A confidential decision by Wangaratta Council to not buy a vacant block of land in Milawa has been made public after residents and businesses presented a petition asking the council to make use of the land.
The petition endorsed by 22 signatures was presented to the council at this week’s meeting, asking the Rural City of Wangaratta to buy the land corner of Snow and Bobinawarrah-Milawa roads.
They wanted it transformed into a facility which would benefit the community.
But the council had already secretly considered, and rejected, this idea in July last year.
Speaking at this week’s meeting, some councillors appeared to have a change of heart.
Cr Harry Bussell said Milawa needed land to use for a toilet block to encourage tourism. “I certainly support the development of Milawa,” he said.
Cr Dean Rees acknowledged tourists buses could not stop in the centre of town, meaning buisnesses missed out on the trade.
“Milawa does struggle out there at the present time for parking in the main central area. This block is probably the largest focal point there at Milawa and has been for years,” he said.
“This is a thing that Milawa needs … We might continue to push to purchase this parcel of land, or part thereof, if it seeks and renegotiate a different deal.”
Milawa does struggle out there for parking in the main central area.Cr Dean Rees
Councillors did not reveal why they chose not to purchase the land last year, but Cr Mark Currie said “there’s plenty of arguments also not to do it”.
Chief executive Brendan McGrath said council rules meant the petition could only be accepted at the meeting, without further debate.
“That doesn’t stop the council further considering this issue again at some point in time,” he said.