How big could Chinatown be?
南澳時報記者潘在恩 / SACW Reporter: Joanne Phan
SA Chinese Weekly had the privilege in having an exclusive interview with the Right Honourable Lord Mayor of Adelaide, Stephen Yarwood. He explained to SA Chinese Weekly his plans to revamp and redevelop Chinatown, Moonta St. This is an exciting time to be an Adelaidian, a resident in Adelaide.
To commit to the plan to redevelop Chinatown, which is a big project, it’s important to understand the local government needs time for planning and there are a series of steps that need to be conducted to make this overall big project of revamping Chinatown successful.
Stephen Yarwood explained that currently there are a series of small projects that are on their way to give Chinatown a fresh face to be ready for the summer of Adelaide and to be completed before Chinese New Year, which signifies the Year of the Dragon.
The first project is to organise Moonta St to be fixed and repaved. Moonta St’s pavers have been an issue for a long time, repairing now and then the loose or damaged grout and pavers would be beneficial.
The second project is to improve both the decorative and functioning lightings in Moonta Street. When walking down Moonta St at night it is dark and quiet. – The decorative florescent lightings mounted on the canopy on both sides of Moonta Street had not been working for years.
The third project that will need to be conducted in Chinatown is to go into investigation the different areas that require a fresh coat of paint, a touch up to some walls, buildings that are in need of a bit more attention and care.
In April 2008, there was discussion of a strategic plan that was considered for Adelaide that outlined the vision for 2008-2030. The concept of a Chinatown Saturday Night Market was proposed but the strategic plan that was presented in 2008 contained no vision or plans for Chinatown; in fact Chinatown wasn’t even mentioned. However, over the past 3 years there have developments in the Adelaide City Council.
“The culture has changed in the council but the council can’t take all the implementation on its shoulders, we need to mobilise the community together and make the change”, stated Stephen Yarwood. As Ghandi said “You must be the change you wish to see in the world”
Stephen Yarwood wants to support, empower and motivate the Chinese Community to develop markets in Chinatown. The Adelaide City Council can provide funding to motivate the Chinese Community to expand Chinatown because it sees the potential. However, he believes that the best markets that are produced not only in Adelaide about around-the-world have been done organically by the community, for the community.
You look at the successful Gillies St Markets happening in Adelaide, they are one of the highlights for fashion and design goers in Adelaide for each month and during the summer they increase it’s accessibility to the Adelaide public by opening the market twice a month every Sunday because of the better weather. Gillies St Markets are filled with stalls of vintage clothes, jewellery, handbags, shoes, food and was developed by a private operator and are supported as well as maintained by the Adelaide community.
“I don’t believe the Chinese Government produced all those lovely markets around the world” Stephen Yarwood stated – It was the Chinese Communities that had migrated over that developed the wonderful Chinatowns that you see in world capitals such as: London, San Francisco, Vancouver, New York. – All conducted by the community.
The incentive with these projects of repaving Moonta St, increasing the lighting and giving areas a well-needed paint job and clean is for these projects to be the stepping stones. To developing a vibrant Chinatown by bringing the local Chinese businesses together. To develop a Chinatown Saturday Night Market and expand the Chinese New Year Celebration as a ‘must’ on the Adelaide City Festival Calendar. No one in Adelaide should miss out! Particularly since our Chinese New Year is celebrated for 15 days starting from the first day of new year each year. This would be a great way to start the year of the Dragon. However, like the best things in life, changes take time – to do it right.
The Lord Mayor Stephen Yarwood is calling on the Asian Community to express and embrace change. All together in order to make the concept of a Chinatown Saturday Night Market effective, everyone must partake.
Future plans to expand Chinatown involves Stephen Yarwood is looking into making a more aggressive move for more outdoor dining in the next 12 months, along with making liquor licensing for restaurants more flexible for wine and beer for restaurant businesses. Imagine this concept, being able to sit outdoors on Moonta St eating your favourite Asian dish, while drinking an ice cold Asian beer or a fine wine.
Walking through the streets of Chinatown, there is so much potential here and the Adelaide Lord Mayor can see it.
The Lord Mayor, acknowledges the fact the council doesn’t have the cultural background, the networks to make the Chinatown Saturday Night Street Markets effective. But the community within Chinatown has had previous successful event; one in a particular is the Chinatown Street Party, which is held for Chinese New Year.
He is reaching out to the Chinese Community to work together on implementing these markets and making the Chinatown markets successful. He is calling on us, the Asian community to participate – it’s an open call to embrace change! – to be the change you wish to see. It’s about expanding Chinatown and supporting local Chinese businesses and strengthening Adelaide’s ties with China.
The Council has developed a strategic plan for changes in the next 5-10 years. There is development to draft a policy, which will hopefully appeal to private enterprises to forge relationships with businesses where the Adelaide City Council and businesses can work together. “I respect the Asian Communities and have had a long term view on the community culture and the Adelaide city.” His long term plan for the future is to build a tram that loops through the city and connects the entire city to Chinatown; his vision is to see a tram through Gouger St, “I want to have the conversation on how big Chinatown could go?” – Whether Chinatown could potentially expand beyond just Moonta St, perhaps further down Wright St? This is all part of making the city better so we can all benefit from it.
The Lord Mayor is anunique for a politician – in previous years, we have seen many politicians come and go. Most of them, they have just had plans that fit within their political cycle. Promise things to the community but never follow through. However, Stephen Yarwood’s plans for redeveloping the Adelaide CBD are not only in Chinatown but also in Victoria Square, Rundle Mall and the river front of Torrens River. All of these visions and plans for redevelopment can be built on in the future. He is laying down the brickwork, a solid foundation so that his vision to revitalise the CBD with his short, medium, long term goals are the building blocks, which future leaders can build up from and expand.
There is one eye on today and the other is on the future.
《南澳時報》近日對阿德萊德市區市長Stephen Yarwood進行了獨家專訪，他也向《南澳時報》透露了開發中國城Moonta St的具體計劃。這個計劃對於阿德萊德的所有居民來説將是非常興奮的時刻。
第二個工程是增加、提升Moonta St的街道照明和活動照明。目前在夜晚走在Moonta St上，人們的感覺是昏暗、沉寂。懸掛在街道上方的燈籠看起來殘舊不堪，需要摘下來更換新的燈籠。雖然絕大多數的餐館都安排在Moonta St，但是每一個離開餐館的顧客仍然覺得昏暗蕭條。
“我可不認爲世界範圍內的這些有趣的市場都是由中國政府建造的”Stephen Yarwood透露說 —你在世界各大城市，如倫敦、舊金山、溫哥華和紐約看到的那些壯麗的中國城，都是由移民到那些地區的華人社區開發建造的，這些成就都是由社區完成的。
市區市長透露，他計劃在未來12個月致力於推動更大步伐的改革，例如建造更多的戶外就餐點；對從事餐飲服務的餐館申領紅酒和啤酒等的酒牌更加靈活處理。你似乎已經可以預見到這樣的場景，你可以安坐在中國城Moonta St的戶外就餐桌邊，一邊品嘗你最喜愛的亞洲食物的同時，一邊喝着冰鎮的亞洲啤酒或一杯好的紅酒。走在中國城的街道上，Stephen Yarwood看到的是無限的發展空間。
地方議會已經制定了一份未來5年至10年改革的戰略計劃。Stephen Yarwood表示說，“我尊重亞洲社區，對社區文化和阿德萊德市區的發展已經有了長遠的考慮。”他的長遠目標就是通過在市區鋪設一條電車環綫，連接整個市區和中國城，他希望看到有電車穿行在Gouger St，他說，“我希望展開對話，討論中國城究竟可以有多大？”中國城是否可能突破Moonta St，是否可以延伸至Wright St？這些設想都是將我們的城市打造得更好的計劃的一部分，使每個人都可以從中受益。
作爲一名政治人，Stephen Yarwood非常獨特。此前，我們經歷過許多政治人起起落落。他們中絕大多數人的計劃只局限于自己任職期間。但是，Stephen Yarwood提出的重新發展Adelaide CBD地區的計劃不僅包括了中國城，還包括了維多利亞廣場、Rundle Mall購物區、Torrens河河畔，所有的這些前景和計劃都將在未來得以實現。Stephen Yarwood所做的就是鋪實磚塊、奠定基礎，通過自己的短期、中期和長期目標讓CBD重新恢復活力，即使是以後的領導人也能夠在此基礎上發展和擴大。