I am off to listen to Tom Griffiths the new Manager Economic Development and Marketing of the City of Fremantle who will be speaking at the Chamber of Commerce late this afternoon. I’ll report on his views and plans for Fremantle tomorrow morning, so for now another stunning cloud photo of a RoRo vessel leaving Fremantle Ports at sunset yesterday.
Interesting to read the opinion piece by Paul Murray in the West Australian today. Murray is not a lefty Labor supporter but more a Liberal, so his opinion that Premier Colin Barnett has no mandate for forced council amalgamations, because he specifically denied before the last election that he would force councils to merge, should open the eyes of those who believe that the opposition to the demanded mergers is a parochial attempt by councils to keep the status quo. In case of Fremantle that is not at all the case, with council expressing the preferred option would be to amalgamate with parts of Melville and Cockburm and all of East Fremantle. That to me makes far more sense than a mega council with Melville which would create a council with two centres.
Murray rightly questions Premier Colin Barnett’s and Local Government Minister Tony Simpson’s integrity.
It looks like Sirona Capital is very confident in Fremantle‘s future. They announced to have taken a $ 97 million stake in the Woolstores apartment development in the East of the City from project owners the MATCH Group. This means Sirona now hold a 50 percent share in the project.
The project has 1 and 2 bedroom apartments and instead of developing it in two stages Sirona prefers to do it all at once in one stage.
Fremantle is on the brink of substantial change that is well overdue, so good luck to Sirona who are now without a doubt the major developer in our city.
MEDIA RELEASE FROM THE CITY OF FREMANTLE:
The City of Fremantle is extremely disappointed with the state government’s decision to proceed with the planned council mergers following yesterday’s (Tuesday 30 July 2013) briefing from Premier Colin Barnett and Local Government Minister, Tony Simpson. The City will submit its preferred boundary report to the state government.
Following the briefing yesterday morning, Fremantle Mayor, Dr Brad Pettitt and City of Fremantle Chief Executive Officer, Graeme Mackenzie expressed strong concern that the rationale behind the state government’s council merger plan for Fremantle did not make sense and was not in the best interest of the people in Fremantle, in preserving Fremantle’s unique identity or its future as a strategic activity centre as outlined under Directions 2031.
The changes to Fremantle will see the port city merge with Melville and East Fremantle while losing the residential parts of North Fremantle to a new council comprising of Nedlands, Subiaco, Cambridge, Claremont, Cottesloe, Mosman Park, Peppermint Grove, Wembly Downs and Churchlands.
The City submitted its preferred boundary report to the state government in May 2013, outlining that it supported both structural and functional reform of councils in the Perth metropolitan area, and based the boundary plan around the Perth metropolitan economic centres.
The City’s boundary submission argued any new boundaries should be based around the state government’s Directions 2031 and other key planning documents to reinforce these centres.
Yesterday’s briefing by the premier revealed it had not properly taken into account Directions 2031.
“Whilst the City of Fremantle has long supported local government reform, the unsophisticated amalgamation options presented yesterday are disappointing as they are likely to undermine Fremantle as a strategic activity centre”. Mayor Pettitt said.
Mayor Pettitt also expressed strong opposition to losing North Fremantle, which has been a key cultural part of Fremantle’s identity and questioned why the residential area was put into a western suburbs council when the port buffer zone extends into this area also.
The City’s preferred boundary report also took into account the results of a City of Fremantle commissioned ratepayer survey by Catalyse in March 2013.
The key results from the survey found: three in five ratepayers supported merging Fremantle and East Fremantle merging Fremantle, East Fremantle, Melville and Rottenest Island were met with the strongest opposition ratepayers would like to be involved in the decision making process.
City of Fremantle Chief Executive Officer, Graeme Mackenzie said the City would be working closely with elected members to prepare a submission back to the state government before the 4 October deadline outlining the City’s preferred boundary changes.
Mr Mackenzie also added that this was not only a stressful time for council mayors and CEOs as they prepared their submissions, but also for the hundreds of City of Fremantle employees who may be feeling unsure of how the proposed council mergers will affect their job security.
“I will be keeping my staff informed of the news as it comes in from the state government, so they do not feel like they are being left in the dark. We will also be ensuring that all permanent and contract City of Fremantle officers will still have a job for the guaranteed two years after the council mergers are expected to take place in 2015” Mr Mackenzie said.
The WA Nuclear Free Alliance is showing PAKALA PARNAKU-STAND UP FOR THE LAND exhibition at the Fremantle Moores Building Art Centre in Henry Street. Opening Friday August 2 at 6 pm.
Works by artists from across Australia and local indigenous artists from Wiluna and Leonora will be on show and for sale. All funds raised will go to WANFA to support their important work in Aboriginal communities.
Nothing is ever happening in Fremantle and we are becoming a ghost town, say those who rather see the bad than the good in our city, so I am very happy to report there is progress on losing another neglected eyesore in the west end of town with an application for a hotel on the corner of High and Henry streets. Hopefully this will mean the old Marion building will be restored to its former glory.
In case you haven’t heard, there is also a new office development going up at 11 Cliff Street, two new developments under way in Bannister Street, the development of Kings Square just about a year away, and quite a bit of building going on in the east of town at Queen Victoria/Quarry street. There is also a development application for short-stay accommodation apartments on the corner of Pakenham and Short streets, and plans to develop Victoria Quay.
The Chamber of Commerce in close collaboration with the City of Fremantle and the BID group is working hard to make life a bit more pleasant for retailers and shoppers alike, so I reckon all this effort deserves some moral support, a pat on the back, and a more positive outlook for Freo. Fremantle might look a bit down at times but we are far from out or giving in!
The Fremantle Business Improvement District (BID) is having a positive impact on things happening in Fremantle’s CBD. The Music on Tuesday lunchtime sessions are fun. Today I noticed a group playing in the High Street mall and a duo serenading people who were enjoying lunch and coffee at the Cappuccino Strip.
BID tells me they are also going to put a lot of wooden planter boxes all over the East of city central and hope to spread that around the city in the future. BID of course also financed the QR code Freopedia project by the Fremantle Society, so they are well on track doing good for our retailers, community and visitors.