Ever since lights went out at Wodonga's drive-in theatre in 1984 discussion and hope about a replacement cinema has raged.
The option to watch a movie has existed in Albury since the drive-in's demise on land now heavily populated with houses in streets with cinematic-themed names, Roadshow, Universal and Paramount.
Wodonga Council picked up on the vibe for the city to have its own movie house in the mid-2000s by striking a deal with a consortium to build a cinema on the council-owned car park in Hovell Street.
But the deal unravelled when an agreement to lease the car park land at below market rates came under fire.
Its imminent construction was viewed as a major milestone for Junction Place, the area made available for a once in a lifetime regeneration of central Wodonga created by the removal of the railway line.
Wodonga residents have unleashed their frustration and anger at the plans on social media.
Also upset are those with intimate knowledge of how much work went into securing the old railway corridor for the transformation of a growing city.
Wodonga Council and the Victorian government were key players and council's former investment attraction director Michael Gobel fears creation of a "new city heart has turned into cardiac arrest".
"Development Victoria has seriously dropped the ball with development of Junction Place," he said.
"This is evidenced not just by a lack of development on the site since the station and Goods Shed were renovated, but more so by the low ball proposal to develop a Dan Muphy's on the prominent corner of Elgin Boulevard and Smythe Street.
"This development is a complete miss on community expectations of what should be developed on this site.
"The proposal also has the potential to undermine the whole objective of the Junction Place project in the first place."
John Mahony, a two-term councillor during the years when removing the railway line from Wodonga was the city's No.1 priority, is stunned by recent events.
"Every Monday from 9am until mid-afternoon some days councillors met to discuss the issues of the day that were relevant and the No.1 issue every Monday in all those years was getting the railway line out of the centre of town," he said.
"Add to that the consequences of building something on that land for the people of Wodonga where they could meet, eat, shop, connect and watch their children play in a safe and inviting place.
"It wasn't a bottle shop because we've got plenty of those starting with the one across the road at Elgin's hotel, one around the corner at Church Street Hotel and a liquor outlet in the new Woolworths supermarket and First Choice on the same street.
"Why do we need another one?"
Wodonga Council spent 12 years lobbying federal and state governments to remove the railway line before they agreed to fund the move in 2008.
Three years later VicTrack transferred the land to Places Victoria which later became Development Victoria.
"This in my view is an abrogation of council's responsibility.," he said.
"I ask council to reflect on the 12 years of active lobbying of governments to create the opportunity to rebuild Wodonga's CBD and the excellent results it has achieved.
"This is council's moment of truth.
"Is this council about rates roads and rubbish or is it about standing up for what is best for our city?"
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