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.
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.
It is very lively and productive at the LIV residential development at Fremantle’s Queen Victoria and Quarry streets.
It is a very large development by Defence Housing straight opposite the beautiful Heirloom by Match development.
The east end of Fremantle is going through a well-overdue facelift that will improve the run down area dramatically.
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.
Two big new developments in the Fremantle CBD are not far from reality. My ears are always on the ground and my eyes on the ball to pick up interesting news on the Freo grapevine and this news is huge!
It hear the derelict woolstores building opposite Clancy’s could be developed in the not too far distance. My informants tell me that Sirona Capital has shown interest in developing the heritage-listed building opposite Princess May Park that is owned by Marilyn New, the former owner of the Esplanade Hotel.
This eyesore has been an embarrassment for decades for Fremantle residents and businesses and a very ugly welcome sign for cruise ship passengers, so it would be great to see it developed and the building occupied again.
There will be a meeting about the plans at Hotel Australia next week, but I doubt it will be a public meeting.
In other news I hear that Freo developers Silverleaf have submitted their proposal to the City of Fremantle for a mixed development on the Woolstores shopping centre site at Cantonment Street.
The initial plans were not very good I have been told and the developers got frustrated having to change them several times while working with CoF planning officers and the Design Advisory Committee, but one elected member told me that the submitted plans “look surprisingly good.”
Planning Scheme Amendment 49 for that specific location allows for up to 11 storeys, if my memory is correct, so expect the proposal to be for a very large and high development.
My understanding is that the development will happen in two stages and that it involves a hotel, commercial and residential floor space and ground-level retail, so stay tuned.
The development of these two major sites in the East CBD is huge, especially in context of the planned and approved Hilton Doubletree, Spotlight and former Energy Museum sites developments.
The modernisation of that part of the inner city that is known as ‘Little Beirut’ will greatly enhance Fremantle’s tourism and retail potential and is another significant step forward to a prosperous future for our city.
While WA is having a state election in five days here in Fremantle the knives are already out for the October Council election that includes electing a new Mayor.
Although Mayor Brad Pettitt has yet to announce if he will be standing and try to get another four years, former Mayor Peter Tagliaferri launched a major attack on Petitt in the Fremantle Herald, that was strongly criticised by Councillor Jon Strachan on his blog.
Strachan told ‘Tags’ that he had served under him and Pettitt and that the leadership of the two Mayors was poles apart. Strachan claims there was “deep division” in the Tagliaferri Council while the Pettitt Council professionally works together.
Strachan writes that during the greatest economic boom in W.A. Mayor Tagliaferri had failed to attract investment into Fremantle.
It is evident from all the building sites around the Fremantle CBD that the present Council headed by Mayor Brad Pettitt has opened the doors of Freo wide and very substantial development is happening in the port city and much more in the pipeline.
Jon Strachan asked Peter Tagliaferri who his candidate for Mayor will be in October. I wonder if it could be someone from the Labor party?
There are rumours abound that former state politician Adele Carles might put her hand up, but time will tell and we’ll need to wait and see if Pettitt wants to continue with the very-demanding and highly-criticised job.
On a personal note; although I have been asked by many Freo residents to stand for Council I will not contest the October election!
The future of the DADAA building at Beach Street opposite the East Street Jetty will not be known for at least half a year if the FPOL Committee of the City of Fremantle decides this Wednesday to allow an ‘Eldership’ of Noongar people to explore options for an Aboriginal cultural centre there that would replace the unsuccessful Walyalup centre at Arthur’s Head.
The agenda item seeks Council’s consideration to support a process by a local group of Noongar Elders to develop a proposal to enable them to be in a position to seek access via a lease to the 21 Beach Street, Fremantle site for their purposes.
It is proposed that the ‘Eldership’ be given adequate time by delaying an Expression of Interest process for the lease of the building for a period of up to six months and that the local group be empowered to undertake any necessary community engagement and work to develop a proposal for consideration.
City officers recommend that up to $20,000 be made available to the group to support that process, including for the use of consultants or resources that may be required.
I am very disappointing that Brendan Moore the City of Fremantle manager of the Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Arthur’s Head believes my criticism of the centre was directed at him.
I just bumped into him and he called me an arsehole and was extremely irate so it was not the right time to have a conversation with him about it.
But since my observations and criticsm of the centre were public on this blog I also want to stress again, as I have done previously, that my concerns are not with Brendan Moore but with the piecemeal handling and tokenism of Fremantle Council.
I have from the very beginning warned that the small pilot’s cottage was inappropriate for an Aboriginal centre and I questioned the lack of concept and focus of the centre.
Did the City want it to be an Aboriginal experience for overseas visitors or did they want it to be a community hub for our Noongar people? No one knows, so now they want to move the centre to the DADAA building at the East Street jetty without making it clear what they want to achieve. Brendan Moore is not to blame for that but Fremantle Councillors and Moore’s superiors are!
There is no doubt a huge challenge of getting local Aboriginal people working together because of the many family feuds and I can imagine Moore’s frustration about that as well.
Fremantle Council needs to stop feel-good tokenist gestures toward the Aboriginal people and put more substance into creating a true cultural centre, or even two. One for tourism and one a community meeting hub for Noongars.
None of my criticism was aimed at Brendan Moore and that is why I did not mention him by name before.
If Brendan feels I have personally attacked him I apologise for that as that was not at all my intention. I like Brendan. He is a good, professional and funny bloke. Kaya!
I am surprised to hear Fremantle Council has again deferred a decision about extending Fremantle BID-Business Improvement District.
Surely by now Council should have made up their mind if BID is good for Fremantle retailers or if it is better to handle all the marketing in-house at the CoF’s Economic Development and Marketing Department. I have no doubt Director Tom Griffiths will have strong views on this and Councillors should listen to his expert advise.
It is interesting that the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce opposes the continuation of BID, which must be a clear sign that the two organisations did not work and communicate well together, but the Chamber is also critical about just about everything the City is doing, so there is a lot of room for improvement there on all sides.
I am not sure what it actually is the Chamber of Commerce does for traders, especially smaller ones in Fremantle, as their main activity seems to be to organise parties. One has to wonder if networking between members is going to benefit any of the small retailers or cafes.
Is a Sparkling&Oysters Twilight Sail, Business Luncheon, Sundowner with Westpac, or Tourism Industry Sundowner with Quest really doing anything to promote, support and market Fremantle retailers to potential customers?
For BID to survive though and get support from the City of Fremantle and CBD businesses it needs to have a clear concept and understanding of what its role is.
I for one don’t believe BID should be organising major events, as the CoF and external event organisers already do that. But it should be one of BID’s roles to connect Freo businesses with events or run promotional events concurrently with major events in the CBD. An early weekdays loyalty card/App system might also attract more shoppers into town at the start of the week.
One thing BID and or the City of Fremantle also could do is promote Fremantle in Perth. A pop-up shop near the railway station there would be an idea, or people with sandwich boards, as would be a pop-up Visitor Centre at Pioneer Park on event days and when cruise ships arrive in Fremantle Port. We need to do more little things better and more often.
The best way to move forward is to get rid of egos and for BID, the Chamber and the City to work closer together for the benefit of all Freo businesses.
BID’s new CEO Tim Milsom is a hands on man with a can do attitude and that is the positive energy we need and want in Fremantle, so why not do a one-year trial period at least to see if Milsom can reinvigorate BID.