As the dust settles in Walsh Bay on another year of two of the area’s most extraordinary festivals – Sydney Writers’ and Vivid, the respective event organisers have much to celebrate when it comes to record-breaking attendance levels.

Sydney Writers’ Festival executive director, Jo Dyer, said both audience numbers and box-office takings increased this year with total attendances estimated at 97,700 – up from 89,000 last year. 

The City of Sydney is behind the upcoming retail initiative ‘Fashion Saturday’ and they are calling on all fashion, beauty and design retailers to take part in the unique event on 12 September 2015. 

The event is about bringing together like-minded retailers for a series of creative in-store events, special offers, designer talks, street entertainment, food trucks, competitions and other promotions to get consumers offline and into stores.

All Walsh Bay cafes, restaurants and licensed establishments should be aware that from 6 July, changes to the NSW Smoking Legislation prohibit smoking in outdoor dining areas.

The key changes include:

  • Commercial outdoor dining areas in licensed venues, restaurants and cafés must be smoke-free
  • Areas within 4 metres of a pedestrian entrance to, or exit from, a licensed venue, restaurant or café must be smoke-free.

Mandatory prescribed ‘No Smoking’ signage must be displayed within a commercial outdoor dining area.

For more information on the legislation see NSW Health’s update: www.health.nsw.gov.au

This month we gain out of area inspiration from the Orange Chamber of Commerce as they open the voting in their Banjo Business Awards - the winners of whom are announced as part of the many activities in one of the area’s largest annual events also named in honour its most famous resident: the Banjo Patterson Festival of Poetry.

This month we profile Mandi Ford, director at Essential Solutions Project Management and Essential Solutions Lifestyle Concierge Services – a project management and lifestyle concierge business servicing the Walsh Bay area since 2000.

Mandi says having the self-belief to set the business up and then see it thrive is one of the most rewarding achievements she has ever made.

“Having the confidence to believe in myself and start a business has been one of my greatest achievements and to see it blossom into a well-respected entity has been rewarding beyond words,” she says.

The Chamber has been particularly busy over the past month hosting a number of member events, running a Concierge Famil as well as entering and being shortlisted in the Sydney-City Regional Business Awards.

In June the WBAC partnered with Vivid Sydney to host close to 80 people at a unique, joint networking event. Starting at Simmer on the Bay the group of WBAC members and friends enjoyed mulled wine and a delicious grazing table of nibbles followed up by Curator of the Light Walk - Anthony Bastic, taking guests on a tour of the fabulous Walsh Bay instillations. The evening was a huge success and the Chamber plan to partner with Vivid to offer the event again in 2016.

Having just completed another successful Sydney Children’s Choir (SCC) Winter Concert series in Sydney over the weekend of July 4-5, WBAC member Gondwana Choir’s children and youth contingents are backing up with performances across Asia and Tasmania.

Until July 19 the SCC are on tour in China and Hong Kong, under the leadership of Artistic Director and Founder, Lyn Williams - OAM. The group kicked off their Asian odyssey with a performance at the impressive Shanghai Oriental Arts Centre the morning after arriving - ensuring the young vocalists quickly got into their tour schedule.

This month Walsh Bay Arts and Commerce will host more than 20 of Sydney’s most influential advisors in its annual Concierges Famil.

The unique chamber initiative on Tuesday 23 June, is about informing and updating concierges from Sydney’s top five star hotels on the latest Walsh Bay; events, venues, restaurants as well as the broad range of arts company activities of interest to guests at Sydney’s best hotels.

As part of the City Centre Public Art Plan’s ‘City Art’ program Cloud Arch, Pavilion and The Distance of your Heart are the first three artworks selected for construction by a COS independent, expert advisory panel.

Underpinned by the City’s Public Art Strategy and Policy, ‘City Art’ is about supporting local and international artists to contribute to the creative and cultural heartbeat of Sydney.

The construction of the winning artworks is due to begin from 2017 and the winners include preeminent English artist, Tracey Emin, Toyko-based artist Junya Ishigami and Egyptian-born, Sydney-based Hany Armaniaous.

Hot on the heels of the 2012 Inner West Light Rail Extension, works to the CBD and South East Light Rail (CSELR) project has begun.

The Walsh Bay area will be affected by the major infrastructure project but Transport for NSW hopes, by scheduling current works after hours and on Sundays, to minimise any disruption.

The anticipated new light rail promises to deliver fast, reliable public transport from Circular Quay through the CBD to Kingsford and Randwick via Surry Hills, Moore Park and Kensington.

In May, project partner, Laing O’Rourke, began Sunday and late night utility works in George Street to relocate existing buried services. The activity involves excavating the road surface and noise, dust as well as temporary traffic changes are expected.

Last month WBAC attended the NSW Business Chambers’ annual Chamber Day. As an alliance member of the NSW Business Chamber Walsh Bay’s attendance at the event was to meet like-minded chamber of commerce representatives around the state to exchange ideas as well as share best practice.

The Hunter Valley is one of the country’s preeminent wine growing areas but the picturesque region, 120 km north of the CBD, is also home to a broad range of other industries including; coal mining, agriculture, tourism, horse breeding, electricity production as well as dairy and beef cattle farming.

Championing the needs of such a diverse group may not be easy but if the quality of the business workshops organised by the Hunter Business Chamber is anything to go by, this group up to the task.