Save our Laneways

We all feel it, that pang of jealousy when we see the laneways of Melbourne dripping with creativity & colour. The laneways themselves are a testament to the culture & energy of the city which, unlike here in Brisbane, doesn’t hide just beneath the surface. While our cultural sterilization has its roots in a well documented difficult political past, the creatives of today’s Brisbane are emerging from Joh’s corrupt shadow & starting to reclaim the streets of our town. And it’s not just about street art & graffiti either, with some of Brisbane’s best kept secrets hiding down alleyways too.

LOL BNE is a local group who have been ring attention to one particularly loved laneway recently which, sadly, will be redeveloped into a …driveway. In their words, Love Our Laneways Brisbane is a community initiative dedicated to saving the laneway precinct and beautiful old building between Elizabeth and Charlotte Street.

I spoke to John from Love Our Laneways on the day that The Coffee Supplier closed opened its roller door for the last time about what pushed him over the edge from passive bystander to vocal activist for Brisbane’s ever dissolving façades.

He said the turning point came when“a beautiful heritage building on the corner of Adelaide and Macrossan Street near All Hallows, was demolished a few years ago for a huge high rise development.” He senses that  “Brisbane’s CBD is in danger of becoming a bland place unless we protect our heritage buildings and interesting space.”

It’s not just The Coffee Supplier who will be missed down this particular laneway either. The Alley, a great creative space that quickly gained a supportive local following is sadly closing up due to the redevelopment, too. Brisbane Times ran an article on this yesterday in which Jacob Anziliero, joint-manager of The Alley expressed his concerns. “It’s really disappointing to see the council’s vibrant laneways initiative completely cast aside for a multi-million dollar office development.” You can read the full article here.

What’s more disappointing, is that this is in direct contradiction to the Brisbane City Council’s recently launched Vibrant Laneways Strategy which endeavours to establish, support & promote spaces…

  • where people can meet and relax
  • to shop and dine
  • which improves pedestrian access in and around the city centre
  • to celebrate creative arts.

While the need for a new ATO building may be serious, I don’t see why these spaces have to get the boot too. It’s not the development of new spaces I oppose, but the unnecessary eradication of local laneways haunches which gets me.

But I see the potential for something much bigger than just this one laneway and various spots around Brisbane prove this. Winn Lane is a great example of the possibilities of what our laneways can become and continues to grow in exciting ways. My current favourite coffee Mecca, Brew, is soon opening its doors late into the night with a Wine Bar which will surely become a locals new late night den.

I’d love to know your favourite hidden Brisbane gem & your thoughts on the Laneway Development program.  Here at The Edge we’re all about sustainability, creativity & collaboration three core ideas behind the development project. If you want to run group sessions, meetings or create a website for your ideas, The Edge is the place to do it! In the meantime, show your local laneways some love.

You can also follow LOL BNE’s development online:

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