Save the Powerhouse joins forces with North Parramatta Residents Action Group

SUN COVERThere was no east versus west cultural divide when an unlikely alliance was formed this week. The lobby group opposed to the Powerhouse Museum relocation to Parramatta has joined forces with the North Parramatta Residents Action Group (NPRAG).

Save the Powerhouse members travelled to Parramatta this week to join Greens MP Jamie Parker and independent Alex Greenwich on a site tour of the historical Fleet Street precinct.

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Battlers unite to save precinct

TWO community groups have come together to ensure Parramatta is protected from overdevelopment.

Jon Hillman, Rob Macqueen, Alice Kershaw, Judith Dunn and Suzette Meade.North Parramatta Residents Action Group (NPRAG) and the Parramatta Female Factory Friends will aim to protect and encourage the appropriate rescue of the Cumberland East Health Precinct in North Parramatta.

The State Government has plans for a massive residential and commercial development, including 2700 apartments, but the two groups don’t agree with the proposal.

NPRAG and Parramatta Female Factory Friends have signed a memorandum of understanding with the “ultimate purpose to save the precinct as a highly significant social, economic and cultural asset for Parramatta, NSW and Australia”.

NPRAG president Suzette Meade said the groups wanted to focus their energies and resources in a more coordinated and effective way.

“We believe our alternative vision for the Cumberland Hospital grounds for a heritage and cultural landscape will ignite Parramatta city on to the world stage,” Ms Meade said.

Parramatta Female Factory Friends president Gay Hendriksen said the two groups had common goals for the preservation and access for the Female Factory.

“Our vision is not for private use but Female Factory as a living museum and national resource centre and associated sites for creative activation determined with the community and accessed by the community,” she said.

A public meeting will be held to discuss the future of the Fleet St Heritage Precinct in North Parramatta on Tuesday, February 16 at Burnside Public School Hall, 6.30pm.

Mayor Calls For Inclusion – Residents Group Left Out Of Site Tour

NEW Parramatta Lord Mayor Paul Garrard has a stark message for his own council staff and for the State Government: either get on board with community consultation or get out of the way.

mayor and me


North Parramatta’s Suzette Meade and Mayor Paul Garrard.

Cr Garrard is furious his attempts to allow community groups to tour the North Parramatta heritage precinct with the representatives of the government’s development arm UrbanGrowth NSW are being thwarted.

The State Government plans to put 4000 apartments in the area, which includes the convict-era female factory, which is being assessed for world heritage listing.

On July 27, Parramatta Council passed a motion requesting UrbanGrowth organise a study tour of the site including councillors, relevant staff members and selected members of concerned communities.

The date proposed for the tour was September 19, but two days earlier, UrbanGrowth cancelled the tour until “we receive feedback from the Minister for Planning’s office on final components for the rezoning of the site”.

In the same letter, UrbanGrowth restated its objection to community groups being invited, saying the tour is intended for councillors only.

North Parramatta Residents Action Group spokeswoman Suzette Meade said the response by UrbanGrowth begged the question: what have they got to hide?

“If they are committed to consultation and to creating a world-class heritage precinct, why are they excluding us?”

Cr Garrard signalled a new approach to his administration in his acceptance of the Lord Mayoral position after a vote on September 29 put him back in the top job.

Cr Garrard challenged council staff to accept that the elected representatives on council would make the decisions.

“We are going to have a more inclusive council that listens to community concerns and if you don’t like that, go somewhere else.”

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