OFTEN regarded as a poor cousin compared with its larger Penrith neighbour, St Marys may be about to shed that perception.
Steve Perry, who owns a CD store in the town and is chairman of the St Marys Town Centre Management Committee, believes a planned $37.5 million redevelopment of St Marys Leagues Club, currently before Penrith Council, has great potential to alter such negative views.
"I'm in favour of all those sorts of developments. Anything that changes the perception people have of St Marys into a positive view is a good thing," Mr Perry said.
"Anything that adds to the community vibe of the area is also a good thing."
He said with attractions like the new Wet'n'Wild Sydney opening at Eastern Creek, the planned 4.5-star, 80-room hotel and new fitness centre was well-placed to attract both visitors and new businesses to the town.
"One thing we need to be careful of is not being afraid of competition. We've got to welcome competition," he said.
Earlier this year the sale of adjoining land for a Masters Home Improvement Centre enabled the club to put their redevelopment plans into place sooner than anticipated. Mr Perry believes the planned hotel/resort will attract visitors who may have previously not ventured away from larger centres like Penrith and even Parramatta.
"People who come out here will test other areas, like St Marys," he said.
And new businesses will come.
"It will stimulate business, and new restaurants will start to be developed. We must welcome it," Mr Perry said.
And in a region weighed down by the health consequences of obesity and inactive lifestyles, Mr Perry says the plans for a fitness centre are something that has "got to be good for the community".