THERE might’ve been the odd pro-car grumble, but closing Leederville’s main drag to vehicles on Sundays has taken out a top prize at the Parks & Leisure WA awards.
Joanne Fotakis, now a Vincent councillor, was chair of activation at Leederville Connect when the town team first trialled closing Oxford Street to try and get more people onto the strip and liven it up.
The first one was run on a nearly non-existent budget: “I went out and bought $20 worth of chalk,” Cr Fotakis recalls. The team also had to borrow a few chairs.
“It doesn’t actually take too much—people were having a really great time with it.”
The first event had to contend with blistering heat and a state election, but an extra 10,000 people flooded into Leederville.
The third week with no weather or electoral interference, 70,000 people came down.
Earlier this year it expanded, with Leederville Connect opening the streets for an extra four Sundays, and working with the City of Vincent and Fringe World to bring in little festival spin offs as “Leedypalooza”.
The project took out the PLWA’s category for “community based initiative of the year”, and they’re now entered into the national awards.
Vincent mayor Emma Cole announced the win at the June 24 council meeting saying “it was a really great initiative, and we’re really keen to continue that next year.” Ms Cole says they’ve got the budget to do it again.
by DAVID BELL