(L-R) Penrith City Council’s Director City Futures Kylie Powell, Journalist Helen Dalley, Member for Londonderry Prue Car, Penrith Deputy Mayor Todd Carney, and Journalist and MC Juanita Phillips at the Connected St Marys event, held as part of Council’s Positively Penrith Symposium Series.
THE potential of St Marys’ growth and connection as a City Centre is sky high and this notion provided a platform for discussion and valuable insight at Penrith City Council’s Connected St Marys event.
The event was part of Council’s Positively Penrith Symposium Series, which has brought together local businesses, investors, organisations and other stakeholders to share the unfolding opportunities and vision for the Penrith Local Government Area.
Penrith Deputy Mayor Todd Carney expressed his excitement about the future of St Marys, a growing strategic centre that will be connected to the Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport from day one of operations, and will be integral in a true east-west and north-south transport link.
“St Marys has something unique that other areas won’t have – it’s at the epi-centre of something truly significant, a once-in-a-generation transformation that will reshape the City Centre forever,” Cr Carney said.
“Council projects that the St Marys City Centre will be home to another 11,000 people in the next 20 years, with 9,000 new jobs created and around 7,000 new dwellings developed by 2041,” he said.
Cr Carney shared Council’s commitment to delivering a 30-minute City and plans to capitalise on the economic and social growth opportunities that will be made possible by a world-class transport network, connecting St Marys to other parts of Sydney and the rest of the world.
He also detailed Council’s vision for a vibrant, authentic, welcoming and sustainable City Centre, which Council has mapped out in its draft St Marys Structure Plan, a strategic document designed to guide future growth in the City Centre.
Throughout the breakfast event, attendees also heard about plans to revitalise the City Centre and major projects Council has underway, including the Gipps Street Recreation Precinct, a 32-hectare development in Claremont Meadows, near St Marys, that will be a landmark sporting destination for the region.
The NSW Government has just committed an additional $7 million contribution to the $41 million Gipps Street Recreation Precinct through its WestInvest fund, that will enable Council to streamline the design and speed up the delivery of what has been a long-held aspiration for the community. The project has already received $27.5 million in funding from Penrith Council and $6.5 million from the NSW Government from other grants.
Another Council vision for a green civic heart is a step closer to reality, with a further $21 million WestInvest funding committed to the delivery of the St Marys Central Park. It will feature a central lawn, outdoor performance stage, natural shade and public artwork.
Importantly, it will link Queen Street to local shopping precincts, transport, and will boost the day and night-time local economies for community members, visitors and workers to enjoy.
Keynote speaker and Walkley Award-winning Journalist in business and economics, Helen Dalley, said trends revealed that private enterprises tended to follow investment in particular areas.
She said the injection of money in the St Marys City Centre and broader connections for the Penrith Local Government Area, with the planned Sydney Science Park at Luddenham, is an example and positive sign for those considering starting a business or investing locally.
“This is not about a single development or putting up a couple of new buildings, this is not about piecemeal, ad hoc decisions – this is coordinated, thought-through planning across three levels of government to futureproof this region,” Ms Dalley said.
She said St Marys’ growing transport connections would complement the community’s existing strengths and had the potential to attract “the next generation of makers, creators and entrepreneurs”.
During the event, attendees also had the opportunity to engage with Council and share their insights.
The event’s MC Juanita Phillips, one of Australia’s most experienced television news anchors, encouraged the 100 attendees to complete an interactive questionnaire about investment and business opportunities in St Marys.
Attendees were also given copies of Council’s new Investment Prospectus, a comprehensive guide to the City’s unique opportunities which invites government, investors, businesses and the community to collaborate, and join the journey as Penrith becomes a world-class City.
Member for Londonderry Prue Car also shared her thoughts and congratulated Council on leading advocacy and the conversation around St Marys’ major transport connections of the future.
Ms Car spoke highly of the community’s strong sense of identity and diversity in terms of demographics, cultural background, and even housing options.
She said change was already happening in St Marys and stressed that education, road and rail infrastructure, town centre and retail activation, enhanced liveability and more, must all combine to create better opportunities for the next generation in an area that is “certainly ready to take off”.
“We are open to new ways to improve but I would urge everyone here to keep talking to the people of St Marys and beyond on these ways to improve – it is their right and privilege to want to be taken along on the journey,” Ms Car said.
This event is a part of the ongoing collaboration and engagement that Council is undertaking to promote Penrith and the vision for a vibrant, connected and liveable City.
To find out more about investment opportunities in the Penrith Local Government Area and to access the new Investment Prospectus, visit penrith.city/invest-penrith