2023 ushered in new challenges and opportunities, with a pressing need for substantial progress, especially in the heart of Hindley Street. Our Committee established two primary advocacy goals for the year: advancing the transformation of Hindley Street from a master plan to a commitment for actual construction and the immediate enhancement of event facilities in Light Square, preceding a more detailed master plan.
We are thrilled to report that, after the diligent efforts of the Committee and our dedicated members, both projects have received significant support and are set to make substantial progress in this financial year, as confirmed parts of the Adelaide City Council’s 23/24 Financial Year Budget.
I extend our gratitude to the City of Adelaide Councillors, staff, Festivals Adelaide, AWEA Committee & Members, with special recognition for Nic Mercer, CEO of Light Adelaide, who spearheaded the Light Square initiative in response to the news that a major permanent installation by Illuminate for 2023 couldn’t proceed due to lacking infrastructure. I would also like to acknowledge Tony Scrivener General Manager of the Grand Chancellor, whose work has been pivotal in uniting a new group of West End International Hotel General Managers to address the serious challenges affecting our city’s tourism experience and investment.
Our 2023 Annual General Meeting marks the beginning of our commitment to keep members and stakeholders informed and engaged in the upgrade processes and opportunities. The AWEA’s unwavering focus remains on advocating for improvements and opportunities for businesses, residents, students, and all who visit our diverse, creative precinct. The West End is unique, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to its development. We are, however, thrilled about the potential of finally realising the long-anticipated transformation of Hindley Street, which along with Light Square stands as a cornerstone opportunity to co-create a fresh vision for the West End.
Our history of hosting trailblazing events may have seemed relegated to history in recent years. Still, we passionately believe in the West End’s ability to be creative and artistic rule-breakers. We are committed to continuity to grow Fringe West Village, deepening our connection with the genesis of Fringe as a creative melting pot. In 2024 we will work to make the West Village the place for artists and performers to connect and collaborate.
We are excited to deepen work with the Illuminate team to curate new West End winter experiences and are truly amped to see Good Music Month kick off shortly and have a festival celebrate the essence of the West End in and amongst our incredible live music venues. There is much to feel good about, yet there also remain great untapped and un-imagined opportunities for new uniquely West End events and experiences to be created, thus we welcome all event producers and promoters to connect with us.
The Hindley Street Round Table’s continuity through the change of council has been a testament to the commitment of our stakeholders. This forum provides a valuable opportunity to collaborate with the City of Adelaide and key stakeholders, including SAPOL, AHA, Encounter Youth, and Liquor Licensing, to devise short-, medium-, and long-term strategies to improve the street for its workers, visitors, and businesses. Thank you to James Economos and Tony Scrivener from AWEA and all the participants who joined us for your dedication to this crucial work.
As many of you know, I have been passionately sharing the transformative potential that the Hindley Street upgrade and redevelopment of the cinema site at 128 Hindley Street holds. These developments and new venues such as Hades Hula House and Urban Climb, will bring a new level of vibrancy to the West End, day and night, throughout the week. I very much hope we can harness the chance to continue this momentum, collaborating with organisations like Renew Adelaide to further curate our unused spaces, breathe new energy, create fresh opportunities for new entrepreneurs and ultimately secure future investment for the precinct.
As mentioned last year, it truly takes a village, and AWEA is fortunate to have an outstanding executive team leading and advising the Association and its projects. Sincere thanks to all of them:
- James Economos (Econ Group)
- Philip Johnson (UniSA)
- Paola Coro (Apoteca) Tony Scrivener (Grand Chancellor Hotels)
- Nic Mercer (Light Adelaide)
- Christine Ormsby (Visualcom)
- Nikki Hamdorf (JamFactory)
- Curtis Mohr (Sofitel Adelaide)
- Josh Dolman (Sunny’s Pizza)
- Taryn Walton (Hindley Street Music Hall)
On behalf of the Committee, I extend sincere thanks to Jacqui Kohler, Place Coordinator from the City of Adelaide, for her unwavering commitment to the precinct and hands-on work with traders to build vibrancy and connection. We deeply appreciate her contributions, especially during the challenges posed by COVID-19 and the subsequent road to recovery. We look forward to collaborating with her replacement Terri Dichiera and expanding the role’s impact across the wider West End.
Lastly, a heartfelt thank you to our Coordinator, Karen Devenport, for her ongoing work and support. Don’t hesitate to reach out to her with any questions about membership or how you can become more involved (firstname.lastname@example.org).
As we look ahead to our next evolution and explore the West End brand and how it connects to the people who invest, work, live, study, and play in our Precinct, we invite you to join us in this opportunity to co-create purposeful transformations and be part of a future that fosters a unique and dynamic West End culture.
Thank you. We are the West End!
Taren Hocking | President