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Kotara abuzz with Joslin Street’s $2 million upgrade


Quaint, quirky, and quality are a few words that come to mind when describing The Letter Q Café in Kotara.

Quiet, however, may not be on that list thanks to ongoing construction around the popular urban hotspot.

The café, which provides a caffeine hit to more than 250 coffeeholics a day, is one of eight small businesses on Joslin Street to be impacted by a City of Newcastle $2 million upgrade.

The revitalisation began last month and is set to include improved pedestrian safety, driver visibility, paving and landscaping, and a new public open space.

The council expects the works to take 12 months to complete.

After striving to keep its doors open during COVID-19, the café’s owners, Kendall Sadler and her mum Deb Sowerby, are once again ready to adapt.

“We’ve removed seating, we’ve added hand-sanitiser, we’ve flipped the website so people can order online, we’ve changed our platters to individually-wrapped sandwiches, so I’m sure we can cope with these changes too,” Ms Sadler said.

The mother-of-two has operated her predominantly-catering business in the suburb for the past eight years.

While she is aware of the expected noise from increased truck movements in and around the zone, it is parking that concerns her most.

“It’s all a bit unknown at the moment but if the parking at the front is affected, that’ll be a bit frustrating,” she said.

“Ninety per cent of our customers are regular and they live or work nearby.

“They just want to be able to pull-in, grab their coffee and go, and if they can’t do that quickly then I won’t be happy.”

Ms Sadler says the public open space to be developed on the corner of Joslin Street and Rae Crescent is “perfect for the area”.

“There are so many young families in the area now,” she said.

“They’ll be able to grab their coffee and hang out at the park. It should be a great space.”

After having four cars written off in eight years, Ms Sadler said improved visibility on Joslin Street was urgently needed.

“Two of mine and two of my baristas,” she said.

“They come racing up from Park Avenue and don’t see the split in the road or down the other end the light pole blocks view when you’re pulling out from the slip road.

“We hear near-misses all the time.”

Corrin Deadman, from neighbouring Koko Hairdressing, agrees the facelift is much-needed.

Koko Hairdressing Kotara owner Corrin Deadman says the revitalisation is long overdue. Photo: Rebecca Riddle

“I think it’s going to be wonderful,” she said.

“It’s well overdue. I’ve been here for nine years and nothing has changed and yet the area has transformed.

“It’s changed from being an older area to now being filled with young families.”

Ms Deadman said her clients were also enthusiastic about the upgrade.

“They keep asking about it and picking up the council pamphlets – I think they’re genuinely excited about it,” she said.

“I think the changes will make the area look fresher and tidier.”

The revitalisation is the result of community feedback received in April 2019.

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