The lease of the DADAA premises at Beach Street opposite the East Street jetty was on the Fremantle Council agenda on Wednesday.
DADAA is moving into the former Boys School at Princess May Park and the officers wanted an Expressions of Interest period to find out which community groups are interested in leasing the building.
Speakers from arts, disability and the RSL expressed an interest in moving into the building, but a motion by Councillor Pemberton that there should be a three-months period to see if the building would be better suited for the Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre than the present one at Arthur’s Head did get support from her fellow Councillors.
I do agree with Pemberton’s sentiment that Noongar people who are still suffering from multi-generational trauma deserve and need support to lift them to a same level playing field as other community groups. However that support was already there and the City invested $ 200,000 a year for two years in the Walyalup centre at Mrs Trivett Lane that got very little support from the Noongar community and basically failed to make any impact at all.
It was clear from the beginning that it would be very hard to make it successful because of family feuding in the Noongar community. The manager of the centre told me he had even considered a roster so certain families could use the centre on some days, and some on other days, because they would not be willing to share the space on the same days.
We know that there is constant disagreement who is allowed to speak or not for certain parts of the Perth metro region with some families claiming to be the only descendants of Yagan while other families claim they are also direct descendants of the great Noongar warrior.
This will affect the success of the Walyalup centre no matter if it is at Arthur’ Head or near Cantonment Hill. An EOI period to find an Aboriginal group to manage the existing Walyalup centre has failed so far and it is unlikely that the City will be able to find a Noongar group willing to pay the $ 16,000.00 rent per annum for leasing the Beach Street building.
My concern is that we will have a period where other community groups will be excluded from bidding for the DADAA building at Beach Street while the City is engaging with Noongar elders about the prospect of them running an autonomous cultural community centre.
We know from past experience that this will be a long drawn-out process that no doubt will require money to pay consultants and those attending meetings with no guarantee whatsoever that there will be a positive outcome and good community use for the Beach Street building.
In the meantime the Arthur Head Aboriginal cultural centre will remain a flop and closed most days and won’t be put back for Expressions of Interest, although Arts on the Move, who expressed interest in the DADAA building, appears to be a perfect tenant for the Bathers Beach Art Precinct building.
It is imperative that the City of Fremantle does not allow the Noongar consultation to go further than three months as it would hold back the opportunity for other groups to move in, in case Noongar elders can’t come to an agreement on who and how to run the Walyalup centre in the new location.
While I deeply respect Aboriginal culture the City needs to be realistic about the fact that the DADAA building can’t be allowed to be vacant for too long as that will attract anti social behaviour and homeless people to the building, and the same applies to the Walyalup Centre at Arthur’s Head.
What also should be considered is if a city centre location is really the best for a Noongar community centre as not many Aboriginal people live in the CBD. Maybe a building in the Hilton/White Gum Valley area would be more appropriate if the centre is not meant to be a cultural centre for overseas and Wadjela visitors.
The Noongar community will need to make a few good decisions fast if they are genuinely interested in managing a community centre. Kaya!
Bureaucracy-like car salesmen, lawyers, politicians, Dutchmen, journalists, and Roel Loopers, to name just a few-has a bad reputation.
I know one should never generalise so let me declare that I have often dealt with excellent public servants at the City of Fremantle and all levels of government.
Why am I writing this? Because I thought there must be some reason and order within City of Fremantle madness I do not understand. It’s probably not the fault of an officer but of the system and lack of rules.
Yesterday the two new fire extinguishers in the Roundhouse were tested and the contractor told me the only other devise he needed to test at Arthur Head for CoF was the one in the Gunners Cottage, which is the office of the Roundhouse volunteers.
This means that none of the artist’s studios at Captain’s and Mrs Trivett lanes have fire extinguishers installed although some of them have highly flammable goods in them. I don’t know a painter who would not have turpentine in their studio.
It seems illogical to me that the Roundhouse, that is highly unlikely to ever catch fire, needs to have two fire extinguishers, but highly flammable artist’s studios in tiny residential cottages that are also open to the public don’t have any.
If a fire broke out in one of the cottages it could very easily and rapidly spread to the others along the lane and all that heritage would be gone.
It does not appear likely that residents of North Fremantle in the Minim Cove/McCabe Street area will succeed in getting that part of Fremantle to become part of the Town of Mosman Park.
The Minister for Local Government had expressed willingness to approve the changes initiated by residents in the area if both Councils could work out a mutual agreement, but the negotiations have now concluded without the councils agreeing on a land swap.
The City of Fremantle had suggested to get the industrial area near Minim Cove in exchange for the Town of Mosman Park taking the residential Mc Cabe Street part, but Mosman Park Council do not want to do that, so it looks like there is no deal as the Minister will only sign off on one if both councils agree.
The FPOL Committee of the City of Fremantle were debating the use of the DADAA premises at Beach Street last evening and the better use and/or better return for Council owned properties.
DADAA are moving into the former Boys School and FTI building at Princess May Park and the building opposite the East Street jetty they are using will become vacant in a few months, so expressions of interest will be sought by the CoF for that building.
Councillor Rachel Pemberton suggested the building could be used for the Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre, which has failed to make an impact at Arthur’s Head, but I doubt the new location would make it any more successful because it is well away from tourism routes in Fremantle.
It came as a surprise to me that Councillor Sam Wainwright said the City should be clear about what the Aboriginal centre could be, because that focus should have been there three years ago before putting the centre in a former pilot’s cottage in the heritage precinct, which the city in its wisdom made into an unsuccessful arts precinct, where they then also wanted to put a tavern and outside music venue in.
The Walyalup Centre failed to attract overseas visitors and the local Aboriginal community because it wanted to do a tiny bit of everything and lacked focus, creativity and energy.
The seasonal programs on offer were very similar each time and there was no variety. There were also no events for tourists, especially the thousands of cruiseship passengers who might well have been interested in Aboriginal music and dance and story telling.
The centre attracted only a handful of people each month when hundred metres away from it the Roundhouse gets thousands of visitors each month.
The cottage is wrong, the offerings of the centre uninspired and not focussed on attracting people, and the Aboriginal community never embraced the idea and did not make it into a community hub for Noongar people.
I doubt very much that there would be improvement if the centre moved to Beach Street because it is the lack of concept and lack of passion that made it fail at Arthur Head. Who will change that?
Although no formal agreement has been reached between the Fremantle Dockers and the City of Fremantle indications are that it could be a good deal for Fremantle.
Delegated authority is with the CoF CEO and the Fremantle Football Club board will only meet on the 22nd to sign off on the deal, so we are still a few weeks away from knowing for sure if the Dockers will relinquish the long-term lease of Fremantle Oval when they move to Cockburn in April.
My understanding is that the initial demand of $ 7.9 million for the clubhouse has come down considerably and well under $ 4 million, to the point where it actually becomes a pretty good financial solution for the City, and it will avoid a long and costly drawn-out legal battle.
Since the City will temporarily have to move from Kings Square for at least two years for the development of the new civic building, the opportunity for City staff to move into the Dockers clubhouse seems better than leasing commercial space that might cost up to 4 million over two years.
It will also help to initially rehouse the East Fremantle Football Club until the redevelopment of the Stan Reilly site and Fremantle Oval project start.
It looks like a win-win for all but let’s wait for the fine prints.
The FPOL Committee of the City of Fremantle has an interesting and varied agenda for this coming Wednesday so I hope more members of the public will take and interest in local council governance and turn up to observe it all.
The Youth Council, and Alcohol Policy are on the agenda and also the important question if the City should continue with the BID-Business Improvement District. It looks like the CoF will do that for another three years and once the Kings Square Project is completed it will reconsider if BID will be needed in a very changed CBD climate.
Changes will have to be made by BID and the announcement that former Chamber of Commerce CEO Tim Milsom will head BID from this year on will no doubt be applauded by the business community.
Come along on Wednesday from 6 pm and see how local government works!
Deep from the bowels of the Fremantle Townhall comes info that the City of Fremantle is seriously considering introducing free parking days during the very quiet first half of the week.
Fremantle is so much of a weekend destination that on Mondays and Tuesdays it often looks like a ghost town that only a few locals visit, so there are quite a few retailers who are struggling to survive.
The perception of parking problems and the lack of vacant parking spaces has been going on for years and there are still no signs around the city pointing out all day cheap parking options for visitors.
One issue with free parking would be Notre Dame University students, as those who now come by public transport, because it’s cheaper than parking, might be encouraged to also drive into the West End and occupy parking spaces intended for shoppers.
I understand full council will debate this issue in four weeks, so stay tuned.
Claims by the Fremantle Society that the City of Fremantle is insolvent were strongly rejected as ridiculous by Deputy Mayor Dave Coggin at the Ordinary Council meeting on Wednesday. Coggin demanded that the Society would send him the report by the certified public accountant they claim had provided the Fremantle Society with the advise that the City was technically insolvent.
Another ridiculous claim by the Fremantle Society was the lack of community consultation on the Kings Square Project.
I don’t know where these people were when Planning Scheme Amendment 49 was debated and the Fremantle Society under my presidency had a scale model in shopping centres to show the proposed heights, which we rejected and wanted lowered, but we did not succeed.
There was also extensive community consultation on the Kings Square development and even a Citizen Jury which I addressed on behalf of the Society, and I went to all the other community meetings to make suggestions. One outcome of that was that Newman Court now no longer will have vehicular access and parking.
Also ridiculous is the expectation that a private developer like Sirona Capital would make the roof tops of the two new buildings accessible to the public. Who is going to pay for security and public liability and how many privately owned buildings in the Perth CBD have public roof top access?
More ridiculousness in the claim that Fremantle Council has a conflict of interest in recommending to JDAP approval for the two Kings Square buildings. The City is not the decision-making authority, and as Councillor Doug Thompson pointed out as a body Council cannot have a conflict of interest or perception of that, but individual Councillors need to make their own decision if they believe they do have a conflict of or financial interest, which none of them declared.
Saying that Council cannot debate the development of a property they have sold would mean for example Council could not make planning approval for the Hilton Doubletree hotel development on the Point Street carpark site the City sold.
Councillor Rachel Pemberton said Sirona Capital was very serious about creating the best possible outcome and had even instigated workshops to improve the building design and enhance the character of the inner city. High calibre people from all sections of the community had attended the Sirona workshops and we will get an outcome we all will be proud of, Pemberton said.
Planning officers told Council and the public gallery that the developers had made significant changes over the last three months in collaboration with the Design Advisory Committee and the DAC now believed the design was at a stage where it was acceptable for them to recommend approval, but more changes would be required and be part of the City’s recommendation to JDAP.
Ordinary Council of the City of Fremantle will on Wednesday evening debate the design of the Myer and Queensgate buildings that will start the Kings Square development.
The planning authority for the buildings is the WA Joint Assessment Panel, not CoF, but Councillors will send a recommendation to JDAP, so it is important still for the community to have their say on it.
I like it that the initial design has evolved and the buildings are now separated through a shopping mall between them that will go from Newman Court through to William Street. For security reasons there will be gates on either end so it will not be accessible to the public, and anti-social elements, after hours.
There is also a five cinema complex part of the development and plans for bars, restaurants and cafes to make Kings Square a 24/7 destination.
The new Civic building will also be built at the same time and should be ready to move in by the start of 2020 if all goes to plan.
I support the development of Kings Square as I believe it is essential for the economic recovery of Fremantle, so bring it on asap!
You can view the plans and proposal on the City of Fremantle website. Click on Minutes and Agendas on the top left of the page and download the agenda.
I wonder if anyone at the City of Fremantle picked up on what surely must be a mistake in the promotion of the One Day In Freo concert in the weekly page the City publishes in the Fremantle Herald on page 2.
It reads “Remember everything is free and no tickets or registrations are required.”
Just before that in the promo it also tells us there will be food trucks at the event and I have no doubt that food needs to be purchased from those operators and is not free and paid for by the City of Fremantle.
Imagine, yet another, outrage from the Fishing Boat Harbour traders and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce if the City also paid for the food. The howling about it being detrimental to all other Freo food merchants would be never ending.
I am sure it is a mistake and the word EVERYTHING should be deleted, but as it stands it is misleading advertising CoF!