FREMANTLE OVAL TO OCEAN EVOLUTION
The City of Fremantle Oval to Ocean/Port City Priorities function at the new Coast restaurant at Port Beach on Tuesday night brought a lot of influential people to Fremantle, but Premier Colin Barnett stayed away although he had sent an RSVP.
Here a list of the crème de la crème I saw, but I might have overlooked some big wigs: Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority CEO Kieran Kinsella, Silverleaf’s Gerard O’Brien, Committee for Perth CEO Marion Fulkner, Josh Wilson MP, Matt Taylor MLA, Simone McGurk, Lynn McLaren, Chamber of Commerce CEO Olwyn Williams, Fremantle Port CEO Chris Leatt-Hayter, Fremantle Foundation CEO Dylan Smith, many business people, Councillors and CoF staff.
The Evolution of Fremantle is Happening Now Mayor Brad Pettitt said, but that was about it as the announcement that the development of Fremantle Oval and South Quay are key priorities of state significance was just a rehash of what already has been in the public realm for years. It was akin to opening a Christmas present and finding books one has already read.
A better station forecourt, moving the bus port east, building a commercial precinct, etc. are already plans Fremantle Ports had for years and went through extensive community consultation, but have been put on hold because of the possible sale of the port.
But let me embrace the Christmas spirit(s) to be more positive about last evening. It is very good when people of that calibre connect and hopefully they will engage and collaborate with the City of Fremantle and assist in shaping our city into a modern and vibrant one. Especially MRA boss Kieran Kinsella could be of great help, but that will require the State Government to allow him to take charge of the South Quay project.
There is no doubt that at present South Quay is underutilised by Fremantle Port and the Passenger Terminal is too far away from the train station, and we witness mainly old people pushing and pulling heavy luggage along either side of the railway line, rain or shine. That is not a great experience and neither is the derelict woolstores building.
I agree that South Quay should become an integrated tourist and commercial precinct, and if port buffer zones can be adjusted it should have a residential component.
Interesting in that regard to hear Labor party leader Mark McGowan in the presence of Simone McGurk on TV yesterday saying that the Passenger Terminal was substandard and South Quay should be developed. Instead of having a whinge I would actually like to hear the Labor leader telling us what he will do for Fremantle, the Perth Freight Link, etc. because being negative about the government is not good enough and we need to see more leadership, ideas, innovations and promises from the Labor leader before the election because most state governments have neglected the port city for many years, so what will a Labor government do for Freo, Mark?!
The Fremantle Oval development is a very important one in connection with the Kings Square project, so I hope the Fremantle Dockers will stop playing silly corporate games of greed and show some class and gratitude instead and hand back the keys unconditionally and without the demand for a large sum of money from the City of Fremantle.
I believe the future of Fremantle is very bright with all the development going on and being planned, but one of the major emphasises of Fremantle Council should be to try to connect better with the community and glue us together so we can all be part of the solutions and evolution.
I asked the question what the Labor Party would do if they win government next year, so it is fair to publish the answer as well. This is just a small quote from a Mark McGowan paper on transport, Fremantle Port, outer habour, etc:
• A McGowan Labor Government will work with the City of Fremantle to redevelop South Quay for high-value development including hotels and commercial uses delivering a tourism precinct and a world class cruise ship terminus.