Freo's View

BUSY EVENING AT FREMANTLE COUNCIL

Posted in city of fremantle, community, democracy, local government, politics, Uncategorized by freoview on April 19, 2018

 

It was a busy night at the full Ordinary Council of the City of Fremantle last night.

The Destination Marketing Fremantle was on the agenda, that will probably mean the demise of BID, and it sailed through with just a few mentions that BID had done a good job connecting small businesses and that the Economic Development and Marketing Department had a gap to close with the retailers in that regard.

Councillors expressed they hoped BID would survive in a kind of precinct form so that traders would stay connected and helped as volunteers at events.

It was unanimously decided to go ahead with the new marketing concept but $ 50,000 will be allocated from the budget for the Winter Festival and the Long Table Dinner.

Also-yes still!-on the agenda was the Sunset Venues lease for the No 1 unit at J Shed.

Councillors disagreed with speakers that the operators would not get the go ahead from the Western Australian Planning Committee for a smaller tavern, as there were examples on Rottnest Island and elsewhere where hospitality venues had been allowed on A Class Reserves and in heritage precincts.

It was mentioned that it would be hard to find another business that would be willing to spend a lot of money to put all the required infrastructure in and that Fremantle would get an improved asset.

Mayor Brad Pettitt said they had taken it back to where we originally wanted it to be as a small bar/cafe and restaurant that would activate the area.

The proponents will only have 12 months to start substantial development or the lease will be terminated. Only Councillors McDonald and Jones voted against the item.

Only Councillor Strachan did not support the License Agreement with the South Fremantle Football Club for Fremantle Oval. He questioned why the city was giving the club so much financial support in difficult fiscal times for the City.

The adoption of the new Precincts Policy was also approved with Councillor Sullivan expressing that he would like a more organic precincts system where groups would be less formal.

And the Dog Exercise and Prohibited Area Policy also got the tick of approval from our elected members.

Roel Loopers

DELAY FOR SPICER SITE SETTLEMENT

 

The monthly Fremantle Ordinary Council meeting will be held this coming Wednesday at 6pm and there are some interesting and controversial items listed on the agenda, so why not observe grassroots governance first hand and attend the meeting at the North Fremantle Community Hall.

On the agenda are Destination Marketing, the tavern lease for J Shed, the South Freo Solar Farm, the license with the South Fremantle Football Club for the use of Fremantle Oval, the Strategic Planning Framework, the new Precinct Policy,  and the Dog exercise areas policy.

Surprisingly listed as a confidential item is the request by Sirona Capital for the extension of the settlement for the former Spicer site, which now is the public car park on the corner of William Street and the Henderson Street mall.

The Spicer site development is part of the Kings Square Project the City of Fremantle and Sirona Capital signed off on, and an important inner city development. Why does the Council debating the settlement extension request have to be confidential and not open to the public?

By the way, the new convenor for the South Fremantle Precinct is Sean Hefferon.

 

Roel Loopers

 

FROM THE FREO FPOL COMMITTEE

 

The Fremantle Council Finance, Policy, Operations and Legislation Committee last night approved all, but one, items on the agenda. Some of them will have to go through full council next week before being implemented though.

  • The contract for J Shed between the City of Fremantle and Sunset Venues will be changed for a smaller venue. The Director of City Business explained that is not a planning approval, so the proposed  300 patron tavern might still be stopped when and if Sunset Venues applies for it and for a liquor license.
  • The Solar Farm also got the tick of approval but Councillor Andrew Sullivan said he would have liked to see officers explore the possibility and costs of remediation of the site as it might well be profitable if it could be developed for residential living.
  • The new Precinct Policy was also adopted with Councillor Andrew Sullivan saying he never saw the need for precincts to be managed by the City, as community groups should rise and fall depending on the interest and participation of residents.
  • The contract for Fremantle Oval with the South Fremantle Football Club will also go ahead, so the footy club is getting all their Christmases at once. It appears they have been playing a bit of hard ball with CoF, so I am not sure why we so desperately need the club at the oval as it will not generate any income for the City. Not even the outgoings for power, water, etc. have reached an agreement yet. Councillor Rachel Pemberton was very worried about the big LED sign and said the City should make sure that the SFFC would not put up more of them.

Roel Loopers

 

PRECINCTS THE VOICE OF THE FREO COMMUNITY

Posted in city of fremantle, community, local government, politics, Uncategorized by freoview on April 8, 2018

 

The FPOL Committee of Fremantle Council will this Wednesday deliberate if Council should implement a new Precinct Policy, to clarify working requirements and expectations.

The new Precinct Policy would allow for an Arts Centre, Inner City, Hilton, O’Connor, South City, White Gum Valley, Beaconsfield, Gibson Park, North Fremantle, Samson, and South Fremantle Precinct but would no longer consider FICRA and the Fremantle Society precinct groups.

It is clear under the Election Rules of the Precinct Policy, posted below, that the two groups no longer qualify. FICRA had their own candidate at the last October election and also were strong supporters of one of the Mayoral candidates, while the Fremantle Society endorsed election candidates in the election material of the candidates.

The Society also is not qualified to be a precinct because its members come from all over Fremantle and Perth and one of their committee members actually lives in Sydney, so they can hardly claim to be a precinct.

There needs to be a process in place though where members of the precinct community can vote out a convenor who is politically motivated and not objective, as happened during the last election in the South Fremantle Precinct.

Precinct can have a really important role in informing their community, liaising with city officers and councillors and help improve the area, as long as it is done without political bias, and that is a real challenge for all precincts.

Precincts must provide open, cost and commitment free membership where any interested community member is welcome to participate.

Administration 1. Each Precinct is to update the contact details for their precinct contact details and name of their convener with the community engagement team once a year. 2. All published material, including meeting notes and minutes, produced by a precinct, are to be made publically available within 14 working days of distribution or from when a meeting is held. 3. Each precinct group can decide: How to appoint their convener. The length of term and how many terms a convener can be appointed for Who will be the precinct contact person and action correspondence received. What the meeting schedule will be. If and how meetings will be recorded, for example, meeting notes or minutes. How best to share information with precinct members, for example, by email, social media, or through ‘Freospace’ (see definitions).

Elections 1. The Local Government Act 1995 does not allow the use of council resources to assist any individual candidate in their election activities. The City is also responsible for being objective, non-political and Agenda – Finance, Policy, Operations and Legislation Committee 11 April 2018 Page 73 unbiased therefore the City does not support local, state or federal electioneering and City funds must not be used for electioneering in local government elections. 2. The City acknowledges the role of the precincts in encouraging community interest in council elections, such as organising events to allow community members to meet candidates and hear what they have to say. However, Precincts must not use City funds to support any individual candidate or group of candidates in an election. 3. Precincts who wish to promote council elections must: include all candidates in any publications distributed containing information about the election. invite all candidates to participate in events or functions organised by the precinct, in relation to the election, in order to ensure each candidate is given an equal opportunity to participate.

Roel Loopers

WOOLSTORES FRUSTRATION ALL AROUND

 

Woolstores

Fremantle Council Planning Committee recommended to JDAP to reject the plans by Silverleaf Investments for the Woolstores shopping centre site, with an amendment to state that council very much would like to see this proposal go ahead as long as the proponent makes the changes recommended by Fremantle’s Design Advisory Committee-DAC.

There was clear frustration in the air from both sides with Councillor Ingrid Waltham expressing that everyone on council and in the community wanted good development happening in that area. She said Councillors were lay people and not architect and hence they had to take the advise of the DAC. “This has the potential of becoming an iconic landmark.”

The clearly frustrated architect for the developers flicked page by page stating the DAC recommended this and we did it, they recommended that and we changed it,….. He was quite irate, and rightly so, that the DAC at their last meeting with them had been complimentary about the changes but now had come out of the blue with a new recommendation of a substantial set back for the massive hotel component.

Public speakers said that many architects around Perth did not believe the design warranted exceptional quality design status. One of them was certain that the plans would not be approved by any other council, but that is hypothetical bollocks.

From my personal experience with architects, and I worked for very many as a commercial photographer, is that they rarely like another architect’s work. Many creatives unfortunately are like that.

I also wonder if it would have been better to conditionally approve the development plans with the condition that the recommendations from the DAC need to be implemented. It would send a message to the developers that Fremantle Council is serious about wanting approval for the hotel development but insists on getting outstanding architecture on the site.

The main problem is that Exceptional Design has not been defined in the planning rules, so it comes back to personal taste and preference by the public and architects. Councillor Jon Strachan said that the concept of exceptional design is nebulous.

A fact that should not be overlooked is that if Silverleaf Investments, in frustration about the constant delays, moves its money to another development Fremantle could end up with the ugly shopping centre building for many more years and that definitely is not the desired outcome.

The WA Joint Development Assessment Panel-JDAP will rule on the planning proposal in due course, so stay tuned.

Roel Loopers

 

MEET BRAD AND JOSH IN THE BURBS

Posted in city of fremantle, community, democracy, politics, Uncategorized by freoview on February 20, 2018

 

The monthly Mayor in the Suburbs is a new initiative by Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt, who tomorrow, Wednesday February 21, will be at the new South Beach basketball court between 11am and midday to answer questions, and hear your thoughts and suggestions.

Next month it will be at a different location, that will be announced on the Mayor’s blog and City of Fremantle website.

Fremantle Federal MP Josh Wilson is also doing something similar, so keep up to date with the locations of his Open Air Office on his Facebook page.

When politicians go out of their way to come your way and meet you it shows they genuinely want to communicate with the community. Take advantage of it!

Roel Loopers

COUNCIL BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE

Posted in children, city of fremantle, community, dogs, local government, politics, Uncategorized by freoview on February 15, 2018

 

The FPOL-Finance, Policy, Operations and Legislation Committee of the City of Fremantle met in North Fremantle last evening.

The Dog Exercise and Prohibited Area Policy item on the agenda attracted many speakers who walk their dog in Frederick Samson Park and who were not at all happy with the proposed restrictions, with one of them saying that council was barking up the wrong tree.

Councillor Rachel Pemberton, who has a very cute little dog herself, said that maybe the policy was heavy handed. There are Bush Forever sites that allow dogs on a leash and we need more clarity on how we handle the bush and how we handle the walkers, with or without a dog, she said.

It was decided that a site visit by some Councilors and workshopping was needed before the Elected Members could make a proper decision, and the item was deferred.

The lease of the Evan Davies building upper level above the Dome cafe for bar and restaurant will have to be confirmed by full council. Mayor Brad Pettitt said he had expected a more cultural kind of outcome, but was assured by Director Tom Griffiths that live music events were planned.

The request for special parking permits for residents of the Warders Cottages is also still unresolved with Councillors being worried about setting a precedent for future residential development which does not supply parking, so officers will need to consider all the implications first.

The idea is that residents could be offered a yearly parking permit for CoF carparks at 50% discount.

It is probably prudent to check how much commercial carparks like Queensgate are charging annually for long-term parking, and also to consider if small business owners in Fremantle should also be offered the same courtesy, because quite a few of them park their car all day while they are attending their shop.

It is disturbing to hear from one Warders Cottage resident, who contacted me, that the State Heritage Office in a letter to prospective buyers of the cottages had suggested that the City of Fremantle might supply them with parking permits,

Just before the FPOL meeting was the Library Committee meeting, so interesting to hear that the Toy Library has now been made available to Cockburn and Melville residents as well.

Roel Loopers

FREO RETHINKS THE PRECINCTS

Posted in city of fremantle, community, local government, politics, Uncategorized by freoview on January 19, 2018

 

The City of Fremantle has a draft policy to make changes to the precincts, that will go to a 28-day community consultation process, if council approves the policy.

Under the new system there will be eleven precincts, but the Fremantle Society and Fremantle Inner City Residents Association-FICRA will no longer be recognised as precinct groups.

Part reason for that is no doubt that FICRA and FS have been active in promoting and supporting election candidates, while the COF does not support electioneering by precinct groups.

The suggested precinct groups would be Arts Centre, City, Hilton, O’Connor, South City, White Gum Valley, Beaconsfield, Gibson Park, Samson and South Fremantle.

Some precinct groups have been very active and do a really good job liaising with officers and elected members of the City, while other groups are near dormant and do very little to get their voice heard and wishes considered.

Precincts can and should be an important part of grassroots local government where the community has a strong voice. It has been good that young people stepped up and became convenors of some precincts and organised meetings and get togethers with councillors and CoF staff.

I have no doubt that should the Fremantle Society and FICRA be eliminated as precincts their members will become also active in the City Precinct.

It is probably unrealistic though to believe precinct groups will be apolitical.

Roel Loopers

IS ANZUS OUTDATED? JOHN CURTIN LECTURE

Posted in city of fremantle, history, politics, Uncategorized by freoview on November 13, 2017

 

The statue of former Australian Prime Minister John Curtin is prominently visible next to the Town Hall at Fremantle’s Kings Square, so the Curtin Family Home Lecture 2017 by the National Trust WA will interest Freo people.

The lecture is on Thursday November 23 at 6pm by Dr Daniel Baldino of Notre Dame University. The event is hosted by Freo’s Josh Wilson MP.

It is at the Grove Library on Stirling Highway, Cottesloe.

ANZUS – Australian American Alliance at the Cross-roads?

The foundation of Australia’s security relationship with the United States began with John Curtin’s bold stance on foreign policy now fomalised as the ANZUS Treaty. However, in the wake of Donald Trump’s election, speculation surrounds the politics of the management of the alliance and Australia’s ongoing role and obligations as an alliance partner.

Is ANZUS outdated? What are the actual costs and benefits of the treaty? Can Australia continue to depend on ANZUS in the 21st century with American leadership increasingly under challenge? How far could Australia rely on the United States if it was attacked?

This talk will explore current attitudes towards ANZUS, assess the reliability of the United States as an Australian ally and examine the significant concept of ‘great and powerful’ friends as Australia attempts to adapt to ongoing political and strategic change in modern-day global affairs.

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LOCAL GOVERNMENT IS NOT JUST (ABOUT) RUBBISH

Posted in australia day, city of fremantle, local government, politics, Uncategorized by freoview on July 31, 2017

 

With the Fremanle local government election just two months and three weeks away I have been contemplating what the role of local government actually is.

Some people in our community believe it is all about delivering services, collecting rubbish, cleaning streets, etc. but is there a bigger picture our Elected Members should also be involved in?

I personally believe there is because local politicians are the closest to grassroots democracy and should inspire state and federal governments.

I asked Dr. Martin Drum, Professor of Politics and International Relations and Chief of Staff of the Vice Chancellor at Fremantle Notre Dame University and this was his reply:

“Elected representatives have both a deliberative and representative function. We focus a lot on the deliberative part, where our MPs and councillors are empowered to make decisions on our behalf. They decide what proposed developments can and cant proceed, they decide what does and doesn’t get funded. Some people argue that this is all our elected representatives should do.

But our representatives are also expected to represent the community which elects them. In electing them, we have authorised them to do this. Representation is arguably even more important than deliberation because it helps shape the identity of a community. Our councillors are the voice of the people they represent. If you ask me, its especially important for elected representatives to speak up for people who dont have the capacity to represent themselves.

Fremantle is a special part of Western Australia. It’s a little different to other areas. Local representatives need to speak to this difference. That is why the council, the sum body of local representatives in Fremantle, should feel free to speak up about the date of Australia Day, especially if their community has communicated this to them.

Elected representatives get judged not only by the decisions they make but also by how effective they are at representing people.

Whether a particular policy position is a good or bad one (such as moving Australia Day, opposing Roe 8, banning plastic bags) is up to the Fremantle community to judge, but there is no doubt that elected representatives are entitled to speak about them. We expect that people we elect become a voice of the people they represent, so they should speak up.

Those who are running as alternatives should likewise feel free to express their views on these issues. Competition for political office is healthy and should be welcomed. We then expect the public to judge them on that come the next election. That’s why I think being accountable and transparent is important.

Personally I always hope that debate focuses on the issues rather than the person, but that’s a pretty idealistic position these days.”

There is no doubt though that Council needs to have its priorities right and that people in the community rightly complain when basic maintenance is not done. One has to consider and acknowledge though that the day to day running of the City of Fremantle is done by the administration.

There is also an absolute and non-negotiable need for excellent community consultation, which was lacking on the Australia Day changes. This should have been handled much better as it polarised the community and became a political, and sadly sometimes racist, debate.

The positive thing about the initiative of Fremantle Council is that the Australia Day date and plastic bags ban now have become a national debate and that looks like pretty healthy democracy to me.

I agree with Dr Martin Drum that the debate should focus on issues rather than on the person. Respectful dialogue is essential to move forward together, and I especially am aware that it is not always easy to keep that in mind when one has a passion for Freo.

 

Roel Loopers

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