Issue #175 – Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Albury Wodonga’s largest circulating newspaper
And the winner is... ALBURY WODONGA – your votes are in and the winners of the ABC Hub People’s Choice 2013 Business Awards have been announced! The awards had a massive response, with nearly 4000 votes and Albury Wodonga Business Community Hub director, Zoe Wundenberg, couldn’t be happier with her latest project. Turn to page 4 to find out the winners.
Plan for growth By TREVOR JACKSON WODONGA is on the move. An average two per cent growth over the last three to four years has seen the city gain respect from the rest of the state, and more importantly the governments of the day. As a lone entity Wodonga continues to add value to the state coffers, while combined with Albury, the twin-cities play an important role in the national agenda. As chair of Regional Cities Victoria, Councillor Mark Byatt has a reasonable idea of what is happening around the state in regional areas. The latest report released from RCV notes the population in regional areas is expanding at a comparable rate to metropolitan Melbourne and estimates by 2031 the overall population could reach more than one million, up from around 740,000 based on 2011 figures. Cr Byatt said the report identified that $4.4 billion would need to be invested in enabling infrastructure and resources to support growth in regional cities between 2011 and 2031. And he says Wodonga is now a major focus for governments and businesses across the state. “We’re three hours from Melbourne and often the focus has been primarily on the catchment that is within an hour or so from Melbourne,” he said. “But more and more what we’re starting to see is governments, industry and business are recognising the advantages of relocating to regional cities like Wodonga. If you start to look at Wodonga in its own right in Victoria, it’s one of the fastest growing, more developed regional cities. “If you put that into context with Albury, you see Albury Wodonga as not only the 18th largest city in the nation but you see it as a significant economic zone in its own right. I think we’re an important player in the national agenda as far as an inland city in its own right, and at a state level Wodonga is seen as a major contributor to the liveability and the population of the state.”
Councillor Byatt said Wodonga council had continued to plan well into the future which placed it in the ideal position to attract interest from businesses and residents alike, noting successful recent developments such as The Cube and the new WAVES aquatic centre. “You can’t cater for any growth without good planning,” he said. “What the city of Wodonga continues doing, and is very good at, is forward thinking, forward looking and approaching the planning and growth of the city.” If you take the example of the Leneva Baranduda corridor, one of the biggest structural plans in the state of Victoria, that area will eventually cater for another 30,000 people. “What you really need to do is be setting up long-term plans and looking at how you’re going to develop and fund those plans. “For Leneva that means infrastructure, it means how you’re going to put in community assets, how you’re going to create green spaces.” But Cr Byatt said it was important to continue the work and stay focused on the longterm plan to ensure such future growth was sustainable. “You can’t afford to take your eye off the ball when it comes to planning for future growth, and we’re planning out to 20302040 as we speak,” he said. “We need to continue our focus on developing not only the direct CBD, but the whole central business area so we have that integration and connectivity. “We need to continue to focus on the infrastructure that makes for a liveable city, a city that almost has an urban feel about it, has urban infrastructure and urban type services but still continues to maintain a liveability and lifestyle that is regionally focused. “Regional Cities Victoria has done the research to support investment and the role regional cities play in state and national agendas. I think it’s important Wodonga is front and centre and we’re seen to be an active party to the policy agenda in that regard.” For more coverage on the RCV report, turn to pages 2 and 3.
Wodonga mayor Mark Byatt says a focus on future planning will ensure the city continues to prosper.
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Contents No end to
Funds for our future
Connecting people and communities
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IT SEEMS Wodongaâ€™s recent growth is on an upward trend, with little sign of abating. Thatâ€™s great for the city and the wider community, allowing Wodonga to stand on its own as one of the more prominent regional cities in Victoria. But it all comes at a cost. This week we feature a number of viewpoints from Wodonga residents and it all comes back to one over-riding factor - funding. Mayor Mark Byatt says the city is on track with future planning well in hand even as far ahead as 2040. He says growth corridors such as Leneva and Baranduda will receive the infrastructure they require to ensure the quality lifestyle that attracts people to the city. Amanda Kotzur says while itâ€™s good to see council taking such steps as the redevelopment of High Street, more still needs to be done across the city, such as better school facilities in the newly-developed areas like White Box Rise. Local police officer Kevin Mack says infrastructure such as a youth cafe and Centrelink office would help the youth with not having to travel across the border to Albury, and councillor Rodney Wangman says the CBD redevelopment needs more development into the future. While there may seem like a lot of work ahead, one thing is for sure - Wodonga is providing a standard of living comparable to metropolitan regions without the hustle and bustle of city life, and as future plans are realised, the city is sure to continue growing, prospering and providing that relaxed lifestyle weâ€™ve all come to enjoy.
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Wodonga continues to grow and expand, as is evident at White Box Rise, Wodonga.
Boom in regions THE rate of population growth in Victoriaâ€™s 10 largest regional cities, including Wodonga, has doubled in the past five years, with predictions that Victoriaâ€™s regional cities could become home to as many as 1,030,500 residents by 2031. This new research from Regional Cities Victoria (RCV) has prompted the need for not only government organisations, but businesses and communities to come forward with suggestions for increased infrastructure. â€œWe now look forward to working with state and federal governments, business and industry as well as our communities to develop policies and strategies to ensure our residents have access to the services and resources they deserve,â€? RCV Chair, Cr Mark Byatt said. â€œA critical component is the Regional Cities Growth Strategy which is due for completion shortly.â€? According to the report, annual growth rates in regional cities rose from 0.8 per cent between 1991 and 2006 to 1.6 per cent between 2006 and 2011. This compares with Melbourneâ€™s annual growth rate of 1.9 per cent and 1.4 per cent for regional Victoria over the latest five-year period.
Cr Byatt said the data confirmed that regional cities were a part of the solution to managing Victoriaâ€™s growth, while also lessening the burden on Melbourneâ€™s already-stretched infrastructure. â€œWell-planned and sustainable higher population levels in regional cities have and will continue to make a positive economic and social contribution to the whole state of Victoria through enhanced investment opportunities, more jobs, better health and education services as well as greater industry diversification,â€? he said. â€œStronger and vibrant regions mean a stronger and more sustainable Victoria. Our cities are highly liveable with wellestablished economies and are also an appealing investment option for businesses. â€œWhile our member councils are focused on creating and maintaining terrific lifestyles for their communities, RCV will use this new research to inform a Victoria-wide strategy to prepare for and manage growth. â€œRCV is partnering with the State Government to deliver the Regional Cities Growth Strategy which will develop a strategic model for growth and the delivery of infrastructure to meet the long-term needs of Regional Cities.â€?
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The report also found there are 178,860 zoned and unzoned housing lots in regional cities, which could accommodate more than 425,000 people, and 4700 hectares of zoned and unzoned industrial land in Regional Cities, which could accommodate 190,000 new jobs. Another positive aspect of the report showed that regional cities are growing in a sustainable way. Between 2008 and 2012 - a period of high growth - household water consumption declined by 5.5 per cent, electricity consumption declined by 6.5 per cent and gas by 1.9 per cent. Household waste generation rose by 4.3 per cent, compared with dwelling expansion of 9.1 per cent. Cr Byatt said the report identified that $4.4 billion will need to be invested in enabling infrastructure and resources to support growth in Regional Cities between 2011 and 2031. â€œIt is clear that regional Victoria and Regional Cities are an increasingly attractive option for families and businesses,â€? he said. Full copies of Implications of Population Growth on Infrastructure and Resources in Regional Cities can be found at www.regionalcitiesvictoria. com.au
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Connecting people and communities
Wednesday, 20 March, 2013 Page 3
Funds for our future
Leaders stake their claim WITH the amount of growth predicted for Wodonga, NewsWeekly asked some prominent people in the community and council what they would like to see more of in terms of infrastructure. Improved roads? More educational facilities? Improved health-related facilities? More retail outlets and plazas? If you would like to have a say, visit our Facebook page and vote or comment on what you want to see done.
Amanda Kotzur, land sales manager at White Box Rise Wodonga.
Kevin Mack â€“ Leading Senior Constable with Wodonga Police, and Deputy Mayor of Albury City.
Rodney Wangman- Wodonga Councillor and CEO Albury Wodonga Community College.
Amanda Kotzur - land sales manager at White Box Rise Wodonga. â€œI think to keep people shopping in Wodonga, we need improved retail outlets, including our plazas and particularly encouraging businesses to set up along High Street,â€? she said. â€œCertainly thereâ€™s better foot traffic there now with our altered parking conditions. â€œThere can always be improved roads, making sure thereâ€™s great access to get where you need to - ease of access and less congestion.â€? White Box Rise itself has been a strong testimony to the growth of Wodonga, having grown tremendously over the past few years. In order to keep up with the influx of families moving to the area, more infrastructure will need to be added. So we asked Amanda where she thought they should start. â€œWe have a primary school here now, so a high school would be fantastic to keep everyone within the community here to make it even more convenient for them. â€œWe have more commercial land so thereâ€™s plenty more growth to happen here. â€œItâ€™s becoming a bit of a hub now with the aquatic centre, and becoming a bit of a healthrelated community, so you can always improve on that. â€œAnd a post office would be fantastic.â€? Kevin Mack - Leading Senior Constable with Wodonga Police, and Deputy Mayor of Albury City. â€œThereâ€™s a distinct lack of youth facilities in Wodonga at the moment,â€? he said. â€œThey need something like the Retro Cafe, a hub for young people so they can access the services they need - to access employment, sexual health resources, Centrelink, all these federal services that are available, without travelling to Albury. â€œGiven Wodongaâ€™s got one of the highestgrowing youth populations in the state, itâ€™s critical. â€œWe can create a hub for our young people, so why wait.â€? As far as roads go, Cr Mack said he believed plans were running smoothly. â€œI think theyâ€™re tracking along beautifully with their junction placement and the vision for the future,â€? he said. â€œBut at the end of the day, thereâ€™s a lot of vision and it will be just vision if they donâ€™t get the right sort of support from the government.â€?
Rodney Wangman - Wodonga councillor and Principal of Albury Wodonga Community College. â€œThe first one is a far improved Albury Wodonga health model - thatâ€™s buildings, equipment and doctors and nurses,â€? he said. â€œThen in terms of infrastructure, the second thing is the realisation of the CBD redevelopment. Thereâ€™s effectively 20 hectares of land there thatâ€™s controlled by or on behalf of the State Gov-
ernment of Victoria. â€œThe last one which is really left field on all this, thereâ€™s little doubt that the primary and some of the secondary schools in Wodonga need a far better deal in terms of building refurbishment and also redesigned parking and pick-up/drop-off arrangements. â€œThereâ€™s little doubt that as Wodonga grows per head of population, obviously we need more schools spread across a wider area.â€?
New infrastructure such as The Cube is all adding to the appeal of Wodonga.
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