Friday, March 1, 2024

New $1.3m plan for old Darwin laneways

Darwin’s laneways and small streets are set to be transformed into enjoyable places for locals and visitors as part of a partnership between the Federal Government, Northern Territory Government and City of Darwin Council.

The Government today announced the launch of Laneways and Small Streets: An action plan for Darwin City.

The plan is a commitment from the historic Darwin City Deal between the three levels of government to position Darwin as a vibrant and liveable city, the Territory Government said in a statement.

“City of Darwin is proud to continue working with the Federal and Northern Territory Governments to implement The Darwin City Deal. Together we are transforming our City by revitalising the streets and unlocking the potential of Darwin,” said Lord Mayor, Kon Vatskalis.

“Laneways and small streets are an important part of our city’s character and a $1.3 million investment will make a big difference on Chapel Lane and its connection to Mitchell Street and the mall.

“Our goal is to make Chapel Lane a deliberate detour – not just a sneaky shortcut. We will revitalise the laneway by transforming the current parking lane on Mitchell Street into a pedestrian plaza and connecting this area to Chapel Lane through an improved streetscape with landscaping, public art, and cooling.

“The success of taking these simple steps can already be seen on Austin Lane, where the City Deal has resulted in creating a lively and inviting public space which has led to private investment and economic development for Darwin.”

Chief Minister, Natasha Fyles said that by investing in public places, the Territory Government will keep more locals, tourists and investors coming into Darwin, creating jobs and boosting the economy.

“Austin Lane and Spain Place are vibrant and inviting spaces, showcasing the benefits of improving the amenity of public spaces and reclaiming these places for people,” she said.

“I encourage traders and property owners in the laneways and small streets with innovative ideas to work with both the NT Government and City of Darwin to realise the shared vision for activated public spaces.”

The Action Plan aims to coordinate existing and future work and investment in several laneways and small streets in the Darwin Central Business District.

Twelve actions have been identified to be delivered jointly by the NT Government and the City of Darwin Council, who will work closely with traders, property owners, Larrakia and other organisations as required with a focus on:

• Place-making;

• Activation; and

• Economic enablers that encourage private investment.

To support the Action Plan, the NT Government has allocated $1.35 million to revitalise Chapel Lane and the nearby easement alongside Mitchell Street between the Hilton Hotel and TIO Building, in collaboration with the City of Darwin Council.

“The Darwin City Deal is a great example of what we can achieve when all levels of government work collaboratively with stakeholders and, most importantly, the local community,” said said Member for Solomon, Luke Gosling.

“It’s about transforming spaces into places – places locals and tourists actively seek out as destinations to eat, play and stay.

“We’ve got restaurants, bars and street art that would give even the best Melbourne streets and laneways a run for their money, of course, with a Territory flavour. 

“Territorians know what’s best for the Territory, and I encourage the local community to make sure their voice is heard by jumping online to complete the survey and provide their feedback,” he said.

The initiatives complement existing work by the Northern Territory Government and the City of Darwin Council to improve amenities, connectivity and safety in laneways and walkways within the city centre including:

• completed $3 million upgrades to Austin Lane and Spain Place improving and activating the areas;

• monthly Austin Lane dry season markets; and

• street art through the annual Darwin Street Art Festival.

“Making public places more attractive, inviting and usable is a great activation tool,” said Minister for Business, Jobs and Training, Paul Kirby. 

“Gone are the days of laneways being synonymous with skip bins and storage. Today they’re about vibrancy, gathering and fun.

“This investment will continue to give people more reason to come to and enjoy time in the City, which is great for local businesses.”

Locals and visitors are being invited to have their say on the Chapel Lane redevelopment project, which aims to encourage movement through the space, enhance the quality of the pedestrian experience, and provide opportunities for improving economic outcomes for surrounding businesses.

To view the Action Plan, visit Transforming Public Spaces

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