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Mayor Ross Grove pictured with Sanjay Patel from Patel Bros Supermarket and Nathan Rees MP at the opening of the Patel Bros supermarket in Wentworthville. Mayor Ross Grove pictured with Sanjay Patel from Patel Bros Supermarket and Nathan Rees MP at the opening of the Patel Bros supermarket in Wentworthville.
28 December 2012 Posted by 

Holroyd attracting investors

By Clr Ross Grove

AT a time where building work across the metro basin is fairly scarce, local councils should be competing to attract, rather than restrict, investment in their local communities.

As the first Liberal Mayor of Holroyd I am focussed on bringing a new approach not only to this council, but to local government more broadly.

There is nothing worse than seeing a community being held back by a council constricting those people who want to invest in a new business, facility or residential precinct.

A lot of people come to their council, with a good idea, and many times it meets the spirit of a local control but their application gets bogged down in the minutiae of a particular rule, or worse, falls out of favour with the political whim of the elected council.

When these applicants fall on their face, they obviously get hurt but the real losers are the community who miss out on the investment and other potential investors who take their limited capital elsewhere.

In 2007, Holroyd City Council was listed by the Department of Planning as the second slowest council in the state to approve or reject development applications.

We’ve seen a somewhat revolutionary change since those days, Mr Grove says. We’ve changed some key personnel and our new director has an approach of rolling out the red carpet rather than the red tape for people who want to do business with us.

The elected council has also changed. We’re speeding things up by giving our officers more freedom to determine applications as they arrive and when things do cross our desk, we’re not out there trying to seek political gains from someone’s capital investment.

The recent local government elections produced mixed results across the wards in Holroyd, with the Liberals picking up a record fifth councillor, secured by a sharp swing in my West Ward.

I think you will find there is this great silent majority out there who don’t mind disagreeing with you, provided they know your approach is principled and not tailored your every political whim.

I took a record of support for 12 to 20 storey highrise in Merrylands to the pollsalong with support for a planned rationalisation of our swim centres and despite all that my vote increased by 17 percent.I think there’s something to that.

The Council has identified a marketing campaign for Merrylands: private sector utilisation of “lazy assets” and the roll-out of electronic lodgement of council paperwork as priorities for the ensuing mayoral term.

We’ve faced some pretty unfavourable press coverage over the last year arising from some isolated incidents within our community. When you combine a prior reputation for red tape, you’re going to have a tough time.

But Merrylands is making a comeback. We recently had the Premier out here to open the new Stockland Merrylands development, a global supermarket chain (Patel Brothers) has started their Australian operations in Wentworthville and we need to tap into those stories to build the positive momentum required to rebrand the area.

We’re also calling for Expressions of Interest in the former Children’s Museum facility, which has been closed for the past six years and we’re calling for expressions in our landholdings in MacFarlane Street – land with the potential to stretch the shopping centre out onto a healthy mainstreet business environment.

All in all it is about making life easier for people who want to invest in Holroyd. If we can do that right then all the other problems are more likely to take care of themselves.

Clr Ross Grove is Mayor of Holroyd.


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