’ Association meeting this week.

Members of lobby group Save Hunchback Hill claimed fresh development of mountain bike trials had been occurring, despite a freeze on works during the audit.

Mr Betteridge said he did not believe new activity had been undertaken.

“The order was that there were no works to be done and as far as I’m aware that’s been adhered to,” he said.

Meanwhile, McGaffins Road resident John Garratt, who criticised the council’s consultation on the hilltops plan at the ratepayers’ meeting, said he was yet to hear from all but one councillor after emailing them all with his concerns months ago.

“It’s really simple to write a letter to the residents, they’ve got our address,” he said in criticising the council’s feedback method.