Schon Condon shines a light on his years as Parramatta Chamber president

SCHON Condon finishes his three year term as president of Parramatta Chamber of Commerce happy with his work in promoting the interests of the business community of Sydney’s second CBD.

He is particularly pleased that he and his board have lifted the profile of the chamber, so that it is consulted by governments, council and other organisations more than it has before.

“Sometimes we have been the only chamber invited to important decision-making meetings,” Mr Condon said.

So popular has Mr Condon been in the chamber, that the board was considering having him stay on for another year, but that would have required a change in the constitution.

At the moment, a president can serve only three years at a time but with Covid virtually wiping last year, there was a good enough reason to suggest that Mr Condon could do another year.

“I was pleased that the board thought of me sufficiently that they wanted me to stay another year,” Mr Condon said.

“We have achieved a lot but now it is time for me to concentrate on my business, because the job of president does take you away from your business and family.

“I am happy now to be part of the transition to another president.”

That new president will be decided at the annual general meeting of April 20.

Mr Condon said he was happy “to have a breather” but did not rule out running for the top job in three years’ time.

Mr Condon runs Condon Associates, a financial advice company in the heart of Parramatta.

It is clear that he loves his city, and how it is growing, but is frustrated over lack of parking that affects, in particular, the Eat Street restaurants.

“If people can’t find parking in Parramatta when they come out to eat, we’re going to lose them to places like Blacktown, Norwest and other nearby centres with better parking,” Mr Condon said..

“The loss of the David Jones and Horwood Pl carparks will be devastating for those businesses.”

He said the best solution would be having a large carpark on the outskirts of Parramatta, near the light rail to bring people into town.

Another bugbear is the lack of NBN in the CBD – an unbelievable scenario for a major city.

“We’re being told it will be Parramatta’s turn in six months’ time,” he said.

“Other places have had it for 10 years. I can’t believe and can’t get a straight answer as to why we are getting it towards the end of the roll-out.”

He can only hope that after more major companies set up in Parramatta, the NBN will follow, though that has not helped businesses already there.

“Lack of the NBN has prevented some of the creative businesses, who need fast internet the most, from starting up in Parramatta,” he said.

One of Mr Condon’s greatest hopes is that Parramatta retain its character, with local businesses rather than off-shoots of businesses headquartered elsewhere.

He is pleased that businesses affected by people working from home seem to be bouncing back.

The ones that survived best are those that were innovative and delivering what people wanted, he said.

Mr Condon said he would remain an active member of the Parramatta business community, keeping an eye on the city’s growth and promotion as the place to be for business, education and leisure.

“Parramatta has to be self-contained as a major CBD and not become a dormitory suburb,” he said.

By DI BARTOK

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