Riverstone residents came up with a range of suggestions to improve their suburb at a community meeting held at St John’s Primary School on Tuesday night.
Business and community group members, school principals, residents, councillors and doctors were joined by political representatives from all levels of government at the forum.
Riverstone MP Kevin Conolly, federal Greenway MP Michelle Rowland and Blacktown mayor Len Robinson each addressed the group of more than 80 attendees.
Ms Rowland said the ideas discussed at the meeting were not ‘‘pie in the sky’’.
‘‘I look forward to working with you all to advocate a very clear vision for this area and a very clear set of outcomes which are achievable,’’ she said.
An emphasis on existing strengths, recreation facilities, the beautification of Main Street and making more of Riverstone’s historic buildings were among the projects flagged in small group discussions.
Several residents named the suburb’s community spirit as an asset.
Jessica Morgan of Riverstone Neighbourhood Centre said she understood businesses concern at losing customers to newer areas but said added recreational facilities could be a way for planners to lift the suburb.
‘‘Businesses will thrive if people are happy,’’ she said.
‘‘They need to think of the people first.’’
Read more in Tuesday’s paper.
St John's Primary School principal Marian Bell organised the public meeting to discuss the
future of Riverstone.
She said concern about the dwindling number of enrolments at the school prompted the meeting.
There are 60 fewer students at the school now than five years ago.
‘‘The statistics are telling us there are more primary school aged children living in Riverstone than attend the Riverstone schools.
‘‘This is where this meeting has come from,’’ she said. ‘‘Why are people looking outside
of the area for education?’’
Mrs Bell said conversations with local business people also uncovered concern at how quiet the
suburb had become and fears the planned overpass at Garfield Road would add to the problem.
‘‘People started saying ‘You know what? I’m a hairdresser. People don’t come to me, they go to Rouse Hill, which is an appealing new suburb with a beautiful new shopping centre’ or ‘Yep, I’m an accountant and I’m also losing business to the newer areas’.
‘‘Everyone is feeling the same thing, so I think that catch cry is ‘How can we make Riverstone the suburb of choice in north-western Sydney?’’’