LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Forget food court, turn Myer space into council chambers

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Rhonda Doyle, member and founder of FOOD WEEK and founder of Orange Community Kitchen, does not believe the concept of a food court in the former Myer building is a good one. Photo: CARLA FREEDMAN
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Rhonda Doyle, member and founder of FOOD WEEK and founder of Orange Community Kitchen, does not believe the concept of a food court in the former Myer building is a good one. Photo: CARLA FREEDMAN

I wish to express my concern about the proposal before Orange City Council to re-purpose the former Myer building in Orange into a food court.

I see a number of problems with this proposal.

Orange lacks the population size, density of retail outlets and concentration of office workers to viably support this food court. Traditionally, food courts have thrived in economic powerhouses like the CBD of Sydney, Westfield Parramatta and diverse population centres like Chinatown in Haymarket.

The Myer building fronting our breezy Post Office Lane could hardly be described as a suntrap, and I believe it is not a suitable location for an after-business-hours eating place.

It should noted that eating places in suburban Sydney shopping developments (like the new concept Tramsheds at Glebe) are not supported enough during the working week, and only survive because of the trade at weekends, when people have the time to shop and recreate. 

It would be very distressing to witness any more of our existing establishments falter and fold because the significant investment in their enterprises is diluted by this proposed development.

Rhonda Doyle, member and founder of FOOD WEEK

While there are large employee numbers at places like the hospital and the soon-to-be-relocated Department of Primary Industries, these enterprises largely cater for their staff on site.

There would be little possibility of these employees travelling all the way into town for food and a coffee during their daily lunch breaks.

Given our regions successful FOOD promotion, Orange already has a fantastic range of eateries and cafes catering for all levels of culinary demand.

From simple sandwiches and cafe fare to restaurants of national and world class dining, these much-loved and established local businesses deserve our support and recommendation to visitors.

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It would be very distressing to witness any more of our existing establishments falter and fold because the significant investment in their enterprises is diluted by this proposed development.

New thinking is required as to how best use the most central of all locations in Orange. I would like to suggest that vacated Myer building could become the new headquarters for Orange City Council.

For example, shop front advertising of Development Applications and environmental issues would better inform our pubic of relevant local government issues vital to the development of our beautiful city.

Council will achieve greater visibility, relevance and accessibility with its constituents in such a central position.

Further, the vacated council accommodation would then be free to be modified for use by Orange Regional Conservatorium and Orange Visitor Information Centre. Shifting the visitors centre would efficiently extend the footprint of Orange Regional Museum.

A fabulous cultural precinct would be consolidated consisting of the Orange Library, Orange Regional Gallery, the museum, Orange Civic Theatre, and the visitors centre.

Any re-purposed office space excess to requirements could be used for storage for visual arts and collections for our new Museum.  

Thanks,

Rhonda Doyle, member and founder of FOOD WEEK and founder of Orange Community Kitchen

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