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Street festivals are a signature social feature of Blacktown. Street festivals are a signature social feature of Blacktown. Featured
03 April 2024 Posted by 


CBD DEVELOPMENT: Blacktown’s future is NOW
COMMUNITY organisations, members of parliament, council and property developers are running community consultations to gauge what the people of Blacktown want their city to look and feel like in future decades.
Mt Druitt masterplan has been delivered and has resulted in upgrades. The NSW Government is injecting over $92M for upgrades to Kevin Betts Stadium, aquatic centre, Dawson Mall and First Nations Community Centre.
Riverstone MP Warren Kirby, having only been elected just 12 months ago, has been conducting community forums attended by good crowds as people express their views, concerns and ideas over the unfolding of the Riverstone Town Plan.
Stephen Bali, MP for Blacktown has conducted forums and feedback sessions, distributing newsletters and contributingarticles in the Blacktown News. These focus on the planning of Blacktown CBD.
Bali’s agenda is that future development of Blacktown reflects a cosmopolitan capital city befitting a local government area where its population is set to surpass Tasmania by 2035 – in numbers: to over 610,000 by 2041 with growth continuing.
Walker Corporation acquired a strategic part of Blacktown from council 12 months ago and has conducted several pop-up stalls with an online survey to gauge local initial feedback. 
Results will be released in coming months and this builds on feedback generated by local MPs from their forums. The Blacktown News will report these findings.
What has been clear from all surveys, forums and community consultations is that people are sceptical of clichés and hollow catch cries like “jobs, jobs, jobs”.
There’s also scepticism about artist impressions not based on reality, although to be fair to developers craeting accurate creative visions that do reflect reality take time and evolve as the project scope evolves.
MP Stephen Bali has advocated for a Central Living District concept.  He is on record as saying: “Whilst the new Parramatta CBD is great for Parramatta, it is not Blacktown.  We need to define what we are and build a central living district to suit our population.”
A key proposal has been the development of a Blacktown Town Square where people can gather in a safe environment.  The Square can potentially accommodate 10,000 people for festivals right in the heart of the city making Blacktown the epicentre of major festivals for Western Sydney.
Key concerns for large outdoor festivals are parking, traffic movement, safety, the environment and functional space. 
The Blacktown News has presented articles that outline where four key landowners control most of the land from Alpha Park to Colo Lane car park – some 133,000 square metres of land. 
Now, imagine a town square surrounded by affordable living accommodation, social enterprises, commercial businesses, walkways, cycleways in a safe and friendly area rather than street scapes and podium parking accommodating thousands of cars.
Since 1975 our city street festivals have become a signature feature of Blacktown and with Lunar New Year, Holi, Ramadan, Vaisakhi, Diwali, Christmas are the very embodiment of multicultural life in Western Sydney.
Blacktown can become the festive capital of not only Western Sydney but Australia – a global drawcard.
The new Blacktown CBD can become the next international festival destination, driving the visitor and tourism market which benefits the local economy and creates another local visitor magnet for those landing at Western Sydney Airport.
Furthermore, a town square could incorporate the new police station, courthouse, council civic centre, art gallery and an entertainment quarter. 
Most agree that the current police station and courthouse are no longer fit for purpose; the council building has been sold and will soon be demolished; the State Government has funded a new $40M art gallery; and the Blacktown Workers Club can drive the revitalisation of an entertainment centre within the town square.
Michelle Rowland MP, Federal Communications Minister, and Member for Greenway has initiated a feasibility study to relocate SBS studios from Artarmon to potentially somewhere in Western Sydney. 
We’d suggest that SBS’s ideal relocation could be to Blacktown’s Town Square; given Blacktown City has over 188 cultures from across the world and a strong Indigenous culture. 
Of course, the key to all this is collaboration with stakeholders and residents so we can craft plans that take advantage of game-changing opportunities that are before us right now. 
Progressive visions are built upon a foundational culture where concerns, values and aspirations can be equally and safely shared. Then the execution can begin.
Michael Walls is publisher and editor of The Blacktown News. michael@accessnews.com.au


Michael Walls
0407 783 413

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Blacktown News covers the business and community issues of the NSW Blacktown region. Blacktown News is a prime media source for connecting with the pulse of the region and tapping into it's vast opportunities.