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Bid to rename Woollahra Street to ‘Ukraine Street’ dropped by council following community push-back

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Woollahra council drops proposal to rename Fullerton Street to 'Ukraine Street'. Photo: unsplash.com

By AMBER GRIFFIN

Fullerton Street in Woollahra will not be renamed to ‘Ukraine Street’, after Woollahra council dropped the idea at a recent council meeting following push-back from local residents. The proposed renaming is part of an effort by the Ukrainian Council of NSW to change street names where Russian Consulates stand to show solidarity for Ukraine in the context of war.

During a Woollahra Council meeting on June 14, a report on the outcome of community consultation in relation to the proposed renaming of Fullerton Street was presented to council.

The report revealed a high level of opposition to the proposal among those most directly affected by the street renaming, with some support demonstrated by respondents who are either not residents in the immediately affected area, or who did not provide an address with their submissions.

89% of Fullerton Street residents rejected name change

Only 11% of Fullerton Street residents supported the name change, as well as only 35% of Woollahra and Edgecliff residents. However, submissions through email or the ‘Your Say Woollahra’ page showed 57% in support of the proposal. 

Community engagement was open from May 13 to June 3 with local and Fullerton Street residents  quick to share their objections to the proposed street name change. The council agenda detailing the submissions held 72 and a half pages of responses from the ‘Renaming Fullerton Street Survey’ in opposition to the name change.

An anonymous commenter on the survey shared their opposition to the proposed change:

“This proposal is a tokenistic, symbolic gesture that will do nothing to help or improve (or even stop) the Ukrainian war. Although the Ukraine War is shocking and terrible, this war won’t continue forever and will end eventually. Why should we change the name of an historical street purely based on a whim and a thought bubble.”

Another anonymous commenter spoke out against the proposition:

“The proposed renaming of Fullerton Street is misguided, inappropriate and a complete misuse of local government resources.”

Residents noted that while they supported the sentiment of the name change, the matter wasn’t practical, and would result in difficulties for people who live on Fullerton Street.

Submissions in support of the proposal were positive however, praising the council for showing support for Ukraine, with one survey respondent saying that “anything we can do to support Ukraine is worth it”.

Council reaffirms commitment to supporting Ukraine

The Ukrainian Council of NSW explain the world-wide movement to rename streets with Russian Consulates, saying “we know it won’t stop the war.”

“But this symbolic act will lift the spirits of Ukrainians, show Russia that Australia supports Ukraine, and further demonstrate to the world Australia’s support for freedom and democracy.”

Woollahra Council, although adhering to community wishes and foregoing the renaming of Fullerton Street, unanimously passed a motion reaffirming their condemnation of Russia’s invasion into Ukraine. The motion also calls for a letter to be sent to the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs to request that humanitarian Visas be increased.

The motion calls for the council to look towards finding other ways of expressing support for Ukraine.

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