Wodonga's commercial heartland to be given upgrade next year with council contracts awarded

Changes coming: The area of High Street south of Elgin Boulevard, pictured in July 2015, which will be given a makeover next year.
Changes coming: The area of High Street south of Elgin Boulevard, pictured in July 2015, which will be given a makeover next year.

THE final stage of Wodonga’s High Street makeover will run over six months next year, starting in January.

The city’s council this week awarded a $2.36 million roadworks contract to Excell Gray Bruni and $1.24 million tender for greenery to Stuart Gordon Landscaping for the work which will extend from Elgin Boulevard to Lawrence Street.

Councillors acknowledged the work would be disruptive to businesses with Ron Mildren noting some eateries lost up to 70 per cent of trade during recent works to the north end of High Street.

Danny Lowe said: “It will be tough times for all those eateries, but in saying that there’s probably a good opportunity for them as well.

“If I know anything about construction workers they eat well...and there’s going to be a lot of them.”

In response to Cr Lowe, Coffee Mamma owner Matt Sheridan said “there would want to be a fair lot of tradies doing that”.

Another High Street eatery owner, who did not want to be identified to avoid council antagonism, said road workers “take their own lunch”.

Contingency plans: Coffee Mamma owner Matt Sheridan is contemplating innovations to cope with impact of High Street roadworks next year.

Contingency plans: Coffee Mamma owner Matt Sheridan is contemplating innovations to cope with impact of High Street roadworks next year.

He said he would have preferred the work done in two stages rather than one bloc next year because Christmas to Easter is his peak time for out-of-town diners.

“Their (council) attitude is reduce staff hours, staff have still got bills to pay,” he said.

Mr Sheridan is considering starting door-to-door coffee deliveries to offset the loss of walk-in customers from offices who can order 10 to 12 beverages at once.

He said it was likely to be based on a minimum order and a car park needing to be available behind the shop.

Mr Sheridan believes the fresh streetscape will draw more customers based on observations of similar work in his hometown of Wagga.