Monday, 10 March 2014

CBD a 'very healthy town centre'

 The suburb of Parramatta, which includes the CBD, has the best public transport and connectivity, the most effective mix of building types and the highest potential for urban renewal out of a sample of 20 Sydney metropolitan suburbs.

This is a finding in a report, Building Up, released by the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) NSW.

The UDIA NSW Urban Renewal Committee – which consists of 27 of the state’s leading planners, urban designers, architects, engineers and developers –  sampled 20 locations ranging from regional centres to neighbourhood centres.   

UDIA NSW CEO, Stephen Albin, said when measured against the criteria in the report, Parramatta is in the ‘very healthy town centre’ category with 135 points out of a possible 170.

“Parramatta is the stand-out leader out of the centres that were sampled with major public transport interchanges, close vicinity to major arterial roads and vibrant retail opportunities,” he said.

“Positively, the main town also includes a high amount of open space, the layout of the city is considered very walkable for pedestrians and the district also features a good mix of residential, commercial, retail and civic land use.

“Parramatta offers a prime example of strategic planning. It’s a city that is really coming into its own.”

The criteria where Parramatta took an average score included car parking, property prices and ease of urban development (in reference to planning controls and charges). 

“Parramatta offers a prime example of strategic planning and we’re delighted this is being recognised,” said Parramatta Lord Mayor, John Chedid (see following story).  
The second ‘healthiest’ suburb in the study sample is Burwood at 125, followed equally by Pyrmont and Hurstville at 115.

Padstow, Newington and Rosehill, the latter a suburb within the Parramatta local government area, are all deemed ‘unhealthy town centres’ with 65 points.  

The results for others suburbs surveyed in Western Sydney were: Seven Hills, 110 points, Epping, 100, Wentworth Point, 90, Granville, 85 and Sydney Olympic Park, 80.   

Parramatta 'an economic powerhouse'

 Lord Mayor of Parramatta Cr John Chedid has welcomed the release of a white paper by PwC Australia which shows Parramatta has had higher economic growth than Sydney’s CBD.
The new research found Parramatta recorded 1.6 per cent growth compared to 1.1 per cent last financial year for the Sydney CBD.
“This result confirms Parramatta and Western Sydney’s place as an economic powerhouse, finding that growth in Western Sydney has outstripped that of Greater Sydney and the Sydney CBD for much of the past decade,” Cr Chedid said.
“Our growth rate of 1.6 per cent and gross output of $7,610m is a strong result for Parramatta and the wider economy of the region,” he said.
The research shows that Western Sydney’s economic growth outstripped the city centre for much of the past decade.
The white paper, which takes a suburb-by-suburb view of the economy, found that economic growth in Australia is uneven with key drivers including population growth and transport infrastructure.
“Parramatta’s population is forecast to grow by more than 40 per cent over the next two decades and Council is investing in key infrastructure to support this expansion,” Cr Chedid said.
“I am continuing to lobby for government and private sector support for our much-needed Western Sydney light rail project which will provide even greater potential for future growth. 
“Work is already underway to complete a 12 km off-road pathway between Westmead and Meadowbank which will link key residential areas to the University of Western Sydney and Parramatta.”
Parramatta was last week ranked as the state’s most liveable suburb by an Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) report.

With a population of more than two million people, Western Sydney is home to one in 10 Australians, while Parramatta is the busiest transport hub in NSW, outside of the Sydney CBD.

Young Woman of the Year

An 18 year old law student from the University of Western Sydney’s Parramatta campus has been named the 2014 New South Wales Young Woman of the Year for her initiatives to provide underprivileged communities with computers and IT skills.
Second year International Studies and Law student Lakshmi Logathassan was announced the winner of the award by NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell..
The daughter of Sri Lankan migrants, Lakshmi developed the ‘Laptop Project’ to send government-funded laptops from graduating high school students to rural and remote schools in Kenya and Sri Lanka.
Now in its third year, the Laptop Project has expanded across Sydney and more than 250 laptops have been donated to schools in need.
Last year, Lakshmi helped spearhead proposals to collect funding from local councils for the ‘Laptops for IT Training Program’ to teach newly-arrived migrants computer skills.
During her summer break, she also conducted English workshops in rural schools in Sri Lanka, and continues to work with the teaching staff to develop an English teaching program tailored to the students in the region.
“It was such a wonderful honour to have even been selected as a finalist, so to have won is incredible,” she says.
“This award is such an unexpected recognition for the projects I have undertaken, and it further fuels my passion to keep working in this area.”
Lakshmi is part of The Academy at the University of Western Sydney program, which develops future leaders by providing them with hands-on industry and community experience.
The Head of the Academy, Professor James Arvanitakis, says Lakshmi is a fine example of how the University’s students are driven to make a difference.
“The Academy is designed to help guide students as they engage with the organisations and communities that are close to their heart,” he says.
“Lakshmi’s work has now set a new benchmark for all our students who are working tirelessly to make a difference.”
The UWS Dean of Law, Professor Michael Adams, has congratulated Lakshmi on her achievement.“On behalf of the School of Law I would like to pay tribute to Lakshmi,” he says.

Light rail link 'in the mix'

A light rail line from Parramatta up to Castle Hill and out to Macquarie Park is shaping as a likely 2015 Coalition ­election promise.
The state government has included the concept in its strategy for lands it owns in Parramatta North.
The plans announced by government planning agency Urban Growth NSW includes a map containing light rail through Parramatta, raising hopes the light rail lines to Macquarie Park, Castle Hill and Bankstown could become a reality.
Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian confirmed yesterday that it was “in the mix”.
Her transport officials were “assisting” Parramatta Council with work they were doing on the project. Under a proposal pushed by the council, one line would operate from Westmead through Parramatta to Eastwood and to Macquarie Park.
Another line would run from Parramatta to Castle Hill. All up, there would be 30km of track with hopes in the future of adding a Parramatta-to- Bankstown line.
Ms Berejiklian even flagged a potential light rail line west of Parramatta, saying that with the growth in western Sydney “it’s more difficult to travel around western Sydney than almost coming to the CBD”, she said.
The government has ­already committed to a $700 million light rail line in Newcastle and a $2 billion line from the heart of Sydney past ­Central Station through ­Randwick to Kingsford.
Parramatta Council has put the cost of both lines it proposes at about $1.7 billion — less than the City light rail.
Liberal Parramatta MP Geoff Lee says he is pushing for a $20 million government study at least into the project before next year’s election.
“I’ll push as hard as I can. The corridor is there from Castle Hill to Parramatta. They have the corridor reserved down Old Windsor Road. It’d be fantastic,” Mr Lee said.
Parramatta mayor John Chedid said he wanted to meet Ms Berejiklian in a month to further the proposal and said the council had received interest from private sector companies in Australia and overseas to build the project.
The Minister said if the project stacked up, the government would take it over and compared Parramatta’s work to how Randwick Council did studies prior to the government committing to that line.