Powerhouse Parramatta Museum
The approved design for the Powerhouse Parramatta Museum. Image – Moreau Kusunoki and Genton
  • The new $840 million Powerhouse Museum at Parramatta will be built this year
  • This follows the usual consultation process and approval from NSW government
  • Not everyone is happy, as a 19th century riverside villa will need to be relocated

Plans for the new $840 million Powerhouse Museum at Parramatta were approved by the NSW Government late last week, despite ongoing opposition from a local action group.

NSW Minister for the Arts Don Harwin said the final decision to move ahead with the plans for the Powerhouse on the banks of the Parramatta River followed extensive community feedback.

Described as ‘the largest cultural investment since the Sydney Opera House’ by Infrastructure New South Wales, the new museum will be the first State cultural institution in western Sydney.

“Now that planning consent has been secured, I am delighted as Arts Minister that Western Sydney will now have the biggest and best museum in NSW and first major cultural institution,” said Mr Harwin.

“With a focus on science and technology, Powerhouse Parramatta will be the museum’s flagship site and hold the revered Powerhouse collection it is renowned for.”

Member for Parramatta Geoff Lee said the new museum will play a pivotal role in propelling the local economy during the pandemic while putting Parramatta on the global culture map.

“This new museum will create 4,000 new jobs while also injecting hundreds of millions of dollars into the economy during construction to help the State power through the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Lee said.

“The Powerhouse Parramatta is something the local community has been very keen for and I’m proud that this Government will be able to deliver it.”

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said the inclusion of green open space as part of the overall plans will be beneficial for locals and visitors to Parramatta.

“One of the great outcomes of this project is that a car park on the foreshore is being replaced by a north-facing, green public space on the banks of the Parramatta River,” Mr Stokes said.

“In addition to the new museum and arts and entertainment space, the plans include 1.5 hectares of public open space and a 30 per cent tree canopy cover to provide shade.”

The winning design by Moreau Kusunoki and Genton was selected in December 2019. Three construction companies were shortlisted last year with the successful tenderer to be announced later this year.

Early works are already underway for the museum complex which will expect to attract more than two million visitors in its first year. To complete development of the new centre, 19th-century Willow Grove property will need to be relocated. This has led to some opposition from a local residents action group.

The Museum’s website states that the early work will include “careful deconstruction” of Willow Grove “in line with the project’s conditions of consent.” Indeed, they promise that “no work will commence on the deconstruction of Willow Grove until a Relocation Framework and Methodology Plan for the process of site selection, consultation and deconstruction has been developed.”

The development is about an hour’s drive north from another new arts centre being built in Sutherland.

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