Wodonga Council is revisiting and reflecting on the year that was 2019.
In a three-part series, we will look at some of the highlights during the year to help reflect on some of the council’s milestones and events over the past 12 months.
From the completion of the High St roadworks to council’s Hovell St office receiving a facelift, and Richardson Park opening, it was an eventful year.
Here we will cover January to April, stay tuned for the remaining months.
January – Australia Day awards
Wodonga Council named its Citizen of the Year – Rupinder Kaur, while Young Citizen of the Year went to Sheldon Smith and Community Organisation of the Year went to the 3rd Wodonga Scouts Group.
The awards were presented at the council’s annual Australia Day celebrations on January 26 at Les Stone Park.
Rupinder (pictured left), who is known as an advocate for the prevention of family violence, was humbled to receive the award.
As a past victim of family abuse, it is her strength, courage and commitment to making sure women stand up for their rights and confront family violence, which stood her apart.
Rupinder’s dedication to the cause extends to rescuing girls and women exposed to family/domestic violence, providing them with shelter and food by allowing them to stay at her home until government services are made available. Rupinder always stays in touch to ensure their wellbeing.
She has dedicated countless hours and efforts to overcome tough situations that victims find themselves in and works hard to link these women with service organisations which can help.
Born in India, Rupinder came to Australia and settled in Wodonga in 2007. She became a proud Australian citizen in 2013.
February – New water play feature opens at Richardson Park
The city’s latest water play feature, a water trough and water wheel, opened to the public and was being put to the test by many kids and even adults, too.
The latest element linked with the existing play and water elements, including a water pump which takes water down a ‘creek’.
The water is treated and recirculated from an underground system.
It builds on from the water jets further down in Junction Square.
March – Wodonga Council announces new CEO
Wodonga Council announced Mark Dixon as its new Chief Executive Officer.
Mr Dixon came to council from Wodonga TAFE which he joined in 2015 as the CEO and Managing Director.
During his tenure, the TAFE has grown to be the most successful regional TAFE in Victoria winning the Australian Large Training Provider of the Year in 2018.
Before entering civilian life, Mark was a military officer for more than 30 years in both the British and Australian Armies.
He has seen active service in Iraq and Afghanistan and worked throughout Europe and the United States. He was also a Commanding Officer at Bandiana’s Army Logistic Training Centre.
March – First look at new library gallery redevelopment
The first plans for the library gallery redevelopment were released.
The building complements the surrounding precinct and uses environmentally sustainable design.
The two-storey building features an upgraded library space, two gallery rooms as well as community meeting and workshop rooms.
A significant design feature is the spiral staircase topped by a skylight which will intersect the second-floor gallery spaces.
The cultural precinct project received $4 million from the Victorian Government’s Regional Infrastructure Fund.
Construction is due to begin in the second-half of the year. The library will operate from an alternate site while the gallery will explore outreach programs and alternative spaces.
Wodonga Mayor Cr Anna Speedie said the project builds on the momentum of the city centre’s transformation.
April – Council awards tender for regional cricket hub
Works were set to begin on the Birallee Park Indoor Cricket Training Facility after the council awarded the tender to Southern Cross Developers.
ollows a second tender process earlier this year.
The first tender process was undertaken in November 2018 but the submissions were considered unsatisfactory.
Discussions with stakeholders confirmed no change in the scope of the project and the tender packages were readvertised.
The accepted tender is above the original budget and the council has committed to making up the shortfall.
In awarding the tender, councillors noted the importance of the project to not only players but also the economic benefits to the city.
April – High St road work tours a big hit
Wodonga children had a blast taking part in our Tours for Tikes – a tour of the High St works site.
Highlights were seeing the heavy machinery in action and learning about the construction process.
The popularity of the tours, running each Monday morning since February, resulted in tours booking out quickly.
Each child received a lanyard with their pass and a showbag to keep.
April – Council welcomes $10m for Baranduda Fields project
Wodonga Mayor Cr Anna Speedie welcomed the $10 million confirmed funding from the Australian Government for Baranduda Fields.
The first stage will include three soccer pitches, pavilion, an AFL training oval, two netball courts and the associated amenities like parking and public toilets.
Wodonga Mayor Cr Anna Speedie said the council was thrilled to see the vision for Baranduda Fields become a reality after lobbying tirelessly for the project.
Cr Speedie said detailed design for the initial infrastructure and pavilion were complete with the council well-positioned to deliver the project.
Set on 100ha of council-owned land, Baranduda Fields will be the largest regional sporting precinct between Sydney and Melbourne.
The precinct will allow the city of Wodonga to showcase sport at a local, regional and state level, and will provide economic benefits from visitation of major sporting events.
Facilities in the Baranduda Fields masterplan also include a cycling track and indoor stadium with multi-use courts as well as tennis, hockey, soccer, rugby, lawn bowls, baseball, softball, netball and basketball facilities.