While Parramatta Light Rail is set to be transformative, the city’s mayor says local businesses need to be kept in the loop over how the project will affect them.
CITY of Parramatta Lord Mayor Cr Bob Dwyer has raised concerns about a lack of clarity surrounding the future of outdoor dining during light rail construction.
“Council staff recently visited Eat Street businesses and 84 per cent said Transport for NSW hadn’t informed them of their proposed design for outdoor dining and umbrella structures,” Cr Dwyer said.
“TfNSW is putting the livelihoods of these business owners at risk by not being upfront about their proposed plans to cut the iconic street’s outdoor dining capacity by 70 per cent.
“For 12 months, we’ve worked tirelessly with TfNSW in good faith to try to achieve the best outcome for Eat Street businesses, including putting forward our recommendations about the number of trees and shelter structures.”
Cr Dwyer said his priority was to ensure Eat Street could return to its former glory as one of Sydney’s premier dining districts.
“When the Parramatta Light Rail project began, TfNSW repeatedly assured us they’d learnt their lessons from light rail construction in Sydney’s CBD and that it would not significantly impact our local businesses,” he said.
“Disappointingly, this has not been the case.”
Cr Dwyer said that even though Parramatta Light Rail was a TfNSW project, Council had been doing the heavy lifting regarding liaising with, and advocating for, Eat Street businesses about on-street dining.
“While Parramatta Light Rail will transform our City for generations to come, helping to make Parramatta more accessible and easier to navigate, it shouldn’t come at the cost of our local businesses.”
On 28 March 2018, Council and TfNSW signed a Parramatta Light Rail Development Agreement which committed TfNSW, as the project owner, to liaise with businesses and make reasonable efforts to retain as much on-street dining space as possible.
Council believes TfNSW has failed to meet these obligations and has issued a Default Notice following unanimous endorsement at a Council Meeting on Monday 8 March.
“Council has offered to work with TfNSW to liaise with businesses and look at ways to reduce the impact of Parramatta Light Rail on on-street dining,” Cr Dwyer said.