It appears that Premier Colin Barnett and the City of Fremantle engaged in a bit of ‘alternative facts’ spin when they announced late last year that 1,500 state government staff would relocate to Fremantle to the Kings Square project.
A reliable source informs me that nearly one-third of them will relocate from Marine House opposite the Esplanade Hotel in Essex Street, so they are already in Fremantle and will only move one kilometre further east.
I hear marine-related officers are not too happy about it as it will take them further away from their boats in the Fishing Boat Harbour.
GODOT FINALLY ARRIVED AT KINGS SQUARE!
Premier Colin Barnett this morning announced that 1,500 public servants will relocate to Fremantle and that the Housing and Corrective Services departments will have their new headquarters in Fremantle, as well as the Department of Transport.
The Premier said it was seen as good to have several agencies sharing the two Kings Square buildings and that this will be a major boost for retail after Fremantle has languished for a long time.
The State Government will save $ 53 million over 15 years with the relocation of the departments which are part of the government’s plans for decentralisation of the public sector. This is the biggest decentralisation by the government, Colin Barnett said..
Sirona Capital managing director Matthew McNeilly said he was thrilled with the support the government has shown for the Kings Square development and that Sirona will invest a quarter of a billion dollars into the project. It will be the catalyst to the start of a seven-day a week economy in Fremantle.
The project will be a vast improvement to the public realm with new retail and entertainment and 20,000 sqm of office space. Demolition will start in April/May next year and building will commence soon after with retailers moving in by late 2019. McNeilly said that projects of this complexity can be very time consuming.
A delighted Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said that this was probably the most significant day in Fremantle since the America’s Cup in the mid 1980s and a real catalyst for a wave of investment in Fremantle.
This is a vote of confidence in Fremantle by the government and will give the city a proper heart. It is a real milestone into the future, the Mayor told the media and the large group of Councillors and City staff.
For years I have vented my frustration about the lack of progress of the Kings Square development and compared it with the Samuel Becket play Waiting for Godot, so I am delighted to eat my words and am looking forward to the development that should make a significant difference to Fremantle’s economic recovery.
I am not a financial experts at all, and while I respect the opinion of professional auditor Craig Ross and financial expert Martin Lee who have warned against the financial implications for the City of Fremantle and its ratepayers, I also need to respect the opinion of the expert consultants employed by the City of Fremantle who have a different opinion. I cannot judge who is right or wrong on this.
What price are we willing to pay to invest in the future I ask myself and only the future will tell us that.
I now hope Sirona Capital and the CoF will agree to make fully public the financial and business details as commercial confidentiality surely no longer applies.
I am truly delighted and needed a boost after the Trump disaster yesterday, so let’s get out the bubblies and celebrate Fremantle’s bright future!
WA Premier Colin Barnett accompanied by Heritage Minister Albert Jacob officially opened the renovated historic Warders Cottages next to the Fremantle Markets this morning.
The cottages look very cute inside and have a nice little courtyard, so no doubt there will be plenty of takers for them.
I believe they are ideally suited for B&B but too small for a bar, especially with the very steep steps to the first floor being a challenge to walk down on.
Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt, CEO Phil StJohn, MLA Simone McGurk and MP Josh Wilson were all there, as were Sirona Capital managing director Matthew McNeilly and Silverleaf boss Gerard O’Brien.
It is fantastic to see the cottages restored after far too many years of neglect and vacancy. They are a real attraction in the Henderson Street mall.
Colin Barnett remains the leader of the WA Liberal Party and Premier of the state after a spill motion was defeated and Barnett received 31 votes and challenger Dean Nalder only got 15 votes.
I hope Nalder will now try to reduce his ego and drastically improve his skills at being a politician.
The WA Liberal/National State Government has so far spent a staggering $ 11 million on the preparation of the sale/49-year lease of Fremantle Ports, according to media reports.
Treasurer Mike Nahan confirmed they had spent that huge sum of money on consultants and exterior advise, although the National Party and Labor Party are against the sale, so it most likely won’t eventuate with the state election due in March 2017 and a probable change of government.
The present government has shown an insane lack of care for our state’s finances and a willingness to irresponsibly waste money at their leisure.
The Sunday Times reports today that WA Premier Colin Barnett, who is also the new Minister for Tourism, has indicated the promotions for WA should be focussing on Perth and not on the natural beauty of our state.
The Premier told the ST that Brand Perth should be our selling point focus, not beaches and the rugged Kimberley. The Premier believes that is what Asian tourists want.
Strange then that the national tourist body only recently said that Chinese tourists want a country/outback experience, and 95 per cent of visitors to the Fremantle Roundhouse I talk to have expressed that they find Perth dull and much like other big cities but that they love the heritage of Fremantle, Ningaloo Reef, the outback, Margaret River, Albany and the rugged coastline.
On that note I wonder if/what the City of Fremantle is doing in regard to offering package deals for the Street Art Festival to attract interstate and overseas visitors. This is a great free three day festival that deserves package deals with tourism operators and airlines. We could for example have a night performance in the Fremantle Arts Centre only for those who arrive here on a package deal for the SAF.
Reading the number of visitors the VIVID light festival in Sydney attracts, I believe Freo could step up a little in that regard as well and not just rely on large numbers of visitors from the suburbs on the long Easter weekend.