City of Sydney to delay QMS street furniture contract again due to lockdown

Mumbrella can reveal the transition of the City of Sydney street furniture contract from JC Decaux to QMS has been delayed again, this time by two months, with Sydney lockdowns impacting the construction industry significantly.

A delay in the arrival of essential parts and infrastructure left the City of Sydney with little choice but to push back the removal and installation of street furniture, which was set to begin in September.

In the updated timeline, the replacing of bus shelters will now commence 1 November in Sydney’s surrounding suburbs, and from 18 January, 2022, in the CBD itself. This construction will take place over a six-month period.

JC Decaux will continue to maintain the current bus shelter infrastructure in the interim.

A spokesperson for the City of Sydney said that after consulting with both JC Decaux and QMS, the decision was made to delay the bus shelter removal.

“The city believes this will provide the best support to our retailers, local businesses, hospitality venues and workers by minimising disruption to trading over the traditionally busiest Christmas and New Year periods,” they said.

There are also updated timelines for the changeover of other parts of the City of Sydney’s street furniture network, with the replacement of street kiosks not going ahead until 15 February, 2022.

During this transition, 18 of the city’s 55 street kiosks will be replaced with new kiosk designs by QMS. The City of Sydney previous waived all rent due from kiosk operators from 1 April, 2020 through to 28 March, 2021, and all operators have been granted an additional rent reduction from 29 March 2021 to 15 February 2022.

“All kiosks will be removed from city streets and recycled in accordance with the approved JC Decaux sustainability plan. This will reduce clutter on our streets, improve accessibility, enhance pedestrian amenity and further support the city’s post-COVID recovery,” a City of Sydney spokesperson said.

One aspect of the transition which will still take place from next month will be the rollout of new bins and benches, set to begin on 15 September.

“The facility upgrades will improve the city’s capability to display real-time event and emergency information on modern, sustainably designed and energy efficient street furniture,” a spokesperson said. “The new furniture will help modernise our streets and provide significant revenue to the City, which will help us maintain high quality services and public spaces for residents, businesses and visitors.

“Given the impact of the ongoing COVID lockdowns on businesses, residents and workers in our local government area, the city will continue to do all it can to support business operators across inner-Sydney and minimise disruption wherever possible.”

QMS was originally awarded the street furniture and outdoor advertising contract for City of Sydney in June of 2020, after a prolonged negotiation process, and after Australia’s largest out-of-home contract opened up expressions of interest (EOI) in 2017.

The new QMS network will cover 26 square kilometres, including 10 distinctive precincts across 33 of Sydney’s most desirable suburbs, including the CBD.

Jemma Enright, who was appointed by QMS in April to lead the new City of Sydney media offering, said the delay is the “sensible” course of action.

“The delay isn’t surprising. It is the sensible thing to do given the current situation, and we are working closely with the City of Sydney to ensure the best possible outcome.”

Enright also revealed that over 30 brands have expressed interest in being launch partners with QMS for the street furniture network.

“Many marketers and agencies want their brands to be part of the early rollout to capitalise on the attention the new network will command. It is a rare opportunity to be associated with such an exciting launch and gain competitive advantage in both cut-through to a high-value audience and preferential buying conditions throughout 2022.”

QMS chief customer officer, Mark Fairhurst, added: “We are proud of what we have designed and developed in collaboration with Grimshaw Architects and the City of Sydney.

We are very excited by how it will transform Sydney into one of the world’s most progressive cities in terms of the provision of public infrastructure.

“The QMS and City of Sydney network will include all-new architecturally designed street furniture – setting a new standard for function, accessibility and sustainability – and larger, more premium displays that are predominantly digital and optimised for impact and attention.”

JC Decaux’s City of Sydney contract was originally set to end in 2018, but has been extended on multiple occasions. JC Decaux declined to comment on the latest contract extension.

QMS is still taking expressions of interest from marketers and agencies.


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