Freo's View

MORE WEST AUSTRALIAN ATTACKS ON FREMANTLE MAYOR

 

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt is being attacked again by columnist Paul Murray in today’s West Australian in regard to the City of Fremantle’s claim of carbon neutrality.

While I believe it is unfair to attack the Mayor instead of all the elected members who make decisions for Fremantle, there are valid points in Murray’s column and the City of Fremantle needs to do much better in responding to them.

Here on Freo’s View Murdoch University master student of sustainability and renewable energy Martin Lee has asked pertinent questions, which Brad Pettitt promised to respond to in detail, but he has now decided he won’t be doing that and leave Lee’s questions unanswered. That is not good transparency and public relations.

Murray’s attack on what Brad Pettitt earns should be part of a much bigger picture where some local council CEOs and directors earn as much or more as the Premier of Western Australia. That is ridiculous. Are Mayors also overpaid when they are part of a team of elected members and the others receive less than $40,000 a year while the Freo Mayor gets around $ 160,000? That is something the Minister for Local Government might want to look at.

But transparency is the important issue here and that reminds me that some weeks ago the convenor of the South Fremantle Precinct asked the City of Fremantle for a copy of the consultant engineer’s report on the bad state of repair of the former Civic Centre. This report was quoted on many times as the reason why it was essential for Fremantle to demolish the old building and build a new one at Kings Square, but convenor Sean Hefferon was told that the consultant report could not be found. That is unacceptable!

If the report exists is must have been added as an attachment to council and committee meetings and all elected members must have received one, so surely the report must have been archived. All reports should be kept for future audits, for transparency,  accountability and integrity, so please make it public and available CoF.

So things are not going well in the PR stakes for Fremantle, and the entire Council and administration is to blame for that. It is not right that the other elected members and CEO Phil StJohn are happy for the Mayor to receive all the criticism while they remain silent.

Roel Loopers

HOW CARBON NEUTRAL IS FREMANTLE?

 

I reported about Paul Murray’s attack on the City of Fremantle in the West Australian last week,  and the City’s claim of carbon neutrality, so it is fair to also publish the response from Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt here:

Our first carbon neutral claim was for FY 2009-2010 (1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010) using the Carbon Neutral standard outlined by the “International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives Oceania – Local Governments for Sustainability Oceania (ICLEI Oceania).”
The National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS) and Carbon Neutral Program were launched by the Australian Government in 2010 – after we had already started this process.
• “Perenia Carbon”, a consulting group from Sydney, were appointed to verify the City’s carbon neutral status. They provided a verification report in late 2010 which covered the 2009/10 financial year. The verification was at a materiality threshold of 5% (which is a standard practice for a verification report but is not an ‘audit’). This means that only sources of emissions that would account for 5% or more of total emissions are examined (excluding very small sources of emissions which are difficult to account for).

The verification report concluded that: ‘In our opinion, the City of Fremantle have reported GHG emissions, identified GHG emissions mitigation options, and sourced acceptable emission reductions to offset residual emissions in accordance with the ICLEI Oceania’s Carbon Neutrality Framework for Local Government guideline requirements.’

• “Carbon Neutral” is not a term that is restricted to NCOS or any other organisation – therefore self-assessment is perfectly valid and very common.
The City has never claimed to be NCOS certified, and has been very transparent about this. The Council has chosen not to seek formal NCOS certification (which is a relatively expensive process) but rather to spend the equivalent amount of money on other carbon reduction/sustainability actions which provide more direct and practical outcomes.
We have used NCOS standard as a basis for determining our emissions calculations for FY 2017/18 which has confirmed that our self-assessment is in line with best practice.

 

Roel Loopers

WEST AUSTRALIAN ATTACK ON FREMANTLE

Posted in carbon, city of fremantle, community, environment, local government, retail, Uncategorized by freoview on July 17, 2019

 

Dual and strong attacks on Fremantle and Mayor Brad Pettitt in today’s West Australian.

In his column Paul Murray writes that the City of Fremantle has claimed carbon neutral status when that can’t be substantiated, because they did not follow the rules and did not have an independent audit every three years.

This comes, according to Paul Murray, after a Murdoch University student who is doing a masters in renewable and sustainable energy, started asking questions about Fremantle’s claim of carbon neutrality.

Student Martin Lee is quite well known in Freo because he also was very critical about the Kings Square business plan many years ago. Lee was told by the City of Fremantle that it will finally engage a consultant to do their first carbon neutral audit this financial year. That is pretty damaging for the reputation of our council!

The second article is an attack by local Freo traders on Mayor Brad Pettitt, claiming the Mayor is more interested in a moral crusade about social issues and the environment than looking after the City’s economic welfare and declining retail.

While I am often very skeptical about the One Planet priorities at Fremantle Council I believe the elected members have been pro-actively trying to turn Freo’s economy around with the Kings Square redevelopment project, Planning Scheme Amendment 49 that encouraged developers to build residential and commercial medium rise buildings in the CBD, and the new destination marketing launch that is now promoting Fremantle more substantially.

Retailers all over the Perth metro area from Mount Lawley to Leederville, Subiaco, Perth, etc. complain about similar things; parking too expensive or not enough parking bays, antisocial behaviour and homeless people. There is very little local councils can do about homeless people and antisocial behaviour but Fremantle has improved its safety officers program and they are out on the streets every day from early to late.

While I would like to see Fremantle Council focus more on the day to day practical issues our city faces and change some of its priorities I do not believe that traders should be blaming Fremantle Council and its Mayor for the huge issues retailer face all over Australia and the world. There is no doubt that there is a retail and a homelessness crisis, but the power of local governments to tangibly do something about that is very limited.

In that context it is interesting to read that the $ 750 million Garden City extension work has been stopped by the builder.

Roel Loopers

 

USE CARBON OFFSETS TO PLANT TREES IN FREMANTLE

Posted in carbon, city of fremantle, environment, local government, trees, Uncategorized by freoview on July 28, 2018

 

I have in principle nothing against the City of Fremantle paying carbon offsets to remain carbon neutral, but I question why the $ 50,000 allocated for it in the budget can’t be spent on planting new mature trees in Fremantle and increase the canopy in our own city.

Can someone at the City of Fremantle explain this to me please. Thank you!

Roel Loopers

Comments Off on USE CARBON OFFSETS TO PLANT TREES IN FREMANTLE

ONE PLANET BUT MANY CHALLENGES

Posted in carbon, environment, fremantle by freoview on May 29, 2015
Reflection of Victoria Hall by Roel Loopers

Reflection of Victoria Hall by Roel Loopers

I went to a CUSP organised One Planet talk at Victoria Hall yesterday that coincided with this morning’s blog on Malmo by Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt, who is on one of those fact finding tours to liveable cities. Brad raves about what the city has done and believes that some of it could be implemented on the Works Depot site at Knutsford/Amherst streets.

At Victoria Hall Dr Vanessa Rauland gave a talk on carbon, and she will do carbon classes in Fremantle schools as well in the future. Also speaking was Katy Anketel from the South Fremantle Senior High School and the City of Fremantle environmental officer whose name I don’t know.

Most of what I heard yesterday, and what Brad Pettitt wrote on his blog, makes sense, but I am skeptical about how we can change the ingrained Australian culture of the Great Australian Dream, and single storey houses with front and backyards, and the car and waste culture we have in our country. Only education will change that so Vanessa Rauland’s school education will be a good start, but it will also mean that probably this is going to be slow change that won’t happen overnight.

There is no doubt for me that we need to learn to embrace higher density in our cities and as long as the buildings are well designed and human scale I have no problem with it. It is essential that high density buildings along traffic corridors are well sound proofed and emphasis should be on human comfort and amenity and public spaces, roof gardens, etc.

We also need to insist that developers design large residential areas so that houses can be built to take advantage of the sun, and I am all for legislating that new dwellings need to have solar power and rainwater tanks, and maybe some form of grey water use. We also need to insist that houses are being built properly with double glazing, and insulation against heat, cold and noise. The way buildings are positioned and designed for our climate will also make a big difference.

Brad Pettitt writes that the former port area in Malmo has been designed to exclude garbage trucks and that waste is sucked to areas outside the suburb where trucks can pick it up. Great idea, but it will add cost to buildings, so maybe government incentives could be introduced here in Western Australia.

There is a lot we can learn from how countries with high population are attacking the carbon and other environmental problems, but we need to stay away from comparing Fremantle with cities that are very different and much much larger. If we remain realistic we can make the changes needed that will have a big impact.

Dr Vanessa Rauland suggested it is better to do things on a smaller scale as we have more control over it and it might become more achievable as well. The solar farm in South Fremantle will be a good example of what a community can do, while a windfarm is probably done better the way they do it in Victoria where councils combine and work together to buy a large area well away from their communities and put a windfarm there.

There are a lot of exiting things we can do to stop the madness of waste and pollution and we need to start with education and communication that is realistic and leave ideology at home. I really enjoyed the talks at Victoria Hall yesterday and was inspired by them.

Roel Loopers

%d bloggers like this: