BY JOHN MOYLE
Last Saturday the residents of Kings Cross and Potts Point were stunned and amazed in equal proportions when two City of Sydney councillors made an appearance at the popular Kings Cross Markets.
And there isn’t even an election in sight. At least, not for now.
City of Sydney councillors Christine Forster and Craig Chung were equally surprised by the overwhelming reaction they got from residents as they set up a Council Listening Post next to the internationally renowned El Alamein Fountain.
“We had a very positive response on Saturday and lots of people wanted to talk to us, and it was very clear that people are angry about the Lord Mayor’s position to dismiss them and reject a master plan for the area,” Councillor Christine Forster, City of Sydney said.
“I was surprised and pleased to see them putting themselves out there for any questions,” Martin Denny, resident, Potts Point said.
For such a small area there were plenty of concerns for the residents to voice, but they were mainly worried with a single issue: the DA for Darlinghurst Road.
“There is red hot anger about the Bourbon development, and the fact that we don’t have a master plan,” Councillor Craig Chung said.
Clr Chung is referring to the February 19 City of Sydney Council meeting when Lord Mayor Clover Moore used her casting vote to defeat a motion put forward by Clr Forster to adopt a master plan for development in Kings Cross.
“Certainly the people I spoke to were very positive about the master plan idea, and the Lord Mayor has to answer to the people of Kings Cross and Potts Point as to why they (City of Sydney) have abandoned them,” Cr Forster said.
Another more immediate issue for both residents and visitors to Kings Cross, is the state of the public toilets adjacent to the Kings Cross Police Station and Fitzroy Gardens.
Destinations NSW reported in 2016 that the area attracted 1.2 million international and domestic visitors, and yet there are only three intermittently working public toilets for the entire area.
Long abandoned by locals, who have learned to plan their rest stops, the inconvenient conveniences also have to serve around 5,000 weekend visitors to the popular Kings Cross Markets, who pay rent to the City of Sydney for the use of Fitzroy Gardens.
“The Lord Mayor tells me that the number of service calls to these toilets have been reduced, which is extraordinary thinking that just goes to show how out of touch she is,” Cr Chung said.
“Sadly again, the Lord Mayor has voted the idea down, and we will be keeping the pressure up to get some action on the toilets,” Cr Forster said.
Between 2000 and 2003 the old South Sydney Council threw a lot of money at the then rat run now called Llankelly Place, transforming it with new pavements and lights by architect Peter McGregor.
Today it is one of the most vibrant restaurant and cafe lanes in the whole area, but is beginning to suffer from a lack of love and attention from Town Hall.
“The lights in Llankelly Place are looking a little second hand and the businesses wanted simple signage at the entrances so that people know they are there, but the Lord Mayor just batted that request away,” Cr Forster said.
“Essentially the Lord Mayor is doing nothing, she is sitting on her hands about issues raised by the community for the good of the area, and we have a clear picture of somebody who is not listening and she is out of ideas,” Cr Forster said.
As the area transforms from a night time economy that died because of mismanagement by the City of Sydney and State Government, into a day/night economy driven by quality food outlets and cafes, Kings Cross and Potts Point is in need of all the love it can get.