Could Norton Street soon be closed to cars? Joseph Carozzi, president of the Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Australia, has called for cars to be removed from Norton Street in order to return the strip to its former glory and reinvigorate its Italian flair. A leading Italian Australian business group, the organisation has asked the Inner West Council to “think big” and transform the street into an Italian-style piazza. There’s no doubt the street has declined from what it was in decades’ past — whether that’s due to higher rents and parking metres, or the fact that millennials go outside less than their predecessors. There are also fewer Italians in Leichhardt these days, with the 2016 census revealing that Leichhardt is now home to less than 500 Italian-born residents — a 42% drop from 2001. Mr Carrozzi believes that transforming the area into a cultural hub would encourage families and elderly people to return to the area and that “Leichhardt could come full circle”.

Newtown is about to bid farewell to Gould’s Book Arcade. Celebrating its 50th birthday this year, the Newtown stalwart was once an iconic Sydney University hangout and has been a proudly left-wing business for decades. It was once a rallying centre for anti-Vietnam War protesters, and these days it substitutes as an unofficial office helping asylum seekers. The King Street book store “belonged to resisters and was run by resisters”, says Natalie Gould, a proud socialist who grew up loving books. She also warns that without businesses like hers, King Street will be in danger of losing its soul and culture as it slowly becomes “white bread.” As they look for new premises, Ciao wishes Gould’s Book Arcade all the best in protecting the community’s love and appreciation of the printed word.

The Inner West Mayor’s Facebook page is lighting up, with Darcy Byrne (or his social media intern) dishing out many barbs, stings and zingers. In one post this month, Byrne told residents of a letter he received from the Australian Christian Lobby, asking for the Inner West Council to be less supportive of LGBTIQ projects. He wrote, “Like Jesus but unlike the ACL, the Inner West believes in offering a helping hand to ALL people who suffer exclusion and discrimination”, before quoting the gospel of John. In another post, Byrne shows solidarity with those affected by the loud sounds brought by WestConnex, guffawing at the pair of earplugs sent to him and other “tortured residents” to help with noise pollution. “You won’t believe this”, he wrote, before ridiculing the “insulting bandaid solution” and proposing “a legal curfew on night works”. We like our Mayor to be both sarcastic and innovative, and will be keeping our eyes peeled for more information laced with zingers.