Residents in Fremantle’s West End in High and Henry streets are very concerned about the Fremantle Beach Backpackers hostel above the Orient Hotel.
They claim excessive noise from parties, drug dealing and drug taking, drunks, urination and overflowing rubbish bins.
The residents have a meeting with Fremantle security officers and police this afternoon and will also attend the BID security event for the East End tomorrow evening.
They claim people and university students, especially women no longer feel safe in the area and that the problems are 24/7 but the police station in High Street only has one receptionist officer at night and move-on notices do very little to stop the problems.
Anti-social behaviour has been an ongoing problem in Fremantle for many years and WA Police simply does not do enough to control it, and the City’s security officers can’t be everywhere.
Fremantle is the second highest destination in Western Australia for international tourists and the historic West End is one of the main attractions, so the Fremantle Beach Backpackers management need to be told to stop the noisy parties, drunks and drug use and dealing. It’s not on, so close them down if they can’t comply!
We all want our visitors to Fremantle, including backpackers, to have a great time, but they need to show respect for the community they are temporarily guests in.
It is a crying shame that there has been another stabbing in Fremantle, this time a 17-year-old boy was stabbed just before midnight in front of a kebab shop on the Cappuccino Strip last night. Earlier this week a man who had been stabbed near the railway station died, and reports of violence in the inner city are damaging Fremantle’s reputation as a family friendly city.
My observations when walking through the CBD daily is that at daytime there is not enough police on the beat but there is good visual presence of CoF security officers, however the latter only work till early in the evening and not at night so the cops need to increase their foot patrols at night.
Violence and anti social behaviour is not something council can fix, but the City of Fremantle needs to start looking at rigorously implementing its alcohol policy and not adding more fuel to the fire by allowing more alcohol outlets.
I am not sure that I like the big billboard on Stirling Highway at all that proudly announces that Bathers Beach is the first beach in Australia where one can drink alcohol on the beach. It’s not the sort of reputation Fremantle needs.
I need to share an observation I made that will not please all those Fremantle blasters who believe nothing is right in our city and that Freo attracts undesirable people while in councils like the City of Perth it is all honky dory.
Going to a photo shoot I took the train to Perth and had coffee and read the paper at Forrest Place for an hour from 9.30 this morning. It basically was awful! There was a lot of shouting, people looking really angry, a man dressed only in jocks waving a bed sheet in the air while falling over his feet, a man on crutches wearing a full face mask, people pointing the bird at people relaxing on benches. I felt uncomfortable and kept looking over my shoulder because there was aggression in the air.
I just wanted to point out with this short message that the grass is not always greener on the other side and that other councils have similar problems as Fremantle has. These are not problems created by certain councils or certain elected members, but issues that our society has created because we are not dealing very well with them.
I was happy to hop back on the train after the shoot and even happier when I walked through Pioneer Park where City of Fremantle security officer Lisa had a smoko with a colleague. I told her I am lucky to live in a city where Lisa looks after me. ; > )
We live in a world of awards for just about everything and many of them are pretty irrelevant and meaningless because of the lack of research done. Some awards simply tick a few boxes and for example take Local Government’s submissions as a fact, instead of checking out the reality.
The McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol Awards appears to belong to the latter because the City of Fremantle has been nominated as a finalist For it’s no tolerance approach to anti-social behaviour at events and its promotion of a small bar culture and liquor reform in the area.
It is clear the McCusker Foundation does not know that on the same evening Fremantle Council signed off on its alcohol policy it also approved the establishment of a new tavern and live music venue for up to 1,500 patrons at J Shed on historic Arthur Head, and is in the process of approving a micro-brewery at the former Energy Museum, just around the corner from St Patrick’s that deals with people with drug and alcohol related problems.
If my memory is correct, in times of the biggest community turmoil about Council ignoring community consultation, the City of Fremantle received an award for its excellent community consultation process.
It might all sound great on paper and in a one-eyed submissions by COF officers, but unfortunately the reality is a whole different ball game. As I pointed out here recently the Fremantle Accord on responsible service of alcohol is just another lip service with many pubs now offering happy hours and cheaper drinks, with the National Hotel even having two a day, one during lunchtime hours.
For the City of Fremantle to receive an award, or even be a finalist, in the McCusker alcohol award it would need to do a whole lot better, and not be hypocritical by ignoring its own alcohol policy.