Freo's View


Posted in city of fremantle, development, local government by freoview on April 4, 2015

I had another read at the City of Fremantle’s Thinking Allowed in the Herald in response to the critique about the financial plan of the Kings Square project by Martin Lee.

As I wrote on Thursday I agree with the City that there is a bigger picture than just finances when it comes to the revitalisation of the CBD, but one has to seriously question why the City of Fremantle does not respond in detail to Martin Lee’s concerns about some of the financial aspects.

The COF writes “…but we also need to make sure you’re getting the full story.” but then don’t give us the story at all. Surely we are right to expect the City to respond to Lee’s concerns with financial details instead of the nonsense they wrote that someone similar to Mr Lee in 1885 would have made a similar case against building the Townhall. That is basically immature school boy argumentation to discredit someone who has genuine concerns and who must have spent a lot of time doing the figures.

What we needed from the City’s Mayor and CEO is pointing out where Mr Lee’s financial observations might be wrong, not a flippant remark to try to discredit him. He does not deserve that and his concerns should have been taken more serious and the response by the City should have been more professional.

Like most people I am not skilled to read financial reports, but it appears Martin Lee has a lot of experience doing just that. Therefor the residents and business people of Fremantle deserve to get a detailed reply to Lee’s concerns, not schoolboy bully arguments.

Roel Loopers

17 Responses

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  1. freoview said, on April 7, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    Thanks Brad. Appreciate the heads up.


  2. Roel et al
    Fyi Kings Square Project page updated with the detailed reponse letter to Mr Lee(it’s listed in the blue column as a useful document):

    thanks, Brad

  3. freoview said, on April 6, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    It is remarkable indeed that a Council who advocates so strongly to use bikes or walk instead of using cars, gives free parking to nearly half of their staff, and at what cost to the community. Walking the talk would make residents less skeptical about our elected members.


  4. Diana Ryan said, on April 6, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    This is how a councillor responds on serious questions about his council’s business dealings with private developers, and how many of its councillors have political ambitions, work for politicians or are lobbyists who court govt?

    Freo council seems increasingly compromised to me, and its flushing away a lot of money on book-based sustainability, liveability, resiliency measures.

    Expecting to continue to provide 200 car parking bays for what I recall were about 500 staff, or 350 FTE at Fremantle is hypocritical when the planning staff and council continually try to get everyone else to change behaviours.

    Flush change through the council at the next elections, people of Fremantle!

  5. Suzanne said, on April 5, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    Thank you Mr. Lee.

    Thanks Dick for posing the simple key questions that as yet have received no,
    surely simple, answer x 3.

  6. kel said, on April 5, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    Hope the Easter Bunny was good to you this morning Robert.

  7. Rob Fittock said, on April 5, 2015 at 11:30 am

    Kel….my parents taught me many years ago that it was a sign of respect to get people’s names and spelling correct….just thought I’d send it onto you

  8. dickbaynham said, on April 5, 2015 at 8:31 am

    The three key questions in relation to Kings Square are… Q1: Who owns it? Q2: What are ratepayers paying in terms of debt or rent? Q3: What returns (financial and social) can ratepayers expect on their investment?

    I thank Mr Lee for his efforts and everything we’ve heard so far in response is plainly deliberate obfuscation.

  9. kel said, on April 5, 2015 at 7:34 am

    I also made the comment that the City needs “mature management” Councillor Fittock

    As usual your comment above is of an “immature nature”

  10. Rob Fittock said, on April 5, 2015 at 6:11 am

    Best check with Doug on his political preference Roel….he might just be in the same club as Josh, Dave and Dave

    ….and to set the record straight it’s Peter Tinley AM, MLA, Simone only has one ‘n’, it’s Cr Coggin and the CEO’s christian name is Graeme

  11. freoview said, on April 4, 2015 at 11:57 pm

    It is my understanding that Massie, Thompson and Fittock are Liberal and Wainwright is Social Alliance.


  12. kel said, on April 4, 2015 at 11:27 pm

    Hi Jane,

    Yes all relevant points.

    It is interesting that David Tinley has taken up the batten to the WA Parliament as the Labour member for “Willagee” .

    The Labour Member for Fremantle Simonne McGurk surprisingly refused FRRA to take it on.

    The Kings Square Development in question has had the support and Council Resolution “approval vote” of many High profile Labour Party members who are sitting members of the Fremantle City Council.

    Deputy Mayor Josh Wilson Labour Party member who is paid senior adviser to the Labour member of Fremantle Melissa Parke.

    Dave Colgin I understand Labour Party member and once advisor to ex WA Premier Allan Carpenter.

    Dave Hume Labour Party member and close affiliate of David Tinley

    The rest on Council are mainly Greens who also supported approval.

    Future ambitions of potential Labour Candidates of current Elected Members of the City of Fremantle should “not” be considered over due diligence,transparency and accountability.

    The reply to Martin Lees Herald report last week by this weeks” joint “Thinking Aloud” response by Mayor Brad Pettit and CEO Graham McKenzie was just a “defensive ramble pitch to the readers” with no substance, no answers and just proves that our City needs mature management, more now than ever.

    Can`t see this issue going too far ( too much too loose) unless the Ombudsman or C.C.C. are involved.

    We have entrusted these people to make decisions of a business nature and how many of them have even run a business and understand it. NONE!!

    Thank you

  13. Robert said, on April 4, 2015 at 10:41 pm

    Several questions that are of concern to me is
    1. Do we really want more retail space in Fremantle and provided by the Council,With so many empty shops, will they be AFFORDABLE RENT. which might force the hungery tight owners of of retail rental to compete. NO!?
    (To me its a matter of getting the present Fremantle shop fronts attractive with rte return of Verandas and frontages to there original 1800s and reduce the RENTS. Yet they the Council allow the Wyola Club to put in black steel frames and the Manning building do the same). But I digress.
    2. Selling off the Leisure Centre and the Associated Car park!? The council already has approver a concrete wall along Quarry St and are planning wrapping it around to James St. Along with more Concrete at tho old YMCA owned by Count Moriarty And an other good friend to no doubt do the same with the lovely SEC Sub Station on Parry. Roll on Berlin ! for the special little enclave of Shuffery, Quarry, Barnett STs.. And that’s an other oversight. With the present rezoning of Queen and Quarry Sts. a wonderful view corridor from Barnett St, its self, looking over the present buildings to See the ocean liners parked down the end of the Street. Its Very special and why I bought into Fremantle. Lost for ever.Lost to the Developers bank balance.But that’s an other disaster that not many Know about , let alone care.

  14. mike said, on April 4, 2015 at 10:34 pm

    This whole deal will just be one surprise after another.
    Its clear this is a council we have to watch every step of the way
    they seem to be only interested in their own agenda, looks like the rate payer will just get screwed
    how did we end with such a crap council
    thank god we have people in our city who r watching what these guys are up too
    is this the worse council ever

  15. Jayne said, on April 4, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    And why are we being asked to pay for staff parking? Was it something like 100 or 200 bays reserved for Council employees? If we reduce this to say ten bays, like other large organisations in city centres, how much money will we save annually? And wouldn’t that also mean many additional car bays will be freed up daily during shopping hours for visitors? And wouldn’t that also align with the COF push for more people to use bikes and public transport, thus leading by example? I’ve asked the Council questions about staff parking on this blog several times now and never received a response. Just another case of ignoring legitimate questions?

  16. Craig said, on April 4, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    With the stonewalling on the Kings Square detailed financial information to ratepayers and also the superficial reasoning provided for the proposed investment in the commercial development at Heirloom, you do have to wonder about the CoF’s financial experience.

    As a quick recap (for those interested) of the ‘boring’ stuff on Kings Square. It looks like three properties are to be sold for $30m (Queensgate carpark, Queensgate centre & Spicer site) and $45m spent on the library & civic centre, public realm, new council officers & council services, office/retail space and urban room. Along with different scenarios there will be some lease income and rates received in the future offset with interest, other costs including temporary council office accommodation and a surprisingly large number of car parking spaces leased for council staff. CoF claims there is a healthy net present value and internal rate of return on the cash flows…..unfortunately it seems numerous requests to clarify these claims currently remain unanswered.

    What does everyone reckon is the likely chance the full financial Kings Square story will be shared by CoF with ratepayers?

  17. Jayne said, on April 4, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    I’d like to thank Mr Lee for his time and effort in what must have been a frustrating process. Even attempting to make sense of the business plan is commendable, for it is a difficult read. To then take the matter to the public arena when the Council was not forthcoming also requires courage. In the Council’s subsequent attempt to belittle Mr Lee and deflect his financial focus, the CEO and the Mayor reveal character traits less valued.

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