THE City of Parramatta is gearing up for a Summer of Celebration as the new-look Eat Street comes alive, cafes, bars and restaurants across the City welcome back customers and the big events return to our iconic Stadium.
In a flurry of activity over recent days, the revitalised Church Street went from building site to boulevard as City of Parramatta Lord Mayor Steven Issa joined NSW Premier Dom Perrottet, Minister for Transport Rob Stokes and Member for Parramatta Geoff Lee in welcoming diners and shoppers back to the City.
With COVID restrictions easing and the doors of more and more businesses re-opening across the weekend, the people of Western Sydney came out in droves, keen to move on from the tough times of pandemic lockdown.
Premier Perrottet said: “Summer in Western Sydney is looking good” as he confirmed NSW had hit its 80 per cent vaccination target and restrictions would ease further from today (Monday, October 18), allowing 20 visitors in people’s homes, the return of community sport, as well as indoor dancing and drinking while standing at pubs.
He said Western Sydney had led the way with high vaccination rates across NSW and this had enabled the region to re-open safely on the recovery side of the pandemic.
“Feels great to break this news. Huge thanks to all the nurses and vaccination hub staff at NSW Health, the GPs, the pharmacists, and each and every person who rolled up their sleeve to get us here,” Mr Perrottet tweeted. “Been a long wait but we’ve done it!”
The NSW Government also announced that crowds of up to 22,500 will be permitted at the newly-named CommBank Stadium as Parramatta welcomes back Australian women’s football team the Matildas for two internationals against highly-rated Brazil this Saturday (October 23) and Tuesday, October 26.
The Stadium is also expected to host the Socceroos in a World Cup Qualifier against Saudi Arabia on Thursday, November 11 while the A-League kicks off on Saturday, November 20 with a huge Sydney Derby featuring Western Sydney Wanderers v Sydney FC.
A study conducted by City of Parramatta Council found that big events at CommBank Stadium can inject up to $1M into the local economy as fans converge on the City to celebrate and with Eat Street and surrounding areas a hive of activity.
CommBank Stadium CEO Daryl Kerry said: “It’s clear the Stadium has become an important part of the social fabric of Western Sydney and we are delighted to be welcoming back the fans, hosting the Matildas over two nights and with other exciting events ready to roll out.”
It’s big challenge for the hospitality industry
One of the biggest challenges for the hospitality industry in Western Sydney is finding sufficient staff.
NSW Treasurer Matt Kean was another visitor to City of Parramatta at the weekend, confirming that government ministers have asked their federal counterparts to allow the State to open up to overseas students and tourists as a matter of urgency after the state hit its much-anticipated 80 per cent double dose vaccination target on Saturday.
Importantly for families, thousands of students return to school in Western Sydney from today.
Kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 12 students in NSW are returning today while Years 2, 6 and 11 will resume face-to-face learning on October 25. All remaining grades return on November 1.
The Parramatta Light Rail construction fencing along Church Street, from Lennox Bridge to George Street, has been removed, revealing the new-look pedestrian-friendly hospitality strip.
“People will be amazed at the transformation that has taken place over the past 18 months,” City of Parramatta Lord Mayor Cr Issa said.
“With tracks now laid for Parramatta Light Rail, and other City-shaping projects such as 5 Parramatta Square and Phillip Street Smart Street taking shape, Parramatta’s future is looking brighter than ever.
“There’s a real sense of optimism and growing excitement in the CBD, and I encourage people to come out and experience it for themselves – and to also show their support for our incredibly resilient local businesses.”
As Western Sydney’s premier dining strip, Eat Street is a food and retail destination that attracts visitors from across Sydney.
“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our City and the last two years have been challenging for many of them. Council has been doing what it can to ease the burden – including waiving outdoor dining fees, easing parking restrictions, offering free parking in partnership with Transport for NSW, and promoting businesses through our marketing campaigns – but there’s nothing like seeing patrons come back through the doors.”
Parramatta Light Rail construction on Eat Street kicked off in June 2020 and was fast-tracked due to lockdown. Once complete in 2023, Parramatta Light Rail Stage 1 will connect Westmead to Carlingford via Parramatta CBD and Camellia.
“As our City grows, Parramatta Light Rail will be essential to our future development and population needs,” Cr Issa said.
“It will bring thousands of visitors to local hotspots, including Eat Street and Riverside Theatres to CommBank Stadium and Parramatta Park, and will provide much-needed transport connections for our residents, workers and visitors.”
Images: CommBank Stadium, Eat St and group photo: Parramatta Light Rail Project Director, Craig Paterson, Member for Parramatta, Geoff Lee, Premier, Dominic Perrottet, City of Parramatta Lord Mayor, Steven Issa and Minister for Transport and Roads, Rob Stokes.