Rozelle street to reopen after blast


Rozelle business owners are relieved over the planned partial reopening of Darling Street.


The area, in Sydney’s inner west, was shut down when a blast killed three people earlier this month.

Police forensics continued examining the site throughout Saturday night and Sunday as debris was slowly cleared.

The exclusion zone will be reduced by 6am Wednesday, with an inbound lane and an outbound lane reopening on Darling Street to cars between Nelson and Merton streets, police said.

There will still be some closures in some sections of the affected area.

The eastern-side footpath running though the same area is also due to reopen on Wednesday.

“Safety remains our priority. However, we understand the importance of reopening the area for the benefit of businesses and the local community,” Inspector Gary Coffey said in a statement on Sunday.

C’est Bon cafe owner Astrid Kattoen was relieved by the news as business was still lagging.

“That’s fantastic, it just needs to happen,” she said.

“They should clear it up. There’s no reason the barricades should be up because the building is gone and there’s no asbestos.”

The explosion left the inner-western suburb reeling. Once the community came to terms with the three deaths it caused, they then had to cope with part of Darling Street being sealed off and business slowing.

Leichhardt mayor Darcy Byrne estimated the local economy suffered a $1.5 million hit.

In response, the local council launched measures to lure Sydneysiders back to the area, including a marketing campaign titled “Rozelle Needs You – Can you shop local?”

Darling Fresh fruit and vegetable shop owner Eddie Obeid said locals had been very supportive. But everyone else seemed to stay away.

“I think people still think Darling Street is fully blocked off,” he said.

“We used to get a lot of people from outside Rozelle.

“It’s dramatic – the trouble it’s caused, mostly the loss of life, and then the closure of the street.”

An open air concert will be held in a Rozelle park on Sunday, September 21, and a street fair will be staged on Darling Street when it completely reopens.

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