Last night, the City of Sydney Council unanimously endorsed the $44 million plan to revitalise Haymarket and Chinatown.
The Haymarket and Chinatown Revitalisation Strategy and Public Domain Plan emerged from one of the most extensive multilingual consultations in the city’s history, involving over 1,150 residents, businesses and community members in early discussions, along with 350 responses during the formal public exhibition.
Lord Mayor of Sydney Clover Moore said the community warmly welcomed the city’s commitment to more space for people walking, sitting and dining outdoors, creative lighting, support for business and recognition of Asian culture.
“Haymarket is one of Sydney’s most iconic urban villages and has long been recognised as a focal point for Asian food, cultures, and communities both locally and internationally,” said Moore. “But the last few years have been incredibly challenging for the area.”
“This is a perfect time for a new overarching plan for the area, and our communities have enthusiastically embraced the opportunity to work with us to celebrate the important precinct’s past and help safeguard its future.
“Through our extensive consultation we heard the community’s desire for a diverse, friendly and safe area that’s easy to navigate, with a range of food options and a streetscape that respects and celebrates the social and cultural history of the area.”
The plan includes several key features, such as the rejuvenation of Dixon Street, enhancements to the streetscape to accentuate the cultural significance of Thai Town, and a redesign of Sussex Street to promote walking, cycling, and greening. Additionally, it involves the revitalisation of Belmore Park into a thriving green oasis, the implementation of a creative lighting master plan to celebrate the cultural features of various streets, and upgrades to public domains at Harbour, Goulburn, Ultimo, Quay and Hay streets.
Further, the plan seeks to bolster support for precinct events and activations, introduce amendments to planning controls to make it easier for building owners to reflect the cultural heritage of the area, and facilitate the installation of vibrant building signs and the renewal of smaller buildings.
“The community told us clearly that our first priority should be the heart of Chinatown, Dixon Street, so that work is already underway, and we will be restoring the iconic Ceremonial Gates next year,” said Moore. “We will also begin public domain improvements to strengthen the identity of Thai Town on Campbell Street.”
The city will now actively seek ways to enhance community spaces, promote cultural activities, encourage landowners to revitalise dilapidated buildings and ensure vacant spaces are occupied. The final strategy will also encompass inventive approaches to improve maintenance and waste management in the area.
Since 2010, the City of Sydney has initiated numerous public place investments in the historic precinct, spearheading a significant transformation of the Haymarket area. This includes the $43.5 million project to pedestrianise George Street south, the establishment of new public spaces at Thomas Street, the implementation of public art projects, and upgrades to local streets such as Kimber Lane.
“The new plans take this work to another level while continuing our focus on bringing together different cultural groups to celebrate the area’s heritage, history and features,” said Moore.
“The City of Sydney will invest millions of dollars over the next 10 years to upgrade Goulburn, Sussex, Harbour, Quay and Thomas streets, to complete public domain improvements and reinstate light catenaries on Dixon Street, and upgrade Belmore Park.”