The late July revelation of plans to build a Dan Murphy's bottle shop in central Wodonga was the catalyst for a passionate showdown which pitted the community against city hall, developers and a state government entity.
Discussions to tweak plans for the overall site based on the cinema development crashing in part due to COVID-19 were underway between council, developers and Development Victoria and had been quietly taking place in the background until a firestorm erupted when the Dan Murphy's bottle shop proposal came to light.
Faced with mounting opposition, the first retreat came when a round of community consultation was agreed to followed by the decision for the determination of the Junction Place master-plan being put in the hands of councillors rather than senior council staffers.
But anger further intensified when the plan hatched months ago went unchanged following the community's strong negative feedback.
Rare unity emerged on the necessity for a new hospital to service the twin cities and wider region, but lingering questions on the specifics including whether the already stretched Albury site would be rebuilt or a greenfield site chosen remained unanswered.
Serious progress was frustrated by dithering on the release of a master plan which the NSW government funded in February.
Talk of a high level, top secret into a potential merger of health services in the region by the Victorian government was hosed down in 2021.
After being wiped out totally in 2020 due to COVID-19, the region's major sporting competitions at least got a start before being prematurely ended to outbreaks on both sides of the border.
Cricket Albury-Wodonga premierships were played unlike last year with Lavington upsetting North Allbury in the Provincial grand final.
Football season started as scheduled, but coronavirus would soon rear its head again and cross-border complications became a major headache for the Ovens and Murray and Tallangatta and District leagues in particular.
The O and M managed 13 rounds before ultimately being called off and no premiership decided for two years in a row.
The Tallangatta and Hume league seasons suffered the same fate in having their seasons prematurely ended.
Simmering anger towards a Victorian government election commitment to open up Crown land river frontages with free-for-all access via farmland exploded in 2021.
The Andrews Labor government eventually retreated with a revised trial of sites announced.
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