Riverstone, Schofields & Districts
Persistence Brings Progress
The announcement of the COVID lock down has had varied results for all of our members, for some it was an opportunity to reset and re-engage, for others it bought new business or an opportunity to look at new ways of doing business and for the executive it was a time to engage with a Government motivated by the need to stimulate the economy through development and the delivery of Infrastructure.
Nominated as one of the highest areas for Employment Vulnerability, the 4th highest number of job seekers/ job keeper recipients and pressed my mortgage stress our community and our businesses are under pressure.
In the last six months the Riverstone Neighbourhood Centre has recorded a 60% increase of people requiring emergency support. These people are first time recipients who have never asked for help in the past.
The Chamber needed to be focused on employment and stimulus opportunities.
Armed with the knowledge that Riverstone projects could deliver 30,000 jobs, and local economic stimulus of $4 Billion we knew Riverstone had benefits too big to ignore.
We took the opportunity to reach out to The Premier, NSW Treasury, Minister Stuart Ayers, Minister Andrew Constance and Minister Rob Stokes, Kevin Conolly, Stephen Bali, Michelle Rowland and Ed Husic.
Through the magic of Zoom and Microsoft Teams we were able to meet and discuss these opportunities with Blacktown City Council, Kevin Connolly, Greg Woodham for the Greater Sydney Commission, NSW Treasury, The NSW Chamber, Stuart Ayers Office and Minister Stokes Office.
Persistence we kept reminding ourselves. There is a long road to recovery and Riverstone surely has a role to play in it !
NSW planning have announced Marsden Park North and Schofields West for fast tracking which will be positive for the area but failed to acknowledge the benefits the development of The Riverstone West Precinct employment lands and the Redevelopment of the Riverstone Town Centre could have for the economy.
Following visits by Jodie Mckay, her Shadow Ministers and Stuart Ayers policy advisor Ed Husic pulled off a huge coup and secure a private meeting and a tour of Riverstone with Planning Minister Rob Stokes.
One year on from our first meeting I was able to explain to him the issues effecting the businesses of our community and show the many benefits Riverstone could deliver.
Followed up by a fleeting visit to Kevin Conolly by Transport Minister Andrew Constance it seems we were finally getting some traction.
Since our meeting we have received the following update from the Ministerial office
The Department has provided an update on where the Riverstone West precinct is up to below. I understand the collaborative process with the landowner, Transport for NSW and the Department is working well at this stage.
Status and next steps:
· The Department’s consultants, Cardno, have completed their first series of flood modelling and mapping and this information was presented to the landowner, Sakkara on 9 September.
· Further information is needed from the landowner and Transport for NSW to refine the flood modelling. Various flood levels and scenarios within those levels are to be tested to inform a suitable building footprint that will not impact on local and regional flooding.
· The Department is continuing to work with Sakkara with the intent to complete the flood modelling in the coming months. This will enable us to determine the next steps and any amendments needed to the planning controls for the precinct.
Now this is progress!
The development of the Riverstone West precinct will provide employment and offer a traffic solution to Riverstone unlocking the ability to revitalise the Riverstone town Centre and activating the urban Renewal of Riverstone.
I would like to thank Mayor Tony Bleasdale, Stephen Bali, Kevin Conolly, Michelle Rowland and Ed Husic for the support they have provide to help progress our issues this far. But the work is not over we need remain focused and work collaboratively to continue to lobby for employment generating development in our area
As I have stated the road to recovery for our economy will be long but for the first time I feel Riverstone is also finally on the road to recovery.