Local businesses have welcomed City of Sydney plans for a major upgrade of Chinatown with wider footpaths and a new pedestrian boulevard to serve the growing numbers of people visiting the historic area.
Councillors have adopted a revised plan for Chinatown and surrounding areas to guide the City’s capital works spending over coming years as nearby developments increase the numbers of residents, workers and visitors in the area.
The revised plan adopted by the City updates a plan in place since 2010. The earlier plan has guided upgrades to Little Hay Street, Factory Street and Kimber Lane, refurbishment of the Haymarket Library, construction of a Visitor Information Kiosk and the upgrade and partial closure of Thomas Street.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said that since the 2010 plan was adopted, major new developments had been initiated in and around Chinatown.
“In the past five years massive changes have been unveiled for Chinatown and surrounding areas, especially in Darling Harbour with new exhibition and convention facilities and thousands more residents and workers,” the Lord Mayor said.
“We’ve also had the NSW Government’s decision to build the light rail in George Street, which will transform the heart of the city and have a positive impact on Chinatown, encouraging more people into this buzzing area.
“With these changes underway, we’ve updated our plans to make Chinatown more appealing to the growing number of pedestrians and visitors to this historic village.”
A key part of the long term plan is to create a large pedestrian plaza on Hay Street, between Sussex and Harbour streets, with trees and street furniture where people can relax and enjoy the Chinatown atmosphere.
The revised plan also recommends refurbishment of Belmore Park, although this will require coordination with the light rail project, as part of the park is planned to be used as a construction compound.
The plans for Chinatown were warmly received when placed on public exhibition in August and September last year.
The Haymarket Chamber of Commerce said its members strongly support improvements to public areas that have already taken place and were keen for further upgrades providing more space for pedestrians, especially in Hay Street.
While there is some uncertainty about traffic arrangements in Chinatown after the light rail begins, the Chamber said a “do nothing and wait” approach should be avoided and works should proceed as quickly as possible.
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