Following the formal vote made by the Inner West Council (IWC) to name a precinct of Leichhardt Little Italy, this Sunday, October 27, will see the idea put to the vote of the local community.
IWC will host a stand at the iconic Norton Street Italian Festa, which will be strategically placed next to the post office on Norton Street.
At this stand, a questionnaire will be presented to all and any members of the community, who can have their say on naming the Norton Street area Little Italy.
The votes will then be collected, and the opinions assessed – they may very well speed up the bureaucratic process to renaming the area.
Respondents will be able to express their opinion on the proposed idea, but also suggest further ideas for strengthening the tie between Leichhardt and its Italian heritage.
Norton Street has been considered the first home of Italian migrants to Sydney, since the waves of migration in the early 1950s, but in recent years, the presence of the community in the area has been receding, as new community members move into the area and many old Italians move on.
Nonetheless, the Italian forum and its activities, the presence of CO.AS.IT. and numerous heritage Italian businesses, such as the jeweller Scarcella and the delicatessen Lucchitti, continue to tie Leichhardt to its Mediterranean heritage.
The proposed baptism of the area could be the first step in revitalising Norton Street both commercially and in a touristic sense.
“The official naming of Leichhardt as Little Italy is an opportunity to celebrate the Italian community, its heritage, contribution and success,” Thomas Camporeale, CO.AS.IT. general manager, said.
“We look forward to engaging with council in a community consultation process around this initiative.”
Some members of the community, however, remain unsupportive of the idea, with one person who wishes to remain unnamed pronouncing the initiative as “too little, way too late”.
Another community member, Jamie Powell, took to Facebook to declare: “Parking meters killed Norton Street.”
There is certainly a lot to improve on in the area, but perhaps the questionnaire is a good starting point for residents to express their opinions on current issues in the area, such as the absence of parking, a problem which is also felt by many local businesses.
Besides the vote, Sunday is of course the perfect opportunity to celebrate Leichhardt in all its Italian glory at the festa, which was established by the Capuchin Friars in 1986 and which will be packed with people.
Original content, article and photo from Il Globo