A bitter divide has emerged between Indigo councillors described as "misguided" and community members who have offered criticism said to be "unfair" when it comes to the preservation of Beechworth's heritage.
A group called the Beechworth Historic and Heritage Society submitted an 86-page paper to councillors, outlining where they believe the council has failed in marketing the town's history to potential visitors.
"It is apparent that staff at Indigo Shire Council are focused on big tourism developments, rather than also developing incremental, affordable development of heritage tourism. Everything seems predicated around grant applications," the group stated.
"We believe that Beechworth tourism needs to be based on heritage and given equal prominence to cycling and food and wine."
They want to see signs returned to the Hume Freeway promoting Beechworth as a heritage region, an end to delays on the old Beechworth goods shed project, more funding allocated to the Burke Museum and more focus on community input into council plans.
"Until there is trust between the parties and the community feels that they have been listened to, there will always be resistance and heritage matters will suffer," the heritage group stated.
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Indigo Council responded publicly at this week's council meeting, voting 5-1 to "reaffirm its support of heritage tourism".
Cr Larry Goldsworthy said the heritage society's document plus comments in newspapers and on social media were "blatantly incorrect and fail to comprehend the depth and breadth of the council's commitment to our history".
"It seems to be almost a sport for some in our community to criticise council on what we've been doing around our heritage," he said.
"The criticism seems to be totally unwarranted."
He listed the council's spending on tourism in the shire, including annual funds for the Burke Museum, $40,000 for upgrades to the Telegraph Station kitchen and $90,000 for the historic precinct masterplan.
Most councillors supported the motion that Indigo was committed to heritage tourism.
Cr Diane Shepheard said she was happy to have conversation and although she did not believe all the criticisms from the heritage society were justified, she accepted their right to voice concerns.
"I'm wary of the negativity that happens often around comments and I wonder how people think they are going to work with us when they come in hard negatively," she said.
"We are as concerned as they are often in these areas."
Only Cr Bernard Gaffney voted against the motion, saying Cr Goldsworthy's criticism was unwarranted and they had a right to write letters or Facebook posts.
"The people who voice their opinions, they're very passionate about their heritage," he said.
"We're there to treat our constituents with respect whether we like what they write or not."