The Wodonga Hills Advisory Group has provided its interim report to Wodonga Council including the prioritisation of the 140 actions from the Planning for the Wodonga Hills Strategy.
The council received the report at the April council meeting which includes a priority table to be used for implementing the actions in line with budget allocations.
The report will now be sent for further review by nominated stakeholder agencies with their feedback considered by the group who will ratify the report before it comes before council again in June.
Meeting 11 times since August, including a tour of all the hills at the end of 2018, the group has prioritised governance, wayfinding and communications as key focus areas for the implementation of the hills strategy.
In the report, the group said it recognised that any actions involved working with numerous stakeholders and where possible, the council should explore land management options to ensure a seamless approach.
Wayfinding and signage in the hills were a significant talking point for the group and the significant role this played in enjoyment and experience using the hills and most importantly, safety of people using the hills.
The group had also recognised the value placed by the community on the hills and wanted to ensure there was regular updates on the implementation of the strategy and master plans.
Wodonga Mayor Cr Anna Speedie paid tribute to the work the group had done, volunteering their time and sharing their knowledge and experience.
“This was a huge body of work and the group should be acknowledged for the way they have approached this task and worked together to achieve this outcome,” Cr Speedie said.
“Our hills are a valuable community and environmental asset and we know our people and our visitors enjoy them for a variety of reasons.”
Cr Speedie reiterated the community would continue to have input and each project would be suitably and appropriately assessed as per the implementation plan in the strategy.
Wodonga Council appointed five community members to the hills advisory group at the June 2018 council meeting.
Chairman Colin Elliott was joined on the group by Lucy Widdup, Isuru Gamage, Joy Sloan and Adam Dyde made up the community members of the group with representatives from Department of Water Environment, Land and Planning and the Aboriginal community also attending.
The collective skills of the group included environmental science, education, research, community engagement, accountancy and volunteering.
The group’s appointment is for two years with the group recommending it moves into a monitoring phase which would include quarterly progress reviews and a review of the strategy in 2020.
The group’s draft interim report can be found on the council’s website here.