City News

Darling Street businesses on road to recovery

Memorial flowers on Darling Street to remember victims of the explosion.

The majority of businesses on Darling Street have re-opened following an explosion on Thursday, September 4 and are confident about their prospects for recovery.

Last week, businesses that had been closed for a full two weeks were able to re-open following Leichhardt Council’s opening of the street to traffic, and are pleased with the response from the community since they opened their doors.

Noelene Brittliff, owner of Next on Darling cafe, told City Hub the community support has been very helpful for the cafe’s economic recovery.

“There has been incredible support. We’ve had people come in from all different areas just to help us get back on our feet,” Ms Brittliff said.

“This morning we had people come in from Cronulla who used to live here and who came back to support the businesses. We’ve had customers from Haberfield and Birchgrove and all over Sydney.”

Millie, manager of Local Store on Darling Street also said her business has received a huge amount of support from the community.

“The community has been amazing in supporting us,” she said.

“It has been incredibly busy. People have been walking up and down the street trying to visit all the stores to help out with recovery.”

Millie also said Leichhardt Council’s campaign to bring shoppers back to Rozelle following the re-opening of Darling Street had played a significant role in the business’s success.

While Ms Brittliff agreed that Leichhardt Council had been very helpful in supporting local businesses, she had concerns about the fundraising concert held in King George Park on Sunday, September 21.

“The feedback of locals and businesses along this strip has been that we are all very very disappointed with the function being held down in the park. We can’t understand why it would not have been held on this part of the strip,” she said.

“The fundraiser had one sausage sizzle, whereas we are all here with food and coffee and desperate for business. I don’t think it was well thought out at all.”

Ms Brittliff said it is important that Leichhardt Council follow through on a separate plan to host a street fair along the Darling Street strip to encourage visitors to return to the area.

On Monday, September 22, NSW Labor leader John Robertson and Labor Candidate for Balmain Verity Firth visited businesses along Darling Street to consult with business owners and residents about their recovery.

“We need to encourage people not just from the local area but right across Sydney to come and show support for businesses in this area. People need to come down, buy a coffee, buy some clothes, have a meal and show real support for these businesses,” Mr Robertson said.

“Part of the reason people live in the inner west is because they love the vibrancy of our local shopping strips and our local small businesses,” said Ms Firth.

“This is about supporting the whole inner west and how it does business.”

This week NSW Police charged the convenience store owner believed to be responsible for the explosion with three counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder, three counts of manslaughter and seventeen charges relating to damage of property.

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