Interesting to listen to an interview of Fremantle Mayoral candidate Ra Stewart on 6PR’s Perth Live show with Oliver Peterson.
Stewart cited a decline in retail and vacant shops as a Fremantle Council problem, when everyone knows that retail has been in decline for years everywhere in Perth and Australia.
The Australia Day changes were divisive and not the role of local government, Stewart said and that Fremantle had failed to take its position as the jewel in the crown because everybody loves Freo.
Interesting to note in that regard that other councils such as Cockburn, Hobart and others are also considering changes to their Australia Day activities.
Ra Stewart said she would bring Council back to basics, if elected, and implement sound financial management of city assets. I believe that is a fair point as Freo’s finances are not great and could have been handled better.
She also believes Council need to consult with the broader community and find out what their priorities are. The City of Fremantle did that with its Visioning Fremantle 2020 extensive community consultation sessions a few years ago, that lasted nearly a year.
Stewart believes there are lots of opportunities for Fremantle, and when asked about it by Oliver Peterson said that Mayor Brad Pettitt showed a lot of promise in his first term and that “there had been some investment in the city”
That must be the under-statement of the millenium as Fremantle has not seen the kind of enormous investment through development it is experiencing in over thirty years. Some development alright!
Ra Stewart also said she believes she would be able to pull all the community groups together. Anyone in politics knows that this is an extremely naïve statement, because for every person one pleases, someone else will be dissatisfied with government decisions.
One thing I do agree with is that Ra Stewart believes the City of Fremantle should have organised a big celebration of the anniversary of winning the America’s Cup. That is definitely an opportunity lost that the City’s marketing department, and BID, and the Chamber of Commerce, and the yacht clubs all missed.
Anyone who wants my vote to become the next Mayor of Fremantle needs to have realistic and achievable ideas, substance, a long-term vision for our city, and good knowledge of how council works.
The unconvincing interview I heard did not give me the feeling that Stewart would do a better job than the incumbent, so let’s wait and see if more impressive candidates nominate.
East Ward Councillor Ingrid Waltham was elected by Fremantle Council as the new Deputy Mayor. She will replace Dave Coggin who has resigned from Council to take up a position as advisor to the Premier of Western Australia.
I am a big fan of Ingrid Waltham and find her a very thorough and deliberate Councillor who thinks deeply about all the issues at hand in Fremantle. One cannot question Waltham’s integrity and it is also good to have someone not connected to a political party in a major position at Council.
It was nice to see Josh Wilson MP attending tonight. Dave Coggin replaced him as Deputy Mayor when Wilson was elected as the Federal Member for Fremantle.
In his final speech at Council Dave Coggin said how proud he was to have served the City of Fremantle and with what this Council had achieved.
He was also very complimentary about the leadership of Mayor Brad Pettitt who allowed the other elected members to shine and have their own visions and ideas, contrary to what some community groups claim that Fremantle Council is just a bunch of greenies who all vote with the Mayor.
Mayor Pettitt said he had really appreciated Coggin’s directness and honesty and that he often had changed his mind about issues after having had a discussion with the Deputy Mayor about them.
As flagged here on Freo’s View a few weeks ago former President of the Chamber of Commerce Ra Stewart will nominate for the position of Mayor of Fremantle at the October local government election, opposing present Mayor Brad Pettitt.
Stewart told Business News that she wanted to bring responsible financial management and enthusiasm back to council.
The latter shows Stewart should have attended more Freo Council meetings as there is definitely no lack of enthusiasm at the present council, clearly indicated by their drive for economic recovery, strongly encouraging massive development, which Fremantle has not seen for 30 years.
It will no doubt be a very interesting and hard-fought election and I am expecting at least another two people to put their hand up to oust Brad Pettitt.
The City of Fremantle has adopted a Marriage Equality Proclamation to support same gender marriage, which no doubt will delight the gay and lesbian community in Freo.
The proclamation supports mariage equality irrespective of sex, sexuality or gender identity.
Councillor Doug Thompson said that as someone raised as a Catholic he had not put much thought about it and had questioned if local government should get involved in it, but he now believed it was essential that the support started at local community level.
Other Councillors expressed they believe that same sex marriage in Australia is inevitable as it will snowball from local level.
With the discussion on changing the date of Australia Day now going on all over the nation, with Bassendean, Cockburn, Hobart and other local councils considering it, a survey by Fremantle BID-Business Improvement District is worth attention.
BID asked their CBD member about foot traffic and trade figures during this year’s Australia Day, where the City of Fremantle had abandoned the firework, and it is definitely not all doom and gloom.
Around 50 per cent of business which participated in the survey said that foot traffic past their business had not changed compared to previous Australia Days, around 15 per cent registered a decrease and some 30 per cent a significant decrease in foot traffic.
Nearly 60 per cent of those who took part in the survey said there had been no change in their trade compared to previous Australia Days, but some 25 per cent recorded significant decrease in trade and about 15 per cent said they had a decrease in trade.
It has to be noted that less than 11 per cent of BID members decided to take part in the survey.
Festivals are on average good for the hospitality industry but do not show a significant increase in retail trade, so the verdict is still out on the economic impact of a non firework Australia Day and alternative celebrations on another day.
Time will tell if more local councils want to change the date, but WA Premier Mark McGowan is not in favour of it.
In a shock announcement City of Fremantle East Ward Councillor and Deputy Mayor Dave Coggin has resigned from council today.
Coggin has been offered a position as advisor to the new Premier of Western Australia Mark McGowan and that was obviously an offer too good to refuse.
Coggin had been a Freo Councillor for seven and a half years and was due for re-election in October.
Coggin’s last meeting he’ll attend at Fremantle Council will be April 25, a good opportunity to thank him.
I believe this is a sad day for Fremantle because Dave Coggin has been an excellent and balanced Councillor who was a member of the successful team that attracted massive development in the Freo CBD. A move that will see the transformation and revitalisation of the CBD and a return to a seven-day a week retail economy.
No doubt though it will be good to have someone with a real passion for and commitment to Fremantle in the Premier’s ear and Dave’s resignation from Council might benefit our city in the long run.
I have had the pleasure of many private meetings with Dave Coggin and have observed him at Council and have been very impressed with his tireless work for our community. I would like to thank him for that. The Freo community owes you gratitude, Dave. Good luck in the new position!
Fremantle’s new youth advisory group SWITCH, is aiming high for National Youth Week 2017 with the first ever Ferris Forum to be held on the Freo Skyview Wheel at Esplanade Park.
This Sunday 9 April groups of five people will enter the ferris wheel cabins for rapid fire, seven minute long discussions about the most pressing issues for young people today.
It’s hoped the short round trip participants will have in the wheel will produce genuine and candid responses other mediums fail to uncover.
Also on is Switch It Up the official closing event for National Youth Week 2017. Presented by the City of Fremantle, Propel Youth Arts WA and the Fremantle SWITCH, the event will build on the popularity of Freo’s Esplanade Youth Plaza and National Youth Week’s aim of celebrating young people of all backgrounds, to offer a range of engaging and fun activities.
The activities include a skateboarding competition run in association with Skateboarding WA, parkour run by Perth Parkour, Game Vault, a silent disco programmed by South Fremantle High School students and guest DJs, an open mic stage run by Catch Music, roving performers, chill out zones and Australia’s most innovative youth forum.
The event also features prominently on Propel Youth Arts WA’s Kickstart Festival calendar.
The SWITCH is running a series of workshops with other Youth Advisory Council’s (YACs) from around the state in the lead up to the event to explore issues affecting young people. The themes developed in the workshops will be used to create the Ferris Forum.
After discussions in the wheel, the results will be collected and made available to state government, youth agencies and other local governments to inform programs policies.
Regional centres including the Shire of Broome, City of Karratha, Town of Port Hedland, City of Greater Geraldton and City of Albany, will take part in the youth forum as well, ensuring the voices of young people in the region are heard.
For those who have not heard about it yet, the Fremantle SWITCH is Fremantle’s take on a youth advisory council.
Since starting in June 2016, with support from the City of Fremantle, 40 passionate young people from 12-25 years old with strong links to Fremantle have been hard at work putting together a structure from scratch and organising activities in response to the needs of young people in Fremantle.
I was called an arsehole because I dared to criticise the underperforming Fremantle Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Arthur Head.
But a picture tells a whole lot more than words. This is the ‘welcome to country’ visitors who walk past the now closed centre get, and I find that very embarrassing.
Come on City of Fremantle, surely this lack of care is not acceptable!
The announcement at a function on Friday night by new Western Australian Treasurer Ben Wyatt that the state government will not go ahead with the relocation of government departments because of the financial implications is very worrying for Fremantle and should send alarm bells ringing at the City of Fremantle.
Wyatt said that he had to make substantial savings to fix the budget and that the state unfortunately does not have the money for expensive relocations. The new government was in favour of the decentralisation of the workforce away from the Perth CBD but it would be better to reduce public servant staff numbers through early redundancy, increase efficiency and productivity, and reduce duplications of services, creating smaller offices, as the state could not afford the very costly relocation of departments in the near future because of the dire financial state of Western Australia.
The move of Department of Housing and other departments to Fremantle is essential for the success of the Fremantle Kings Square project and if this is cancelled or substantially delayed by the new Labor government it will have a huge negative impact for Fremantle.
The question is if Sirona Capital can afford to go ahead with the project if the lease with state government departments is ripped up, or could this be the end of Freo’s big dream of economic recovery through the biggest inner city project in many decades?
This is very worrying news at the start of the month where the demolition of the Queensgate building was due to start. I for one hope the exciting Kings Square project will progress as planned and that solutions will be found fast if Wyatt’s assertions are correct.
Many in the Fremantle community have questioned the need for a new expensive Civic Centre at Kings Square and no doubt they would be delighted if the project did not go ahead, but I believe it would be very disappointing if our city square is not modernised and activated.
The Fremantle Society continues sending misinformation to their members, now claiming that recent decisions by Fremantle Council were made behind closed doors, as was put in capital letters screaming it out in an email.
Fact is that the one-year delay of the Sirona Capital settlement for the Spicer site development and the Kings Square playground went through the proper democratic process at Council and from public Council committees to public full Council meeting, so nothing of that process was irregular or behind closed doors.
This is part of the rambling email to the Fremantle Society members:
Democracy Dead at Fremantle Council
Major decisions affecting ratepayer assets have been made BEHIND CLOSED DOORS at Fremantle Council.
Giving council’s developer mates Sirona Capital an extra year to decide on the Spicer site, the $550,000 playgound in King’s Square, and major decisions affecting the n ew administration building we dont need, were all made behind closed doors at a sub committee of council and then simple reported at council.
The media seem disinterested in major Fremantle governance issues like decisions being made behind closed doors.
It is time the Fremantle Society stopped the nonsense of making non-factual claims about Fremantle Council and started to make a positive difference instead of silly political grandstanding.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with rigorously scrutinising Council and severely criticising them when they deserve it, as I myself regularly do here on Freo’s View, but it needs to be based on facts. The issues mentioned in the FS email were not behind closed doors but at public council committees and council meetings I attended as an observer, and they were not ‘confidential items’ on the agenda either, so open to public scrutiny.
Agendas and Minutes of Council and Council Committee meetings can be read on the City of Fremantle website.