Despite the daily showers and plummeting mercury now is a good time of the year to be in Sydney. In the last couple of months the Writer’s Festival, Vivid, the Film Festival and (as of today) the Biennale have made the prospect of leaving the house a little more enticing than usual. Actually scrap that, there’s always something happening. But unfortunately there isn’t always something worth your time, money or attendance in the much-maligned CBD, which – after shop doors are closed and offices fucked off – turns into a cold, commercial wasteland dotted with dodgy bars that share more than a passing resemblance to your local dry cleaners (because of all the suits and bleach).
However, that’s set to change with the announcement that councillors for the City of Sydney have unanimously endorsed a proposal to make the CBD a more inviting place after dark, with the aim to double post-Happy Hour revenue to $30 billion and create an additional 100,000 jobs by 2030, as part of the city’s aptly named 2030 initiative.
Um, that’s awesome, Clover, but why the 18 year wait? Recently rolled out food trucks (with awesome menus) have been the first step in creating a more enticing space after dark, and a proliferation of small-to-medium size bars in recent years has certainly helped lay the foundation for the city’s geocentric gentrification strategy (no more words need be said on that topic). But surely it shouldn’t take two decades to keep shops open later – a move proposed by the council’s manager of late night economy and safety, Suzie Matthews, who would like to see the extension of retail hours from 6 to 8pm. This would then have a roll-on effect on other businesses, including museums, galleries and restaurants, which Clover says the public are hankering after more than ever. But perhaps more crucially, it means you’ll be able to spend two more hours in TerpSherp.
The grand scheme, dubbed Open Sydney, is also set to include new strategies for the City’s god-awful public transport network, which (after Being Lara Bingle), is undoubtedly the target of the most social media vitriol in New South Wales. With the cooperation of the state government, ninety-one (91!) additional NightRider bus services have been added to the barf-soaked end of late night bus timetables.
The plan also aims to increase the presence of those over 40 in the city after 11pm from 6 to 40%, which is an admirable, but entirely futile, goal. Some of us just want to go to bed at a reasonable hour. Regardless – thanks, Sydney. We love you.
Title Image by Mark Metcalfe via Getty