But I received a few complaints already from Fremantle people who claim that smokers occupy the alfresco areas at cafes and restaurant and subject others to passive smoking.
I asked the City of Fremantle what the rules for smoking are and here they are: Smoking is not permitted in alfresco dining areas throughout WA under the state government’s Tobacco Control Act. Local government officers are increasing awareness of the law by advising members of the public and business owners of their responsibility and explaining the law to tourists. In relation to enforcement, officers can issue an infringement if a customer refuses to stop smoking in an alfresco area. Free ‘no smoking’ stickers and signs were provided to alfresco operators when the law was introduced. City of Fremantle officers pro-actively inform businesses operators and customers of the law and will investigate complaints upon request. Infringements are issued for willful non-compliance.
So if anyone smokes in an alfresco area let staff know it is unlawful and enjoy the sunshine!
Read the article on ugly buildings in today’s West Australian by visual artist, urban planner and architect Malcolm Mackay. It is a good read that should be a wake up call to us all, especially in Fremantle and other older suburbs, that we don’t have to, and should not, accept modern buildings that lack elegance, class, and design excellence.
Mackay points out the stunning architecture at I’on in South Carolina, USA, and laments that Perth demolished so many of its beautiful old buildings.
We in Fremantle are fortunate to have retained many of our heritage buildings, thanks to the tireless efforts of the 44 year-old Fremantle Society and passionate individuals, but some of the new building proposals signed off by the City of Fremantle are just not up to scratch.
Fremantle does not need or want big bland and uninspiring concrete Lego boxes. We want great modern architecture that compliments our heritage buildings and that emphasises the very unique Freo lifestyle.
It is very important we stay alert and don’t let mediocrity creep in and that we accept ugliness under the guise of progress.
It is Homeless Persons Week and a good time for all of us who don’t sleep on the streets to realsise how blessed we are. Especially when it is freezing cold and wet I often think about the poor people who have no home to go to because of lack of affordable and public housing. It has always intrigued me what affordable actually stands for because so called affordable is often still not financially viable for poor people.
Homeless people need and deserve empathy from the community. They are not an eyesore we should just move on, as some retailers and the Lord Mayor of Perth suggest, but an indication that our society is doing something wrong. It is not acceptable that in a wealthy state like Western Australia some 9,500 people sleep on the streets every night.
If housing is not affordable or available for these people, local councils in collaboration with state and federal governments should offer shelters where at least they have a roof over their head, warmth, water and a shower.
I am a bit tired of hearing all the horror stories of beggars being wealthy, or criminals, etc. Many of the ones I see in Fremantle look pretty awful and some are quite obviously mentally not well. They don’t deserve to be judged as an unpleasant nuisance akin to litter, they deserve our compassion and support.
If you don’t feel comfortable giving them money because they might buy alcohol or cigarettes, buy them a hot coffee or a meal instead and give them a smile and say hello instead of looking away.
We are not always in control of our own destiny and many homeless people simply had a run of bad luck. Be kind to them, Freo!
Local Government Minister Tony Simpson’s push for more consistent council by-laws is not necessarily a bad idea, as long as it is not something that will give State Government more, and local government less say.
Planning guidelines differ too much from council to council and are a nightmare for architects and developers, so they could be streamlined and made more consistent. An on-line planning process should also be accommodated rather than having to line up at the Fremantle City reception desk and hand over plans.
The reality State Government should not ignore and swipe aside as irrelevant, is that different suburbs have different needs, so individualism to protect those needs should be allowed. A heavy-handed, we know best what is good for you, approach by Tony Simpson would be counter productive and might upset local communities who want to protect the unique ambience of place. No doubt though the planning process and rules need to be more consistent, so let’s start there.
Waste is a huge problem all over the planet. Domestic and commercial waste needs to go somewhere, so it ends up in landfill or designated areas, where often toxic waste leaks into the ground and ground water.
What is the future of waste a forum at the Fremantle Town Hall asked, with an indication that an incinerator at Kwinana could be the preferred option.
It is always difficult for lay-people to know what the facts are, so I won’t even attempt to deal with the technicalities, but it became clear that even incinerators still produce toxic ash that goes into landfill, and release toxic gas that pollutes the atmosphere. No surprise then that there were quite a few people from Kwinana asking the question why they should live with other council’s pollution.
It is neither practical nor economically viable for every council to operate their own incinerators, so the locations for them are always going to be controversial. As Greens Lynn MacLaren said, Cockburn Sound Cement problems have not given the community much confidence, as locals have had to live with toxic smells and dust from that plant for years.
In my opinion the problem with waste management around the world is that it is re-active instead of pro-active. We produce far too much waste and that needs to stop and it starts with our manufacturers and supermarkets. Society should no longer tolerate excessive and double packaging, plastic bags in cardboard boxes, etc. etc. The pressure needs to be put on our governments, but also on Coles and Woolworth and let them know we no longer want old-fashioned packaging, but we insist on new, more environmentally friendly and less packaging. That would be a start.
We also need to turn around our wasteful mentality and throw away attitude, the need in the western world to have the latest of everything, thus making perfectly working appliances obsolete and ready for the enormous global waste heap. We need to ask ourselves if we really need the latest mobile, TV, computer, camera, kitchen gadget, or if what we’ve got will suffice for many more years.
Waste management should start with each and every one of us. WE need to reduce the amount of waste we produce because WE are creating a huge problem for all of us.
Are incinerators the solution or just our way of making governments responsible for our inconsiderate behaviour? Taking ownership of our waste would be a good start.
I received this comment from Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt on the Traffic Bridge debacle:
Roel, I notice that there is an”assumption a new bridge would be built in the next 10 to 15 years” but given they now plan to spend around $ 20 million just fixing the old one I fear that is no longer the case.
An investment in a new combination road/rail bridge would have not only safety benefits but also enables double stacked freight trains and more trains to run during the day and as a result more freight on to rail. It’d be a great investment.
The way people take part in the democratic process intrigues me. I can understand the cynicism about federal and state parliaments, as the immature kindergarten behaviour of elected members is certainly not something that instills confidence. Oppositions say no as a matter of principle to anything the government proposes and vice versa.
At local level in Fremantle and other councils, where it is not political party orientated, it is more of a NIMBY democracy, and I don’t mean that disrespectfully. It is just that most people only turn up at council and committee meetings when items are on the agenda that concern their own backyard. Rarely do people turn up who have an interest in the common good and want to participate in making Fremantle a better place for all.
This often results in comments and questions which are based on ignorance, as the process of local governance is not understood, and more or less the same questions are asked and the same accusations are made time and time again.
For example, some people who oppose the planning scheme change for McCabe Street in North Fremantle claim that the City would never allow buildings of such height in the CBD. Where were they just about two years ago when the local papers were full of people protesting against Planning Scheme Amendment 49, that allows for substantially higher buildings in the inner city? Do people care so little about the rest of the City that they can’t be bothered to inform themselves about what goes on in other parts of town? Have we become so self-centred that what happens in the west end is of no concern to those who live in the east, north or south of Freo?
I enjoy going to council and committee meetings and listening to the discussions. I want to see for myself how elected members reach conclusions and why they vote for or against them. I am impressed to see how well-informed most of them are and how hard they try to make what they believe are the right decisions. None of them are flippant or pretend to have all the knowledge, and often Councillors will seek last minute clarifications from officers who attend the meetings.
Local government is very complex and it is also very difficult because the councillors who make the decisions live in our community. They are our friends, acquaintances and local business people. It’s impossible for them to please all and they have to rely on the expert advise officers give them. One can detect the frustration sometimes for the unthankful task, but the process is fascinating and I recommend to observe it for yourself. Take part, because democracy is all of us!