East Fremantle Deputy Mayor Michael McPhail is Australia’s youngest Deputy Mayor. His impressive presentation at the Fremantle Network of the vision plan for the East Freo Leeuwing Barracks and foreshore showed why he was elected by his peers to the position.
A lot of water will flow under the bridges before the plans will be realised as the Defence Department owns the land and will have the final say after all, but at least the Town of East Fremantle is pro-actively involved in what must be one of the most significant development projects for the town and greater Fremantle.
McPhail said this was Fremantle’s day and Fremantle’s time and that the area is an emerging area for opportunity thanks to Fremantle Council, and it needs a regional big picture view.
He said the two major future visions for river foreshore development in the Perth metro area are the Leeuwin Barracks and the South Quay project, and he showed East Fremantle’s Port to Point Vision, all the way from Fremantle Port to Point Walter. It is about how we reconnect Fremantle to its foreshore McPail said.
He rightly pointed out that the South Quay project is a long way away still, while the Leeuwin development is imminent with land sales starting later this year, and said the East Street jetty area could be beautified by Fremantle Council before that.
Riverside Drive is old and needs to be realligned to accommodate the vision plans and the huge Leeuwin development that would see some 1,400 new residents moving into new apartment buildings, a new hotel, shops and large green open spaces for residents and the wider community to enjoy.
The vision showed two major 15-storey towers on the 14 hectare site plus 4-8 storey buildings spread among the large public spaces that will connect to river boardwalks.
It will require careful planning by the Town of East Fremantle and Mainroads to accommodate the additional vehicle movement along Preston Point Road and Riverside Drive as the majority of the new residents and visitors will be driving cars.
Michael McPhail is right that he sees this as a huge opportunity for Greater Fremantle and I believe it is essential for the two local councils and State Government to work together on a vision plan for the foreshore area from the Fremantle railway station all the way to Point Walter.
Next Monday the Fremantle Network presents Dimitri Kapetas of EHDO architecture, who are in the process of designing the first Nightingale Housing project in Fremantle at 29 Wood Street.
Nightingale Housing is a non-profit organisation formed by a group of leading Australian architects. It aims to create affordable housing models that are specifically designed to achieve environmental and social benefits for cities. It promotes the building of communities, not just market commodities.
Check out: https://www.ehdo.com.au/nightingale-freo/
The second speaker will be Michael McPhail, the the youngest Deputy Mayor of WA and the Town of East Fremantle.
Michael has a deep passion for cities and making them better places for the people who live in them.
The focus of his talk will be the future of the Leeuwin Barracks, and the impact this will have on the future of Greater Fremantle.
Originally educated as an urban planner, Michael now works for global real estate firm CBRE to market Perth’a next generation of apartment living.
As a Councillor, Michael’s key focus include ensuring meaningful community engagement in the redevelopment of Leeuwin Barracks and reimagining of East Fremantle Oval, leading East Fremantle’s push to ban single use plastic bags and championing the upgrading of East Fremantle’s exceptional foreshore.
The monthly Fremantle Network event is on at 6pm, Monday 24 April upstairs at the National Hotel.
COPYRIGHT MICHAEL MCPHAIL
East Fremantle Councillor Michael McPhail is one of those near perfect species on this planet. Not only is the very likeable, intelligent and handsome young man dedicated to his community, but he also turns out to be a great photographer.
He took this photo last night when the thunderstorm struck Fremantle and what a sensational pic it is! Thanks Michael!!
Fremantle Council will only sit six more times before a Commissioner takes over to implement the amalgamation with East Fremantle-unless the East Fremantle Dadour Act vote on February 7 does get the required 50% of votes against a council merger. This means the Fremantle community needs to start being pro-active and have a conversation about what type of new Councillors we want here, as the supersized new City of Fremantle will not only bring new boundaries but also new challenges for our Elected Members.
How satisfied have YOU been with the performance of the individual Councillors, who are the ones you want to get rid off, and who would you like to continue on Fremantle Council? Who in our community could be possible candidates and how will we convince them to nominate for Council at the next election? Who are the real community leaders who actually listen to us, instead of the tokenism community consultation has become in Fremantle? Who would we like to step up and come forward to represent us?
These are very important questions that need to be debated. We have quite a few sitting members who have been unopposed for years and there is huge dissatisfaction in the community about the consultation process and inconsistent decision-making, as well as with parts of the administration.
Fremantle needs to grow and improve but to do so we need a Council of realists who have real and achievable visions and who are not constraint by ideology and blinkered views.
The only way forward for Fremantle is to start fresh and to not let the slogan “Let’s Finish What We Started” sway us that we need to keep the present mob in power. My personal overall rating of Fremantle Council over the last four years is DISAPPOINTING, INCONSISTENT, BAD HEARING.
Here are some thoughts from East Fremantle Councillor Michael McPhail on the amalgamation:
The decision on February will present the option of merging the Town of East Fremantle (7000 residents) with a new City of Fremantle that will double in size to 66,000 residents (taking in areas that generate significant rates to the south and east).
The most significant event that is to happen to our community in the next decade will be the construction of the Perth Freight Link, a six-lane freight freeway from Kewdale to Stirling Bridge. This new freeway will lead to a doubling of port freight (and carcinogens) through our suburb in the next decade, as well as removal of Marmion Street access from Stirling Hwy.
A number of academics have proposed models of local government reform that are far more nuanced and thoughtful than the options we have on the table for February 7.
I lament that the State Government ran a process that would make a flock of ostriches proud. Indeed, this seems the standard approach by all State Governments when they discuss local government ‘reform’. The hope of getting a more enlightened set of options to choose from is as low as Colin Barnett’s approval rating.
If both very large and very small local governments have issues with remaining accountable, I would suggest there is a sweet spot in the middle. At 66,000 people, the new City of Fremantle would be the third smallest local government in Perth (post-amalgamation).
In my view, this is the Goldilocks size: not too large, not too small, but just about right.
The decision we (East Fremantle) have to make on February 7 is not whether the current structure served East Fremantle well over the last 120 years, but whether it will serve us well over the next 120 years. This is not an easy question to answer and people will have different opinions. However, I wanted to highlight that the answer to this question requires far more thought that some would have you believe.
Forming the Municipality of East Fremantle made a lot of sense 118 years ago and served our suburb reasonably well for the 20th century. However, I do think the challenges that face our suburb are becoming and will be far more advanced and substantial than our little local government was designed for. Significant change is always difficult to back. It requires stepping outside your comfort zone and relying on vision rather than history. However, when I ask the question: will our current structure be the best structure for the next 118 years? I can only but answer no.