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Councillor Angela Vithoulkas Question on Notice

Construction impacts of Light Rail on Small Business and Residents



26. By Councillor Vithoulkas


Does the City acknowledge that the construction of Light Rail has had a financial impact on small business? Does the City also acknowledge that resident amenity has been impacted?

What economic support has the City provided to assist businesses negate the financial impact?

What support has the City provided to residents and businesses in the last 18 months? Please provide information in detail.

Answer by the Lord Mayor

The City does not have access to the financial data of small businesses and so is unable to determine whether there has been a financial impact.

In the past 12 months, less than 1% of contacts with customer service have been about this topic.

The City has provided the following support to businesses and residents:

Village Business Grants

Surry Hills Creative Precinct

• $27,200

• Salon networking events for local businesses

• 4 x Creative Tours for media influencers, run by Culture Scouts

• Eastside Destination Marketing – collaboration between Surry Hills, Darlinghurst and Potts Point. Media strategy and media famils; marketing collateral including walking map, guide for local businesses, social media toolkit, digital & social media content

Eastside Destination Marketing

• This collective project also receives $20,000, which goes to Darlinghurst Business Partnership and $25,000, which goes to Potts Point Partnership

• Enables business workshops to upskill regarding social media and promotion opportunities: AirBnB, Facebook, Instagram

Haymarket Chamber

• $69,600

• Market of Lights

• Live Play Work guide to Haymarket – promoting local business to residents

• Digital destination marketing

Sydney CBD Chamber

• $7,500 for 3 networking events – each event included light rail construction updates to members

Village Festival Grant – Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre

• Year 2 – $25,000

• Marketing support, promoting local businesses and driving footfall to the local area during construction/festival period

Knowledge Exchange Grant – General Assembly

• 4 x seminars designed to specifically upskill SME’s in digital business opportunities (to counter any shift in foot traffic and better prepare for future proofing business)

City Thought Leaders

• Seminar series @ Customs House

• 10 x seminars for businesses around key topics including how to maximise business opportunities around major events

Chairs in Squares

• Ongoing and ad hoc provision of temporary outdoor furniture in Martin Place, Regimental Square, World Square, QVB and Zone 4 & 5 on George Street during Christmas activations.

• Temporary seating was also provided to support other events and locations including support during Head On exhibition on George Street, seating outside World Square during Chinese New Year and Christmas, and seating outside of QVB. As new locations become available, the City will consider temporary seating opportunities.

Major Events

• Christmas – Christmas in the Villages Shop local campaign

• Chinese New Year– Haymarket promotion on George Street and Dixon Street COUNCIL 15 MAY 2017 QUESTIONS ON NOTICE 09532009

City Sponsored Events

• Coordinated approval process for event activations such as Head On Festival, Vivid, Sydney Festival – use of public domain in areas surrounding George Street

City Hosted workshops

• Inception workshops with CBD businesses and Surry Hills businesses prior to work commencing

• Hosted drop in sessions for Business

Footway Dining Fees

• Waiving of all footway dining fees along the alignment during construction

Central Sydney Light Rail Business Audit

• Quarterly Business Audit survey to measure changes to ground floor businesses along the alignment in our LGA including vacancy, development, new business, amalgamation of tenancy and completion of new buildings

Marketing Activities

• Marketing support is provided for stakeholder activations and associated events aimed at enhancing street and public space vibrancy and footfall near construction zones

• This ongoing marketing activity promotes and amplifies the ‘Open for Business’ messaging and has included distribution of event collateral, cross-promotional opportunities, and sharing of stakeholder content across the City’s channels such as social media, What’s On, and within e-newsletters such as Creative City Sydney and City Business

• To date, highlight activity has included TfNSW’s George Street Christmas activation, the Surry Hills Festival, and support content such as the ‘Live it up Locally’ video series. Additional marketing support has been provided to City sponsored events staged along the construction route such as Head On Festival, along with other associated programs for businesses e.g. the Travel Choices commuter engagement event in Martin Place and the ArtMoves EOI (a public artwork activation project).

• Marketing activity has ensured integration of activation plans with the City’s major events including Christmas and Chinese New Year

Planning and Construction Assistance

• The City employs construction liaison officers who work in the Construction and Building Certification Services Unit, which forms part of the City Planning, Development and Transport Division. The construction liaison officers monitor construction sites and liaise with developers, builders and residents during the construction process.

• The City also includes a condition on some development consents (generally for larger projects) that a construction liaison committee be established for the duration of the building project to enable communication between Council, the developer/builder and affected parties. Community Engagement

• The City’s Strategy Community Consultation team attends all public meetings related to the project to facilitate responses from the City’s services, such as waste and tree management, and to address any resident issues.


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