A great idea, a brilliant day, so why did less than 100 people turn up for the Fremantle Sunflower Club Speedo Dash to raise funds for the Leukeamia Foundation? It was pretty clear a lot of volunteer work went into organising the event and with all the traffic controlers out there it seems to me the day might have cost more than is raised and that is a real shame as these causes need to be supported by the community.
I hope there will be another Sunflower Race in Freo next year and that it will be better promoted and attract hundreds of runners and walkers. You can of course always donate to the Leukeamia Foundation throughout the year without having to put joggers and bathers on. Do it!
In a comment to this blog Colin Nicol asked why I did not start the Don’t Merge Freo with Melville Facebook page earlier and if it is not too late. Maybe Colin is right and it is too late, but I believe we have to do something about getting unwanted and unacceptable amalgamations rammed down our throats by those who promised us before the state election that they would not do such thing.
My problem was that I naively believed what Premier Colin Barnett said before the election, and was stunned to read after he was elected that even voluntary council mergers would only be approved if they have the boundaries the state government wants. So the wishes of local councils and the community are going to be totally ignored. That is raping democracy and a violation of our rights. We cannot just let that happen and have to stand up for our democratic rights and throw council amalgamations that will destroy our communities straight back into Colin Barnett’s face and tell him to stuff it.
Trust and respect are two highly important things we all need to earn. Politicians know that and they need to show the electors more respect and stop taking us for granted. It is not good enough to dump promises made before the elections and once in power just go ahead with a stubborn mindset that ignores the wishes of the people. We live in a democracy, not a dictatorship and Colin Barnett did not receive the mandate to go ahead with unpalatable council mergers. He did not, because he never made it part of his election campaign! He never told us he would force councils to amalgamate to an extend where it would destroy the identity of Fremantle. We can not let this happen and Colin Barnett and Local Government Minister Tony Simpson need to listen to what mergers local councils prefer. The state government’s bigger is better philosophy is against the democratic wishes of the Fremantle community!
We do not want our new council boundaries to go up all the way to Applecross, we do not want our civic centre to be somewhere in Melville, we do not want the shopping centre of our council to be Garden City, because it will destroy the plans for development and progress in Fremantle’s inner city. A huge local council including all of Melville, Fremantle and East Fremantle will water down the importance and priorities to make Freo propser again and grow. Non local councillors who don’t live anywhere near Freo will be making the decisions on what is good for us. It will be a disaster should Barnett go ahead with it. It’s time for a good old Freo fight!
Fremantle councillor Andrew Sullivan posted the following comment to the new Don’t Merge Freo with Melville FACEBOOK page. I believe it is worth publishing it on my blog as well. Here it is:
If there is to be local government “reform” it must be real reform with demonstrable benefits. The ‘bigger is better’ economic mantra is simplistic and should only be a small part of the equation. More importantly, local government areas should be focussed around true regional city centres like Fremantle, Subiaco, Midland, Armadale, Mandurah and the like (or places that should become those centres…, like Canning Bridge and Cockburn Central).
Boundary reform needs to capture the right community of interest that relates to the centre of interest. We need to establish the right demographic and geographic boundaries – a series of polygons with central nuclei. Within that approach some simple amalgamations of whole councils like East Freo & Freo will make perfect sense. However, there are some other local government areas that don’t yet have an existing or planned city centre in their patch. If the State wants true planning and administrative progress then they’ll need to be bold by carving those council areas up and allocating the portions to adjoining councils that do have true centres.
Melville has many great smaller centres plus the big box at Booragoon, but clearly has no real city centre. Its a dinosaur left over from the suburban sprawl planning model that we are now trying to fix through Directions 2031. It may well make long term sense to allocate the extra resources to carve it up now.
If Melville were focussed on developing a true city centre around Canning Bridge (which it isn’t) then perhaps it would have a reason for being. The centre around Canning Bridge must become a focal point in its own right as part of the roll out of Directions 2031. A local government needs to be established around it so as to capture its natural catchment to both the east and west. On this basis, Melville should be split, perhaps down the Stock Road divide, so that the west half is amalgamated into Fremantle and the east half merges with areas east of Canning Bridge.
In another example, Cockburn is developing its own city centre at Cockburn Central which is a good model in terms of implementing Directions 2031. However, there is land immediately east of that centre that that is not yet part of the greater City of Cockburn but clearly ought to be.
Conversely, many people in areas like Hamilton Hill, Spearwood, Coolbellup and Coogee feel isolated and left behind by Cockburn’s focus on the shiny new Cockburn Central. Residents from these much older suburbs will always see Fremantle as their regional city centre because they grew out from this town both physically and culturally. From the City of Cockburn’s perspective, losing a few suburbs may just be a matter of pride and protection of their fiefdom. From Fremantle’s perspective, they would certainly be a great cultural and administrative fit if they were merged into Fremantle – it would be like welcoming home family who had been segregated against their will a few decades earlier.
Finally, how large a local government is in land area or residential population is not the only measure of size that should be considered. For big city centres, such as the City of Perth, remaining geographically small allows them to stay focussed on their core responsibility of delivering a great city centre for the metropolitan area. While Perth may not have a large residential population, their budgets and service provision is larger than some mega suburban Councils.
In many ways, this same ‘small n focused’ approach is true for a place like Fremantle. We certainly punch well above our geographic size but it remains true that our rate revenue is too small to fund what really needs do be done.
Establishing a mega council around Fremantle just because it is easy and seems to fit the simple ideology of ‘big is better’ is very very risky. Creating an elected body born out of suburban sprawl may well create a Council that is no longer focussed on the needs of the city centre or passionate about protecting and enhancing our built and cultural heritage.
I have started a Don’t Merge Freo With Melville Facebook page to let Premier Colin Barnett and the Western Australian government know that the people of Fremantle do not want such a giant amalgamation of local councils. The ideal merger for us would be one with East Fremantle, small bits of Melville and a few relevant parts of Cockburn, so Freo would retain its identity and unique character and brand.
Let’s try to get a lot of Facebook “LIKE” on this page so the Barnett government will realise we won’t take it! Pass this on to all your friends and those in Melville as well!
The Round House, Western Australia’s first public building, is part of Arthur Head, one of Fremantle‘s neglected areas. It is THE place for tourists to visit but the City seems reluctant to spend the necessary money on it. Buildings, fences, walls, footpaths, signs, etc. are falling to bits but it does not seem to matter much. The photos below show part of the wall near the steps to the Round House. Large loose rocks are a public liability as they drop down on the stairs and invite vandalism. Inside the Round House the recently refurbished walls are crumbling already because the mortar mix used was apparently too soft.
The Fremantle Heritage Guides, the volunteers who keep the Round House open seven days a week, have been told there is no money to repair the dangerous walls, so it will only be a matter of time till someone gets hurt, or windows smashed by rocks. While all this neglect is going on large sums of money are being spent on painting and upgrading the Pilot’s Cottages so artists can move in next week. It does not appear the City of Fremantle is getting its priorities right.
There are worrying indications, if one can believe today’s Fremantle Herald front page story, that the council amalgamation no one wants will be forced through by the Barnett Liberal government. It is rumoured that the State Government will announce soon that Fremantle will have to merge with East Fremantle and Melville and none of the councils want that. If Freo has to merge with the much larger City of Melville we will no longer have much say on what will happen in our city. Fremantle will lose its identity and character.
Will we have to go to Booragoon if we need to do council business and it is acceptable to have to make a 40 minute trip to see officers, or will the state duplicate services and still keep staff at Freo council. If that would be the case, who will pay for it all, as Local Government Minister Tony Simpson has said the government will not make any money available for the amalgamations. This could well mean the selling off of local council assets to let Premier Colin Barnett do what he promised before the election he would not do; forced council amalgamations.
Why is it Colin Barnett is breaking his promise? What use are elections when apparently deliberately lying politicians change their minds after having been elected? Where has democracy disappeared to?
The sensible amalgamation would be Freo with North Fremantle, a wee bit of Melville up to Stock Road and a wee bit of Cockburn to add Coogee Beach to Freo. It would be a pretty straightforward merger that would allow Fremantle to keep its integrity and character. Anything bigger is bull Mister Barnett!
The very successful HIDDEN TREASURES Music Festival will return to Fremantle‘s West End in July with live music in the clubs every Thursday evening from 5.30-9 pm.Tickets are only $ 10.00 and drinks and food at cheap club prices.
So check out what will be on at the Fremantle Workers Club, Navy Club, the Buffalo Club and Merenda Gallery.
Nick Allbrook, the former Tame Impala‘s bass player will perform at the Navy Club for the first time since he left the group in May, as will Lucy Peach, Red Engine Caves, AnnaWallwork, Pimps of Sound, Mama Say Yes, and more.
The Buffalo Club will host groups like Valiant, Axe Girl, The Blue Leis, the Crux and many more, while at Merenda Gallery upstairs only a small audience will be able to listen to Dilip and the Drew, Leah Miche &Mister and Sunbird.
The always active Fremantle Workers Club will be showing The Stalker Family, Justin Walshe Folk Machine, Davey Craddock an the Spectacles, Billie Rogers and the Country Gentlemen, Tom Fisher and the Layabouts, the Family Band, and more!!
This should be a fun month so keep your Thursday evenings free and support our local clubs and the Hidden Treasures festival!
A fund raising event for the Leukaemia Foundation this Sunday needs brave, or some might call them foolish, people willing to run around Fremantle on a winter’s day dressed only in bathers and sunflowers. I hope it will not tempt Tony Abbott to dash around the port city in his budgie smugglers, but hey, it’s for a good cause so everyone is welcome at the Sunflower Club Speedo Dash.
The start will be at the Orient Hotel on the corner of High and Henry streets, so that will give people the time to have a hot rum, a nice glass of port and get some Dutch courage going before dashing around town.
Turn up from 11 am on and pay your donation, for which you will receive four large sunflowers to dress up with. Be creative and wear vintage bathers or whatever is fun.
More info at www.sunflowerclub.org.au
The only good news about Kevin Rudd becoming the leader of the Australian Labor Party is that he has no hope in hell becoming Prime Minister. I can’t stand the man and don’t trust him one bit. Rudd is like the bad reflux I have when taking fish oil, he just keeps coming back in unpleasant ways.
The bad news for Australia is that we now have two unpalatable leaders to choose from, as Tony Abbott definitely does not do it for me either, so who to vote for then? I am sorry to say that I will not vote for a party that has Rudd as leader so the well performing Fremantle MP Melissa Parke won’t receive my vote at the next election this time.
It is beyond me that people were unable to appreciate how well Julia Gillard had been doing running a minority government that managed to have the best economy in the world when all other countries were going the Coles way; Down, Down, Down! Sometimes Australia you deserve a kick in the arse and I have no doubt that Doctor NO, the man of no policies, but turning back the boats, will deliver that. Shame will come to this country if we allow him to send desperate asylum seekers people back.