The City of Fremantle announced today that they have appointed Phil St John as the new CEO of the City, taking over from Graeme McKenzie who was in the position for 12 years.
St John is well known in Fremantle as he was the Director of Planning at COF for eight years before moving to the City of Wanneroo in late 2014.
I must admit I found it a surprising decision, as St John is not exactly the new broom I believe the COF administration needs. There could well be too much familiarity with staff already. No doubt though that St John is a highly professional and very likeable administrator, so I hope he will put his own stamp on it soon and make some necessary changes and improvements.
Welcome back, Phil!
According to a comment made here on Freo’s View by Fremantle Councillor Bryn Jones State Government will announce in about a month if it will move a department, likely to be Housing, to Fremantle or not.
In my opinion only such a move would save the Kings Square project development as there appear to be no other options for Sirona Capital and the City of Fremantle.
The Kings Square development was lauded as the beginning of Freo’s economic recovery but three years on we are still seeing no progress, so let us hope that the Barnett government will support our city and move a department here.
I understand that there is a cut-off time in May for the contract between the City and Sirona so a March announcement by the State would be timely and might come just in time to keep the project alive.
Fremantle full Council will have a special non-public meeting this week to decide who will become the new CEO of the city after the retirement of Graeme McKenzie, so stay tuned to see who will lead Freo’s administration during the important times of change and progress.
It will be fascinating to watch how/if the new Chief Executive Officer will find a way out of the Kings Square project mess and if the City of Fremantle will become more transparent during his reign.
The West Australian reports today that the two-year delay of the 150-room Double Tree Hilton hotel at Princess May Park is due to the many lengthy discussions between the SKS Group and the City of Fremantle’s Design Advisory Committee and heritage department.
Construction of the seven-storey hotel was due to start late last year but it now appears it will not happen for a long time, leaving that part of town in a derelict state.
Fact is that the initial design I first viewed at a public viewing was unacceptable, boring, uninspiring and disrespectful to the heritage area, so the City’s DAP and heritage department tried to get changes that would improve the proposed building.
New buildings in a historic city like Fremantle need to acknowledge and compliment the heritage of place and create a new amenity with character that respects and enhances, but instead we see developers proposing bland boxes that have no reference to the history and lack a sense of place. SKS general manager Francis Foong should not blame the development process and COF but his company’s own uninspiring design of the building.
Because of my computer crash I am a bit behind with Fremantle news so I was rather surprised to read Brendan Foster’s article on WAToday that Freo Mayor Brad Pettitt wants to develop Victoria Quay all the way from the Maritime Museum to the bridges.
Brad Pettitt is very aware that buffer zones do apply around Fremantle Port and that residential and hotel development is not allowed there, so his suggestion that the port could operate as a container port and have accommodation at south quay is ignoring these basic facts.
It is also rather dangerous for our Mayor to suggest a state agency like the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority could be in charge of such major development in Fremantle as the MRA can and will overrule local planning and could for example think it is appropriate to have some very high rise buildings at Victoria Quay contrary to the City of Fremantle’s own planning policies.
It is becoming harder and harder to take the Freo Mayor serious as he is clearly not liking facts much and keeps coming up with his silly media grabs that are so remote from reality that they are laughable.
As long as there is a Fremantle inner container port and dangerous goods are being processed there it will not be possible to build residential or tourist accommodation along Victoria Quay.
It is disappointing to see that there is still no building start for the Hilton Double Tree development at Fremantle’s Queen Adelaide and Point street as it was projected to start late 2015.
The site now looks derelict but the City of Fremantle told me the developers have agreed to tidy it up. They demolished the retail buildings but left the Point Street carpark standing and operational. According to my source the SKS Group have not yet applied for a building permit although all development approvals have been given by the WA Development Assessment Panel.
I contacted SKS yesterday and asked if they could tell me an estimated time of building commencement but they have not responded to my email.
The Hilton development is in my opinion critical to Fremantle’s economic recovery as it would create substantial tourist accommodation, which is lacking in our city. It is also essential for the creation of a much better Princess May Park and the modernisation of the eastern part of the CBD, so I hope the delay will not be as lengthy as the Kings Square project one.
There is a new community movement in our city named Greater Fremantle. Their Facebook page states “Greater Freo is a community campaign aimed at finding out if the people of Fremantle and Greater Fremantle, would like to see their City become Greater.” That does not mean a lot really so I wonder who and what is behind this movement.
What would a “greater Fremantle” be? For some it might be more free parking, for others the ban on plastic shopping bags.
Anyway we can all find out who the people behind Greater Freo are during an information session on Thursday January 21 from 6.30-7.30 pm at the Swan River Ballet at 1 Rockingham Road, Hamilton Hill. I’ll definitely go as it intrigues me to find out more