Battle of the buses in urban renewal

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Originally published: The Daily Telegraph, 22 February 2015.

By John Lehman

AN election battle is set to be waged over a $500 million plan to transform Strathfield’s outdated town centre into an up-market shopping and entertainment precinct.

Opposition Leader Luke Foley has committed $700,000 in a feasibility study to move the Strathfield bus interchange underground, while Premier Mike Baird is also considering “additional support” to deliver the urban renewal project.

Mr Baird, who said the project was “an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed” before the last election, said the ­government’s development agency UrbanGrowth was examining the project’s financial feasibility.

 

 

Strathfield council has estimated moving the bus depot could cost $140 million.

“I’m supportive of any ­proposals that look to use our existing infrastructure more efficiently to increase housing and job opportunities,’’ Mr Baird said.

The ambitious plan to make Strathfield a “destination” for Western Sydney includes a 700-seat theatre hall and a giant video screen for Strathfield’s Raw Square to broadcast live sports and concerts.

It also includes two 60m tall residential towers near Strathfield railway station.

Strathfield is held by the Liberals’ Charles Casuscelli with a margin of 4.4 per cent but new electoral boundaries favour the Liberals. Labor’s candidate, former Newcastle-based Keneally government Minister Jodi McKay, is considered a strong performer and a chance of winning the seat.

Originally published: Battle of the buses in urban renewal