Don’t forget to come to the Fremantle Candidates Election Forum tonight hosted by former ABC political reporter Peter Kennedy.
It is on from 6.30-8.30 pm at Tannock Hall of Notre Dame University on the corner of Cliff and Croke streets in the West End.
All candidates have been invited so it could be a very lively debate in regard to the Perth Freight Link and sale of Fremantle Port.
Fremantle has long been considered a safe seat for the Labor party but the demographics have been changing in recent years due to increased residential development, so Simone McGurk has a fight on her hands to retain her seat.
I’ll report on the debate at around 9.30 this evening!
Some Fremantle residents have suggested that the age of entitlement for Councillors should be over as far as free parking is concerned. Councillors receive one year free parking for every year they have been on Council, e.g Councillor Doug Thompson will get twenty years of free parking for his twenty-year service as Councillor should he decide to leave in October or not get re-elected.
The argument was that free parking was introduced when Councillor were volunteers but now that they get paid for doing the work they should no longer receive that perk. It was pointed out that the federal government has recently scrapped the life-long free travel pass for former MPs and Senators.
One can also question if a Council that strongly works toward increasing bicycle use and discourages cars in the CBD should give free parking to ex Councillors.
In that context one also has to wonder why on average 115 City of Fremantle staff park their car for free at the Queensgate carpark daily. That is one-quarter of CoF staff receiving free parking! Why does CoF encourage staff to come to work by car instead of walking the talk and promoting bicycle and public transport use?
One of the requirements for the Department of Housing to move to Kings Square was that the new offices had to be in walking distance to a train station and other public transport, and that is also one of the promoted attractions for inner city high-density infill.
CoF Manager of Economic Development and Marketing Tom Griffiths says that staff parking at Queensgate came at no cost to the City but once Sirona Capital takes possession of the carpark CoF will be looking for alternative free staff parking arrangements that will not take up parking bays that could be used by visitors, and that will have a minimum financial impact on the City.
However a recent CoF financial report stated the City had lost over $ 700,000 in parking revenue due to the sale of Queensgate, so did Sirona Capital provide free parking for the 115 City staff as part of the Kings Square Project contract last year?
There are plans for new public parking at Fremantle Park in Parry Street and the Stan Reilly Centre next to Fremantle Oval, as the inner city will be losing the Point Street carpark as part of the Hilton Doubletree development and also sold the carpark on the corner of Pakenham and Bannister streets for residential development.
The beautiful sound of a saxophone came out of the Fremantle historic Whalers Tunnel this morning and what soul touching and melancholic music it is.
I wonder if the saxophonist is the same man who sometimes plays in the Fremantle Port underpass at Peter Hughes Drive.
It is quite exiting to see the first preliminary work for the Fremantle Kings Square Project with arborists working on the relocation of the seven plane trees.
Others are conducting open heart surgery on the old Moreton Bay Fig tree that is home to the Christmas tree. The tree has shown signs of distress, but that might just be old age.
No doubt the arborists will advise the City of Fremantle what is wrong with it.
I am surprised to hear Fremantle Council has again deferred a decision about extending Fremantle BID-Business Improvement District.
Surely by now Council should have made up their mind if BID is good for Fremantle retailers or if it is better to handle all the marketing in-house at the CoF’s Economic Development and Marketing Department. I have no doubt Director Tom Griffiths will have strong views on this and Councillors should listen to his expert advise.
It is interesting that the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce opposes the continuation of BID, which must be a clear sign that the two organisations did not work and communicate well together, but the Chamber is also critical about just about everything the City is doing, so there is a lot of room for improvement there on all sides.
I am not sure what it actually is the Chamber of Commerce does for traders, especially smaller ones in Fremantle, as their main activity seems to be to organise parties. One has to wonder if networking between members is going to benefit any of the small retailers or cafes.
Is a Sparkling&Oysters Twilight Sail, Business Luncheon, Sundowner with Westpac, or Tourism Industry Sundowner with Quest really doing anything to promote, support and market Fremantle retailers to potential customers?
For BID to survive though and get support from the City of Fremantle and CBD businesses it needs to have a clear concept and understanding of what its role is.
I for one don’t believe BID should be organising major events, as the CoF and external event organisers already do that. But it should be one of BID’s roles to connect Freo businesses with events or run promotional events concurrently with major events in the CBD. An early weekdays loyalty card/App system might also attract more shoppers into town at the start of the week.
One thing BID and or the City of Fremantle also could do is promote Fremantle in Perth. A pop-up shop near the railway station there would be an idea, or people with sandwich boards, as would be a pop-up Visitor Centre at Pioneer Park on event days and when cruise ships arrive in Fremantle Port. We need to do more little things better and more often.
The best way to move forward is to get rid of egos and for BID, the Chamber and the City to work closer together for the benefit of all Freo businesses.
BID’s new CEO Tim Milsom is a hands on man with a can do attitude and that is the positive energy we need and want in Fremantle, so why not do a one-year trial period at least to see if Milsom can reinvigorate BID.
The sale and development of the City of Fremantle Knutsford Street depot site is a bit of a conundrum for the City as ratepayers will rightly expect the best financial return for it, especially in light of the City’s very tight financial situation.
Council wants specific sustainability outcomes under the One Planet Living Framework, but experts indicate that might have a negative impact on the value of the property.
There are additional costs involved for developers and Landcorp, and they cite the WGV sustainable development and others as examples for that.
There are questions if the property market can bear the additional costs of OPLF development and still be competitive in a very tight residential market.
It is essential that Fremantle Council is totally transparent about this with the community as we can’t really afford to lose a few million dollars for ideological reasons.
An interesting affordable housing project will be developed in Fremantle on the corner of Blinco and Wood streets in White Gum Valley by the Fini Group.
The EHDO Nightingale apartments will be sold under market value to ‘ethical investors’ who can only sell their property at agreed market value.
The apartments will have shared laundry facilities and communal gardens, so it all sounds very Freo.
I understand the concept was created by Melbourne architects and the Freo project will have 12 apartments initially.
This is what EHDO says:
Nightingale Housing is a non-profit organisation formed by a group of leading Australian architects. It aims to create affordable housing models that are specifically designed to achieve environmental and social benefits for cities. In other words, Nightingale promotes the building of communities, not just market commodities.
The Nightingale ethos is driven by the reality that home ownership is becoming increasingly out of reach, especially in Australia’s major cities. The rise of apartments in suburbs has not made housing more affordable, nor has it contributed to suburban quality of life, in terms of good housing and neighbourhood design, access to services, and community building.
Nightingale developments aim to increase affordability by selling housing directly to homebuyers without many of the ‘add on’ costs associated with typical developments, such as agent fees, marketing and display suites. The requirements of the owner-occupier and the community are emphasised over investor profit.
I have once again had an exchange on Freo’s View with one of the readers about the accusation that most Fremantle Councillors just vote with Mayor Brad Pettitt. It is an urban myth that insults and defames our Elected Members and it is not based on facts.
Anyone who has been reading this blog for the last seven years knows that I am not an apologist for Fremantle Council or its Mayor and that I strongly criticise them whenever I believe it is warranted, but it is wrong that those who never or very rarely attend council meetings make these accusations against the very hard and diligent working Freo Councillors.
To claim that Fremantle Councillors most of the time vote en-bloc with the Mayor is absolute bullshit. I specifically use this strong word because this crap has been going on for far too long!
Those who make these accusations should get off their lazy bums and attend Council and committee meetings so that they can actually witness how our Councillors perform and how well they are informed. Listen to the statements they make, the questions they ask and the amendments they put forward.
Having an opinion based on utter ignorance is nothing else than malicious political point-scoring. It’s the kind of stuff Pauline Hanson does and Donald Trump calls ‘Alternative Facts’.
There is no doubt that Freo Councillors not always get it right and that some residents believe they are not listened to. It is a worry to me sometimes that there seems to be a priority on One Planet issues when money could be spent better elsewhere, but after decades of stagnation we finally see significant development happening in the CBD that will make a huge positive long-term economic difference to our city and help our traders.
I too get frustrated and annoyed when Council is inconsistent and when the administration is slack, but the one thing I know absolutely for sure is that all the thirteen Elected Members make up their own mind on how they are going to vote and that the vast majority of them are very well-informed and do their home work. They deserve credit for that, instead of the nasty innuendo that they are mere puppets of the Mayor.