Freo's View


Posted in city of fremantle, economy, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on May 11, 2017


The City of Fremantle’s Audit and Risk Management Committee this week approved the principles of a draft ten year financial plan (2017-2027) which confirms the City has the ability to deliver its portion of the $270m redevelopment of the Fremantle city centre with CPI-based rate increases and without a need for future sale of income generating assets.

The plan confirms the Kings Square city centre renewal project as central to providing a solid financial base for the City of Fremantle and a strong economic future for Fremantle as a whole.

• Reserves to be reinstated to current levels by 2027
• The ability for all debt to be paid off within 10 years of Kings Square redevelopment
• Demonstrates all of the above can be delivered with CPI rate increases
• Recent wave of new investment and developments in Fremantle to deliver an estimated $5m annually to City’s commercial rates revenue by 2022
The long-term plan was also developed to deliver balanced annual budgets and restore reserves to current levels (~$20m) within the ten year period of the plan.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said the draft plan included the City’s largest capital works program in its history to deliver a renewed city centre and strengthen the City’s long-term financial position.
“The redevelopment of Kings Square is a major long-term investment in the economic future of Fremantle and the revised financial modelling which includes the latest information on Kings Square costs demonstrates this,” Mayor Pettitt said.

“Before this investment in the Fremantle city centre there was a serious fear Fremantle was on an unsustainable economic trajectory. The City committing to the catalyst Kings Square project in 2013 has renewed investor confidence and has been a major contributor to the $1.3b development boom we now see in Freo.

10 Responses

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  1. freoview said, on May 16, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    Redevelopment authorities don’t always work either, Paul. I don’t like Subi Centro at all but East perth has got some very nice pockets. I did 11 years of photographing all the changes from the ground and air during the Midland Redevelopment Authority there and some it is is quite ok while other bits don’t work at all.

    It would be great if the State handed over all of the Mews Road to Freo City and also the parts of Victoria Quay no longer required by the Port, but that is probably going to be a very long drawn-out process unfortunately.

    What PSA 49 has done is give developers confidence that the City wants new buildings but the power local government has to get really good creative architecture is limited and hence we get a fair bit of shit.

    I believe we need stronger guidelines and rules from the State to try to eliminate bad architecture, inappropriate height, etc.


  2. freoishome said, on May 16, 2017 at 5:53 pm

    I didn’t know the mayor had said anything about South Quay, but see there is actually something on the website from 10 May. I got more info from East Freo Deputy Mayor at the pub presentation a couple of weeks ago. Even then, the tone of the mayor’s briefing isn’t about South Quay becoming part of CoF. Rather a hopeful thought bubble where there might be some crumbs for the City. I’ve been sprouking similar ideas here for years and neither the Mayor or Councilors who read your posts daily have ever commented about it.

    But, the City isn’t sustainable with its current boundaries. It needs to become part of CoF, because at our current size Freo is becoming an irrelevance. It isn’t a nice feeling, or nice to say it, but seems to be the way we going. I’m not trying to make the situation worse or unpleasant for the Incumbent Council, but sometimes one has to recognise a bad situation to trigger a change in approach.

    Conceptually PSA 49 wasn’t a bad idea, but, instead of this being a Council led development, it is just a derelict eyesore, and could like the Woolstores remain that way for many more decades. It wasn’t led by council because beyond a spreadsheet they didn’t have a vision. You led the need to try to turn the numbers into a physical model, and it highlighted issues the Council chose to ignore.

    Large scale change like Subi and East Perth, which PSA 49 was seen to be like, isn’t being delivered. It has been handed over to the private sector to come up with their separate disjointed designs, different plans and planning horizons. At every step they endeavour to get more for less. A Development Corporation for the whole area would have got a hell of a lot further, and the CoF would have been included in the planning.

    As one example: what have we got from selling Point St? Years of eyesore. It is a dump! If we had used that income to buy the police site, at least we would have retained a significant area, and one that is very close to the Oval which the City has control and ideas. But that too is in the hands of private developers

    All the Council can do is be reactionary; and hope that by sticking to their planning constraints it won’t go to the State to be overturned.

    I’d better shut up.

  3. freoview said, on May 16, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    I don’t agree with you at all that Fremantle Council is becoming irrelevant, Paul.

    You call for strategic planning from Council but how much more strategic and long-term do you want them to be? Are you forgetting the strategic PSA 49 and encouraging investment in Freo through development, which is now happening at an unprecedented level.
    What about the strategic Kings Square Project to help turn the economy around and support our traders, or the Fremantle Oval and Cantonment Hill Projects?

    And is there anything more visionary than the South Quay Project the Fremantle Council wants the State Government to prioritise?


  4. freoishome said, on May 16, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    I realise there are pros and cons about selling assets and gaining income.

    But, I have highlighted what is gradually happening over the long term.

    First CoF bit by bit lost any control or influence over the land adjacent to the Ocean and Estuary. Yet what has happened is in many cases standard development of business that would normally be bringing in rates, and as importantly maybe not the type of businesses we want on our most valuable coastal spots, are being located on prime coastal beach fronts. Presumably Gov’ depts are getting income from them instead of CoF, if not then these business are getting subsidised locations.

    Then we had ND Uni buy up and change the use of many significant buildings in the CBD, buildings that would have been paying rates, attracting, residents and businesses to Freo. Loss of control and influence and income through change of use. LA control building usage!

    Now we have key locations, once owned by, you and me, being sold. The likelihood being those opportunities for us the own those key locations of scale and location, location, location, will never come again.

    More frequently, even the decisions of Council can now be ignored by taking planning matters to the State.

    We can play the helpless card, eg, but this is controlled by State, and get even weaker still. Or we can say to our Council, enough is enough, we want to see you standing up for our City at a Strategic level. We know from the recent past that Freo people and many in other suburbs will stand up and take action given leadership.

    Is there any other Local Authority in the whole of Australia, that has a reputation based on its links to the Ocean and estuary, that is supposedly. surrounded on half of its boundary by water, and yet no direct influence and control of its use and development?

    To our south we have Cockburn, a huge LA in comparison with CoF that are doing what we ought to be doing, but we cannot! A State Gov’t that will not change the boundaries to help CoF remain sustainable.

    Do we have a Council who seemingly don’t care about it enough to argue for change. Nothing personal.

    The CoF as a Council and hence a community is becoming increasingly irrelevant.


  5. freoview said, on May 16, 2017 at 10:35 am

    The balance is how much a small local government can or should invest in development, or selling off assets. Having more control over the water front would be nice but it has to come from State Government to hand that power back to the City of Fremantle.

    The Queensgate carpark had to be sold as part of the Kings Square project because the State Government wanted access-I assume for free- to it when signing the lease for Housing, etc. to move there.

    The good news is I hear that rates the City will receive for Kings Square are 700K more that the income from the carpark, so we get new development, more people coming into the city helping the economy, plus more revenue for CoF. That’s not a bad thing in my books.


  6. freoishome said, on May 16, 2017 at 8:29 am

    Andrew, When Brad visited Melbourne, round about the time that Amendment 49 was being discussed, a conclusion from Melbourne was, ‘Don’t sell your CBD land, by retaining it, the City retains a greater level of control over future development’. It isn’t income from assets that is my concern, and shouldn’t be the primary focus of CoF, but retaining control in the long term of how and where the the City development is! We have an increasing proportion of derelict vacant land, at best used for car parks!
    Economics isn’t just about money, Conservatives would like to think it is, it is about the application of finance for community benefit.
    Fremantle has systematically foregone control over the major things that differentiate Freo from many other dormitory suburbs. Our biggest being our location adjacent to the Ocean and river estuary. Gov’t depts now control virtually all of this, even though their use is hardly their core business, and even a substantial part of the southern harbour is no longer required for Port Ops. Now we choose to sell prime locations within the CBD. ND Uni has greater control over larger parts of the CBD than the City, and they have proved a very insular guest; with little if any interest in the Freo community. In the years from the America’s Cup to when ND arrived, CoF had a vibrant CBD, based around its historic pubs with Jarrah bars and live music. I’m not for one minute saying we should return to that pub based culture, but what has replaced it isn’t a improvement for the people of Freo or guests from other suburbs, States and foreign visitors. We threw the baby out with the bathwater.

  7. Andrew Sullivan said, on May 15, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    All of the Council’s strategic imperatives may seem “kooky” from your perspective, Lionel, but most stakeholders have been very supportive of what this Council has been trying to achieve over the last 8 years.

    Paul, it is true that we are disposing of some assets but we also gain new ones that are income generating. For example, we don’t currently lease any commercial space in the Town Hall centre but the new building will have extensive commercial space on the ground floor and the entire third floor will be much needed A-grade offices that can be let. Irrespective of anyone’s view on the merits of the town hall redevelopment, the sale of Queensgate would have been logical anyway. To create the right scenario for redevelopment of the former Myer and Queensgate sites, the amalgamation of the two sites was always seen as critical to achieving a successful outcome that would help revitalise the whole CBD.

  8. Lionel said, on May 11, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    Paranoid much Andrew? No one is trying to overthrow you, we just want a responsible and transparent council who represent the ratepayers and not their own kooky ideologies.

  9. Andrew Sullivan said, on May 11, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    Excited that the draft ten year budget will soon be out there for all to see because it will quash with facts all of the recent doom and gloom commentary coming from those trying to overthrow the current crop of elected members. Yes, budgets will be tight for a few years as would be expected when the City is undertaking its biggest renewal project in history. But the forecasts demonstrate that Council’s part in the revitalisation of the retail and business core of Fremantle is affordable and does pass the generational equity test. Importantly, within a decade we will have almost double the current amount of capacity to implement new capital works projects than we have now.

  10. freoishome said, on May 11, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    But, I assume this will have been achieved at the lose of a sizeable proportion of the CoF assets, your and my assets, and regaining their equivalent over this planning horizon is not part of the Plan? So, we are effectively permanently poorer? We have handed over our assets to the private sector, never to get back that capital or the control they gave the City?
    The Investment is actually ‘private’ investment not CoF investment?
    Have I misunderstood this?

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