WODONGA Brass Band has won a temporary stay on being removed from its home of almost 50 years.
Twelve months ago, Wodonga Council informed the band it had to be out of its Hovell Street headquarters by next month to make way for an extension of South Street to allow for a potential multimillion-dollar development.
But the Victorian Treasury has over-ruled the council’s ability to make the decision.
Band president Ron Mildren said recent verbal advice from Treasury staff confirmed the council didn’t have the authority to make the call to relinquish the site when it did.
He said band members were upset by the council’s ruling and opposed the matter on principle.
But he conceded the band was prepared to move and had joined forces with the Wodonga Men’s Shed and Albury-Wodonga Theatre Company to scout for a future home.
“Over the past 12 months, the band has been working with other community groups to establish a not for profit organisation with a view to establishing a Wodonga community entertainment and arts hub,” he said.
“It has taken a fair time to put that together.”
Mayor Rod Wangman said the council mistakenly thought it had the authority to sound the death-knell for the band on the site.
The council this week agreed to spend up to $2.7 million on works in South and Hovell streets, including preparatory works for the extension of South Street in front of the band hall.
“We believed we were the responsible agent,” Cr Wangman said.
“But we are not.
“The Treasury department has indicated to them they don’t need to leave.
“There are development proposals over that land and the Treasury department will be responsible whether the band hall stays or not.
“At some stage a development will go on that site and now the state has to decide what they do with the band hall.”
Wodonga Brass Band stages the annual community Carols by Candlelight which will be held at Birallee Park this year.
l Band member Vince Davide, holding a tuba, and Greg Morris, Secretary of Wodonga Brass Band, are happy the band’s home has got a stay of execution. Picture: KYLIE ESLER
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