Saving the people’s cinema was biggest highlight of 2023

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Looking back, 2023 was quite a year. When it started, we were still quite nervous about a virus that had turned our lives upside down for the previous three years.

Happily, by mid year we more or less decided it was time to move on from that one in 100 year event, and here we are now asking: what virus?

On a sad note, in 2023 we lost WWII legend and Thirlmere resident for life Fred Denny at the grand old age of 100.

Another big loss for the community, especially the Camden contingent, was the sudden death of Terry Diomis in January aged 51.

On a more positive note, in 2023 St Peter’s Anglican church in the heart of Campbelltown, pictured below, celebrated 200 years of providing spiritual nourishment in the district.

The outer South Western Sydney region – Macarthur and Liverpool – finally got something from the Minns State Government – free mobile phone chargers at Liverpool and Campbelltown stations.

Then we witnessed a people’s victory when protests forced the Minns mob to reverse a decision to close down the palliative care unit at Camden and relocate it to Campbelltown.

Another good outcome in 2023 was stopping the closure of Dumaresq Street cinema, mainly as a result of the May 26 South West Voice exclusive revealing what was about to happen.

Boy, didn’t the s..t hit the fan when that story was published – scout’s honour, we’ve never seen anything like it in 40 years of journalism.

New owners took over in October, and apart from turning down an offer to screen locally made hit film Christmess, they are continuing the “people’s cinema’’ theme at Dumaresq Street.

We probably have more good Samaritans than almost anywhere else, if the heart warming stories of giving before Christmas in the Voice area anything to go by.

Looking ahead to what this new year may bring, it’s incredible to think that in 12 months the international airport being built in our backyard will see planes flying there, although as practice run for the official opening date of 2026.

The biggest disappointment has to be the mess regarding the upgrade of Appin Road, which escalated just before Christmas.

Nobody seems to be sure what’s holding everything up, but the people who bought blocks on Figtree Hill are in limbo and cannot build their homes until this muddle is cleared up.

The only thing we’ve heard is that threats of legal action over environmental and koala concerns have scared the state government into inertia.

Which would be ironic since the government elected in late March 2023 has been yelling and screaming about the dire shortage of new homes being built in NSW.

So the big question in 2024 is: will this state Labor Government show some courage and get the Appin Road-Figtree Hill mess cleaned up?

Talking about muddles, please dear God, can we finally complete the Campbelltown Billabong in 2024?

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