Wodonga councillors have voted overwhelmingly to snub the Junction Place revised master plan in a major victory for a community-led groundswell of opposition.
The plan put forward by Development Victoria and supported by Wodonga Council senior staff and out-of-town consultants engaged to provide input crashed 6-1 on Monday night.
Councillors who voted against the master plan were applauded by one of the largest galleries seen at a council meeting since the saleyards relocation controversy.
Cr Kat Bennett kicked off the opposition which ended with mayor Kevin Poulton declaring: "United we stand, divided we fall".
Cr John Watson, who described himself as a team player, was the only councillor to speak for the master plan.
But he was heckled by sections of the gallery when he said: "'We've got to accept the good with the bad".
"I appreciate all the efforts people have done on this subject, particularly our staff and the consultant who gave a very good understanding," he said.
"Voices were heard by councillors, big tick to six out of the seven councillors, for hearing the community's conviction around this issue to determine the future outcome of Junction Place and hold fast to that of it being a place of pride for our community," he said.
Another objector Bobbi McKIbbin congratulated councillors for listening to community concerns.
"I want to thank all the councillors for hearing us and taking this seriously," she said. "Number one, they are there to represent community and they have done that tonight."
Cr Libby Hall said the saga was botched from the outset.
She said councillors were frozen out of discussions between Development Victoria, Junction Place developers and council management.
"The input may not have been required around this development, but a master plan of this significance should have been backed by the people who live, work and pay rates in this city and not after the fact," she said.
"If you want your community and councillors to come along with you, you need to engage with them."
Cr Bennett said a Dan Murphy's bottle shop was at odds with council's municipal health and wellbeing plan.
"This outlines a number of health priorities we have for our community," she said.
"Some being prioritising pedestrians and cycling and another one is use council planning, regulatory and policy mechanisms to reduce alcohol and drug related harm.
"Approving what we've got in front us, which does involve reducing some cycle parking, and approving zoning which would allow a permit for Dan Murphy's later on is in conflict with one of our most strategic documents."
Cr Olga Quilty said the Dan Murphy's development was the "elephant in the room".
"I'm not completely against Dan Muphy's per se," she said.
"Responsible consumption of alcohol hasn't harmed anyone, speaking from experience, however an alcohol barn is out of place here in our city heart."
Cr Mildren, a town planner, said the revised master plan had reminded him of an early lesson in his career outside council.
"True urban planning is a complex and many faceted discipline where all component parts need to be professionally integrated into the whole," he said.
"I fear and see that is not just happening with this project.
"We have many interests being promoted above other interests in relation to this project as it stands.
"We are being sold short of what has come out in this process."
Cr Graeme Simpfendorfer said he had consulted widely on the issue before also deciding to oppose the master plan.
"The report does state that it satisfies proposed buildings and works for stage one retail premises meet the relevant requires of the Wodonga planning scheme," he said.
"Just because it does doesn't mean it always should."
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