The monthly Fremantle Network event upstairs at the National Hotel on Monday evening featured Adam Jorlen of ENKEL and Adin Lang of the newly founded Friends of Freo.
ENKEL will move into the former Navy Stores at Cantonment Hill this year and is a social innovation centre with the aim to create a new generation of changemakers.
The group has a 20-year lease and there will be a big climbing wall, collaboration with Freo Food, and there will be stations for robotics and coding, a school of changemakers and Knowmads.
All activities in the big hall will be open to the public.
The ENKEL concept intrigues me as I like change and innovation, but for the sceptic there seems to be unresolved naivety about it. It worries me that the group only has 55 members when it has been operating out of Victoria Park for a few years now.
I am all for giving the group a fair go and the benefit of the doubt though, because creative rejuvenation is very important for the future of Fremantle, but I have no idea how they are going to survive financially and pay the required rent to the City of Fremantle.
Change is healthy when it is good change, so I definitely will try to get involved with ENKEL events to make sure that the new concept also involves older people and taps into our experience and knowledge.
And ENKEL means simple or easy in Swedish, Adam Jorlen told us. To broaden your horizon, let me point out that it also means nephew in German and ankle in Dutch. ; >)
Adin Lang who just started Friends of Freo as an extension of Friends of Hollis Park, wants to connect the green spine of Fremantle and do community nature conservation work in collaboration with the City of Fremantle.
It is about connecting the community groups at Cantonment Hill, Clontarf Hill, Booyembara Park, Hollis Park, etc. and share tools and knowledge, and tackle unique issues.
I think that is a good idea because community groups often work in isolation of other community groups with similar concepts.
Former Councillor Robert Fittock pointed out that Adin Lang had not included North Fremantle in his map and Adin promised to change that.
I always enjoy the Fremantle Network events and the next one will be on the last Monday of April where people from the affordable and ethical housing project Nightingale will speak.
As was expected Fremantle Council last night approved a long-term lease of the Naval Stores building at Cantonment Hill to the ENKEL Collective, yet another incubator-style and relatively new business. The attempt to get ENKEL share the huge space with CIRCUSWA was not successful and that is disappointing.
Councillor Rachel Pemberton told Council that recent talks with the Chair of ARTSOURCE had been very positive and that the State arts agency were looking to accommodate CIRCUSWA in another part of the building at Phillimore Street when they moved in downstairs with a gallery and cafe. That would probably be the best outcome for CIRCUSWA.
It will now have to be seen if ENKEL will be able to activate Cantonment Hill and also embrace and organise outdoor activities. The collective has not much of a record and only recently set up a website, so they have to prove that they can produce what they promise and attract a large number of people to the historic east end hill. Time will tell.