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Phil Donato on the move from Byng Street, as the Lords provides

May 10, 2023

MP Phil Donato's current office on Byng Street. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

By Peter Holmes

State MP Phil Donato is moving office, heading from Orange’s Law & Order Quarter to the city’s most controversial thoroughfare, Lords Place.

Donato told The Orange News Examiner that he and his staff had outgrown the current office, in an old house on Byng Street, near Orange Police Station and the court house.

“It wasn’t really accessible to people who were disabled or in wheelchairs - there are a couple of steps and it’s a fairly narrow doorway,” he said. “We just needed something bigger that was fit for purpose.”

The MP said he and his staff had been looking for a more suitable property for more than three years.

They hoped to move into the new premises, at 194A Lords Place, in June or July, once it had been fitted out as an office.

The new Lords Place office space on the right. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

The premises - between a realtor and a paywalled news organ - was formerly used as a showroom by Aidacare, previously known as Walk on Wheels, to display its products, which include shower chairs, wheelchairs, walking aids, lift chairs and mobility scooters.

Under the parliamentary rules Donato and staff are charged with finding potentially suitable premises in the Orange electorate. There are minimum and maximum sizes of square meterage allowed.

Once they locate a suitable site, details are provided to the NSW Parliament, which engages a contractor to negotiate with the landlord over rent, layout and fit out.

Despite the large number of vacant shops around the CBD, Donato said it had been difficult to find the right premises.

He said he had been following the argy-bargy over the all-new Lords Place, which has been undergoing a $1.4 million makeover since October 22, 2022.

Depending on who you speak to, the revamped Lords Place - with its obstacle course vibe, outdoor dining pods, Gulliver-style pot plants, painted spaces, concrete and wooden seating, baby trees and steel shade structures - will either:

* Leave egg all over the faces of the naysayers, as it becomes an outdoor mecca for dining, meeting friends, drinking coffee, or;

* Leave egg all over the faces of council staff and the councillors, as it limps towards white elephant status.

Honey, I Shrunk the Boss: Orange City Council CEO David Waddell inspects the goings on inside a huge planter pot, creating a "Land of the Giants"-style optical illusion. Supplied.

Land of the Giants. ABC.

“I’ve spoken to some local businesses, and there have been well-reported parking complaints," Donato said. "I’ll get a pretty good up close and personal look.”

The MP said he hoped the new office would lead to “more engagement and more accessibility in a prominent location where people can drop in and see us”.

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