City of Wodonga

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Council adopts hills strategy and masterplans

The Planning for the Wodonga Hills Strategy and masterplans were adopted by the council in a 4-2 vote on Monday night.

The final motion passed by the council was to adopt the strategy and master plans, establish an advisory group, formalise agreements with user groups and review the strategy in three years.

The suite of documents includes an overall strategy and five associated masterplans for Huon, Federation, Klings, Bears and Mahers hills.

The Planning for the Wodonga Hills Strategy establishes a vision for each hills site and the supporting masterplan details specific actions to deliver the vision for each site.

The planning for each site hills has been guided by eight management objectives – sustainable management and enjoyment; biodiversity and habitat values; Aboriginal cultural heritage values; user, neighbour and community safety; landscape scenic values; accessibility, connection and integration; leisure, recreation and tourism; and, awareness, appreciating and understanding -  each underpinned by a set of guiding principles applying to all the hills

Each masterplan has been informed by looking at the specific features and context of each individual site.Wodonga Mayor Cr Anna Speedie said the documents provided vital direction in managing the environmental values and usage of the hills that ring our city.

“We know, and what we've seen throughout this process, is that people are passionate about our hills and we know they value and enjoy what is our biggest community asset have to offer," Cr Speedie said.

"I want to thank all those people who have provided feedback, through submissions and petitions, face-to-face and through emails, for having input into this process. We've seen many changes and revisions to the documents in the past 15 months.

“This strategy ensures we can all continue to enjoy our hills for many years to come, and as our city grows, through a co-ordinated approach for their management and preservation.

"But this is only a next step and now, as we move forward, as is set out in the plan and with the establishment of an independent advisory group, our community will continue to have an input and each project will be suitably and appropriately assessed as per the implementation plan in the strategy."

The council has has met with key stakeholders and other land managers, including DEWLP, Parklands Albury and Wodonga and senior members of the CFA who have supported the establishment of an advisory group and committed to continuing to work with the council on the hills strategy.

Councillors Libby Hall and Ron Mildren did not support the motion.

Cr Mildren initially moved a motion to suspend and defer the documents pending an independent review and further environmental and conservation assessments but it was defeated 4-3 after the Mayor used her casting vote, referring to conversations she had had with Cr John Watson, presently on compassionate leave, and his support for the strategy as the motivator for the decision to break the deadlock.

Two petitions were tabled at Monday night’s meeting. One with a total of 223 signatories opposed the further development of the strategy. A second with 663 signatories was in support of the strategy.


Last updated: 17-10-2017

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