Freo's View

THE GREEN THUMB COUNCILLOR

Posted in city of fremantle by freoview on November 6, 2014

Fremantle Councillor Andrew Sullivan took a bit of a swipe at me and some people who comment on this blog about his ‘green credentials’ and good on him for standing up for himself and boast about his record of preserving many green spaces and planting hundreds of trees. When we criticise Councillors we often do so out of context of what they have done in the past and only concentrate on the issues at hand, so it is good to be able to get balance.

It came up at the Planning Services Committee and the proposed development for Knutsford Street adjoining Stevens Reserve, where the highest building of Fremantle is proposed by Landcorp, and I support it in that location as long as it is a really well designed modern and beautiful building.

Andrew pointed out that previously Landcorp had proposed a horrendous boring McMansion type of development more appropriate for the fringes than for the Stevens site, but he made Landcorp aware of the Green Plan that was the vision of the community some 15 years ago that would allow to retain more green public space while also increase the density, and Landcorp was happy to embrace those ideas.

Councillor Sulllivan also boasted rightly about the hundreds of trees he has personally planted. I know he also spent many weeks snorkling and replacing seagrass in Cockburn Sound, so he deserves credit for that.

As I said in my comments yesterday, it’s not all black&white and as simplistic as some like to portray it.

Roel Loopers

5 Responses

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  1. Andrew Sullivan said, on November 9, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    LOL, same old cud, just as I said! The term “unrestricted height” was misleadingly coined by another protagonist but was never ever a position of any elected member on Fremantle Council – just mud so it will wash off I guess.

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  2. Suzanne said, on November 8, 2014 at 4:45 am

    Great rehearsal for polli-speak Councillor.
    Round and round the garden……

    I merely state,
    unrestricted height,
    and rest my case.

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  3. Andrew Sullivan said, on November 7, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Thanks Roel, and as I said last night, I wasn’t having a go at you. My criticism was reserved for the same old Dick and and a few other “dicks” who seem to have nothing better to do than make trite pop-shots at people who have the courage and commitment to get on and do things in what is largely a voluntary capacity.

    I don’t often boast about success or gloat when I’m shown to have been right or justified in my actions. I’m also quite happy to take criticism and to learn from the many different points of view out there. But when I’m so viciously attacked about my commitment to public open space and green plan issues, it was clearly time to set the record straight. My CV of commitment to open space is far too long to include here. A few of the regular armchair critics are just plain ignorant of my commitment in this area, as witnessed in Suzanne’s comment above. Too many of these critics offer nothing but regurgitated sound bites, but when challenged themselves to substantiate their statements they simply skip to the next load of cud that they seem capable of endlessly coughing up.

    On the matter of having “concreted” in public open space, the much used slag-line by those opposed to the Youth Plaza and/or its location, my position remains that we got the location and detailing pretty much right. There has never been overwhelming opposition to it in the broad community, now, or during the planning process. I accept that those opposed to its location are passionate in their beliefs, but would they also have us rip up the netball courts along High Street or the hard courts at the Tennis Club or the pools at the Leisure Centre or perhaps Kidogo at Bather Beach. Likewise, there is far more greenery in the new facility with all of the trees and plants that have been planted will contribute much more to improving the lungs of the city.

    For those who believe the Youth Plaza should have been in the adjoining car park, there were several reasons put forward why that shouldn’t happen. A part of that car park must be set aside to implement the decades old plan to extend Norfolk Street into the Fishing Boat Harbour. When that eventually happens, I will be pushing to have the remaining portion of the car park added into the Esplanade Reserve. That requires us to develop a suitable parking structure to replace all of the much needed parking in that location. The new area of parkland will also be suited for higher intensity and active recreation and that will assist in taking some of the pressure off the original park area which is earmarked for passive recreation only.

    I have also been lobbying to get the small car park between the Esplanade and the Shipwreck Museum closed and amalgamated into the Esplanade. That will assist with movement through the area and allow the open space in front of the museum to become an integral part of the usable parkland. The Esplanade Masterplan still needs to be updated to accommodate these changes. The masterplan also needs to have reinstated the consultant’s original proposal to include more pedestrian pathways (yep, more “concrete”) on the key pedestrian desire lines that flow through the park. There is a clear need to ensure the pedestrian highway that will join together all the surrounding areas is properly constructed otherwise large areas of the lawn will continue to be a dust bowl for much of the year. Also, the basketball facilities promised as part of the Youth Plaza still need to be implemented, perhaps next year. We also have to recognise the need for succession planning for the original landscape elements in the park. The original Norfolk Pines are getting to the end of their natural life and the grass will eventually suffer and become unviable as the already high water table continues to rise in line with sea level rises.

    Every one of the parkland areas in the city centre has a similar quantum of issues that need to be considered and addressed. The Princess May Park will need an upgrade to become the village green capable of handling the significant increase in population that will be soon living around that space. The focus will need to be on meeting the needs of families and ensuring all of the buildings in and around that park provide a high level of amenity and connectivity to the park. Likewise, Pioneer Reserve will become a far more important civic space as it becomes the stepping stone between the city centre and the Victoria Quay waterfront.

    There is so much more to do, as there always is. When the armchair critics who label me as anti-park or anti-green space have planted as many trees as me, or have saved as many hectares of bushland as I have, or have gone close to having as many hectares of new open space gazetted as I have, then maybe I’d take them more seriously.

    Keep the debates going Roel, but hopefully that batch of commentators that seem so full of toxins learn how to contribute to a meaningful dialogue.

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  4. spencertive said, on November 6, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    Good on you for the acknowledgment Roel.

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  5. Suzanne said, on November 6, 2014 at 9:23 am

    Thats really bonser beaut that Cr Sullivan plants trees and goes snorkeling.
    Excellent he re-affirmed to Landcorp the Green Plan which they should have been aware of anyway.
    Dynamic dilligence, AS IT SHOULD BE, by an elected member. Appointed by the people for the people and their reasonable requests.
    ie. Not concreting over green areas. Not arguing for ugly boring giant buildings.
    Not even attempting to enhance historic buildings to maintain their heritage, which Developers consistently ignore.
    Indeed there was only one Councillor who voted against ‘unrestricted height for Fremantle’ and it wasnt Cr Sullivan. However, I do compliment the Councillor on his ‘little Johnny Appleseed’ exploits, but there is far more at stake to protect and promote the green, and traditional Freo, than whacking in the odd shrub. Compliments, nevertheless.

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