President’s Letter to Members July 2016 © Adelaide West End Association
In 2010, in my first letter to Adelaide West End Association (AWEA) members I wrote of the significant changes that were mooted for our part of the city and of the challenges and opportunities that were ahead for our community. This was a time when the precinct received relentlessly negative press with headlines like ‘wild west warzone’ bemoaning the state of the west end and calling for ‘something to be done’…much of this was overblown, but there certainly was no smoke without fire; the precinct had a somewhat unloved quality about it, it was unmanageably busy for 1-2 nights per week and very quiet the rest of the time. New business was not moving into the area and many of the existing traders were looking to get out. ‘Alcohol fueled violence’ was firmly on the public and government radar and there is no doubt that the problems of antisocial behaviours on the city’s streets from police statistics were concentrated in Hindley Street in particular. The West End was seen as a problem place requiring a solution. (Heavy policing, large fines, mobile lockups, construction of large gates, raising it to the ground and starting again etc) This was not seen as a place for opportunity. We all knew it had the capacity to become a really interesting creative counterpoint to Rundle Mall and Rundle Street precincts, where business could thrive as part of the main commercial axis of the city, if we could start a more constructive conversation about it.
The AWEA at the time sought to change this conversation firstly through reminding anyone that would listen that the area had an amazing history, the West End of Hindley Street as everyone now has been reminded was Adelaide’s commercial and civic centre in the early years of the settlement and although its fate has waxed and waned over the years it has always been a place for opportunity particularly for new immigrant groups, creative people and small business. Everyone has a story about Hindley Street in particular and the street that was being portrayed so negatively, in reality has been the place for the pioneers of commerce, entertainment, hospitality, theatre, art and design in our city. There was no doubt that much had been lost but there was much to be proud of and even more to be gained. Over the last seven years the West End has regained its position as a vital and interesting part of the city with many new business again seeking opportunity in our part of town.
Much has changed and the sorts of conversations about ‘things needing to be done’ have changed significantly to ‘what if we tried this..?’ or “what would happen if.?.”..All our members and the West End Association executive should be duly proud of being a key voice in enabling this shift of attitude about our precinct. The AWEA has been a highly effective, focused and progressive voice in our city. We have worked constructively with State and Local Government and other community stakeholders, sometimes holding unpopular policy positions but always with the health and vitality of the whole precinct and outcomes that benefit its many varied businesses, institutions and communities.
The precinct is a large one and the AWEA has very active with very limited resources; from Waymouth Street in the precincts south east, delivering its hugely successful (award winning) street party to working with traders in the north west corner helping to create new spaces for creative businesses to take advantage of the growing University and biomedical precinct. Our significant social media reach has been a very successful platform to promote the activities of business and community in the precinct and to give our entire community a voice to all decision makers in the state.
The projects that we foreshadowed in 2010 have largely reached completion and the opportunities continue to grow with significant new accommodation and hospitality/entertainment, education, culture and sports developments either in planning or construction. More people will live in our precinct in the future and those present challenges in terms of infrastructure and still more opportunity for business.
Our Annual General Meeting this year. on August 10 will examine the past, present and future of our precinct and I look forward to as many of our members, friends and partners joining us for this discussion.
On behalf of the West End executive group I thank you all for your continued support of our precinct and our organisation. The West End we all know and love is now realising the potential we all had faith in for many years and although the phrase ‘its never been a more exciting time to….’ Has become somewhat of a disreputable cliché of late, In the case of Adelaide’s West End it’s completely true.
I look forward to how our community and the AWEA develop next!
We are the West End!
@adelaidewestend (twitter, facebook, instagram and pinterest) #welovethewestend #adelaidewestend
Andrew Wallace | President
Adelaide West End Association inc
The AWEA thanks Adelaide City Council for its ongoing support of the precinct groups.
We also thank our Digital Roadies, Hostworks for the ongoing support of the Adelaide West End Association Website.