A new plan to upgrade and reinvigorate Dixon Street, Chinatown, has been unanimously endorsed by the City of Sydney Council.
Consultation with more than 1,150 residents and businesses shaped the plan, which includes $5 million to revive Dixon Street Mall, restore its famed gates, install new seating and creative lighting overlays and improve services to support events.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said it was important for the City to work with local communities to breathe new life into the historic area, especially following the impacts of Covid-19.
“Our community in Chinatown was one of the first and hardest hit by the pandemic, and it continues to suffer while international tourism and study has not yet fully returned,” the Lord Mayor said.
“While we have been safely activating public places and inviting people back to experience all Chinatown has to offer since Covid restrictions were eased, we’re excited to ensure its long-term future by reinvigorating Dixon Street as a dynamic space for people, daily life and culture.
“Our communities have enthusiastically embraced the opportunity to help us shape the Dixon Street precinct and painted a picture that celebrates the diversity of Asian cultures, food and history.
“We know the renewal of the Chinatown Gates is incredibly important and it is a focus for us as we move forward with our plans.”
“Since 2010, the City has initiated numerous public place investments in the historic Chinatown precinct, with a large-scale transformation of the Haymarket area through the $43.5 million pedestrianisation of George Street south, public art projects and upgrades to local streets.
“Now through our proposed public domain improvements in the heart of Chinatown, we will make the area an even more attractive environment for people to walk around and spend time, which will in turn support local businesses and economic activity.”
Residents, businesses and visitors were invited to complete surveys and attend community forums in English and Asian languages to ensure they were part of the plans for the area.
Contributors highlighted the need to reflect the cultural diversity of the area, increasing authentic and affordable food and retail experiences. They said it was important to respect the heritage and traditions of Chinatown while exploring exciting new ways to express culture.
“We know an overwhelming majority of our residents want the diverse culture in Dixon Street preserved while increasing outdoor activities like alfresco dining and special events as part of the long-term vision for the precinct,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Our precinct activation grants have already facilitated events like the fabulous Neon Playground and we will continuing working hard to draw people to and celebrate this wonderful and important precinct.
“Haymarket’s unique and distinctive urban character is lively, diverse and ever changing, characterised by dining and shopping, and it’s a popular destination for locals and tourists. The growing influence of other Asian cultures and communities adds to an increasing diversity of businesses throughout the area.”
The City of Sydney is also updating its Chinatown public domain plan of 2015 to outline future improvements that respond to the vision of local communities.
Key long-term priorities for Haymarket are:
- boosting lighting to create a safe and colourful atmosphere
- increasing events, activities and outdoor dining on the streets
- more seating
- preserving the local character and cultural heritage
- extending trading hours to boost the thriving nightlife
- more public art.
Dixon Street’s management is split between the City of Sydney and the NSW Government, with Placemaking NSW taking over Dixon Street north between Goulburn and Liverpool streets and the City of Sydney managing the pedestrianised area between Goulburn and Hay streets.
“We’re urging the State Government to work with us in a united way to improve Dixon Street north and best meet the needs of the local communities,” the Lord Mayor said.
The City of Sydney will carry out an economic study in Haymarket to help support business and boost activity in the area as well as starting the design process for the public domain upgrades early next year.
For more details on the City of Sydney’s projects and events in Haymarket and support for business, go to cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/haymarket-precinct