It’s been just over a year since COVID-19 arrived in Australia and impacted every aspect of our lives. While we won’t know the actual impact of the pandemic for some time, we understand that our business community has suffered enormously, with long periods of uncertainty. Business growth, income and jobs have been compromised. I urge everyone, where possible, to shop locally and support the recovery of our local businesses.
It’s been encouraging however, to see businesses innovating during this time. Many have been able to continue by introducing flexible working arrangements and online services, and this type of creative approach will be essential for future success.
Our Shire’s seniors are at greater risk of serious illness if they contract COVID, and while I am encouraged by very low number of cases in NSW, please continue to take extra care when visiting older people or senior relatives.
As Councillors, part of our role is to try to balance our Shire’s growth with maintaining the quality of life residents enjoy. Our population is growing, and we need to ensure that both existing residents and people moving to the Shire enjoy a range of housing options, access to transport, well-designed community spaces and the services they need for day-to-day living. Our Council is planning carefully to ensure enough land is available for homes, open space and businesses.
Our major town centres - Norwest, Castle Hill and Rouse Hill - will experience significant job growth over the next five years, and the proposed Annangrove Employment zone and Box Hill Business Park and will provide thousands of new jobs in the future. We are working hard to ensure we achieve the right balance of growth and lifestyle so The Hills will continue to be a highly desirable place for people to live and work.
The rebuild of Waves Aquatic Centre is well underway, with the new pools and buildings now visibly taking shape. The project will create 170 jobs over the two-year construction period and provide more than 40 full-time jobs once it opens in 2022.
It is great to see people returning to use the Metro now that COVID restrictions are easing. This fantastic piece of transport infrastructure has already changed the way people move in and around The Hills, and will continue to bring people and prosperity to our region. Over time, the areas around the Metro will evolve to allow more people to live close to public transport, and make use of the community spaces that will grow up around the stations.