Freo's View

NON VOTERS GET THE COUNCIL OTHERS ELECT

Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, elections, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on October 15, 2019

 

There is something hypocritical about people complaining about local councils, and demanding more and better community consultation, when seven out of ten people in Fremantle can’t even bother to vote at the Local Government Election, and most of them don’t come to precinct or community consultation events either.

One only has to look at what one of the two South Ward candidates is promising. She will get rid off the speedhumps along South Terrace, but they were installed after lengthy and thorough community consultation. The same candidate also promises that she will only do what the community wants, so how can she get rid of the speedhumps when traffic calming was demanded by the South Fremantle community she wants to represent?

Recent comments to this blog demand consultation about mural art on public and private buildings, but how could we even believe to get consensus on what is good and appropriate art for a building and a street when our tastes are so different? And how many people would in reality take part in that process? Probably just a handful, as history shows.

In City Ward a former Councillor wants parking fee reductions when he is well aware that this populist promise is nonsense because parking revenue is important for Fremantle. If we have less income from parking fees and fines council rates might have to be increased, and no one would want to pay higher rates so that people from out of town and Notre Dame students can park cheaper and longer.

I already mentioned the ignorant nonsense of an East Ward candidate who claims Fremantle Council has done nothing about the impact the High Street Upgrade project by Mainroads will have on the public golf course, when the fact is that the City has engaged a team of architects and golf course designers, and also will build a new clubhouse and cafe on the border with Booyeembara Park.

The disappointing fact is that the majority of people in our community are not well informed about what goes on at Fremantle Council, so they are gullible to believe just about anything, and that is why some wannabe councillors engage in negativity and make accusations not based on facts, and make promises they won’t be able to keep.

Democracy is a two-way road and if you decide not to participate in the process you really have no legs to stand on when you complain about the council you get. And don’t forget that a single candidate will not be able to change anything unless they get the support of other councillors.

Taking unrealistic promises and false accusations with a huge grain of salt is a sensible way of dealing with election campaigns.

Roel Loopers

MODEST RATES RISE FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in city of fremantle, councils, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on June 26, 2019

 

Council rates in Fremantle will only rise by 1.8% and that put our local council at number 16 on the list of local government rates rises.

Our neighbours East Fremantle come in at number 9 with a 2.4% rise, Cockburn at number 14 with a 1.9% rise and Melville at number 21 with a 1.1 rates rise.

The top of the list at number 1 is the City of Rockingham with a 3.6% rise, no doubt to reflect the status of being the home of the WA Premier Mark McGowan. 😳

Cottesloe is number 2 with a 3.5% rise and Nedlands comes in at number 3 with a 2.95% rise.

Roel Loopers

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CITY OF FREMANTLE STAFF COST DOWN

Posted in city of fremantle, employment, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on February 24, 2019

 

Critics of Fremantle Council will argue that there are not many positive stories coming out of the City, but today’s article about council staff costs in the Sunday Times is well worth a mention I believe.

While staff cost at the Town of East Fremantle were up by 8 per cent the staff cost at neighbouring City of Fremantle went down 0.9 per cent.

Mosman Park’s staff cost also went up 8.8 per cent, so Freo is doing something right.

Roel Loopers

HAVE YOU VOTED YET? DO IT TODAY!

Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, elections, Uncategorized by freoview on October 12, 2017

 

If you have not voted yet for the Fremantle local government election, do it today and definitely before 6 pm on Tuesday, as your ballot paper might otherwise not make it in time!

Local government is real grassroots democracy, so make sure you’ll get the best possible representation and select the candidate that will deliver.

 

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FREMANTLE LIGHTRAIL NOT A PIPE DREAM

Posted in city of fremantle, lightrail, transport, Uncategorized by freoview on June 25, 2017

 

How nice to hear local councils in the Fremantle area working together for a change, instead of viewing each other as competition.

They could not agree on local government reform, council amalgamations and the Roe 8 highway, but now the South West Group of Cockburn, Fremantle, Melville, Kwinana, East Fremantle and Rockingham are planning ahead together for light rail, according to a report in today’s Sunday Times.

A Fremantle to Murdoch lightrail corridor is a high priority according to the report, but also a loop with Rockingham and the coast.

There is no doubt in my opinion that lightrail from Fremantle to Rockingham would be used extensively by locals and tourists alike and connect the two cities.

The South West Group report also considers lightrail from Fremantle to Canning Bridge and linking Cockburn and Fremantle.

Long-term planning by local councils for lightrail and traffic corridors is essential to pin point where new residential and commercial development should be encouraged so that planing schemes can be introduced to accommodate that.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt told the Sunday Times that local councils had a role to play in planning transit systems as they would need to rezone areas for transport hubs.

Lightrail has been on Fremantle’s wish list for a long time but low residential figures make it difficult to build a sound business case for it. However the development boom in Fremantle and Cockburn and along to coast to Rockingham is starting to make lightrail a very good option for the not too distant future, and we need to plan for that now.

Roel Loopers

 

FREMANTLE STAFF NOT WALKING THE COUNCIL TALK

Posted in cars, city of fremantle, local government, parking by freoview on February 28, 2017

Some Fremantle residents have suggested that the age of entitlement for Councillors should be over as far as free parking is concerned. Councillors receive one year free parking for every year they have been on Council, e.g Councillor Doug Thompson will get twenty years of free parking for his twenty-year service as Councillor should he decide to leave in October or not get re-elected.

The argument was that free parking was introduced when Councillor were volunteers but now that they get paid for doing the work they should no longer receive that perk. It was pointed out that the federal government has recently scrapped the life-long free travel pass for former MPs and Senators.

One can also question if a Council that strongly works toward increasing bicycle use and discourages cars in the CBD should give free parking to ex Councillors.

In that context one also has to wonder why on average 115 City of Fremantle staff park their car for free at the Queensgate carpark daily. That is one-quarter of CoF staff receiving free parking! Why does CoF encourage staff to come to work by car instead of walking the talk and promoting bicycle and public transport use?

One of the requirements for the Department of Housing to move to Kings Square was that the new offices had to be in walking distance to a train station and other public transport, and that is also one of the promoted attractions for inner city high-density infill.

CoF Manager of Economic Development and Marketing Tom Griffiths says that staff parking at Queensgate came at no cost to the City but once Sirona Capital takes possession of the carpark CoF will be looking for alternative free staff parking arrangements that will not take up parking bays that could be used by visitors, and that will have a minimum financial impact on the City.

However a recent CoF financial report stated the City had lost over $ 700,000 in parking revenue due to the sale of Queensgate, so did Sirona Capital provide free parking for the 115 City staff as part of the Kings Square Project contract last year?

There are plans for new public parking at Fremantle Park in Parry Street and the Stan Reilly Centre next to Fremantle Oval, as the inner city will be losing the Point Street carpark as part of the Hilton Doubletree development and also sold the carpark on the corner of Pakenham and Bannister streets for residential development.

Roel Loopers

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FEDERAL GOVERNMENT BULLIES FREO COUNCIL

Posted in aboriginal, australia day, city of fremantle, federal government, local government by freoview on December 2, 2016

I find it quite amusing to read that the Federal Assistant Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke has threatened Fremantle Council that the government could revoke Fremantle’s ability to conduct citizenship ceremonies because it will no longer have an event on Australia Day on January 26, but instead a big concert on January 28.

The Ass. Minister said council could not politicise the national celebrations of Australia Day.

Citizenship ceremonies all over Australia are held on days other than Australia day, so I see no reason why the City of Fremantle should be forced to hold one on January 26.

I would also like to know how many WA councils and shires celebrate Australia Day with events other than citzenship ceremonies. Has anyone in the commercial mass media bothered to check?

Roel Loopers

 

 

FREO CITY NEEDS TO PRIORITISE SPENDING

Posted in city of fremantle, economy, finances, local government by freoview on November 10, 2016

It appears the dire financial situation of the City of Fremantle has shocked some elected members with Councillor Doug Thompson even questioning at the FPOL Committee if the City needed to spend the relatively small sum of $ 54,000 on the first stage of a new club building at Parry Street for the Fremantle Workers, Tennis and Bowling clubs, which is a financial collaboration of the Workers Club, CoF and Department of Recreation and Sport.

Becoming financially more prudence is clearly required and Councillors and officers need to sit down and prioritise expenditure and find savings.

Councillors might have to reconsider the purchase of one or two of the Warders Cottages as community benefits for that are questionable since the cottages are tiny and have limited community use and hence will create limited income for the City but constant expenditure.

While the sale of the Knutsford Street depot will create a big sum of income for the city it might want to reconsider building a new administration building at Kings Square and compromise by extending the present one.

The present building boom will over time see a substantial rate increase for the City with more people buying residential and commercial property in Fremantle, but that is still many years away from making a positive impact on the City’s finances.

Fremantle is in a transformative state of substantial development that will see the City grow and prosper with more tourist, residential and office accommodation. That will also boost the retail and hospitality industries, but council expenditure needs to be more focussed and that can start with the administration increasing its performance in most areas and reducing the costs of external consultants, etc.

It is fantastic to have big plans and dreams for Fremantle, but financial reality has to come first so let’s put a focus group together that will make recommendations to Council on how to improve the City’s financial performance.

Roel Loopers

CITY OF FREMANTLE FINANCES A CONCERN

Posted in city of fremantle, economy, finances, local government by freoview on November 8, 2016

The City of Fremantle’s financial position is not very good according to the latest CoF Financial Year 2016 financial statements prepared for the Audit & Risk Management Committee, which includes comments made by the auditor on financial ratios.

A significant loss has been recorded for FY16 and well below budget, and there are pretty unflattering comments about CoFs’ financial ratios.

Assets Sustainability Ratio is below regional & state level, Debt Service Ratio which indicates ability to service debt is limited and declining, and Operating Surplus Ratio has continued to trend downwards and is below both regional and State averages.

The reports states ” …To help alleviate the continued erosion of ratios both the Council and management will need to consider ways to improve the operating position either via increasing revenue or by decreasing expenditure (or combination of both).”

I wonder how much of the expenditure is for personnel cost as there appear to be new people on big salaries popping up regularly at the City of Fremantle. Maybe it’s time for new CEO Phil StJohn to stamp down on expenditure and make his mark as this downward trend is a worry.

Roel Loopers

KINGS SQUARE FREMANTLE CITY CENTRE MASTERPLAN

Posted in city of fremantle, kings square, local government by freoview on October 13, 2016

city-centre-masterplan

 

After a very busy day as volunteer guide at the Roundhouse I am going to be a lazy bugger and just copy the latest media release by the City of Fremantle about the Kings Square and Central City Masterplan below:

The City of Fremantle is progressing with detailed planning work ahead of construction of the $220m Kings Square Project which will transform the heart of Fremantle into a vibrant civic, retail, commercial and community hub.
The current focus for the City is the development of a coordinated masterplan to link public spaces in Kings Square with other key parts of the city centre.

The masterplan will include upgrades to the Kings Square public spaces as well as enhancements to connecting areas including Queen, Adelaide and Point streets and the development of a new public square at the Fremantle Train Station.

“The Kings Square project is a catalyst project with a far greater flow-on benefit for Fremantle than just the development of buildings in the Kings Square precinct itself,” said acting Mayor Dave Coggin.

“The project has always been seen by council as a way to reconnect public spaces in central Fremantle which have become disconnected from the city centre over several decades.

“The current work is focused on how best to upgrade surrounding areas which flow towards Kings Square to ensure the entire city centre is well-connected and a more attractive place for visitors, workers and businesses.

“Sirona has entered commercial negotiations with the Department of Finance, which is the next stage in the state government’s Fremantle office accommodation process and this is very positive and encouraging for the project’s future delivery.

“The current master planning work being undertaken will enable us to deliver what will be a game changing project for Fremantle as soon as possible after these commercial discussions are finalised,” Mr Coggin said.

Kings Square and City Centre Masterplan

As part of ongoing work, the City will develop an over-arching masterplan for the public realm in key city centre precincts. This masterplan will guide the detailed design and sequencing of the individual projects which will see parts of the city upgraded with better roads and footpaths, new street furniture, bike lanes, hard and soft landscaping, public art, lighting and CCTV.

The focus areas in the Kings Square and City Centre Masterplan are:

• Kings Square public realm upgrade
• a new city square at Fremantle Station Precinct
• Queen, Adelaide and Point street upgrades
• City Centre Northern Gateway: Proclamation Tree, Queen Victoria and Parry Street intersection upgrades.

The masterplan also recognises two important public open spaces: Pioneer Park and Princess May Park.

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