Freo's View


Posted in bid, chamber of commerce, city of fremantle, retail, tourism, traders by freoview on February 9, 2017

The decision to continue with the Fremantle BID-Business Improvement District was deferred on Wednesday evening by the City of Fremantle’s Finance, Policy and Legislation Committee because members were not convinced that BID has found its niche yet, in what Chair Andrew Sullivan called the Holy Trinity of BID, the Chamber of Commerce and the CoF. It had five years to find that focus.

New BID CEO Tim Milsom told the Councillors about plans for new events, markets, getting external funding etc. but the elected members questioned if it should be BID’s role to organise events or rather to connect traders better with events the city and outside organisations already put up.

How do businesses, especially retailers, get to benefit from events and what are the programs, outcomes and benefits councillors asked.

Olwyn Williams, the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce spoke against extending the BID contract for another three years.

It was questioned how effective and successful BID could be when relying on a handful of volunteers and staff.

BID has been successful with running treasure hunts during school holidays which attract large numbers of children with parents who stay in Fremantle long, discover new businesses and often come back a second day to do the whole list.

For example the Sculpture@Bathers show could have a fringe events where artists who are not invited to the main show on Bathers Beach exhibit their sculptures in the windows of shops all over Fremantle and walking tours to view them could be organised by BID. Retailers could offer specials to people who come to events and tap into social media more and better.

For BID to want to organise new markets they should realise that there are already too many markets around Perth according to unhappy stall holders. The Friday night market at Princess May Market failed to attract new people and the Fremantle and E Shed markets, and the very successful South Beach food market and Growers Green farmers market cater for weekend visitors already.

The challenge for BID, the Chamber of Commerce and the City of Fremantle is to attract visitors to Fremantle at the start of the week. Freo is doing okay on Fridays and quite well on Saturdays and Sundays, but needs to get busier the first four days of the week. What can be organised to turn Freo from a weekend destination into an all week one?

I think the City will extend BID but it would require that the organisation deeply contemplates its role and find its focus because it has not been able to do that in BID’s first disappointing five years.

If my information is right I understand BID bought the artwork in front of Bathers Beach House and that is definitely not their role.

It should not be up to the CoF to come up with new ideas for BID because the concept is that this independent organisation would cut through red tape and connect with traders. If BID has a lack of concept, focus and ideas than the City’s marketing and economic development department might as well do it in house an use the $ 350,000.00 a year BID has been getting the last five years.


Roel Loopers

9 Responses

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  1. freoview said, on February 11, 2017 at 6:00 am

    The only one that is there by Tony Jones, straight in front of Bathers Beach House.


  2. luggerite said, on February 10, 2017 at 10:37 pm

    What “artwork in front of Bathers Beach House” has BID bought? Huh? And if so, why?

  3. freoview said, on February 10, 2017 at 7:52 am

    Fremantle does get the visitors if one looks at the numbers of Fremantle Prison, Visitor Centre, Roundhouse, etc.but the challenge is to keep them here longer.

    Cruise ship passengers mostly hop on bussess to the Swan Valley and Pinnnacles and don’t spend a lot of time on Freo. The City can’t be blamed for that as attempts to organise something in Fremantle are not supported by cruise ship operators who want a large financial cut of everything passengers engage in.


  4. Bob said, on February 10, 2017 at 5:54 am

    I think it might better to have a presence in the Perth CBD to encourage and “push” more visitors to go to Fremantle…especially during the non-weekend days. Fremantle does a great job of sending cruise ship visitors out of Freo to Perth and beyond.

  5. freoview said, on February 9, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    Wages, office rent, etc, so at least half of it I guess.


  6. Lionel said, on February 9, 2017 at 8:52 pm

    How much of that 350k goes on wages?

  7. freoview said, on February 9, 2017 at 11:32 am

    It would be good to know how much the Chamber of Commerce in Fremantle actually gets involved in connecting shoppers with retailers, because it appears to me that most of its efforts are about networking events between businesses and that is not going to help the retail economy in Freo much at all.


  8. Colin Nichol said, on February 9, 2017 at 11:01 am

    I was part of the committee that set up the BID. It was always my concern that it would be disproportionately expensive to run, underfunded (it is) and challenged to find its role between the Chamber and the council, particularly the latter. My point is, regrettably, that Fremantle is too small for such an organisation. In business areas of its size, a BID should be run on a voluntary basis by business people with time to spare, if any, or by a department of the council directed by businesses. When it was being ‘sold’ the BID concept was quoted as being so successful in New York (NYC) and London etc, it couldn’t fail in Fremantle, but there is no comparison.

  9. kel said, on February 9, 2017 at 10:30 am

    Hi Roel,

    BID has proven nothing in the past 5 years other than be seen to be a top heavy in management organisation being paid millions of ratepayers dollars to exist.

    It should be closed down or at least completely disconnected from its marriage to the City of Fremantle.

    It is time that the Chamber of Commerce now got on with its expected role in Fremantle and looked after the Citys Permanent Established Businesses. The City,Chamber and BID have leaned too far in their support for .
    Temporary Establishments at the front door of these struggling businesses for too long.

    It comes as no surprise that ex Chamber of Commerce CEO and now BID CEO Tim Milson plans more Events and Markets of which we have an overload already.

    External funding put into the mix with the City of Fremantle part of the marriage should be rejected outright.

    Fremantle appears to be the Recycling Capital of Australia in many ways.

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