Friday, 18 April 2014

Council to seek Japanese expertise

The expertise of Japanese firms will be sought by Parramatta City Council regarding opportunities associated with council’s multi-million Parramatta Square and Parramatta Light Rail projects.
This comes about following the visit to Japan by Professor Edward Blakely, Honorary Professor of Urban Policy, at the US Studies Centre, University of Sydney. 
Arrangements were made for Professor Blakely to meet with Japanese transportation and investment firms to discuss the potential for building, operating and financing the light rail project and examine projects similar to the design and development of Parramatta Square, a mix of high-rise office and residential accommodation, adjacent to train station.
“Marubeni Corporation and Mitsubishi have the desire, expertise and financing capability to construct and manage a light rail like that envisaged for Parramatta and Western Sydney,” Professor Blakely said.
He said the company, the lead firm on the Gold Coast Light Rail, was prepared to offer advice on how council should proceed in completing a business case for light rail.
The Toranomon Hills Complex, in Central Tokyo was similar to the Parramatta Square, he said.
Council resolved to further investigate the Toronomo Hills project with a view to enhance the $1.6 billion Parramatta Square project and iiaise with Marubeni and Mitsubishi and other interested companies to gauge interest in their potential involvement in the light rail project.
Professor Blakely said a conclusion of his attendance at an Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) meeting was that Parramatta needed to accelerate its opportunities to connect the universities of Western Sydney and New England, and other organisations, as essential to improving local economic performance (see box).
“They represent world best practice in creating urban areas for the future,” he said..

Professor Blakely, acting in the capacity as advisor to Lord Mayor, John Chedid, attended an urban economic development symposium at the invitation of the OECD.

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