The first-ever popularly elected Mayor of The Hills Shire Council, Dr Michelle Byrne, has described her vision for the next three years of Council.
She said building more local infrastructure, from roads to opening more parks and sporting facilities, tackling housing availability and continuing The Hills’ reputation as a great place to live, grow, raise a family and to retire were areas that would be hallmarks of her term in Council.
“My focus throughout this term of Council will be to ensure we build and maintain the essential infrastructure needed to manage an extra 100,000 people who will reside in our region by 2031,” Mayor Byrne said.
“I will continue to lobby both State and Federal Governments to improve connectivity and permeability of arterial roads and key transport networks to allow residents to get from A to B with ease.
“Council is looking at ways to rejuvenate our established assets and continuing to build more sporting facilities, parks,playgrounds, community facilities, cycleways, open spaces, improve roads and amenities for our current and future residents to enjoy for years to come.
“During the campaign I had the opportunity to speak with thousands of residents who gave me a very clear message of the issues that were most important to them and the biggest issue raised during the campaign was development. Our region is undergoing major change with the construction of the Sydney Metro Northwest and new land release areas under development. During this infrastructure boom, I want to ensure that further development is appropriate, in the right location and meets the needs, values and sentiments of our community.
“We need to ensure our town centres are well-planned with appropriate developments and density is confined to our town centres and around the future train station hubs, protecting our family-friendly suburbs and rural settings from over development. We need to continue to cater for different lifestyle choices and ensure we continue to offer different-sized housing products across the Shire.
“I am invested in seeing upgrades happen at Waves pool and the potential for an additional aquatic centre in the area. And I want to create more opportunities for volunteers, retirees, families and youth to be involved in our Council initiatives which will only add to our renowned community spirit.
“We are in a strong financial position, and our priority is to ensure that we remain that way well into the future. It is important we remain fiscally responsible with ratepayers money to ensure we continue to be in a position to roll out new services and infrastructure, as well as meet the needs of our growing community,” Mayor Byrne added.
Mayor Byrne said she will continue to fight for family-friendly suburbs and homes, creating a quality lifestyle and ensuring that Council engages with its community to create a future we can all be proud of.
“The Sydney Hills is facing unprecedented population growth and with that comes challenging work, but also amazing opportunities to deliver a region that is socially integrated, healthier, safer and with a world class public realm,” Mayor Byrne said.
“We must embrace the Shire’s rapid growth and take this chance to use good architecture and planning to make a real difference to the lives of our residents.
“We’ve already seen examples of where good growth can lead to a host of benefits such as better social integration and new transport links transforming areas and local economies.
“One of the ways I want to apply the principles of good growth is to limit high density development to our town centres and along the rail corridor, keeping our suburbs family-friendly and rural regions safe from high-density development.
“This is just one of the ways in which detailed planning has the potential to transform The Hills. This will ensure we make the most of The Hills growth so that every community is able to share in the fruits of development.”
Mayor Byrne thanked the community and her supporters on her new appointment as the first-ever popularly elected Mayor.
She also welcomed her new Council team which comprises of Deputy Mayor Robyn Preston and Councillors Mike Thomas, Alan Haselden, Dr Peter Gangemi, Ray Harty OAM, Tony Hay OAM, Ryan Tracey, Elizabeth Russo, Reena Jethi, Frank De Masi, Samuel Uno and Brooke Collins OAM.
“I am thankful to Hills residents for putting their trust in me to lead this community and to achieve outcomes that will ensure The Hills remains a great place to live, work, raise a family and to retire,” Mayor Byrne said.
“I would like to congratulate my fellow Councillors on their new appointment. I have every confidence that these very talented people will do great things over the next three years.
“There is much work to be done and I look forward to working closely with my fellow Councillors, Council staff and residents to build a Shire that we can all be proud of.”