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.
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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