In September 2019, we held the incredibly successful Orange Blossom Festival event ‘Lights Beats and Eats’ at Castle Hill Showground. Thousands of people gathered to enjoy live music, light installations and food trucks while celebrating community life. Who could have imagined then that we would need to cancel both the 2020 and 2021 festivals in the interests of public health? Like so many of us, I’m looking forward to a time when we can enjoy community life once more, and I am proud of the positive approach our community has shown by complying with public health orders and making vaccination a priority.
Throughout these extremely challenging times, Council has been fortunate to be able to keep delivering new projects, maintaining assets and connecting with residents online.
The Balmoral Road Reserve project is progressing well with tennis courts and new footpaths underway. The construction of our brand new Waves Fitness and Aquatic Centre has reached a milestone with tiling commencing in the 50m pool, as well as the warm water pools taking shape. State-of-the-art gym equipment has been ordered and the centre is on track to open in the new year.
Stage one of the Alfred Henry Whaling Memorial Reserve Rose Garden upgrade has now been completed. This included removing the old timber arbour and surrounding structures, installing a new rose arbour, concrete pathways, seating and a feature sandstone area as well as landscaping works. More is planned including restoration of garden beds, new plantings and upgrades to the stairs and pathways.
Another milestone has been achieved at Kellyville Memorial Park. The sportsground, which is the training and administrative home to the Parramatta Eels, is being transformed into a premier rugby league facility, with two additional NRL standard playing fields. Turf has now been laid, with final drainage works commencing as the turf sufficiently establishes.
We have also completed a half-ball court at South Maroota which is ready for use as restrictions ease.
And we've just unveiled the Cattai Creek Masterplan – a blueprint to transform an underused corridor into a green spine with active links and passive recreation opportunities.
We’ve also prepared a Draft Master Plan for Caddies Creek Sports Complex that proposes adding four additional football fields, opportunities for smaller court sports, and more car parking to this very popular sports and recreation place. Council has been revitalising the walkways and rehabilitating the creek at Crestwood Reserve, and I’m sure this will be a favourite spot for picnics with its adventure playground, off-leash dog park and walkways.
And our teams have been out and about maintaining parks, cycle ways and pathways, making sure everything is kept in top shape for people using these for exercise during lockdown and beyond.
I’d like to thank everyone who has helped others during this crisis. Our community depends on essential services each and every day and we are truly grateful.
I would also like to thank those residents and community groups who took part in my ‘Keep Connected’ campaign which aims to boost local morale with positivity and fun, educational activities and workshops. As part of the campaign we encouraged residents to take a photo of themselves holding a message of hope and inspiration and these have been shared in a video. It’s so important we remain connected to each other and reach out to those isolated and alone as a result of the restrictions. We know that spreading messages of hope can be so powerful, especially at a time when we need some lightness and happiness to carry us through this crisis and beyond.
Spring is a wonderful time to get out and enjoy our Shire and I look forward to seeing family and friends reconnect with each other as the restrictions ease, and making the most of the Shire’s parks, playgrounds and open spaces, as well as off-leash dog parks.
Stay safe, and stay strong and I look forward to our community coming back together very soon and celebrating what makes our community a wonderful place to live.