Monday, 29 July 2013

Prominent specialists to join committee

Two world renowned experts in urban development will be asked to become founding members of Parramatta City Council’s recently established Public Domain Activation Committee, to be chaired by Lord Mayor, John Chedid.
The experts are Professor Ed Blakely, honorary professor in urban policy, at the United States Studies Centre, at the University of Sydney, and Ethan Kent, the vice-president, of Project for Public Spaces, in the USA, who visited Parramatta in October 2010.
Council established the committee following Cr Chedid’s recent participation in a nine-city tour in the USA. The group of 23 mayors and senior council officers, led by Professor Blakely, sought to learn how these cities were reactivated.
Cr Chedid said the committee would focus on Parramatta Square, Church Street Mall and the Parramatta River foreshore in the CBD
“By inviting Professor Blakely and Ethan Kent to join the committee, their experience, reputation and knowledge will add a value to the committee that cannot be measured,” Cr Chedid said.
Another initiative announced by Cr Chedid following his visit to the USA was a study to review of the planning framework for the CBD.
“If we wish to build a world class city, we need to learn from the best practice around the world. Unfortunately, the planning system we have to work within is not world class. Changes proposed by the state government to the planning system in NSW may not be sufficient to support council in its endeavour to create a world class city,” he said.
Cr Chedid said the recommendation that the development form not be controlled by floor space ratio (FSR) was to be commended.
“But we need to prepare new planning instruments that provide certainty for landowners, developers, neighbours and the community in terms of what is acceptable development in the CBD,” he said.
The review of the CBD would be presented to council by the end of September.

Development options at Camellia

The majority of the Camellia peninsula, dominated primarily by heavy industry, is likely to remain industrial for the foreseeable future constraining redevelopment in the short to medium term.
The results from a Parramatta City Council investigation with key stakeholders indicated that the major businesses – including leading Australian and international companies – intended to stay on the peninsula, a council report said.
However, a number of land-use options needed to be explored which could provide a more diverse mix of such uses over the medium to long term, council said.
Council is currently considering a planning proposal for a commercial and residential development on the western side of the precinct fronting James Ruse Drive. Other options that could be considered include the creation of a transition area to the north of the precinct, at the interface with Rydalmere, with a mix of commercial/enterprise ventures. The eastern part of the precinct fronting Silverwater would likely retain its heavy industry character over the longer term, with the rest of the site potentially becoming a mix of lighter industrial uses.
Council’s economic development strategy nominates the peninsula as an “eco-industrial precinct”, retaining its industrial nature and increasing research and development opportunities.
“A number of resource recovery industries are currently located within the precinct … using advanced technologies [and] building on this industry cluster, an opportunity exists for collaborating with universities and businesses to develop Camellia into a larger innovation/advanced technology precinct,” council said.
Irrespective of future land use, access to the peninsula remains the most pressing issue,” council said.
Council has resolved to undertake a traffic study to understand options for improving road access. This includes one or more bridges across Duck River.

Parrawood: Camera, lights, action

Hollywood, Bollywood, Nollywood. Now Parrawood - a hub of creative activity.?  Why not?
A newspaper story, in coining the word, Parrawood, told of the city being used as a setting for films made, in the main, by companies based elsewhere – not by a locally-based organisation.
The Information & Cultural Exchange (ICE) is doing just that.
ICE was formed 27 years ago promoting and developing cultural activities in the local area from a van. Today, it is situated in the evolving Parramatta Arts and Entertaining Precinct – a creative hub – in the CBD
Don’t let a nondescript two-storey building fool you; inside creative and experienced crews of camera operators, script writers, sound technicians and administrators etc. are at work in a high-tech space, where they have produced hundreds of digital stories, short films and a feature film for local, national and international audiences.
Feature film 
For example, Seeing the Elephant. Armin Palangi took short films by seven, young would-be filmmakers and blended them into a 90-minute feature film, which showcases life in Western Sydney.
Mr Palangi, of Palangi Productions, an established filmmaker, is engaged at ICE and currently producing Post Life, a six-part series filmed in Parramatta, which is part of Screen Transfusions, a program run by ICE.
Chatterbox TV, a monthly series produced in partnership with Aurora TV and broadcast in Australia and the UK, is another example, along with Sex in the West, a TV series featuring “women with attitude” .Both highlight life in Western Sydney.
These and other projects have created professional development pathways and employment opportunities for Western Sydney residents who have gone on to bigger and better things. Take Saber Baluch who progressed through an ICE in-house program to become a producer with SBS TV. He was presented with a 2012 Humanitarian Award in the media category.
ICE has been a successful entry point for artists, filmmakers, camera operators, photographers, scriptwriters and others pursuing a career in creative industries and has the potential to become acknowledged as the foundation of a local film industry
The creative expertise housed at ICE has been used by a range of companies and organisations, such as, Stockland Property Group, the Macquarie Legal Centre, the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union, the Australian Immigrant and Refugee Women’s Alliance and local government authorities.
ICE seeks to broker such creative relationships and partnerships and offers fee-for-service consultancies and skills development initiatives, and the hiring of its equipment and studio space.

Parrawood?  Watch this space.