Freo's View

FREO DESERVES SUPPORT NOT NEGATIVITY

Posted in city of fremantle, community, local government, Uncategorized, western autralia by freoview on July 7, 2017

 

It appears that Fremantle has a new ABB, no, it’s not a typo. It stands for Anyone But Brad. Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt and the sitting members who are due for election in October might as well not bother to nominate if the relentless-and often uninformed-social media attacks on Council are any indication.

Some people only want to be negative and ignore all facts of progress and a positive Fremantle future. On social media one of those residents, who has not had a good word to say about Freo Council for many years, claimed that Fremantle is rudderless.

This is an amazing statement when one considers that the present Council has done more to encourage substantial development in the inner city than councils over the last 40 years. Facts do not seem to matter when one only wants to be negative.

Leadership is not about making populist decisions but about long-term planning and strategies that will see Fremantle grow and prosper, and in my opinion the present Council has done that well.

Governments never please everyone, that is simply human nature. We all have our political preferences and different views on where Freo should be heading. But it does not mean there is no leadership just because one doesn’t agree with the decisions the democratically Elected Members make.

Yes, there is no denying they have also made mistakes and made decisions I don’t agree with, but my score card is more positive than negative. Because of that I have recently been accused of Council bias. I, and no doubt many at CoF who hate my guts, find that very funny. All I try to do is create a fair balance on social media against anti-Council bias, and point out facts rather than engaging in one-eyed polemic.

Let’s talk about the P-Word again! Parking in Fremantle is not outrageously expensive, as some claim, but only $ 2.80 per hour. After 5pm the maximum amount one has to pay is $ 5.50 for unlimited time. For Fremantle residents parking before 11am and after 3pm is free on weekdays. That is 20 hours daily of free parking, five days a week. On weekends parking is free for residents with a permit at the Beach Street carpark. Street parking in Perth is $ 4.00 per hour by the way.

Notre Dame University students complain that parking cost them thousands of dollars a year, basically because they are too lazy to walk ten minutes from the Point Street carpark where they could park all day for just $ 9.00, instead of paying well over $ 20.00 a day by parking in West End streets. Silly really!

I don’t believe at all that Fremantle Council is rudderless and lacks leadership. Fremantle Council has respectfully and protectively kept one eye on our heritage past while having a strong focus on the future.

The Kings Square Project, Cantonment Hill Project, Fremantle Oval/Stan Reilly Project, State Heritage listing of the West End, the futuristic South Quay Project, Princess May Park masterplan, Esplanade masterplan, lobbying State Government to relocate government departments to Fremantle, and zoning changes to encourage residential infill and small housing, and planning changes, that now see unprecedented commercial and residential development in the inner city, show that the present council has strong strategic thinking.

In my books that is good future-focussed leadership that should be consolidated in the next challenging years. The many projects on the way and in the pipeline require thorough knowledge and people with local government experience.

They are well thought-out long-term and strategic plans by Fremantle Council to help our city grow faster, to get more people living and working in the CBD, to get more visitors to stay overnight and to boost the retail and hospitality economy. Cutting red tape so that more small bars and businesses can be established in the West End is also good leadership.

It is unlikely that Mayor Brad Pettitt and I will ever be friends and that is fine, but that does not mean I don’t respect him. I really don’t care much what the Mayor or anyone else at the City of Fremantle think off me.

I am at this beautiful end stage of life where I don’t have to prove anything anymore to anyone, or even myself. I am involved in Council and community business because I want the very best for Fremantle, not because of my ego and wanting to be right.

Anyone with good new and positive ideas for Freo will have my support. Anyone with solutions will have my unbiased ear, but those who are hell-bent on talking our city down will receive little sympathy from me.

Fremantle is an outstanding place to live. Fremantle has a really good and exciting future ahead and will be one of the great vibrant destinations in the metro area in just a few years from now.

We will have many more people walking the streets day and night, who will be supporting our local traders, and we will have a modern new East End of town that will well juxtapose the beautiful historic West End of Fremantle.

What we need to be most aware of is that developers are trying to push five-storey buildings into the heritage West End and we can’t let that happen. It is disappointing that this is actively supported by the Chamber of Commerce. Approving high and massive buildings in the historic area is unacceptable because it would negatively change Fremantle’s unique character forever. We can’t let that happen ever!!

Fremantle is on the right track, but it is a marathon. Right now we need to be patient and supportive, not negative!

Roel Loopers

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