‘Secretive and obnoxious’: Bikies slam council

SECRETIVE and obnoxious is how an outlaw motorcycle club has labelled Wodonga Council.

The Gypsy Jokers have already waited more than six months for a decision on new “clubrooms” in West Wodonga. The council claimed that it was simply following normal planning process.

The council, until last week, had also prevented the club’s lawyer from seeing a petition signed by residents opposing the two-storey development in Elkington Road.

The planning application was in the name of North East Investments, the lessees to be the motorcycle club.

Colin Taylor, representing North East Investments, said they had to lobby the council just to see whether the petition was legitimate.

“They should have disclosed the contents of the petition to us as a matter of course, in part so that we could address any concerns,” he said.

“How are we to know whether the people complaining are even from the area without seeing it — they could be from hundreds of miles away.

“The council has been secretive and obnoxious throughout a process that started in May.

“I was forced to wait for 1½ hours in the council offices last week as they went back and forth about whether I could see the petition.

“There is no legal reason why they should be hiding the petition from us.”

The club was also applying to transfer an existing liquor licence to the new location in the West Wodonga industrial park.

The club plans to conduct meetings and functions in the 184 sq metre club rooms with service and storage of bikes and equipment in a separate workshop.

The club has been based in Kendall Street in east Wodonga for about 15 years.

Wodonga Council released the petition, signed by 109 people, to Mr Taylor last week but has declined to comment on the individual application.

A spokeswoman this week confirmed the application was originally received on May 24.

“A request for further information was made on June 14 and was received back on July 9. After that the application was notified to the public on July 18 following the normal process of all planning applications,” she said.

She said a decision will go to a future council meeting.