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Panjo building: there’s movement at the station

Panjo, the building earmarked as the iconic structure at the entrance to Campbelltown, but which was never completed, may be on the way back.

Which is saying something because not only was Panjo never finished when the developers ran out of money, in the past couple of years it has been allowed to go to ruin.

Feral youths had been living inside the building and causing major problems for adjoining businesses in that period as well as turning the building façade into an eyesore.

Last time we reported on Panjo we revealed that the inside of the building had been trashed to the point of being a disgusting mess.

But in recent weeks new fencing was erected around the perimeter of the site on the corner of Campbelltown Road and Rose Payten Drive.

And now comes news, from a reliable source, that there are electricians working inside the Panjo as part of a plan to fit it out as a medical centre, child care facility and commercial space.

Let’s hope our sources are on the money and this unfortunate building will be restored to something a bit better than it has been recently.

Part of the history of Panjo includes a recent approval for plans to turn it into serviced apartments, pictured above, but these seem to have been abandanoned, thankfully.

We have contacted the owners for a comment but are still waiting to hear from them.

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Former local news reporter Karen Smith has chimed into the debate about the Fishers’ Ghost art prize by suggesting on Twitter it should be restricted to artists who live in Western Sydney.

It is currently open to anyone and more often than not the $25,000 major prize is won by someone most of us have never heard of or probably never will.

We cheekily suggested the time has come to restrict it to artists in our local area since the money basically comes from the ratepayers of Campbelltown.

Which is something Michael Dagostino, the director of the arts centre, disputed when we sat down to discuss the Voice piece.

He assures me that the prizemoney comes from the entry fees, and I accept that.

More importantly, we not only agreed to disagree, but will work together to provide a forum for local artists to air their views on both the art prize and the operation of the arts centre in general.

So, watch this space.

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He calls himself “Cub Duff’’ but our legal client Patrick Duffy from Duffy Law Group also contributes some interesting photos and videos for us as well.

Sometimes we can even publish them.

The Cub Duff and his partner Annette checked out Campbelltown’s Winterland last Thursday night, and while there he snapped away for us.

He even got up on the “cold, cold Ferris wheel for a better view, but he couldn’t persuade his partner to get on the ice rink.

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Paul Marantz, who grew up in Campbelltown and has been featured previously in the South West Voice, was once set to make it big in golf but it never worked out that way.

He rarely plays these days but ventured out to have a hit a few days ago and was soon on Facebook to tell his friends he chose the worst possible day to play for the first time this year – it was blowing a gale so strong the flags on the greens were bending over.

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It will never be the same again without the Masina family at historic Eschol Park House.

Half of Campbelltown have had wedding receptions and other events there in the 30 years Joe, Maria, and their two sons, John and Paul lived and worked at the stately old mansion with the magnificent gardens.

The family came all the way from Manly to run Eschol Park House but they became one of the biggest promoters of the area’s tourism potential.

Joe, a character bigger than life, was an active member of the local business chamber for many years and like the rest of the family, will be sorely missed.

Campbelltown and Macarthur, though, owe them a debt of gratitude, so thank you on behalf of everyone.

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Not everyone was lamenting the green light for a cemetery at Varroville – some readers saw it as a positive having somewhere close by where they or their loved one can get buried or cremated.

And then there’s one councillor who while not cheering for the decision said the Scenic Hills are just about gone anyway and it won’t make much difference.

“Now we can get on planning for roads and other infrastructure around that part of Campbelltown,’’ the councillor fumed over the phone.

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Councillor Ben Moroney got answers at the last council meeting to the questions he asked about trees.

How many residents have requested trees to be planted since the tree hotline initiative was launched, asked, and the answer was 153 requests between November 2018 and June 2019.

 He also asked how many trees have been planted under this initiative, and the answer was 64, with the balance of trees to be planted by end August.

What is the average wait time between requests being received and actioned?  Answer: This is very difficult to provide due to all trees being planted in the cooler months and in accordance with a program that maximises the efficiency of planting rather than by order of request.

How many requests are currently outstanding?  There are currently 97 requests outstanding and these will be completed by the end of August. This represents 111 trees.

Sorry, we thought you’d like to know.

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