Interesting to listen to an interview of Fremantle Mayoral candidate Ra Stewart on 6PR’s Perth Live show with Oliver Peterson.
Stewart cited a decline in retail and vacant shops as a Fremantle Council problem, when everyone knows that retail has been in decline for years everywhere in Perth and Australia.
The Australia Day changes were divisive and not the role of local government, Stewart said and that Fremantle had failed to take its position as the jewel in the crown because everybody loves Freo.
Interesting to note in that regard that other councils such as Cockburn, Hobart and others are also considering changes to their Australia Day activities.
Ra Stewart said she would bring Council back to basics, if elected, and implement sound financial management of city assets. I believe that is a fair point as Freo’s finances are not great and could have been handled better.
She also believes Council need to consult with the broader community and find out what their priorities are. The City of Fremantle did that with its Visioning Fremantle 2020 extensive community consultation sessions a few years ago, that lasted nearly a year.
Stewart believes there are lots of opportunities for Fremantle, and when asked about it by Oliver Peterson said that Mayor Brad Pettitt showed a lot of promise in his first term and that “there had been some investment in the city”
That must be the under-statement of the millenium as Fremantle has not seen the kind of enormous investment through development it is experiencing in over thirty years. Some development alright!
Ra Stewart also said she believes she would be able to pull all the community groups together. Anyone in politics knows that this is an extremely naïve statement, because for every person one pleases, someone else will be dissatisfied with government decisions.
One thing I do agree with is that Ra Stewart believes the City of Fremantle should have organised a big celebration of the anniversary of winning the America’s Cup. That is definitely an opportunity lost that the City’s marketing department, and BID, and the Chamber of Commerce, and the yacht clubs all missed.
Anyone who wants my vote to become the next Mayor of Fremantle needs to have realistic and achievable ideas, substance, a long-term vision for our city, and good knowledge of how council works.
The unconvincing interview I heard did not give me the feeling that Stewart would do a better job than the incumbent, so let’s wait and see if more impressive candidates nominate.
East Ward Councillor Ingrid Waltham was elected by Fremantle Council as the new Deputy Mayor. She will replace Dave Coggin who has resigned from Council to take up a position as advisor to the Premier of Western Australia.
I am a big fan of Ingrid Waltham and find her a very thorough and deliberate Councillor who thinks deeply about all the issues at hand in Fremantle. One cannot question Waltham’s integrity and it is also good to have someone not connected to a political party in a major position at Council.
It was nice to see Josh Wilson MP attending tonight. Dave Coggin replaced him as Deputy Mayor when Wilson was elected as the Federal Member for Fremantle.
In his final speech at Council Dave Coggin said how proud he was to have served the City of Fremantle and with what this Council had achieved.
He was also very complimentary about the leadership of Mayor Brad Pettitt who allowed the other elected members to shine and have their own visions and ideas, contrary to what some community groups claim that Fremantle Council is just a bunch of greenies who all vote with the Mayor.
Mayor Pettitt said he had really appreciated Coggin’s directness and honesty and that he often had changed his mind about issues after having had a discussion with the Deputy Mayor about them.
In a shock announcement City of Fremantle East Ward Councillor and Deputy Mayor Dave Coggin has resigned from council today.
Coggin has been offered a position as advisor to the new Premier of Western Australia Mark McGowan and that was obviously an offer too good to refuse.
Coggin had been a Freo Councillor for seven and a half years and was due for re-election in October.
Coggin’s last meeting he’ll attend at Fremantle Council will be April 25, a good opportunity to thank him.
I believe this is a sad day for Fremantle because Dave Coggin has been an excellent and balanced Councillor who was a member of the successful team that attracted massive development in the Freo CBD. A move that will see the transformation and revitalisation of the CBD and a return to a seven-day a week retail economy.
No doubt though it will be good to have someone with a real passion for and commitment to Fremantle in the Premier’s ear and Dave’s resignation from Council might benefit our city in the long run.
I have had the pleasure of many private meetings with Dave Coggin and have observed him at Council and have been very impressed with his tireless work for our community. I would like to thank him for that. The Freo community owes you gratitude, Dave. Good luck in the new position!
The Fremantle Society continues sending misinformation to their members, now claiming that recent decisions by Fremantle Council were made behind closed doors, as was put in capital letters screaming it out in an email.
Fact is that the one-year delay of the Sirona Capital settlement for the Spicer site development and the Kings Square playground went through the proper democratic process at Council and from public Council committees to public full Council meeting, so nothing of that process was irregular or behind closed doors.
This is part of the rambling email to the Fremantle Society members:
Democracy Dead at Fremantle Council
Major decisions affecting ratepayer assets have been made BEHIND CLOSED DOORS at Fremantle Council.
Giving council’s developer mates Sirona Capital an extra year to decide on the Spicer site, the $550,000 playgound in King’s Square, and major decisions affecting the n ew administration building we dont need, were all made behind closed doors at a sub committee of council and then simple reported at council.
The media seem disinterested in major Fremantle governance issues like decisions being made behind closed doors.
It is time the Fremantle Society stopped the nonsense of making non-factual claims about Fremantle Council and started to make a positive difference instead of silly political grandstanding.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with rigorously scrutinising Council and severely criticising them when they deserve it, as I myself regularly do here on Freo’s View, but it needs to be based on facts. The issues mentioned in the FS email were not behind closed doors but at public council committees and council meetings I attended as an observer, and they were not ‘confidential items’ on the agenda either, so open to public scrutiny.
Agendas and Minutes of Council and Council Committee meetings can be read on the City of Fremantle website.
The lease of the DADAA building at Beach Street and the establishment of a new Aboriginal cultural centre was debated at length at full council of the City of Fremantle last night. I am happy that common sense prevailed and that an amendment by Deputy Mayor Dave Coggin was endorsed by his fellow Councillors.
Coggin said that it was important to resolve the process and then decide on the location of a new cultural centre for the Whadjuk Noongar people.
“I don’t believe we have enough information to understand the needs for a potential new indigenous cultural centre or any other type of indigenous community centre that might be positive in Fremantle. We should be taking a best practice approach to this issue by identifying and understanding the needs, engaging with the community, and identifying potential delivery models, with a focus on governance, funding and management.
Once we have been through this process, we will be in a position to make an informed decision about our support for such a facility, with the full knowledge of why it is needed, what it can achieve, and what is appropriate governance, funding and delivery model.
This report agreed at 1-3 will separate the issue of indigenous cultural centre from the availability of 21 Beach Street. It is likely that the process will take 12 months, and it is not appropriate for a valuable community asset at Beach Street to go unutilised during that time. Furthermore, the availability of Beach Street is currently driving the policy process, which is suboptimal.”
Councillors Hannah Fitzhardinge and Doug Thompson said it was putting the cart before the horse nominating Beach Street as the preferred location, before proper communication had been done. Thompson also said he was not really sure what a cultural centre means was. “Get Beach Street out of the equation or we might end up with a sub-optimal solution.” But Councillor Rachel Pemberton feared that if the Beach Street property was leased to others ‘We might end up with no location” for the Aboriginal centre.”
Councillor David Hume said there is always another building and that it was a poor concept.
Councillor Jeff McDonald was worried about legal ramifications for the City as far as the equal opportunity and racial discrimination acts are concerned.
Here the full wording of the amendment:
Council endorses a process for officers to prepare a report that reviews and considers all issues in relation to the provision of an indigenous cultural centre in Fremantle.
That this process includes, but is not limited to, the following elements:
Identification and data-driven explanation of local and regional indigenous community needs in relation to indigenous cultural centre/s, community centre/s or other community-related facilities.
A comprehensive engagement plan that: identifies and engages with all indigenous community members in the Fremantle region; obtains advice from South West Land and Sea Council regarding the project and consultation; and, engages with other regional indigenous service providers.
Analysis of the performance of the current WACC since its opening. Identification of external funding opportunities.
Identification of options for potential models, including evaluation and description of potential governance, management and operational elements.
Council approves funding of up to $20,000 be provided through the budget review process to undertake this review.
That Council approve the request for proposal (RFP) process for 21 Beach Street, Fremantle outlined in the report to Finance Policy, Operations and Legislation Committee on February 8 2017, and based the following selection criteria:
Strategic alignment (20%): The use of the building must assist in achieving some or all parts of the following Strategic Community imperatives:
- People – Create places for people through innovative urban and suburban design
- Green – Develop environmentally sustainable solutions for the benefit of current and future generations.
- Health and Happiness – creating an environment where it is easy for people to lead safe, happy and healthy lives
Additional Documents – Ordinary Meeting of Council 22 March 2017
d. Create – A dynamic innovative city with a strong knowledge economy and arts sector.
- Financial sustainability (15%): the building’s use will be supported by a self-sustaining funding model and/or evidence of sufficient seed funding to enable a sustainable model to be developed – allowing it to operate successfully for the entirety of the agreed lease term.
- Precinct integration (20%): The building’s use will integrate and/or compliment the surrounding community facilities and activation of the surrounding Reserve.
- Community Development Outcomes (30%): to what extent the proposed use of building delivers community development outcomes.
- Capacity (15%): Proposal promotes optimal use of the premises including land/building area utilisation and time frames of use throughout the week.
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.
If you are getting a bit tired of blaming Fremantle Council for everything that goes wrong, here is a new target.
This is the new Western Australian Mark McGowan Labor government for the next four years, so keep them on their toes and under scrutiny.
I wish the new Premier and Ministers all the best and don’t envy them their task of governing under extremely tight financial conditions.
May they make more good than bad decisions for our state. Good luck!
Two ‘locals’ have been appointed by Labor leader Mark McGowan into the new Western Australian cabinet.
Simone McGurk and Peter Tinley will be told on Thursday by the new Premier which portfolios they will be responsible for.
Well done Simone and Peter. Now the hard yakka starts!
It’s W.A. Election Day!
There is an overkill of signs at all the polling boots around Fremantle. Volunteers from all parties were out all through the night to put them up, so good on them for their commitment.
Long queues already at the Beacy Primary School at 8 am and it’s going to be a warm day so enjoy the sausage sizzles and cake stalls.
Fremantle Port looks as if Labor leader and former Navy officer Mark McGowan has called in a few favours to show Bad Boy Boom Bust Barnett and his supporters who will be in charge from Monday on.
There are five warships in the port and one off shore, so that is a clear show of force. ; >)
One more sleep!