Freo's View

LOCAL COUNCILS NEED TO LIFT THEIR GAME

Posted in city of fremantle, community, local government, politics, Uncategorized by freoview on September 21, 2019

 

Local government is clearly close to our heart because statistics in the annual report of the Local Government Standards Panel show that complaints about local councils and councillors have risen significantly.

The City of Melville and the shires of Capel and Toodyay are on the top of the list for complaints about elected members.

Compared to 82 complaints the previous year the 2018/19 annual report shows 126 complaints.

I feel a bit sorry for local councillors as it is humanely impossible to please everyone, but there is absolutely no doubt either that many complaints are relevant.

Local councils need to lift their game and listen to the community, rather than paying lip service through so-called community consultation, which is often ignored when councillors make decisions, hence many of us often feel ignored and taken for granted by those we elected to represent us.

Roel Loopers

PEOPLE WOULD LIKE TO LIVE IN FREO

Posted in city of fremantle, lifestyle, living, local government, property, Uncategorized by freoview on September 19, 2019

 

Some people will again accuse me if wearing rose-coloured glasses but the Great WA Home Survey, according to the West Australian newspaper have come out that Fremantle is fifth on the list of If Money Is No Issue Where Would You Live?

Fremantle came 5th with 10.3%, while Cottesloe was top of the list with 20.9%, City Beach came 2nd with 18.5% and South Perth 3rd with 16.1%

So while some Freo people whinge about a lot of things people in other suburbs still believe Fremantle is a desirable location to live in, and I could not agree more. I love Freo!

Roel Loopers

DOWSON NOMINATES FOR FREMANTLE CITY WARD

Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, election, fremantle society, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on September 12, 2019

 

The biggest surprise at this year’s Fremantle local council election is no doubt that Fremantle Society president John Dowson has nominated for City Ward and will do battle with incumbent Rachel Pemberton.

Dowson spent four years on Fremantle Council previously, so he knows the ropes of local government.

In a city that is going through a bit of a development boom Dowson’s negativity about most new buildings might not sit well with those in the community who believe change is good and necessary for Fremantle, but I have no doubt that the more conservative voters will see Dowson as a good alternative to the Green-leaning Pemberton.

Roel Loopers

TRUMP FOR FREMANTLE COUNCIL?

Posted in city of fremantle, community, election, local government, politics, Uncategorized by freoview on August 18, 2019

 

election

It is not that long till the October local government election and City Ward Councillor Rachel Pemberton has confirmed she will be nominating and is hoping to win a third term as one of two City Ward members on Fremantle Council.

On social media notoriously disgruntled Andrew Luobikis has warned Fremantle Council that “we the community are coming for your candidates in every ward to take control of our council for the residents not your political party affiliations.”

The post comes with the above image of the cap Making Fremantle Great Again which already received backlash in comments because it is borrowed from redneck Donald Trump.

I am not sure who Andy Greenygreenfields, as he often calls himself on social media, thinks he is representing as it was the community who voted the current elected members on council, so are those of us who voted for Brad Pettitt as Mayor and our present Ward Councillors not members of the community?

I always find it quite funny that those on the right of politics claim that party politics play a role at Fremantle Council but are trying to replace left-leaning Councillors with right- leaning ones.  I suggest they lose their ignorance in that regard by attending council and council committee meetings to observe for themselves that party politics are not in play, but there is no doubt that Fremantle Council is progressive and not conservative.

Anyway, I have no doubt the regular group of council opponents in the community will rally again, especially for City Ward, so it will again be a predictable and unfortunate campaign of negativity from those who blame Fremantle Council for just about everything from homelessness and law&order issues to the international decline in retail.

Roel Loopers

UPDATE! Andrew Luobikis has contacted me and says he has no connection to Andie Greenie Greenfields so I take his word for that and retract that he is posting messages on social media with that email address. Sorry Andrew for my mistake!

I have been told that the post has now also mysteriously disappeared from Freo Massive, so who ever posted it must have had second thoughts about it. If anyone kept the post please do send me a copy of it as it was posted under the name I published, so I suggest Mr Luobikis takes that up with the Freo Massive people.

 

ROYAL GEORGE FUTURE IN DOUBT AGAIN

 

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The future of the heritage listed Royal George hotel in East Fremantle remains in doubt with owners Saracen Properties telling East Freo council that a seven-storey limit for the site is not financially viable for them to develop because they need a minimum plot ratio of 2:1 to make it work. Saracen had proposed a 21 storey residential tower behind the old hotel.

The Town of East Fremantle Council passed amendments last week with new restrictions for development and a maximum height of seven storeys.

It is great to hear though that Saracen has confirmed they will go ahead with the $ 6 million restoration of the beautiful building and will start with that next year.

W.A. Planning Minister Rita Saffioti has the final say in this, so let’s wait and see what the outcome will be.

Roel Loopers

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HOW EFFECTIVE WILL NEW PLANNING PANELS BE?

 

Interesting to hear that WA Planning Minister Rita Saffioti wants to make changes to the  state’s Joint Development Assessment Panels-JDAP and reduce the panels from 9 to only 3.

Saffioti instead wants to establish a team of 10 full-time experts who would help assess major development proposals alongside local councillors. They would replace the current 48 member pool that is drawn from the planning industry.

I am not sure how effective it would be when the full-time experts would work with local councillors or if it would remain very much as it is at present at JDAP meetings where local councils are under-represented with two councillors versus three other panel members.

Roel Loopers

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NEW HILTON FACE FOR FREMANTLE COUNCIL

Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, election, hilton, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on August 11, 2019

 

Fremantle Hilton Ward Councillor Jeff McDonald has announced on Facebook that he won’t try to retain his seat on Council at the October local government election, as it is very hard to balance family and work commitments with council duties for him.

Jeff is very busy as a health professional at Fremantle and Fiona Stanley hospitals, so the Fremantle community owes him a lot of gratitude for his commitment.

I have been impressed with Jeff’s dedication and commitment, his willingness to listen and learn and to always put his community first.

Thanks Jeff!

 

Roel Loopers

GOOD THAT COUNCILS ARE MUCH MORE THAN RATES, ROADS AND RUBBISH

Posted in city of fremantle, community, events, festivals, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on August 9, 2019

 

I agree with WA Local Government Minister David Templeman that local councils have evolved and are much more than just about rates, roads and rubbish. The unfair criticism in the media and from many in the community ignore the facts that councils do a lot more for their communities than in the past, and that is mainly due because people demand more and better services and because some of the services state governments supplied have been pushed to local councils.

What would Fremantle be for its residents, traders and visitors if all council did was look after the rates, the roads and the rubbish collection? Think about it for a moment.

Should Fremantle get rid off the Samson Rec. Centre, the Meeting Place, the Hilton PCYC and the North Freo Community Hall? Should councils no longer be responsible to look after playing fields  and sporting ovals. Would the State Government happily step in and take over all these services, and at what financial cost to us?

Should Fremantle Council sell or lease the arts and leisure centres because running them is well beyond rates, roads and rubbish, and what about our festivals? Would the Freo community prefer to not have the Fremantle Festival, Hidden Treasures, Wardarnji Aboriginal festival, One Day in Freo events, etc. because they are not part of the basic rates, roads and rubbish local governments have to do? Surely not.

What about the library, legal advise service and social services, and why should the City of Fremantle have community safety officers when law&order is the responsibility of WA Police?

If we got rid of all these services rates would come down, but will Freo be a better place for it?

Would those who whinge about councils having lost the plot really be more happy if all the things that make Fremantle the special place it is be scrapped because councillors supposedly are only elected to look after the rates, roads and rubbish? I think not!

Roel Loopers

SOUTH WEST GROUP PRIORITIES

 

The South West Group has identified 11 major projects for the region that could be realised with the support of the federal, state and local governments.

The South West Group was established in 1983 to assist local councils to collaborate on significant projects. The group consists of Fremantle, East Fremantle, Cockburn, Melville, Kwinana and Rockingham councils.

The recently released brochure by the group is substantial, so I’ll add it as a pdf to this blog post, but here some of the projects the South West Group has identified:

  •  Fremantle to Cockburn transit line.
  •  Fremantle to Murdock transit line
  • Rockingham transit line
  • Canning Bridge Activity Centre Redevelopment
  • Western Trade Coast
  • Redevelopment of Victoria Quay at Fremantle Port
  • Kwinana Freeway and Tonkin Highway upgrades
  • Investment Attraction Plan
  • South West Region Tourist Network
  • South West Smart Region Initiatives

Proposal-for-Government-Investment-Parterships-lr

Roel Loopers

 

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MORE WEST AUSTRALIAN ATTACKS ON FREMANTLE MAYOR

 

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt is being attacked again by columnist Paul Murray in today’s West Australian in regard to the City of Fremantle’s claim of carbon neutrality.

While I believe it is unfair to attack the Mayor instead of all the elected members who make decisions for Fremantle, there are valid points in Murray’s column and the City of Fremantle needs to do much better in responding to them.

Here on Freo’s View Murdoch University master student of sustainability and renewable energy Martin Lee has asked pertinent questions, which Brad Pettitt promised to respond to in detail, but he has now decided he won’t be doing that and leave Lee’s questions unanswered. That is not good transparency and public relations.

Murray’s attack on what Brad Pettitt earns should be part of a much bigger picture where some local council CEOs and directors earn as much or more as the Premier of Western Australia. That is ridiculous. Are Mayors also overpaid when they are part of a team of elected members and the others receive less than $40,000 a year while the Freo Mayor gets around $ 160,000? That is something the Minister for Local Government might want to look at.

But transparency is the important issue here and that reminds me that some weeks ago the convenor of the South Fremantle Precinct asked the City of Fremantle for a copy of the consultant engineer’s report on the bad state of repair of the former Civic Centre. This report was quoted on many times as the reason why it was essential for Fremantle to demolish the old building and build a new one at Kings Square, but convenor Sean Hefferon was told that the consultant report could not be found. That is unacceptable!

If the report exists is must have been added as an attachment to council and committee meetings and all elected members must have received one, so surely the report must have been archived. All reports should be kept for future audits, for transparency,  accountability and integrity, so please make it public and available CoF.

So things are not going well in the PR stakes for Fremantle, and the entire Council and administration is to blame for that. It is not right that the other elected members and CEO Phil StJohn are happy for the Mayor to receive all the criticism while they remain silent.

Roel Loopers

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