Works on Norton Street are taking shape ahead of an expected completion date next month, with a $22.5 million grant from 2018 financing the facelift for the area.
Streetscape works hope to provide a safer place for pedestrians and instil a greater sense of pride in the public domain but have frustrated residents who believe alternate measures, including the widening of footpaths, al fresco dining and greater public transport options could be more effective as part of the development.
“Electric buses are a great improvement to Norton Street but the community laments the loss of bus stops along Norton [Street],” Inner West councillor Marghanita da Cruz told City Hub.
“There is a need for pick up points for shoppers outside Norton Plaza and the Italian forum.”
An Inner West Council spokesperson said that the works will “not only make the area more attractive, but also provide more safety for pedestrians”, adding that enhancing the pedestrian experience is a high priority for council.
Under the new plans, six multifunction ‘smart’ poles will be installed on the Norton Street strip between Parramatta Road and Norton Plaza, with the spokesperson confirming to City Hub that they would “feature banner arms for community events and advertising”.
According to Inner West Council, construction is expected to be completed by the end of the month following delays from COVID-19 lockdowns and approval processes from Transport for NSW, with completion marked for February.
The new streetscape will also include a new gateway light work, Chiaroscuro, on Norton Street, with artists Alessandra Rossi and Adam Cruikshank wanting to pay homage to the Italian who migrated to Australia in the 1950s and 60s, saying that the assembly of multicoloured cell structures would form a “canopy of colour and intrigue” that would “symbolise interconnectedness” in the area. The artwork is expected to be installed in April.
The grant was provided by the Parramatta Road Urban Amenity Improvement Program in 2018 as part of a program to improve areas around Parramatta Road. The Norton Street strip was one of seven projects financed under the grant, with council saying in 2018 that the public domain improvements “should be completed by 2021”.
Works on Norton Street come as a new Inner West council chamber prepares for the first ordinary meeting of its term next month, following December’s local elections.
Inaugural Inner West mayor Darcy Byrne was returned to the posting last month behind the strength of his eight-seat Labor voting bloc, while Jessica D’Arienzo was promoted to the deputy mayoralty after defeating Independent and previous deputy mayor, Pauline Lockie. Councillors will next meet on February 8.