Freo's View

WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Posted in city of fremantle, local government by freoview on March 2, 2016

A local newspapers is reporting on its front page about parking issues, markets, vacant shops, controversial development, high rents, etc. in a local council. Fremantle? Nah, Subiaco! Front page of the Western Suburbs newspaper of February 23-29, 2016. Welcome to the real world of local government in difficult economic times!

I don’t think anyone would accuse Subiaco Council of being a bunch of greenies with no business knowledge, so why do they have the same problems north of the river, I wonder. Might it just be because we live in a rapidly-changing world with an even faster-changing retail environment, where State Government forces inappropriate development upon local communities?

Next time you want to sink the boot into Fremantle Council have a thought first about the bigger picture and why retail all over the world is struggling, and the fact COF can’t dictate how much rent property owners charge for their shops.

Roel Loopers

23 Responses

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  1. freoview said, on March 7, 2016 at 7:43 am

    What riles me most about all of this is the very inconsistent decision-making of Fremantle Council. If there are policies for these things they need to apply to every event, not some and the unfortunate perception in Fremantle is that they look after their mates well while others don’t get a foot in the door. That needs to change and accountability and transparency need to become more than words.

    Roel

  2. Mark said, on March 6, 2016 at 10:54 pm

    Jayne I recall a council meeting some time back, when the Fremantle Surf Life Saving Club, had to come hat in hand not for money but to ask for permission to use space on the clubs walls to fund raise money to pay for operational expenses of the their clubs activities
    This money was to raise fund for rescue equipment for the free community services they provide to the wider general public, in water safety, rescues, first-aid etc.
    Not to mention the life skills and community spirit they instill on the 500 plus nippers in their youth program each year, all run by volunteers, promoting, outdoor activities, fitness, etc.
    All this setting the picture for the condescending manner council dealt with the club reps, talking about protecting the ambience of the beach against ugly signs and the possibility of inappropriate signage like Coke or maccas, setting a bad example for our community.
    Now I think back to the corana beer festival supported by council, now another alcohol based event like the ones held at Jshed, not to mention the ambience of the view.
    Sound hypocritical to anyone?
    So I guess alcohol based events for private profit, free tickets for Councillors is good and community services based sporting clubs seeking sponsorship from water or media companies bad.
    Shows you where our councils priorities are doesn’t it?

  3. freoview said, on March 6, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    I am disappointing in what Sunset Events is not doing at J Shed, Jayne. No place making of any significance is occurring there and I agree the number 1 studio looks like a storage space for at least five days of the week and I don’t believe that is acceptable.
    There were a lot of promises of an arts venue, etc. but it is basically now a space to have 12 concerts a year and a shitty unattractive Sunday BBQ where there are none of the promised international food trucks.

    Roel

  4. freoishome said, on March 6, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    I’ve suggested to the Mayor and Councillors that they need to to see the books of organisations for the events that benefit from from using the CoF assets.
    My past comments have been in the context of their use with subsidies, ie, it can be worthwhile to subsidise events to ensure they are a success from the CoF residents and ratepayers perspective, even if they end up being a financial loss. But if they are profitable then the City needs to charge a proper commercial fee.
    The Mayor, who seldom replies to such queries and questions here, did, saying it thought this idea had merit and he would get the staff to investigate. Not heard a word from him either here or privately which is great disappointment.
    Surely, this commercial return should be the basis of all such deals, not just those with subsidy?
    Paul

  5. Jayne said, on March 6, 2016 at 9:37 am

    Hi Roel, J Shed Unit 1 is occupied by Sunset Events permanently and closed the public so it actually is, as Michael says, a close comparison. While the external area is accessible to the public outside of event dates, it has been turned into what looks like a rubbish dump on full view to the public. There is cheap signage, a shipping container facing the beach and a huge pile of materials used for events behind a raggedy temporary fence. Guess poor old Sunset Events cant afford to spend any money in Freo making the venue half decent. Anyway, looks like other people must have found it crappy too as there were large piles of human poo beside the pathway. I wonder if that counts as community feedback or is it placemaking?

  6. freoview said, on March 6, 2016 at 8:54 am

    To be fair, the cafe excludes the public from a parking bay all year while J Shed so far only operates every Sunday afternoon and 12 Friday night concerts a year.

    I agree that the lease for Sunset Events appears very low but according to the Council meeting I attended and according to the officers’ recommendation in the agenda they are the standard commercial rates.

    The rate to lease South Beach for the Saturday night food markets there is also quite low, as are the rates for events on the Esplanade, so maybe the City of Fremantle needs to adjust what they charge event operators who walk away with substantial profits.

    Roel

  7. Michael said, on March 5, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    So a cafe pays $8000 for a 10 square metre parklet, whereas the Mayor’s mates pay the same for not only the J Shed lease, but the whole surrounding area, and what’s more can exclude the public at a whim, which the cafe can’t. Is it any wonder people have “severe criticism” for the inconsistency and unaccountability of the FCC?

  8. freoview said, on March 5, 2016 at 4:26 am

    I believe that cafes pay around $ 8000.00 for the space for a parklet. The mobile parklet is supposed to go around Fremantle. It was at Cafe 37 in Pakenham Street for a few weeks, but has been at the Two Reubens for a while now.

    I applaud Councillor Andrew Sullivan for engaging on this blog with the community. It is a shame that some of the other Councillors only did that before the May election, while others can’t be bothered.

    Mayor Brad Pettitt would engage here in the past but he does not like the severe criticism from inner city residents, so has obviously decided to also stay away from this blog and that is disappointing as many of the questions asked here no longer get answered. Transparency and accountability are just words at the City of Fremantle.

    Roel

  9. Michael said, on March 5, 2016 at 1:57 am

    Two things to say. I applaud Andrew Sullivan for actually sticking his neck out and engaging on this topic, and though I don’t agree with him or his position on parking, having councillors engaging (if not actually “listening”) is hugely important. Secondly, I am puzzled by the mechanism by which businesses are permitted by FCC to take over community land and create alfresco areas on public land (“parklets”), to the detriment of the taxpayer and potentially the public amenity. By what mechanism are these claims judged? Obviously any business must have a justifiable business case to take on any lease, so where is the justification for granting them an additional privileged use of public land, which denies the taxpayer the parking stream that land had previously generated. Every one of those “parklets” directly costs ratepayers – are the businesses paying the equivalent of the daily revenue lost to FCC by their sole occupation of these spaces? If not, why not? What is the methodology used to assess and justify this use of public amenity? And can someone enlighten me as to the cost for taxpayers to construct the “mobile parklet” currently enriching the “Two Reuben’s” in Essex Street? (Not that I have any beef with that business, I just wonder what they are paying for that boost to their business and wondering what argument would be needed to park it outside Bodkins, or New Edition or Kakulas Sisters etc, etc).

  10. freoman said, on March 4, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    Hi Jayne

    Can’t find the comment where you asked for the link to The Fremantle Green vote but here it is

    http://results.aec.gov.au/17496/Website/SenateDivisionPollingPlaces-17496-240.htm

    It shows results for the most recent election in Fremantle, the 2013 Senate Rerun booth by booth.

    The Fremantle Local govt area booths first preference vote for Greeens are as follows

    Beaconsfield 28
    St Pats 25
    NFPS 24
    SFOS 36
    WGV 30

    I am not a member of the Greens.

  11. Mark said, on March 3, 2016 at 6:00 pm

    Andrew E I found Andrew S, yawn comment quite amusing, is he yawning at financially successful operations or the hundreds of thousands of people it attracts over the week?
    Or maybe its boring that so many businesses that are successful, making money and employing people?
    Even better its nothing to do with. quote “There is really no other reason to be parking there because there is nothing else to do but to go in to that centre”

    The place has so many different features
    In addition to shopping the main shopping complex, Garden City houses:
    Facilities
    an 8-screen Hoyts cinema
    a public library
    a post office
    several external banking buildings
    an office complex centred on the Alcoa and Gateway buildings
    another office complex known as Garden City House
    the Melville City Council offices
    a major regional bus station
    easy access to the Freeway, leach hwy, canning hwy, roe hwy, etc

    Major precincts
    The main shopping complex can be broken into several main areas:

    the original precinct, centred at the sky-roof atrium which includes Woolworths (a former Action/Newmart store)
    a food court, with stores such as McDonald’s, which leads to the cinema
    a ‘marketplace’ which includes Coles
    a central ‘fashion mall’ which includes many boutique outlets such as Morrison, Kookai, Veronica Maine, CUE, Country Road and Witchery and Mimco and Apple Store
    two diametrically opposite north-south wings leading to David Jones and Myer
    a northern mall parallel to the central mall that includes stores such as Tarocash, Roger David and General Pants and co.
    a southern mall parallel to the central mall that includes stores such as Dick Smith Electronics well had a dicks smith
    a north-south mall at the eastern end of the centre that leads to stores such as K-mart and includes waves and early learning centre.

    Major retailers[edit]
    David Jones department store (2 Level)
    Myer department store (3 Level)
    Zara (2 level)
    K-mart discount department store
    Woolworths supermarket
    Coles supermarket
    Dymocks
    City Beach
    Hoyts
    Apple Store
    JB Hi-Fi
    EB Games

    Major food and beverage outlets within the centre include:

    Croissant Express
    McDonald’s
    Miss Maud
    Red Rooster
    KFC
    Gloria Jean’s
    The Coffee Club
    Dome
    Muffin Break
    Sushi Sushi
    Bucking Bull
    Dome
    Subway
    Sumo Salad
    AND PLANNING TO DOUBLE IN SIZE

    So Andrew S if I pay for parking in Freo or Subi or somewhere else and get a coffee at Gloria Jeans, (oh that closed didn’t it)
    Perhaps if i went to Miss Maud, oh to late too that’s, also closed, Mc Donalds, another gone. Ok lets say I find an outlet like that has survived in freo, (just opened) Coffee Club would it be cheaper in Freo where I paid for parking or would the price be the same as Booragoon where the parking is free?
    Not taking into consideration the Booragoons, lack of drunks, druggies, beggars, needle exchanges, screaming abuse, general obscenities you hear in Kings Sq, homeless, grafitti, skateboarders barging down the footpath. etc etc.
    Yes its hard to see why so many Freo residents shop in Booragoon, Claremont or Gateways, etc, instead of Freo??

    Sorry for the long post Roel but Andrews yawn seems quite arrogant.
    So if a councillor finds models that work (yawn) boring then there’s not much hope of turning Freo around is there, for god sake lets not look at anything that works?

  12. Andrew Eastick said, on March 3, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    Hi Andrew

    I noted the ‘yawn!’ when you referred in your post above to Garden City. I expect that you might have ‘yawned’ also if you had decided to refer to Gateway at Cockburn Central or any other major shopping centre in the Perth metro area.

    But guess what – that is where the people are shopping, that is where the money is being spent!

    The Councillors elected in the big clean-out in 2009 pledged to revive Fremantle’s retail sector.

    To do that required creating a shopping environment in Fremantle that matched or exceeded the shopping environment that attracts the huge number of people and huge expenditure at Garden City et al. Think amongst many other things – beggars, drunks and druggies, woeful buskers and chuggers (charity muggers).

    Rather than ‘yawning’ Andrew, you need to learn from what you currently disparage.

    Kind regards
    Andrew Eastick
    0448 801 448

  13. Mark said, on March 2, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    Your perfectly correct Roel we ‘live in a rapidly-changing world with an even faster-changing retail environment”, so I guess your ahead of the curve or behind it.

    Personally I find the parking fees in Freo to be perfectly fine, what is it $2-$2.5 per, hr possibly why its so busy at peak times, plus my parking permit, i would like less limits on its use which would attract me more to town, but what ever.

    Off street car-parking is extortionate in subi my last trip was about $12 per hour.

    Imagine off st parking in Freo costing $12 an hour, it would have no one coming to town.
    I don’t see the council in Subi though, planning to sell off council assets at below market price.
    I don’t see them bringing in costly policies like one planet
    I don’t see the anti-social issues as bad during the day, shop hours, it also has issues as some of their pubs empty
    I don’t see them concreting over the parks.
    Giving council property for close to free, for businesses that don’t attract people to town on a regular basis.

    Shoppers didn’t stop coming to Myers in Freo, they stopped coming to the town, so much so, Myers pulled out. Why has the anti -social issue has gotten so bad in Freo is the question, something council can negatively or positively influence.

    Of course big centres work the cost of parking into their rental model, but if i go to a store in Garden City or exactly the same brand store where I pay for parking the prices don’t change, the free parking helps ensures volume of business to make that particular model viable. If it didn’t they would do it.
    Freo’s parking issues are going to get worse as council has and intents to off sell more parking, which will drive up price and down availability. Not to mention allowing more business and residential space to be built without meeting basic parking requirements. Hence making the current situation worse
    Any shopping precinct that is succeeding addresses this problem those who don’t head the way of Freo and Subie.
    Possibly why Claremont has turn its fortunes around. Plus they don’t stand for grafitti
    I’ve never been harassed there for money.
    Been called a C!@t for not giving out cigarettes, (despite never having smoked)
    Been harassed by drunks or druggies
    Had to help mothers being harassed for money by the anti-social draw crowd.
    General any time of the day its a pleasant experience.

  14. Mark said, on March 2, 2016 at 10:57 pm

    Roel if you are worried about the revenue stream for council operation and negative impacts on rates.
    Then losing about $1,000,000.00 plus a year in revenue from just queensgate, that must be bad, how much more parking do we need to cover this?
    Or perhaps the low revenue from the lease for j-shed.
    Or maybe as we are talking about parking revenue, the sale of two car parking areas.
    How about the taking the sales of revenue producing assets and not putting the money back into revenue producing assets, but blowing it on political ideologies.
    I’m sure with a little more digging there a few or many more?

    And we still have one of the highest rate rises in WA for a local council over the last 6 years or so.

    Or how about introducing cost likes One Planet, I called four other councils around freo and spoke to 3 mayors and asked about cost impact of such a policy all said it was huge and a ever deeper pot, but freo jumped in with no cost impact analysis.
    Yet when I asked this question at full council I was told it was already costed into the budget, yet all the other councils I spoke to said to calculate the cost impact of such a policy was a massive under taking.

    Yet Freo seems to have done in with out any major undertakings?

    Yes councils taking care of business.
    The questions is, who’s?

  15. Jayne said, on March 2, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    Roel, I used to frequent Subiaco for its shopping, cafes and bars. I stopped for three reasons which occured around the same time. All the new apartments and office buildings overshadowed Subi’s character, parking became a nightmare and fees increased. That was many years ago and I’ve rarely been back.

    Freo has similar issues. New apartments and office buildings will dilute Freo’s much loved character and increase parking demand. I do believe current fees are reasonable and yes, there are some carparks usually with spaces available. But many people, including myself, don’t want to park in Freo’s multistorey carparks because they don’t feel safe when alone or with kids. Freo is a magnet for drunks, druggies, mentally ill people and a whole lot of idiots and I dont want to meet them there. I avoid public transport for the same reason. If I can’t park on the road or in an open carpark I just keep driving and go elsewhere.

    I have a couple of parking ideas but dont want to hog the comments. Plus I am not on the council (hey Bryn!).

  16. Lionel said, on March 2, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    Andrew, has the council considered the American style of parking validation as an incentive to get shoppers into town and to beat the perception of parking issues?

  17. freoview said, on March 2, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    It is too simplistic to blame individual councils for parking fees. If we did not have them they would probably have to increase rate to do what ratepayers expect; cleaning, rubbish, signs, upgrades, infrastructure, services, etc.etc.

    Roel

  18. freoview said, on March 2, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    I agree Ed and have blogged about this many times, but sadly perception becomes reality and people believe Fremantle does not have enough parking bays in and near the CBD. I have showed visitors many times that there is heaps of available space.

    Roel

  19. Andrew Sullivan said, on March 2, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    Parking fees were traditionally introduced for four primary reasons. Fees are one way of controlling available space to ensure it is prioritised for the users who most need to park in the core areas (that’s a very complicated discussion, but for example, it’s not desirable to have students or office workers take all the central bays to the detriment of shoppers).

    The second reason is that parking is increasingly expensive to provide when an area becomes more densely populated. Hence, in diverse built up centres like Fremantle parking is increasingly provided on very valuable land or in expensive multi-storey car parks. When a car bay costs many times more than the car thats in it, someone has to pay.

    The third issue is that regional boxes like Garden City transfer the cost of parking into the rents and thats equitable because all the people parking there are visiting the one centre. There is really no other reason to be parking there because there is nothing else to do but to go in to that centre – yawn!. In essence, you pay for parking at Booragoon through the shop till rather than in the car park. In a diverse and complex city centre, that opportunity really doesn’t exist even through the rate system. Paid parking is adopted as a more direct and equitable user-pays system.

    Lastly, as a city becomes even more urban and built up, it becomes increasingly difficult to provide all users/visitors with a parking bay and so there must inevitably be more reliance on other means of accessing the city centre. Indeed, a true city becomes a self supporting environment that has the critical mass of “locals” (residents & workers) so as to be less focussed on having to attract outsiders in to keep it viable – we’re a very long away from that type of density though.

    In a place like metropolitan Perth that is the archetypal low density post war sea of suburbs (nightmare) it is understandable that the suburbanites don’t quite understand or appreciate how a true city operates. However, it remains a perception rather than a reality that there is not enough suitably located and readily available parking in Fremantle. It is true that once parking fees have been introduced and becomes part of the revenue stream that is difficult to undo that reality. However, Fremantle’s parking is comparatively cheap when you know how to use it properly and the fines are well below comparable precincts elsewhere.

    As a well known former real estate agent from Fremantle recently noted having grey-nomaded around Australia for the last two years, ever Fremantle-like centre he visited was going through the same problems that we are.

  20. Lionel said, on March 2, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    1) Part of Fremantle is North of the river – its seems the council aren’t the only ones who forget that!
    2) Subiaco might not be considered green (although they do provide green waste bins), but they can certainly be accused of lacking business knowledge.

  21. Ed said, on March 2, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    I honestly don’t know why people complain about parking…

    Fremantle has lots of council run car parks and all of them are reasonably priced. Queensgate is in the centre of town, a short walk to the market, and High Street, you can always find a spot even on the weekend, the first hour is free and it is $2.20 an hour after that.

  22. freoview said, on March 2, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    For small councils parking revenue is basically essential, I believe, Ralph, and I don’t know a way around it. When I park in Leederville, Perth, South Perth, Mount Lawley, etc. I have to pay parking fees as well.

    Roel

  23. greyingnomad said, on March 2, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    Funnily enough Roel…they both have the same attitude towards cars. I will not go to Subi unless I ride my bike. They simply love collecting revenue there. Sound familiar????


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