Parramatta Mayor Paul Garrard's Year in Review
Parramatta Mayor Clr Paul Garrard cuts ribbon Slavos new store
On the eve of the Lord Mayoral election, Cr Garrard reflected on his main goals for his term as leader, which included the need to better identify and prioritise community needs, progress Civic Place and develop strategies to make Parramatta a ‘smart city’ through the use of digital technology.
Cr Garrard said that his ‘smart-city’ approach was aimed at strengthening the connection between business, residents and the wider community and was pleased with how Council’s e-Parra Strategy had progressed.
“My aim was to strengthen the City’s economy and transform our neighbourhoods, by not only providing wireless internet access throughout the area but also using new technology to offer a connected environment for business, job creation and information sharing,” he said.
“ParraConnect is a community-driven project that emerged from our e-Parra Strategy and it has already come up with a number of exciting applications which I look forward to seeing put into practice in the near future,” Cr Garrard added.
“This is a bold initiative, the first of its kind for Council and we’re now one of the leaders when it comes to connective technologies for local government.”
Similarly, Council’s commitment to innovation is also reflected in Civic Place, one of the biggest urban renewal projects ever undertaken in the state’s history.
Cr Garrard said the $1.6b development had progressed well over the past 12 months and that with planning approvals for stage one set to be processed this year, he was confident that construction would commence in 2011.
“We took some important and positive steps forward this year on Civic Place, including the acquisition of a number of key businesses in Darcy Street,” Cr Garrard said.
“Council has shown that it is committed to progressing this vital development and while we continue to negotiate with remaining business owners, we’ve started to prepare the Smith Street car park and Macquarie House for development in 2011,” he said.
“I’m confident that now that we’ve secured most of the major properties in Darcy Street, that the rest of the negotiations will proceed smoothly.
“Civic Place is the biggest development our city has faced and I’m proud of the way we’ve overcome various challenges and been able to move forward with plans that will no doubt breathe new life into our city and set new standards in urban development,” Cr Garrard added.
In another first for Council, earlier this month Cr Garrard led a trade delegation, comprising of local businesses and organisations, to China, with the aim of promoting Australian products and services for export and the creation of mutually beneficial commercial ties.
“The trade mission to China was a resounding success and even more pleasing is that our City is now at the forefront of attracting foreign investment in the fastest growing economy in the world,” Cr Garrard said.
“The feedback I’ve received back from our delegates has been extremely positive and I’m confident that this trade mission has left a solid foundation for local businesses to continue to build on these commercial opportunities overseas.”
Cr Garrard added that central to many of the initiatives during his Lord Mayoral term was ensuring that the community had the opportunity to ‘have a voice’ on important matters.
He cited the ‘Save Our Suburbs’, ‘Dob in a Dumper’ and ‘Destination Parramatta’ campaigns as successful in creating increased community awareness and positive outcomes which benefit the entire local area.
“Since we launched the ‘Dob in a Dumper’ campaign earlier this year, we’ve seen a big reduction in the amount of illegally disposed rubbish and the streets around our CBD are much cleaner,” he said.
“’Destination Parramatta’ and our persistent lobbying of the Government was rewarded when the Prime Minister announced that the long-awaited Parramatta to Epping rail-link was back on the agenda after the State Government had scrapped it,” Cr Garrard added.
“Now, with our ‘Save our Suburbs’ campaign, we’ve finally drawn a line in the sand and shown that we’ve had enough of the State Government ruining the amenity of our neighbourhoods with inappropriate and unsupported developments,” he said.
“The message that I wanted to get across throughout my 12 months is that Council needs to be a voice for its community. We have an important role to play, to not only ensure our residents and other stakeholders are aware of what is happening in their backyard, but just as importantly, have an opportunity to have their say.”
Cr Garrard said that there were many highlights over the past 12 months as Lord Mayor, including the well-attended A.R Rahman concert at Parramatta Park, the fantastic finals run of the Parramatta Eels, which culminated in a brilliant street-parade in Church Street, and the hosting of the Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay.
Cr Garrard was elected to Council in 1974 and has served the Woodville Ward for 36 years. His appointment as Lord Mayor in 2009 was the fifth time he had been chosen as the city’s civic leader, having served four terms between 1995 and 2004."
Parramatta City Council