Strong interest in Blacktown CBD Online Forum

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Blacktown City Council’s latest Online community forum has proven to be a big hit with residents.

Blacktown City Mayor Tony Bleasdale OAM hosted the ‘Q and A’ style online forum on the plans, projects and issues relating specifically to the Blacktown CBD.

Residents were invited to send in questions to the panel that consisted of Mayor Bleasdale, Deputy Mayor Julie Griffiths, CEO of Vitex Pharmaceuticals, Dr Aniss Chami, Director of Student Success at Australian Catholic University, Jane Caton, and Blacktown City’s Youth Ambassador, Ebony O’Connor.

“Pre COVID, we held community forums throughout the City and while we miss the face-to-face contact, online forums have allowed us to engage with more residents.” Mayor Bleasdale said.

Monday night’s forum was livestreamed on Council’s website and Facebook and has so far recorded more than 4,000 ‘engagements’ on social media.

The Mayor and Deputy Mayor gave updates on projects in the CBD including the $80 million redevelopment of the Warrick Lane precinct, pop-up parks, music performances, street art and the proposed Blacktown Brain and Spinal Institute.

Jane Caton updated residents and prospective students on what life will be like in the Blacktown CBD when ACU Blacktown Campus opens its doors early next year.

“ACU Blacktown won’t be a satellite campus of other universities, but rather a full-service university offering courses across a wide range of faculties working with the community and local businesses,” said Ms Caton.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the number of enrolment applications with most coming from within Blacktown City and we’re teaming with Council in offering a scholarship program for local students.”

Dr Chami explained why his company built its $100 million pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in Blacktown City at Eastern Creek, and also painted an optimistic picture for business in the region post-COVID.

A number of residents including Blacktown MP, Stephen Bali raised questions on Cleanaway’s proposed Western Sydney Energy & Resource Recovery Centre at Eastern Creek.

Mayor Bleasdale responded that Council had commissioned an independent review of the project’s Environmental Impact Statement which is currently on public exhibition.

“Council will be making a submission based on ‘the science’ but I must stress that this is a declared State Significant Project and therefore final approval lies with the State Government but Council will act in the best interests of the health and wellbeing of our residents,” Mayor Bleasdale said.

Youth Ambassador Ebony O’Connor detailed the youth services that were available in and around the Blacktown CBD, but also took the opportunity to call for more programs to deal with youth mental health issues and to encourage even more cultural inclusion.

Pic shows: On the set: (from left) Youth Ambassador Ebony O’Connor, Vitex Pharmaceuticals CEO Dr Aniss Chami, Deputy Mayor Julie Griffiths, Blacktown City Council CEO Kerry Robinson OAM, Mayor Tony Bleasdale OAM, Ms Jane Caton Director, ACU.

The Online Forum is available at: https://www.facebook.com/BlacktownCityCouncil/

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