Wodonga CBD revamp gathers momentum

THE next building block in the transformation of central Wodonga has been put in place.

Wodonga Council this week ticked off the commencement of the final stage of the inner-ring road – a $1.5 million extension of Havelock Street.

It will begin near the Huon Hill hotel and head in a northerly direction behind the bowling club and connect to Osburn Street in a deal involving the owners of the old railway corridor, VicTrack.

The works are expected to be completed by March next year in line with the contract agreed to with construction firm Excell Gray Bruni.

The passing of the last train through central Wodonga in 2010 was the circuit-breaker for the revitalisation to begin.

Slowly, but surely the vision is coming together with the Havelock Street works to be done at the same time construction of the Mann Central and Woolworths shopping complex developments ramp right up.

The extension of Havelock Street will be completed well before those two projects, but remains an important piece in the overall puzzle.

Many of these projects have been talked about for the best part of a decade.

They are coming to reality, but there is still more to be done.

Eventually, South Street has to be extended to Havelock Street which will mean the Wodonga Brass Band hall will need to go.

Talks around a future home for the band have stalled, publicly at least, but will need to be re-visited at some stage.

The completion of the Havelock Street extension will also bring the “20km/h shared zone” proposal for a section of High Street firmly back into focus.

The council is experiencing kick-back to the idea of a trial.

Some in the community are wanting it to be abandoned and others would like it put on hold until Mann Central and Woolworths developments are completed.

Trader concern is growing about the impacts further works to reconstruct High Street will have.

Whether the trial goes ahead or not will be a decision left to the incoming council.

Five existing councillors are not re-contesting the October election and pressure is on for those seeking to replace them to be across the issue.

The incoming councillors also need to make sure the recent momentum in the city's transformation is not derailed.