Sydney’s Circular Quay will get a dramatic overhaul with a New York-style “high line” walkway featuring in a long-term plan to overhaul the iconic harbourside gate to the city.
The long-awaited design includes public green space, new ferry piers, and the high line walkway along the Cahill Expressway, overlooking Sydney Harbour, under the NSW government’s vision.
Some $216m has been allocated for further design work, planning approvals, an environmental impact statement, and community consultation to get the project “shovel ready” in the upcoming NSW budget, to be handed down on Tuesday.
The project would create up to 1,000 jobs during construction and a new iconic walk and viewing platform, the premier, Dominic Perrottet, said on Monday.
“The scar of the Cahill Expressway splits our amazing city from its best asset,” he said.
Artist’s impression of the revitalized Circular Quay. Photograph: NSW Government
“While we cannot get rid of it right now, I’m delighted we can enhance it and create one of the world’s truly great walks.”
The investment would lead to millions of tourism dollars flowing back into businesses at Circular Quay.
The treasurer, Matt Kean, said the investment would shore up planning and design works so future governments could make final investment decisions.
“This renewal would create a more dynamic space for visitors and locals to enjoy new places to eat, drink and shop,” he said.
“The plan includes options to upgrade the piers and revamp the train station to reaffirm Circular Quay as a key transport hub for Sydney.
“Our vision for Circular Quay would transform the world’s gateway to Australia and provide a truly unique experience, as the number of visitors to Sydney returns to the 15 million we welcomed annually before Covid-19,” Kean said.
Infrastructure and cities minister Rob Stokes says a walk with viewing platforms will also link the Royal Botanic Gardens to the Observatory Park. Stargazer Lawns will also become part of the design.
“For too long, Circular Quay has not lived up to its potential, but this plan will see Sydney have the front door it deserves and better reflect the spectacular city we live in,” he said.
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NSW Labor transport spokesperson, Jo Haylen, said the government had made five announcements to revitalize the quay over the past five years without an agreed design or business case.
“Unfortunately, the people of Sydney have heard this all before from the government,” Haylen said.
“They’ve made grandiose promises about Circular Quay for years but have delivered nothing.
“[Circular Quay]needs an upgrade ton to be a 21st-century transport hub, but instead of real action, we’ve seen announcement after announcement and review after review.”