2 March 2023

'An unattractive approach': Deputy Mayor wants a better welcome to Wagga Wagga

| Chris Roe
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Wagga sign

Cr Jenny McKinnon would like to see a fresh approach to Wagga. Photo: Chris Roe.

At this week’s council meeting, Wagga’s Deputy Mayor Jenny McKinnon noted that the city’s eastern entry along the Sturt Highway “looks terrible”.

“I do think that this particular area needs some requirements for trees around the frontage [of commercial buildings] and I’m sure that could be worked in some way,” she said.

“I think the only thing that saves the look of that area out there is the line of London plane trees that are going along that particular side of the highway.”

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Cr McKinnon made the comments as an aside while discussing an application for a new service station on Hammond Avenue.

Hers was the only vote against the proposed development after she questioned the lack of an EV charging station and expressed concern over the removal of several trees.

“I just think we are letting these trees go one by one under the idea that it’s OK to just replace them with lots of immature trees,” she said.

“Nature doesn’t work that way and the services around cooling, around habitat, around canopy cover, etc – there is no replacing that.”

Wagga sign

Motorists on Hammond Avenue are greeted with this sign at the city limits. Photo: Chris Roe.

Councillor Richard Foley agreed that there was a broader problem with the city’s eastern entry, describing it as “absolutely appalling” and “like a lunar landscape”.

Reflecting on the problem this week, Cr McKinnon said that Wagga could do so much more to make a positive impression and entice travellers to stop.

“It doesn’t make the place look like an attractive spot to stop and have a look around and enjoy the comforts and the advantages of this city,” she said.

“We have the great coffee culture and cafes, there are the museums and the art gallery and the National Art Glass Collection.

“There’s so much in Wagga to see and do but someone just passing through wouldn’t get any inkling of that.”

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Like many regional cities, Wagga’s outskirts are zoned for industrial and large-floor commercial operations and Cr McKinnon is not suggesting this be changed.

“It would be lovely to see some sort of a coordinated effort, particularly if council could get some funding for this, to help sponsor plantings along the road and even inside some of the fences to just break up the fencing,” she explained.

wagga sign

Travellers heading west through Wagga are eventually welcomed with a sign shrouded in shrubbery. Photo: Chris Roe.

Looking more broadly, Cr McKinnon noted Wagga’s lack of a distinctive welcome sign or eye-catching instalments pointing visitors to Wagga Beach, the Botanic Gardens and the museums.

“I would really like to see council put up a really nice attractive big welcome sign at the entrance to the city that actually does point out a few of our great things to see and do,” she explained.

“I think we just need to be aware of what that looks like to people who could stop in Wagga but might choose not to because we have not presented ourselves that well to them.”

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Benjamin Davey2:10 pm 03 Mar 23

I agree, the East Wagga section has always been shabby & poorly presented, Trees may help but sealed footpaths would also improve the appearance & where is the signage for East Wagga, most other suburbs have signage but not poor old East Wagga, its also a perpetual disgrace that the marshall’s creek bridge is still not upgraded to two lanes each-way.

The southern approach is even worse,Glenfield Rd is an absolute joke,nothing has been done to beautify this road for as long as i can remember.Driving along it is like driving on some road in the scrub,dont forget people live in the south of Wagga Wagga also.

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