Shop signs – Does Strathfield want English only?

Trouble is brewing in Strathfield Council after Independent councillor Matthew Blackmore moved a proposal at a council meeting calling for the reduction of foreign words on shopfront signs. It’s not apparent what benefit this would bring to the diversity and myriad of cultures the Inner West is home to. If these new bylaws were imposed, inner west shop owners would have to translate their foreign-language signs, menus and window posters into English, with other languages only permitted if they were a direct translation of the English and took up less than 30 percent of the size of the sign’s English text. Local business, residents and politicians have called into question whether this constitutes an undermining of multicultural diversity. But Strathfield Chamber of Commerce secretary Sue McDonald believes the policy will boost patronage. The proposal is tied to a shopfront strategy being developed by the council, hoping to improve “street appeal” and the “cleanliness of shopfronts”. The proposed sign changes are expected to be felt most in Strathfield and Homebush West, home to large concentrations of Korean restaurants and Chinese shops. All councillors at the April meeting voted in favour of the motion, and the Council will seek feedback next month, with a draft policy listed on the council website.

Flower power

The long-running Flower Power battle continues as the Flower Power Group now wishes to increase the scope of its development proposal at 27 Mitchell St after initial plans were approved in 2016. The company’s bosses say their high-rise development plans in Enfield will assist the State Government in hitting their housing targets, thus justifying the expansion of their site. The new proposal would see six storeys and 323 units on the land of the garden and retail site. A public meeting will be convened and discussions will continue, with Strathfield state Labor MP Jodi McKay labelling the new plan as an example of “flaws in the planning system”.