Fremantle Councillor Sam Wainwright and City of Melville Councillor Tim Barling were arrested at the Roe 8 site today after chaining themselves to fences to stop bulldozers from entering the site and destroying precious wetlands.
It is a risky business for Councillors to do this kind of non-violent protest because if they get convicted it could mean they are no longer eligible to be on local council.
Good on them for standing up for what is right and for protesting against the destruction of the Beeliar Wetlands!
If there is one single thing at the City of Fremantle that annoys and frustrates me most it is the lack of consistency in decision making.
Yesterday I almost blew up when I was told the Roundhouse volunteer guides were informed the City has not allowed for $ 10,000 in this year’s budget to accommodate power supply to the Roundhouse, so that the $ 200,000 interpretive and interactive display project can get started and funding can be applied for from Lotterywest and elsewhere.
Last year the guides spent $ 30,000 on designers for the new displays and all would be ready to go but for the lack of electricity. ($ 20,000 came from Lotterywest, $ 5,000 from COF and $ 5,000 from the Guides).
If you want a solar parklet in Wray Avenue that lights up at night in a street no one frequents after dark because the cafes and shops are closed, the City has $ 20,000 readily available under its One Planet funding, the same if you want to grow mushrooms out of recycled coffee, or anything else that got the word sustainable, solar, wind, or green in its application..
The City is happy to put $ 200,000 a year in the Walyalup Centre at Arthur Head that has failed to attract many people and it is happy to subsidise Sunday painters in two cottages at Captain’s Lane, but one of the most highly visible and visited tourist destinations of Fremantle can’t secure a mere $ 10,000 to make a visit to the Roundhouse modern, interactive, multi-lingual and even more memorable.
We have heard for far too many years that the City of Fremantle wants to activate Arthur Head and the West End of Town, but the successful brand Roundhouse that gets over 120,000 visitors a year- we count every single one who enters!- can’t get a tiny bit of funding to put power inside. No worries though to accommodate an absolutely inappropriate tavern at J Shed, COF will grant your delivery trucks access through the historic Whalers Tunnel, or along the coastal tourist path at Bathers Beach, or even put a lift down Mrs Trivett Lane.
Fremantle City has no qualms constantly giving concessions, rent reductions, etc. to highly profitable events on the Esplanade, but a non for profit volunteer organisation that keeps the oldest public building in WA open every day of the year with mainly elderly volunteers, can get stuffed and wait a while, so that the costs will rise until the project becomes unaffordable.
So what if the heritage budget does not have the $ 10,000? It is not a heritage issue but a tourist one! Tourism is a huge industry in WA and the highest employer in the state, even above the mining industry, so give the Guides funding from the economic and marketing department budget, or whatever. Be flexible because we provide a service to visitors to Fremantle that costs the City next to nothing. The annual salary of one single director at COF would pay for the power and all the new displays, so maybe it’s time to do some pruning. It’s spring soon.
Sometimes I get so furious that I want to run into the Townhall, grab a few people, kick arse and yell GET YOUR BLOODY ACT TOGETHER AND YOUR PRIORITIES RIGHT!!!!
It could be a long night at the Ordinary Council meeting of the City of Fremantle this evening as there is a substantial agenda. It will be a good opportunity to see how local government operates and hear submissions from the public gallery as well as the contemplations of our Elected Members.
The future of the Australia Day fireworks will no doubt be controversial, the outsourcing of the management of the Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre should be carefully considered, the future of the Fremantle Oval precinct and a new project manager are a topic, as will be an update on the Kings Square project.
There is also an item on tree protection, which is very important and one on the WA Development Assessment Panels.
I always enjoy observing the democratic process at our Fremantle Council, so why not check it out?
Fremantle needs to have a robust community debate about infill, high(er) density and the role the WA Development Assessment Panels-DAP play in it. I believe the contribution below that I copied of the blog of Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt is a very good start as the Mayor makes very valid points about the complexity and need of infill.
I encourage everyone to have a say but please stick to the issues and don’t engage in personal attacks. If it goes out of hand I will start editing comments.
DAPs – are there better ways of enabling development and density?
DAPs are a contentious issue in Perth right now. You might have read about a growing campaign against them led by predominantly inner-ring and western suburbs councils (ABC story here). While they are getting lots of press and “Scrap the DAPs” is a punchy slogan, I am not convinced that the current anti-DAPs movement offers the best way forward if we are interested in creating a more liveable Perth.
Former WA planning minister John Day recently dismissed the DAP opposition as ‘cause célèbre‘ and I am not sure this dismissal is quite right either. There are some real and concerning issues with the current DAP system that need to be reviewed and rethought. DAPs have been shown to be slower, more expensive and less representative than the approvals process was before – and that is when they are not approving developments that are pushing the bounds of local planning schemes and good design.
In fact, a WALGA report in collaboration with the Local Government Planners Association conducted a comprehensive analysis of all DAP agendas and minutes from meetings held between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2014. Analysis of the 520 development applications dealt with by Development Assessment Panels during this period revealed that:
there has been an increase in applicant fees by 19%;
it takes longer than 100 days to process applications (on average);
the process results in a high number of SAT appeals at great expense to the Department of Planning; and
DAPs expended vast resources in determining a significant number of relatively straightforward and clear cut applications that could have easily been processed under delegated authority by Local Government officers.
While DAPs might not be performing as well as promised it is important to remember that they were brought in, in part, because Perth was failing to realise its urban infill targets and address suburban sprawl in a coherent and strategic manner, in part due to an overly localised, NIMBY attitude to new development and density in some areas.
While in a post-DAP world we are now seeing higher rates of urban infill and higher density development slowly emerge (we have gone from 27% to 31% infill in recent years) I am not convinced that this approach is working as well as hoped. For a start Perth’s urban infill rate of 31% is still way off the 47% target signed up to (See recent report in The West)
I am even more concerned that the urban density that we are currently getting is not the high quality, strategic kind of smart density Perth really needs. By that I mean density located in around train stations and good transit, in activity centres and close to jobs and schools and shops. Instead we seem to be getting haphazard often dumb density away from good transit and centres and often approved by DAPs. This dumb-density is angering local communities who can clearly see what this density is costing them in terms of their suburb’s amenity and character but cannot clearly see what benefits smart density could achieve in terms of a less congested, more diverse, sustainable and liveable city.
In other words DAPs have failed to adequately solve the problem they we largely created to address and are instead in danger of fuelling a new density hangover that will once again set back community support for density for decades.
I am increasingly of the view that we need to rethink DAPs and more fundamentally how we best achieve greater density in Perth. To do this we should consider turning the DAP idea on its head by returning power to local communities how and where they put density. But to avoid the NIMBYism that has plagued development in Perth so far local Councils should be required to sign up to agreed density targets and the onus should be on them approve developments that achieve these.
If these targets are met then those local governments should be rewarded with greater infrastructure spend by the State Government This localises power and responsibility and with the right incentives to communities it should result in better informed and strategic decision making. This is covered in part of the DAP item that came to Fremantle Council last week which (along with other possible improvements) called for:
“Consideration of incentive based replacement for DAPs which rewards local government for setting appropriate density targets for their area (through community led design) and making strong progress towards meeting these targets. This should include a particular focus on development and density located in areas adjacent to transport and near designated activity centres. Local governments who are delivering on agreed density targets will be rewarded with infrastructure and other funding that will not be available to Local Government not meeting their targets.”
The DAP debate in Fremantle has a fair way to go but I am pleased that the Fremantle Council’s approach so far has been about more than a catchy slogan that says “no”. Both the Labor and Liberal parties in WA support DAPs so this approach is not likely to lead to much change. That is why we are looking towards a more sophisticated approach that is willing to work through the complex issues so we can then advocate improved and workable solutions to our challenges of development and density.
Brad Pettitt-Mayor of the City of Fremantle
I don’t engage in conspiracy accusations about Fremantle Council, but since the declaration of gifts to Elected Members and COF staff is on the F-POL committee meeting this Wednesday I decided to check out the Register on the COF website.
The gift declarations I could view were for the period of July 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016 and in that period not a single Councillor has declared they received tickets to concerts. That is even more remarkable since two Councillors; Pemberton and McDonald declared a conflict of interest on the recent Sunset Events/J Shed item because they had received free tickets.
The Mayor and former CEO declared they had received tickets to AFL matches. The Mayor also declared travel and accommodation gifts to seminars.
So who at COF actually monitors the Gift and Travel Register? Is the CEO responsible for it and why are Councillors not reminded about their duty to declare gifts?
This is just another lack of transparency and accountability the community gets so irate about and hence the perception remains that something is not right. Surely this can be improved with an email from the CEO to all Elected Members and staff and someone being made responsible to check that the declarations are made and entered on the Register immediately.
My question to the CEO: How many complimentary free tickets to events were given to Fremantle Councillors in the last 12 months? Who were the Elected Members concerned and why are these gifts not on the Register?
Let’s put a stop to gifts. If Elected Members and staff are required to attend events to monitor and report on them the City of Fremantle should pay for it. That way no one can ever accuse anyone at COF of repaying favours to event organisers.
It appears that Fremantle Councillors were offered free tickets for the Missy Higgins concert at J Shed last Friday. I know that generally the City of Fremantle will make free tickets for one-off events part of the approval process and that those tickets are also offered to charities. All fine and good so far.
I would however disagree if free tickets are given for all concerts at J Shed, as they will have 12 events a year at that venue and there is no reason Councillors need to check out every time how it is run. The first one was fine, but from now on elected members will just have to pay, like the rest of us, and not accept VIP treatment either.
I doubt they get free tickets to all Spareparts Puppet Theatre events or for other venues where regular concerts are being held.
The perception is bad, so get rid off it. I can’t afford buying concert tickets so I miss out on great music, but that is just the reality. Junkets for elected members are basically a bad look, so stop the practice!
What a delightfully positive article by a mother about the Fremantle skatepark in today’s Fremantle Herald. Do we need a more tangible example that it is a huge success?
No doubt those who complain about the costs to build it and future maintenance costs will find a negative angle, but I think it is just great that the Esplanade Youth Plaza has been embraced by most in the community.
It is a great and very respectful place for young people to hang out, for families to connect and for oldies like me to admire the acrobatic skill of the skaters, BMXers and scooter riders.
I wonder how many people have the same experience. A friend at Kellow Place received three identical letter from the City of Fremantle advising her about the plans for Stevens Reserve and the highrise development there. The carbon-free sustainability city wasting paper and postage because someone, again, has messed up at COF.
When will it stop, When will the CEO take charge and start kicking butt.
Some people obviously are not doing their jobs properly because there is no leadership, or performance criteria to keep the job. Who cares when the salary is deposited in the bank account every fortnight. Why strive for perfection when she’ll be right will just do fine.
Dare I mention the bin at the Round House was overflowing with booze bottles again today.
Yep, I know I am a pain in the arse, but I am only the messenger who tries to clean up the mess COF is creating.
Get ready for summer and live music at the Fremantle Arts Centre! On the menu are THE CAT EMPIRE on September 26, BOY&BEAR on September 28 and the already sold out NIC CAVE concerts on November 27 and 28.
It will be a whole lot of fun on the South Lawn of the heritage centre. DANCE!