With so much development going on and planned for Fremantle I wonder if the City has diligently and professionally been recording streetscapes in the CBD so that there are historic photographic records of what the inner city looked like before the rejuvenating facelift it is receiving at the moment.
Adelaide, Queen Victoria, Cantonment, Beach streets and others in the area will have a totally new look in a few years from now and so will Kings Square and the Fremantle Oval precinct, so it is essential that good photos are taken, so that future generations will be able to compare old and new Freo.
It is a very important duty of government to record history so don’t neglect to do it City of Fremantle!
The continuing delay of the development of the Hilton Doubletree hotel on the Fremantle Point Street carpark site and the delay of settlement of the Spicer site at Henderson Street raises questions about the contracts the City of Fremantle signs with developers.
It is nice to have a clause in the Hilton sales contract that stipulates the City can buy back the site if development does not happen within a certain period, but it is totally useless as Fremantle is not in a financial position to buy back the Point Street property, and anyway, what to do with it then?
The delay of the Kings Square project meant that valuable revenue from the Queensgate carpark was lost to the COF and the delay of settlement with Sirona Capital of the Spicer property also means that Fremantle will have to wait till they get paid for it, when the City’s coffers are very empty.
Would it not be better to include penalties for delays, let’s say $ 10,000 per week, as that would be a clear message that Fremantle wants and needs development now and not sometime down the track when the Hilton developers have built three other hotels in Perth first.
Money is a great incentive to get things done fast and buy-back clauses are unrealistic when the City of Fremantle does not have the money for it.
Fremantle Council will consider this Wednesday if they should start a six-months process for a Noongar ‘Eldership’ to come up with a concept for the Beach Street building at the East Street jetty, that will be vacated by DADAA soon.
The issue for me is that I hear that this time a different group of Noongars will be consulted than those who were involved with the Walyalup Centre and I believe that is a problem.
It seems to me that the City of Fremantle is putting the cart before the horse and have already decided on this one location, when there is not even a proper concept of what the local Aboriginal people want and need, and what they want might be better somewhere else.
I know Fremantle Council’s heart is in the right place but for me it smells a wee bit of patronising tokenism as the Wadjelas are generously offering a space that might not be suitable at all for the Noongars, as is the case with the present Walyalup Centre at Arthur Head, that has failed for many reasons that have yet all to be assessed.
Why not have a proper and inclusive process managed by the Aboriginal South West Land Council, instead of selectively including and excluding certain families in the decision-making for a new Aboriginal cultural community centre?
Why not find out first if the Noongar people want a community centre as a meeting place for themselves, or if they want a Noongar showcase for tourists that could generate income through the sale of art and events, or a combination of both.
Why restrict the Noongars to only the one location at Beach Street when maybe a nature-based location would be better for them in Booyeembarra Park or out of town. Maybe a bigger bush project where Fremantle collaborates with Cockburn could be an option?
To me it feels too much like dogooders wanting a feel-good process instead of a best-outcome based one where Noongar people will take on ownership of the new centre and manage and run it autonomously.
What we should want for our Whadjuk Noongar people is the very best cultural centre, not just any space that is available.
Sirona Capital has requested that the settlement with the City of Fremantle of the sale of the Spicer site on the corner of William and Henderson streets will be delayed for 12 months to May 9, 2018.
The site was sold to Sirona for $ 6.65 million and according to expert advise the market value of the property has remained the same.
The Spicer site development is part of the Kings Square Project where Sirona develops the former Myer and Queensgate buildings, build a new Civic Centre and develop the Spicer site with a five-storey building.
It would probably be a big task for any developer to do all that development in the same area at the same time, so Council will probably approve the settlement delay at Wednesday’s full Council meeting.
Above another historic photo taken from the top of the Townhall that shows the Kings Square and Fremantle Oval Project development areas, and of course the Henderson Street Courthouse/Police precinct will also be developed by Silverleaf.
The Sunday Times reports today that seven out of the twenty-eight metropolitan mayors are ‘moonlighting’ and have other jobs.
Local government is not intended to be a full-time job for Mayors and Councillors but the workload is significant as I know from observing the huge number of hours Mayor Brad Pettitt and most Councillors spend on looking after Fremantle.
For the Freo Mayor it is a full-time job with additional local government work at the Heritage Council for which he annually receives $ 9,000 in addition to the Mayor’s payment of around $ 140,000. Correct me if I am wrong as I can’t find the exact amount.
But the City of Swan Mayor does only two days full time at council there and received nearly $ 140,000 per year, while Jim O’Neill, the Mayor of East Fremantle gets $ 43,000 for 25 hours a week and works another 45 hours per week as deputy-principal of the Willeton Senior High School.
I believe elected members should get properly paid as many of them spend the equivalent of full-time job hours on serving the community.
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.