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Mayor says hustle and bustle of Melbourne is the vision for Campbelltown CBD

An artist’s impression of the vision of Re-imagining Campbelltown.

A smaller version of the hustle and bustle of inner city Melbourne is what’s around the corner for Campbelltown, believes Mayor George Brticevic.

“We want people to live within the CBD, so they can walk to all the amenities,’’ he told the South West Voice in Macarthur over lunch at the Campbelltown arts centre café.

 “And that’s what our Re-imagining Campbelltown vision is all about, a bit like Melbourne where 40 years ago hardly anyone lived in the CBD but now there’s lots of people living there and that’s what gives it its hustle and bustle.

“It’s also what encourages business, and some of them will provide parking.

“For example the new RSL development will provide parking for the hotel, parking for the club, and parking for the residents in the apartments.

“That’s what you have to do if you want to reduce reliance on cars,’’ he said.

Re-imagining Campbelltown was launched with much fanfare more than a year ago in the NSW State Parliament.

That was stage one, the vision of a bustling new Campbelltown central business district where thousands of people lived in green buildings and within walking distance to everything from fine dining to health services.

These things take time – Rome wasn’t built in a day – and now the council is working alongside consultants to produce stage two of Re-imagining Campbelltown – the delivery part.

We asked the mayor if he was a little frustrated with the slow pace of change thus far.

“I am happy so far; stage two is about the implementation, getting the LEP (local environment plan) right.

“It’s also about the branding, which is more than just changing the logo, it’s about marketing and advertising the city, encouraging investment and jobs, diversity in housing, including affordable housing – but not wall to wall six storey apartments in the CBD.

“You’d always like things to happen quickly but doing it properly you get the best outcome.

“Plus people will know the rules and the design and what we expect and when they come to us and tick all the boxes there’s no sort of delay.’’

When councillors were asked to choose a painting from the vast collection of Campbelltown arts centre for an exhibition called Notice of Motion, Mayor George Brticevic selected this one behind him because “it reminded me of when I was young playing cricket in the backyard’’.

All of this will happen in the next 10 years or more, but some shopkeepers in the Campbelltown CBD are calling for more parking spaces now – and rangers to do their job and book those who overstay.

The argument is that not a single new car parking has been provided by the council in the past 20 years.

So we ask Mayor Brticevic if there are any plans to alleviate short term parking shortages in the CBD.

“For the short to medium term we’re looking to reconfigure Queen Street-Beverly Park Road, change the whole configuration, which will mean both sides of Queen Street can be parked on, meaning miles and miles of street parking,’’ he says.

“In terms of the rangers, obviously this is a compliance issue, so if anyone has a complaint email me and I will talk to the director to have the issue looked at.’’

The mayor would also like council to look at turning its land holdings around the CBD – mostly single level car parks – developed to provide more parking spaces but also as part of multi purpose developments.

“You can end up having residential and commercial developments instead of land just used for parking,’’ he says.

“The positive side to all this is that people are coming to the Campbelltown CBD and that’s a good thing, obviously there is business there.’’

Re-imagining Campbelltown may be a few years down the track but there are two big projects that will be delivered as soon as the next couple of years, the Campbelltown Billabong and the Macarthur Sports Centre of Excellence.

“Obviously I am biased but our plan under the Liveability Fund for a Billabong is the best out of the eight councils involved,’’ says the mayor.

“It will be fully complete in 2021, but I am hoping we open stage one next year.’’

Artist’s impression of Campbelltown Billabong.

And Mayor Brticevic can confirm that the $20 million Billabong, to be built in Apex Park, Bradbury, will be enclosed to comply with NSW water safety laws.

“We would have liked to have had it open like South Bank, but because of the laws at this stage it will be fenced off,’’ he says.

“Gates will be closed at 9pm or something like that depending on daylight saving and we’ll most likely also have CCTV and security measures.’’

The project has gone to tender for design and there will be another tender for construction.

As for the $30 million Sport Centre of Excellence, it will be open in 2020.

“We want to make it self sufficient, so we will be going through expressions of interest,’’ says Cr Brticevic, who has been in the mayoral chair for almost three years in a row.

“I’m still as motivated and keen as I was in first getting the job – if not more so,’’ he says.

“I am looking to make things happen for the city.

“I promised a cohesive council and I think you’ve seen that I have delivered so far.’’

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