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Tuesday 12 December 2023

Sydney's $44 million facelift for Chinatown and Haymarket

Sydney's Chinatown/Haymarket precinct was looking decidedly down at heel when I visited a few weeks ago.

The Haymarket and Chinatown are now set for a $44 million facelift, with ambitious plans for the area endorsed unanimously by the City of Sydney Council.

The Haymarket and Chinatown Revitalisation Strategy and Public Domain Plan were shaped by one of the largest multilingual consultations in the City’s history, with more than 1,150 residents, businesses and community members taking part in discussions over the early plans and 350 responses to the formal public exhibition.

Lord Mayor 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, Moore said. "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.

“Our plans include a long-term upgrade of public space, with more trees, seats, lighting and integrated public art, as well as a proposed review of planning controls to support vibrant building signage and renewal of smaller buildings as a point of difference from the city centre.

“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.

“We will also begin public domain improvements to strengthen the identity of Thai Town on Campbell Street.”

The City will explore opportunities to boost community space in the area and increase cultural activities, as well as encourage landowners to upgrade rundown buildings and ensure vacant space is occupied. Innovative ways to improve maintenance and waste management in the area will also feature in the final strategy.

Image: Revamped Harbour Street. Provided.

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