FROM his 12th floor office in the Parramatta CBD, the new Liberal mayor John Chedid has been enjoying the view.
"I can see cranes, high-rises coming up … it tells me there is activity, there are people coming to the city that see a future," he said.
"My dream would be that our city would be thriving, it would be a city where there would be great buzz. I see great things for Parramatta."
It is the second stint in the mayoral chair for the Lebanese-born former small businessman, one of seven Liberal councillors elected this month after the party gained large swings across western Sydney.
The party now comfortably controls the council - prompting warnings from their political opponents that developer interests will soon dominate the agenda in Sydney's second-largest CBD.
"The [Liberal] team is definitely far more pro-development, and much closer to local property developers than it was in the past," said Labor councillor Julia Finn, who was defeated by Cr Chedid in the mayoral race.
"They are also very anti-heritage, and I think that is a huge problem for Parramatta when you've got world heritage-listed parks and the oldest European buildings in Australia."
The continuing influence of Granville state MP and recently departed Parramatta councillor Tony Issa is fuelling concerns after he was accused of controlling the preselection process to ensure the success of pro-development candidates.
Liberal councillor Andrew Wilson, who had served on the council for 12 years but was not an Issa supporter, was defeated at preselection by Jean Pierre Abood, a home builder who has worked as a construction project manager. Cr Wilson was later elected to the council as an independent.
Steven Issa, the MP's son, was endorsed in his father's ward and later elected, becoming deputy mayor at his first council meeting.
Tony Issa's sway was reportedly discussed at a July meeting of the Liberals' state executive. However Cr Chedid denied that Mr Issa, who has been dubbed "the Graham Richardson of the Liberal Party", held undue influence over the council.
"Tony [Issa] … has a lot of interest in this city. He is just supplying us with all the necessary support we need," he said.
"I'm about sustainable growth. The people that we've elected … are about representing the interests of the ratepayers. There is no agenda for developers."
He cited the 65-storey Paramatta Square development and a master plan for the river foreshore as key to revitalising the city and attracting employment and investment. Establishing new transport links, including a light rail line to the north-west Sydney growth area, were also critical.
Cr Chedid will push for a review of the council's landmark ban on smoking in outdoor dining areas, saying the ruling was not consistent with surrounding suburbs and restaurant owners are facing "difficult times".