Wodonga councillors hoping to put the lid on another year navigating the community through a second year of border closures and a major COVID-19 outbreak by easing into some Christmas cheer are on notice.
Residents who have been hoping for years the city would have its own cinema and entertainment complex were stunned to learn it had been secretly bumped for a Dan Murphy's bottle shop.
A community, which had been sold an exciting vision for the former railway corridor badged as Junction Place, suddenly felt betrayed at being kept out of the loop of such a significant change.
Faced with rising anger, the brakes were applied to plans to rubber stamp the changes which would facilitate easy passage of a bottle shop replacing the cinema on the corner of Elgin Boulevard and Smythe Street.
The first of two big, interconnected decisions will come before council next week.
It is the revised master-plan for Junction Place, which, if passed, will become the long suspected Trojan horse to deliver the bottle shop at a follow up meeting in February.
Ticking off the master-plan is the objectors' worst nightmare.
A green light from councillors, they argue, leaves them feeling the bottle shop is a fait accompli with the cards suddenly stacked heavily in favour of Development Victoria in the event of any challenge to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Junction Place has been a success to date on any measure.
But it must re-gather momentum lost in part by COVID-19 with the delivery of promised residential and other commercial development.
Dan Murphy's is welcome to come to Wodonga, but another site should be found for them.
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