City News

Inner West Mayor calls on the NSW government to ‘level the playing field’ following new city plans

Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne has called for the NSW government to 'level the playing field' following new recommendations for the city's reactivation. Photo: Facebook.

By PATRICK MCKENZIE

Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne has urged the NSW government to “level the playing field” across all of Sydney’s suburbs and not just the “pretty dead after dark” CBD following the release of a new Committee for Sydney think tank report recommending new directions for the city.

Cr Byrne has called on the government to support people who prefer to go out in their own neighbourhoods, saying that “they need to realise that support for COVID recovery and public space activation is needed in local suburbs across Sydney, not just in the central city”.

“The fixation of policy makers and the NSW government on throwing money at activating the CBD while failing to invest in main street activation, the arts and culture across the rest of Sydney must end,” Cr Byrne added.

The Future of Sydney CBD Report, which Cr Byrne said had “many good ideas”, recommends that government and local councils work together to implement a number of new initiatives to bolster Sydney’s resilience, creativity and inclusivity, including free public transport zones, widened footpaths and a 24-hour economy.

“Like many councils we have developed detailed plans for COVID recovery through outdoor dining and live performance, but we are yet to receive a single dollar from the government to assist with these efforts,” Cr Byrne said.

“We’re urging the NSW government to level the playing field, get a bit creative with their thinking and share the love around with their efforts to revitalise Sydney.”

Venues closing, streets opening

This comes amid a slew of entertainment venues closures in the last week, including the Lansdowne Hotel, the Giant Dwarf Theatre and the Old 505 Theatre.

The 505, which has operated for 18 years, most recently as the Old 505 Theatre on Eliza Street in Newtown, announced its closure on Friday via social media.

“The past decade has been incredibly difficult for Sydney venues from lockouts, archaic regulation, pressures of gentrification and rising cost of business; but nothing has compared to the impacts we have felt this past two years,” founding directors Cameron Undy and Kerri Glasscock wrote on Facebook.

“The new year’s wave of Omicron has thrown our sector’s plans for recovery out the window, exposed our fragility and to be frank, is just too much.”

The venue will cease operation next month.

The City of Sydney has begun embracing COVID-conscious ways of re-energising the local hospitality and culture scene.

As part of its Summer Street’s program, the council has made Surry Hills’ Crown Street a pedestrian-only space for one day only this Sunday.

The program has already made its way through Potts Point and Redfern and is viewed as a safe way to promote outdoor business activity and local performances. Glebe Point Road is set to participate in Summer Streets on Saturday, February 12.

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