The “Big Ugly”, now less so.

OK, I’ll admit it, I’ve been glib about David Entwicht and his work as a consultant “place-maker” for the Wodonga city council in the past.

Flippant even, you might say.

Yes I’ve taken the opportunity to sink the slipper over “Gorf land” and fairy-lights on the water tower and other Entwichian enterprises in the past. I have, there’s no point denying it, the evidence is right there in black and white.

Truth is I actually think he’s one of the best things to happen to the region in a long, long time.

I think he’s been severely hamstrung by being assigned the community arts equivalent of the Herculean tasks, namely trying to beautify Wodonga’s water tower, arguably an iconic landmark which might well be described as lacking aesthetic -or indeed ANY- redeeming grace.

I suspect one might have to travel to former soviet Russia and marvel at the pre-1960’s communist architecture of the high density housing projects to find an uglier man-made structure anywhere on this earth.

Still, the rednecks seem quite attached to it, like many of their conservative values, an anachronistic abomination which remains purely because they lack the imagination to replace it.

Despite my cynicism, which I will admit is both ardent and staunch, the “big ugly”, Wodonga’s water tower IS actually starting to look….well,….less ugly.

At least it is at night, during the day it remains an abjectly noxious eyesore so I guess that’s a fair compromise. 

In fact having read a bit about David Entwicht, having seen some of his work and proposals for the future, I’d say we are actually privileged to have as one of our regional contemporaries, a visionary of some note.

I’d even go as far as to say I’m becoming a fan.

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About alburywodongaonline

Hi I'm Jack Stone (a pseudonym), I'm a long-time Albury resident and I think it's a great place to live and work. I have a strong interest in local events and media and I started this site because I think a different perspective is often needed when reporting local news. I take a keen interest in local politics, as well as what's going on at the state and federal level, I'm also a supporter of social justice issues, the envirionment and the need for people to have a say in the events that effect their lives. I'm a fan of the Border Bandits and I'd love to see both teams take the flag this year, and next year, and maybe the one after that too.
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13 Responses to The “Big Ugly”, now less so.

  1. Andrew says:

    I quite like the concept designs for transforming High Street. It’s quite overdue and the fact that Wodonga Council is open minded enough to use this guys services should be embraced.

    Full props to AWOL for being a Davo supporter.

  2. Cheers Andrew, I’m still sceptical about the water tower, my suggestion would be to bulldoze it and build something else there entirely.

    What turned me around about David Entwich (apart from the further research I did about him) was his design for a mural.

    Of course many of the local yokels poo-pooed it as being “not conservative enough” but I think if he was given a slack reign, Mr Entwich might just turn Wodonga into something fabulous.

  3. Andrew says:

    I’ll get the bulldozer AWOL and we can knock the tower down with celebrations like the fall of the Berlin wall.

    Maybe we’ll get Hasselhoff to sing a song?

  4. I think the bigger ask would be to trying to stop him really.

  5. jr says:

    In your dreams, Andrew. Just make sure that when you drop that tower, you drop it right on top of Hassitoff.

    Magic, no song required.

  6. Andrew says:

    How about you stand next to him?

    Two cunts with one ugly water tower. Problem solved.

  7. Ed Foulston says:

    Here I go again, I will take a different tac. David is certainly enthused about his work, I atteneded the Wodonga ratepayers association meeting where he outlined the redevelopment in some detail, what concerned me was the two major points/reasons he used to sell the original concept to Peter Marshall and the coucil. The first point he offered was that the reason why 56% of non food retail money spent by Wodonga residents in Albury is because Wodonga high street is ugly and the second selling point, and I could see Peter drooling at this time, was that over 2,000 mayors and city engineers would come to Wodonga to see the wonder that would be High St and that High St would be copied all around the world and it would be called “The Wodong Style” oh pleeeaaase, what a crock. Look at Stanley St, Peter’s cafe precint, that was and still is, an absolute debacle, fountains in a drought, little glass beads that stayed glued for less than a week, concrete balls, squares and colums that have had to be removed because, believe it or not, people were falling over them and shade umberella’s that don’t shade the bench’s situated next to them. Storm water drains that can’t handle rain in a drought, thank goodness it wasn’t a real winter. Cobblestones that are loose and another trip hazard and pavers that are cracking. One of my more elderly female clients (78 year old) likened the art work erected near Marelli’s and Wodonga Real Estate to “pissing pussies” and she and her friends can’t help but smile whenever they pass them. The council then found that after a few parties the street was deemed to be too hot (temperature) for comfort, so Lounging on High was born at $5,000 a time. All for a cool million bucks, can the council get High St right? I doubt it.

  8. raydixon says:

    At least they’re trying. Unlike our council.

  9. Ed Foulston says:

    I don’t mind that they are trying but I am concerned at the risk, 95% of what the council achieves on $14 million a year left from rates and grants ($35 Mill) after wages ($21 Mill) are taken out is nothing short of remarkable. They manage to maintain assets if not improve the value and fund many small projects for the disabled, elderly and others. The problem is that if you commit millions to major projects and the proverbial hits the fan then it is the small projects that suffer and it is those smaller projects which are truly community based and which bring cities and communities together. The council have given the residents an opportunity to provide feedback on the High St redevelopment by way of a small form which is posted in the council offices, don’t bother, they are censored. I have found that all negative comments are being removed within an hour of being posted, how, by posting my own comments on the board and when checking later haven’t found them. I returned to the offices an hour after the last post I made to find it had been removed, so much for feedback.

  10. raydixon says:

    Revitalising CBDs is a most progressive idea and ought to be encouraged.

    If it is just the design that people don’t like then that can be altered accordingly. But as someone who regularly travels ‘through’ Wodonga to visit (and spend money in) the more vibrant centre of Albury, I can assure you that any attempt to brighten up Wodonga’s CBD and make it more conducive and appealling to visitors will do wonders for the town.

    I just wish our own Alpine council were as visionary and focused as Wodonga is.

  11. actually as an Albury resident, I’d have to say I’m developing a bit of “town envy” over Wodonga’s development projects.
    They really are looking good over there.

  12. Here’s my 2 cents worth, ppl:
    1/ Stanley Street was a debacle, no doubt about it. But let’s look at REASONS for the debacle rather than going on about the faulty work – which was in fact a problem of council staff not being strict enough with the contractors – if it was your backyard you would have had paving like that pulled out in no time by the same people that put it in, and they’d have to redo it properly before you paid them… The real reason was that the council wanted a big project to put their name to it and have a plague… Their problem was that at the time they had no idea about cafe precincts and how they work. If they had David Engwitch at that time it would have been a different story…
    2/ High Street – the businesses in the street are uncoordinated, so David with the revitalisation project can make a lot of difference! What you need to realise is that the stret needs people in it – look at Dean Street in Albury, or any busy street anywhere else. People need “things to do”, and you do not want to do much on high Street the way it looks now. Activities and revamp would bring something to it, so you can pause and perhaps play a game of chess. Or at night sit on a bench and get hypnotised by the lioghts on the Tower 🙂

    But in both cases another big problem is LANDLORDS – very few of them are even remotely open to the idea to lease their property to a food vendor. We are one of the lucky ones having found a landlord that was prepared to put their property to use for food premises. Other two we tried either flatly refused before even meeting for a talk, or made attempts to have their building fixed up at our expense (which we were prepared to pay, but not all of it, and asked them to contribute perhaps at least some – again, no way, they can have it leased for an office at no extra cost…).

  13. Lubosh are you any relation to Jenny Hanuska?
    I’m assuming so
    I don’t really want to say anything directly because I wouldn’t know the lady if she popped up in my soup but I have to say right off the bat that being able to get enough people to vote for you in a red neck’s paradise like Wodonga (or Albury for that matter) to actually be elected to council doesn’t really bode very well for a person’s character in my estimation.

    With a voting public as vile and odeous as we have in this region, being a devout skunk seems to be a pre-requisite to getting elected it’s my long considered opinion.

    Of course I live in the perpetual hope of being proven wrong but thus far my theory seems to have proven fairly sound.

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