Wodonga Council has granted approval for the construction of Baranduda's first service station. At the council meeting on Monday, December 11, councillors voted in favour of the proposed petrol shop and convenience restaurant on the corner of Baranduda and Glenwood boulevards, 5-2, despite strong opposition coming from mayor Ron Mildren. Newly-elected deputy mayor Danny Chamberlain admitted it was a difficult issue, with 38 objections received for the proposal, largely about being located away from the planned central business district for Baranduda, but felt a service station would have less of an impact on the establishment of a town centre than another development. "I'm certainly pro-development in Baranduda and I think it needs a service station. "It can be outside the CBD area without having a negative impact on it in my opinion." He, councillors Libby Hall, Danny Lowe, Kev Poulton and Graeme Simpfendorfer all supported the motion, while councillors Mildren and Quilty were against. Cr Hall said council's decision to grant approval for an IGA supermarket at Baranduda outside the planned business district had already fragmented it and said it could be a long wait for the development to be built in the proposed precinct, near Middle Creek. Cr Mildren said the decision to grant approval for a service station in that location undermined the council's strategic planning. "We're undermining it to the extent that we probably should now be considering removing the town centre and going on with a different approach to the whole thing," he said. "A developer can come in and say they're doing something different and they roll out all the precedents of decisions that we've made and justify the reasons why they should be allowed to do something different. Each one of those breaks down the town centre." While it was acknowledged there was opposition to the development, Cr Lowe said "I couldn't tell you how many phone calls I've received in support of it". "The fact that the developers worked with the planning department to reduce the bowser numbers, the hours of operation, had traffic islands put into the the design and the lighting. They've made adjustments to suit the environment that it's going into," he said. "Yes, we've got the planning for a central business district there, but we're not going to stick all our service stations in the central business district. They need to support the outlying areas too." Meanwhile, in general business, Cr Mildren revealed he and chief executive Matt Hyde had met with Local Government Minister Melissa Horne on December 6 and had the chance to discuss correspondence from her office directed at the council, which was received a day earlier. Cr Mildren said the letter requested council provide three-monthly updates regarding ongoing practices and improvements to governance and to council culture. "The conversation with the minister led to a request that we confer with the senior department staff to garner the detail expected of our response," Cr Mildren said. A councillor briefing will be held early in 2024 with a report to be gathered and tabled at the February council meeting for further discussion.