Mayor Steve Christou’s Weekly Message

An insight into what's happening around our local community.

25 June 2021

$11 million for new civic square in Merrylands

A vibrant new civic square in Merrylands is on its way courtesy of our improved development application turnaround times.

The $11 million civic square will receive $5.5 million state funding from the NSW Public Spaces Legacy Program. It recognises Council’s efforts to reduce development application processing times from the third longest in the state to among the best in the state. Council agreed in March 2021 to sign the funding agreement for the design and delivery of the project.

It’s a great achievement that we’ve been able to create efficiencies and improve processes to make sure development applications are properly assessed in a reasonable time frame.

After the council mergers, we inherited a significant backlog of development applications. I have made it a priority to speed up development applications and I am happy that the team’s hard work is starting to show and that the median processing time continues to decrease.

The new civic square will create an open and green meeting place in the heart of Merrylands. It will connect Merrylands Road through to McFarlane Street to create a focal point and sense of community in the town centre. Planning and design work is progressing for the civic square. The square is also part of broader infrastructure upgrades in the Merrylands Town Centre, including better stormwater systems to reduce flooding and upgraded high voltage electricity to cater for future development.

Between July 2020 and January 2021, Council achieved a median DA processing time of 78 days, beating a target of 86 days.

Artist impression of the vibrant new civic square in Merrylands.

Trolley campaign full steam ahead

Our trolley blitz is full steam ahead with a new and innovative solution for the problem. Councillor Ned Attie, Acting General Manager Peter J Fitzgerald and I met Domenic Ammendolia from the Trolley Data Management Network (TDMN) at the local government conference. TDMN have developed a tracking and retrieval system that gives customers access to trolleys via their smart devices while reducing abandoned trolleys in our communities.

I look forward to meeting the TDMN team in two weeks’ time to discuss ideas and solutions for abandoned trolleys. Watch this space for updates on the initiative.

Mayor Steve Christou with Domenic Ammendolia from the Trolley Data Management Network, Councillor Ned Attie and Acting General Manager Peter J Fitzgerald.

Do you have a Mayoral Minute?

I’m excited to announce my recent initiative to connect with the community, the launch of a new podcast. ‘Mayoral Minute,’ is the latest way to hear about the big ideas and initiatives happening here each month.

I will give residents and ratepayers a bite-sized chunk of what was discussed at council meetings and how they impact you.

The first episode is now live . You can listen to the ‘Mayoral Minute’ podcast for free on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast and Anchor.

And on Council’s website here:

Mayoral grant supports free legal advice

Congratulations to Dr Chandrika Subramaniyan from Success Lawyers, who I have awarded a grant from the Mayoral Community Fund to provide free legal advice.

The funding will pay for use of the Wentworthville Redgum Centre’s Kurrajong room for 4 hours a week.

Chandrika can assist with legal advice for migrants and asylum seekers, provide court related guidance and give direction on AVO and domestic violence cases.

Earlier this year I also awarded a grant from the Mayoral Community Fund to NSW Local Hero Rosemary Kariuki.

The grant supported a cultural exchange reunion event hosted by Rosemary for migrant women at the newly built Granville Centre.

The cultural exchange program aims to forge friendships between newly arrived multicultural women and families in regional NSW. Many of the migrant women in the program reside in Cumberland City so it was rewarding to support an initiative creating impact in our local area.

I’m proud to participate in causes that create positive outcomes the community can be proud of.

Mayor Steve Christou with Dr. Chandrika Subramaniyan.

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