Following on from first announcing his bold plans to transform Sydney’s rundown shopping strip of Parramatta Road into a live music and culture precinct, Leichhardt Mayor Darcy Byrne has garnered unanimous support from local Council.
Mayor Byrne first joined the fight to save and overhaul Sydney’s live music scene when he stepped in to help the iconic Annandale and, adhering to venue owners’ woes that the Council’s strict fines and litigations from noise complaints, Byrne then saw the legislation passed for his “good neighbour policy” which will now allow for easier operating of venues with longer trading hours and increased allowances for noise.
What came next was Byrne’s boldest move in his plight to rejuvenate Sydney’s music scene, in his own words, “a vision for Parramatta Road which will see it become for Sydney what Broadway and Tin Pan Alley have been to New York,” which has now enlisted unanimous support from the Council, as theMusic reports.
Together, these parties will move to investigate the relevant policies and programs to see exactly how Parramatta can be turned into a thriving music hub. Immediately after his plan was passed, Byrne gave his thanks to “the huge number of young people and music lovers who turned up to demand support.”
“I think the key message is that the momentum for a revival of Sydney’s live music scene is becoming unstoppable as more and more young people stand up and speak out,” he said. “There’s a growing consensus across local government and in the community that we’ve got to do something to revive live music.”
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Byrne says Sydney now has two choices: “do we revert to being a boring 1950s-style city where everyone goes home on Saturday night to watch an English detective film, or do we have a fun, interesting and vibrant city where you can go out and have a good time, catch a show, and know that you’re part of a big city culture?” “There’s a growing consensus across local government and in the community that we’ve got to do something to revive live music.” Leichhardt Mayor Darcy Byrne
Byrne’s next steps will be winning the support of NSW Planning Minister Brad Hazzard, Marrickville’s Mayor Victor Macri and Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, of which he says “I hope and expect to get.”
This is likely, seeing as Lord Mayor Clover Moore has recently spearheaded Sydney’s new cultural policy ‘Creative City’, designed to reinvigorate the NSW capital’s cultural landscape. Moore is also a member of Sydney’s Live Music and Live Performance Taskforce, which has already been an avid supporter of Mayor Byrne’s proposal for a new music precinct.
In terms of a timeline, Mayor Byrne remains “determined” to see his plans come to life by the end of the year, saying “it’s not a simple process, but my intention is that this does not become a long-term plan. I want to see councils adopting new planning controls in 2013.”
However, QMusic’s Denise Foley has advised that this ambitious framing for Byrne’s plan may take a little longer than expected, using Brisbane’s recent revamping of Fortitude Valley as a comparison.
“We understand that Sydney are looking to Brisbane’s experience and we do have the best working model here,” says Mrs Foley. “There are still challenges for live music venues that often relate to [them] being tenants and not owner occupiers and the vulnerability that brings for security of tenure.”
“We do think other states can learn from the experience,” she said. “The Valley required a lot of work to reach that solution and commitment from many stakeholders and the process took about three years.”
Regardless of when Sydney’s inner-west transformation into a buzzing music and cultural hub is complete, the new comes as an incredibly exciting and promising turn of events for Sydney music fans.