On Tuesday night I helped launch the Surry Hills Creative Precinct. Surry Hills has some of the best "cool" in Sydney, with a lively mix of restaurants, cafes, bars and businesses. It's great to see local businesses form a group to work together and continue this area's growth.
We know that small businesses are the life-blood of our city. They provide important services, add interest, add diversity and layering to the City, for our residents, workers and visitors. When the City of Sydney creates action plans to promote economic development, retail and tourism, we keep small business very much in mind. We need strong business chambers to advance the interests of this vital part of the City economy.
Surry Hills hasn't always thrived as it does today. A turning point was the return of Bourke and Crown Streets to two-way traffic, which slowed cars and made streets attractive for cafes and restaurants, shopping and browsing.
The City has also helped transform the area with cycleways and streetscaping. The introduction of separated cycling lanes with landscaping on Bourke Street has created a great walking as well as cycling street. We've also upgraded Crown and Baptist Streets and added hedges along Cleveland St, making a real difference.
The Surry Hills Library - winner of multiple architectural awards - helped boost the sense of a village community and created a village hub. And Prince Alfred Park and Pool has created a wonderful edge to Surry Hills. The next big project will be the light rail.
The formation of this Chamber puts a final piece in the jigsaw. Now there is a group of people tuned into the potential of the area and of its creative strengths.
You only have to look at the success of the Chippendale Creative Precinct, which has turned a forgotten, run-down corner of the city into a thriving cultural hub with small galleries, shops and restaurants, to see what can be achieved.
Sydney is a city of villages offering a rich variety of tastes, cultures and experiences. Each community offers something unique, with iconic destinations and a distinctive style, from the historic to the hip.
The Surry Hills Creative Precinct will help advance not only businesses in the area, but help protect the wonderful character and ambience of Surry Hills.
If you're a business owner in Surry Hills, consider joining the SHCP to help shape the local economy of Surry Hills.