“So many stories, so many layers of Australian history have their origins in North Parramatta. As Sydney gets bigger it is incumbent on the government (that) it gets better as well and part of that is respecting our heritage,” he said.
“There is an incredible depth of heritage here, including some world-heritage listed structures across the vicinity.”
Heritage advocates have fought passionately against the redevelopment, saying it will destroy the historic site.
North Parramatta Resident Action Group president Suzette Meade said Mr Stokes had ignored requests from the group and Parramatta Chamber of Commerce to meet to discuss alternative visions for the precinct.
“We firmly believe our business model for a cultural and arts precinct in the Fleet St heritage precinct will bring more social and economic long term benefit to a growing western Sydney. The proposed high density unit development to what is one of the most significant indigeonous and colanial precincts in Australia is a travesty,” Ms Meade said.
But Mr Stokes said the something needed to be done now.
“The point is, no change was never an option. If we didn’t intervene these buildings