Friday, May 29, 2009

Another cannonball lobs into Oxford Street

The small retail tenants of lower Oxford St, much of which is owned by Council but untenanted, are again kicking up a stink at their treatment. Seems Council tenants are being hit with an unexpected Land Tax, undisclosed by Council during lease negotiations, on top of their more general woes.

Council denies this, saying it's between the State Government and the tenants as Councils are exempt from the unpopular and regressive tax.

Retailers say the street is degenerating into a vomit-stained night-only economy. Council's strategy of bashing licensed premises might make the lawyers rich but it fails to address the underlying causes of the problem. Gay culture is changing and moving west so venues are being promoted more to suburbans, bringing more of the problems of Kings Cross to Oxford St.

The street at peak hours remains a six-lane freeway serving Eastern Suburbs car drivers. 

Council can't do much about that RTA-inspired disaster but it could, as promised for years, renovate and tenant their vast upstairs office and hotel spaces. If this put an extra hundred people in the street every day, and each spent say $20 a day, it would be a small but real and sustainable move in the right direction. 

The locals have launched a website asking for suggestions. Any other ideas, you?

Picture: The Hyde Park cannon commemorating the sinking of the Sydney takes aim at Oxford Street.

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