Darlinghurst business owners have called on the City of Sydney Council to increase funding for economic development over the next four years.

The Darlinghurst Business Partnership (DBP) and the Business Alliance of the City of Sydney (BACS) raised concerns that the City of Sydney’s Corporate Plan for 2010-13 is too focused on capital works and does not provide enough provisions for economic development.

The plan allocates 0.65 percent of the overall budget to economic development strategies, compared to 75 percent of the budget being directed towards investment in capital works, including the further development of cycleways and upgrades on streets and parks.

It is difficult to understand the value the City of Sydney attributes to the need to invest in the City’s future prosperity, BACS’ submission to council read.

The value and development of the Village, or middle economy, seem to be outweighed by the need for Capital Works in the LGA. With no indication of the expected future economic contribution these create [it] is difficult to wholeheartedly support these programs at the expense of robust planning or immediate action to re-invigorate the City’s Economy [sic].

The Darlinghurst Business Partnership added concerns the draft plan provides no specific indications of council’s plans to develop its Oxford St Safety Strategy, council-owned properties along Oxford St or the Oxford St Cultural Quarter Strategy.

None of these ongoing issues appear in any way that would provide the community surety of any forward movement from where we are today -” in an absolute mess, DBP said in their submission to council.

We depend on Council, as our immediate Local Authority, to do something that would progress the area especially given the state of neglect it has fallen into over the last five years.

The city budget overall directly and indirectly supports the city’s economic development across many areas of council work, a spokesman for COS said. The funds allocated to the Economic Development administrative unit reflects only a fraction of the City’s full support and investment in the local economy.

The city’s capital works program helps implement Sustainable Sydney 2030 to ensure that our city is sustainable -” economically, socially, culturally and environmentally. Capital works increase the attractiveness and liveability of the City’s villages and this impacts positively on local businesses by attracting visitors, shoppers and residents.

He said drafts of the Cultural Quarter Strategy Consultation reports -” which were initially slated to come before council in July -” would be tabled before council later this year for further public consultation, prior to finalisation.

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