Boost for Penrith

PENRITH could wait for greater Sydney’s development to overtake it and boost its economy, but would be better shaping the process, Penrith Business Alliance chairman Paul Brennan said.

‘‘We could take a more assertive role by planning things and making something happen,’’ Mr Brennan said.

‘‘Penrith has enormous opportunities; our health and education facilities and more people coming to Penrith to live here and to access our services.

‘‘That puts us in an ideal position.’’

He said the Penrith Progression project would help this process by exploring strategies to revitalise the city’s CBD.

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell officially launched the project in Penrith on February 7.

Penrith mayor Ross Fowler said it was the start of more capital investment and new partnerships which should invigorate the city centre.

‘‘Penrith Progression is about all of us creating a better future; a once in a lifetime opportunity to shape the Penrith of tomorrow,’’ Cr Fowler said.

‘‘Around 40 per cent of the city centre is owned by the council or state government, putting the council in a position to leverage considered growth.’’

Penrith Council officer Barry Huskings invited the community, as well as businesses and organisations, to join focus groups and say what they wanted.

‘‘What is the community prepared to accept that creates certainty for investment?’’ Mr Huskings said.

Cr Fowler said whatever the community’s other preferences, it wanted more jobs.

‘‘People have said they want more jobs closer to home; I think that’s achievable,’’ the mayor said.

Mr Brennan said he was optimistic about the business alliance’s talks with the government about relocating a department head office to Penrith.

‘‘That would create two to 3000 jobs overnight,’’ he said.

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