Listening to the panel of business people at the Fremantle Network last night I went away shaking my head about the City of Fremantle’s inability to communicate well with visitors and locals alike.
Parking was mentioned again and struggling retailers and that we don’t promote our inner city Bathers Beach and for me that all due to insufficient communication.
What do retailers need most? People staying in town longer! How do you activate Bathers Beach and Arthur Head? By letting people prominently know it is there!
Many people I talk to at the Roundhouse often say they are running out of parking meter time and are in a rush. That is bad for business, so why are there no prominent signs at the entries to Fremantle pointing out all-day cheap parking spaces? It’s $ 8 per day at Point Street, $ 9 per day at the Woolstores, $ 11 per day at Victoria Quay just behind the train station and $ 11 at the Italian Club carpark. I am sure there are others that offer similar discounts, so why does no one know about it?!
We constantly hear that Fremantle Council wants to activate Arthur Head, so why is there no promotion for Bathers Beach as the CBD beach, why is not more done about amenities there and good landscaping and a small playground on the reserve at J Shed, and why is the significant heritage not promoted and supported better? That brings people to the area, they will linger longer and spend more money. It’s not rocket science!
The City of Fremantle needs to learn story telling because what it delivers at the moment is not good enough. The full page CoF ad in the Fremantle Herald each week is a waste of money and should be written as a column, writing about the good and bad in Fremantle. Good story telling is an art form that communicates well and connects people and it works much better than advertising.
Fremantle has no parking issues, it has communication issues!
As someone who only has approximately 15-20 years left to live I have been wondering for quite some time why society does not tap into the experience and wisdom of older people more and why it is that here in Fremantle council is very keen to engage with younger people and create a youth culture, while older people are ignored and often dismissed as being negative and against change.
We have a Youth Council in Fremantle, so why not also a Circle of Elders, a select group of older people who engage and want to contribute, people who come up with constructive new ideas. I don’t mean whingers who tell us everything that is going on in Fremantle is wrong, but I also don’t mean shoulder clapping one-eyed supporters of what Fremantle Council has been doing.
Personally I believe change is essential to move forward and progress in Fremantle, but change needs to be sensible and restraint, as it is often challenging and can even be confronting for many in our community who would like to hold on to the status quo.
I believe the if it ain’t broke don’t fix it attitude is wrong because often things can be improved, and I believe councils have a duty to make positive changes and long-term plans, and I believe the community can and should constructively contribute to that. Fremantle Council needs to get over its fear of being criticised, that is part and parcel of being in government.
We can start better community involvement by being more inclusive about who speaks at the monthly Fremantle Network events, because there is in my opinion an imbalance there that needs to be adjusted. I for one would like to hear Olwyn Williams the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce’s vision for Fremantle, and also that of Celia Hammond the Vice Chancellor of Notre Dame University. I would also like to hear constructive ideas from Fremantle Society president John Dowson on how his group believe we can move forward together and make Freo an even better place to live, and I like to hear from independent people who are not part of community or political groups.
There are many people in Fremantle who really care, who want to share, who have new innovative and realistic ideas and who want a positive debate about the future of our great city, so why don’t we embrace those, even when they sometimes are critical of Fremantle Council, why don’t we get to hear their stories, their dreams and visions?
I love engaging with young people as it is refreshing to hear their ideas, even if they are sometimes not that new and a bit naive. I enjoyed listening at the Fremantle Network to the very bright Liam Carter of the Youth Council and to the people of Soup. It’s great to see the enthusiasm and the willingness to get involved with local issues, but we need to engage all sections of our community, the left ‘loonies’ and the right ‘loonies’ and the old and young ones, and everyone in between.
If we can create real positive and respectful engagement between the community and the elected members and staff of the City of Fremantle we can truly make a difference, so let’s give it a go!