Parra matters: Western Sydney area set to become NSW’s cultural hub amid staggering growth

Parra matters: Western Sydney area set to become NSW’s cultural hub amid staggering growth

Greater Parramatta’s sustained growth is set to continue, after the Government announced that more than 110,000 jobs will be created and over 72,000 in the pipeline to be built in the area.

The decision comes as part of a 20-year plan in a bid to cater to the city’s booming population, with the vision to implement a second Parramatta CBD on the horizon.

NSW Minister for Housing and Planning, Anthony Roberts, expressed his excitement at the benefits the growth will bring. “By growing Parramatta we are creating opportunity for people in Sydney to live closer to where they work and spend more time with family than commuting,” he said. “This growth is just the beginning for this important area.”

The extensive growth area covers more than 3,400 hectares and stretches over 12 precincts areas which are set to undergo a transformation. Roberts also indicated that the Light Rail train service stands to be the backbone of the growth, connecting world-class medical, research and educational hub Westmead to Parramatta North, Parramatta CBD and Carlingford via Camellia.

Parramatta is currently in the midst of the biggest population boom in its history, with a reported “two busloads” of people moving to the area every week. At the growth rate that it currently holds, projections are that by 2021 Parramatta will become Sydney’s most vibrant city, encompassing business, sport, education, lifestyle and the arts. With the area set to be a third larger than it is today, Parramatta’s economy is estimated to be worth $30 billion during the next five years, with 41,000 people set to be living in its suburbs and another 186,000 people working there.

An increasingly family friendly compound with extreme lifestyle flexibility is understood to be the driving factor behind why the Western Sydney precincts are thriving. Containing many highly rated public schools, a university, multiple sporting complexes including Sydney Olympic Park, award-winning restaurants and cafes, as well as state of the art shopping malls, Parramatta is fast becoming a realistic challenger to the Sydney CBD as New South Wales’ most prominent cultural hub.

A host of new development projects are also in the works, revolving around the city’s river. Among them is a 9km riverside cycling track from Parramatta’s CBD to Olympic Park, a waterfront Powerhouse Museum and a planned redevelopment of Riverside Theatre. A host of trendy cafes are also set to open in a style similar to coffee shops based along the Southbank River in Victoria, leading Parramatta comparisons to a future “little Melbourne”.

Other developments, which will form the new Parramatta Square, are set to be constructed behind the city’s town hall, and will include a 90-story Aspire tower which, if approved, will become the state’s tallest residential building. More office buildings – one which will sit at 38-stories and could be a new home for the NSW Department of Planning offices– are also in the works, as is a new 15-story campus for the Western Sydney University which is due to open early 2018.