Llankelly Place Lighting Launch

(5.30pm, Wednesday 17 July 2013, Llankelly Place, Kings Cross)

Thank you, Suzie [Matthews MC]. Hello, everyone and welcome. I'd like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. I also acknowledge the people of 200 nations who live in our City.

I'd also like to welcome Peter McGregor, artist and designer of the installation, and Potts Point Partnership chair, Adrian Bartels and co-ordinator, Louise Sheperd, who've worked with us on this festive re-launch of the Llankelly Place lights. And a very warm welcome to all the terrific business owners of Llankelly Place, it's great to see you here

The work was originally installed in 2001 as a way to make the area more inviting for pedestrians.

With its colour grading from red - at the entrance to Darlinghurst Road through orange and yellow to green at the Springfield Gardens end - these wheels of light helped revitalise what was once a grungy laneway into a lively eat-street.

The circular form also has echoes of that great symbol of Kings Cross, the El Alamein Fountain.

And I love what Peter said at the time his design was installed - that it reminded him of Oscar Wilde's famous quote, that "we are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars".

Over time, however, some of the lights failed and those that remained needed to be upgraded with weatherproof fittings etc.

As the original manufacturer was no longer in business, we had to go to tender to find someone who could make the fittings weatherproof, in several colours and lengths, emitting light from three sides, of a uniform brightness and also be long-lasting.

We found that right manufacturer last year and the lights are now in place, using energy-efficiency LED bulbs and having been completely re-wired.

They will continue to provide a vibrant feel to what has become this popular space.

I would like to thank all the businesses who have worked with us on this project. I hope it will signal a more civilised and congenial side of the Cross.

I'm also pleased to know that the Potts Point Partnership will be applying for a matching grant from the City to fund an art work on one of the walls facing into this Place - possibly commissioned from a local artist.

It could be the first of several which would draw people into the Place and further its unique identity as a very special part of Kings Cross.

While we're reviewing our outdoor dining policy, we are looking at the possibility of usually Llankelly Place as a pilot to trial more flexible arrangements. Meanwhile, we can all enjoy tonight's celebration.

Thank you all for coming, and thank you to everyone who helped make this happen. I'm pleased we can once again turn on these fabulous lights. I officially declare the lights on.