The McKeon Street Plaza project 6-month trial was funded by the State Government’s Streets of Shared Spaces program. The trial ended on 31 March and Council at its meeting 28 March resolved to extend the project to allow for the finalization of consultation and the exploration of options for the space.

For the duration of the project there was an onsite QR Code survey with 262 responses, that demonstrated strong community support for the Plaza to be made permanent with 90% of respondents believing the Plaza should be a permanent space. 7% said “No” and 3% not sure. There was also a consistent connection between Council and the businesses. This connection saw adjustments to layout, programming and parking made to improve the functioning of the Plaza.

As part of the funding acquittal a comprehensive engagement program was conducted to gain feedback on the Plaza layout, content, programming and future. A Neighborhood Sentiment Survey via Your Say Randwick, including a 10,000-letterbox drop was run and achieved 730 responses. Both the local community and businesses were provided opportunities to provide feedback through an online survey, social media posts, informal site meetings and face to face interviews.

In summary, in response to the question Should the Plaza be made permanent 85% said yes, 10% no and 5% were unsure. 48% of respondents Visit the Plaza to eat out and 28% to catch up with friends. 97% see the space as safe, 69% feel it has a good atmosphere, 67% see the Plaza as a good space to socialize and 88% agree the Plaza has a positive impact on the community.

Individual face to face meetings and a briefing session with McKeon/Marine Pde businesses showed that while they have had to adjust to new usage, patterns and changes to customer movement, overall, they are supportive of the Plaza with 80% supporting the plaza to be permanent and 20% unsure.

Spend data from Spendmapp covering dining and specialized retail was collected specifically for the precinct comparing 2022 to 2021. This data showed a modest increase in local spend however a significant increase to visitor spend. For dining & entertainment visitor spend increased by 61%, in specialised retail it increased by 87%. This clearly reflected a benefit to business and an increase in activity in the Plaza.

Taking into account the positive community feedback and increase to business activity Council resolved at its April meeting to make the Plaza permanent. The construction of the permanent McKeon Street Plaza is expected to be completed by the end of September 2023. Access will be retained to local businesses throughout the construction period and locals are encouraged to keep shopping and visiting their favourite local cafes and businesses.

The permanent plaza includes a new stage for future activations, more shade and all-weather cover, seating areas, greenery and planter boxes filled with indigenous flora native to the coast. There is also a community garden and a unique art seat, providing a functional plaza for socialising and relaxing.

Watch this short animation showing the concept design for the new permanent McKeon Street Plaza.