Wodonga councillor Libby Hall says she believes her city still needs a bricks and mortar service for tourists

I for Irene: Wodonga's former tourist information centre and Irene House near Elgin's hotel which has been canvassed as a visitor hub by the city's Ratepayers' Association.
I for Irene: Wodonga's former tourist information centre and Irene House near Elgin's hotel which has been canvassed as a visitor hub by the city's Ratepayers' Association.

A WODONGA councillor says she will fight for the return of a visitor information centre to the city.

Libby Hall told a Wodonga Ratepayers’ Association meeting this week she believed the city should have a tourist shopfront.

“In my view, I will still be pushing for some sort of physical body for a tourist information centre,” Cr Hall said.

“But I’m only one person, we’ll see how we go.”

Cr Hall’s comments followed association president Ian Deegan saying he had spoken to hotelier Tom Weatherall about using Irene House behind Elgin’s to host a visitor information centre.

He said there had been discussions about an information centre and the Wodonga Historical Society being based in the building.

But Mr Weatherall said he was unlikely to provide space for a visitors’ centre without some involvement from the council.

He said “Ian Deegan is a fantastic guy and I love his passion” but “something as big as operating a tourist information centre needs more than Ian pushing it”.

Asked if he believed Wodonga should have a visitor hub Mr Weatherall said: “Albury-Wodonga needs one bricks and mortar centre that is well appointed and well signposted.

“Just like we need one airport, one fantastic hospital and we really only need one council.”

At Tuesday night’s association meeting, councillor Tim Quilty admitted he had not yet “personally seen” a terminal.

He repeated his support for the machines based on them costing less than a centre.

“But we will review it in a couple of years time and see how it is working,” Cr Quilty said.

“If it turns out to be a great disaster...we might walk it all back and say that was a big, big mistake but we’ve got to wait and see.”

Cr Hall noted the glare of the sun made the terminal at Junction Place hard to read.

“I’ve raised that at council,” she said.

The only other councillor at the forum, Ron Mildren, declined to comment on the tourist issue when given the chance.

Meanwhile, historical society secretary-treasurer Uta Wiltshire said her organisation had declined to shift its base to Irene House after an inspection of the premises.

“It’s totally unsuitable for our use,” Mrs Wiltshire said.

A lack of wall space, due to windows and mirrors, and access to the upper floor were key drawbacks.

The society has been wanting to move from its South Street shopfront for a decade because it is cramped and lacks toilets and air-conditioning.