What a good scoop for the Fremantle Herald which today reported on their front page that Sirona Capital has been announced as the preferred tenderer for a state department to move to Fremantle’s Kings Square.
Finance Minister Bill Marmion told the Herald that the finance department will start negotiations with Sirona Capital, which means the tender by Fremantle based Silverleaf to get a department to move to the to be developed Woolstores shopping centre site has been unsuccessful.
This is a huge step forward for the Kings Square project which would see the Myer and Queensgate buildings developed and a new building on the Spicers site carpark on the corner of William and Henderson streets, as well as the building of a new civic centre at Kings Square.
It was always going to be hard for Silverleaf to win the tender process as I have no doubt the City of Fremantle would have made it clear to State Government that their Kings Square development would be in limbo without a department moving there.
There is no doubt though that State Government will have the upper hand in the tender negotiations as they and Sirona Capital are well aware that without a department moving to Kings Square the project is dead in the water, so the State will expect an exceptionally good deal from Sirona in a period where the commercial property market is soft and office vacancy is at an all time record.
I believe the Kings Square development will be a huge boost for the revitalisation of Fremantle’s CBD and can’t wait for it to get started.
Well done Fremantle Herald for getting the exclusive, without even boasting about it!
There will be a few nervous people at the City of Fremantle and Sirona Capital as they are eagerly awaiting the outcome of the tender process for the Department of Housing move to Fremantle.
This has been an epic saga since then minister Troy Buswell announced the relocation of Housing four years ago, but it never eventuated.
Premier Colin Barnett and Treasurer Mike Nahan have said a decision would be announced in August so hopefully we will finally get an outcome and will know if the important Kings Square development in Fremantle will go ahead.
Although Sirona Capital on several occasions said they had a plan B if a State department does not move into the former Myer building, it is unlikely the project will go ahead, and Sirona is running out of time as the contract with the City expires in October.
The development of the former Fremantle Kim Beazley school site in White Gum Valley is going ahead well and will be an interesting new housing site there. The development is a collaboration between Landcorp and the City of Fremantle.
The Men’s Shed on the site has to be relocated and a big new shed is nearly finished at the Hilton Bowling Club.
Every time I drive past the WGV site I am disappointed that a sustainable development of this kind saw the need to clearfell the area before starting development, at a loss of nearly 100 mature trees. Trees should be relocated to make way for development and not destroyed. It takes years for trees to mature and we need to do a whole lot better to preserve them.
The Town of East Fremantle is trying to ban the use of plastic shopping bags, what the City of Fremantle unsuccessfully tried twice and was refused to implement by the WA government, so maybe a more achievable compromise would be to demand that retailers charge a fee for plastic bags, as they have done successfully in the United Kingdom according to The Guardian.
I quote a section of The Guardian’s recent article below:
# The number of single-use plastic bags used by shoppers in England has plummeted by more than 85% after the introduction of a 5p charge last October.
# More than 7 billion bags were handed out by seven main supermarkets in the year before the charge, but this figure plummeted to slightly more than 500 million in the first six months after the charge was introduced, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said.
# The data is the government’s first official assessment of the impact of the charge, which was introduced to help reduce litter and protect wildlife.
# The charge has also triggered donations of more than £29m from retailers towards good causes including charities and community groups, according to Defra. England was the last part of the UK to adopt the 5p levy, after successful schemes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Good to see charging for the plastic bags did not become another profit making exercise but that the money was donated to good causes.
Unlike retailers such as IGA and Peaches in Fremantle the big supermarkets do not offer cardboard boxes as an alternative to plastic shopping bags, and that also needs to be encouraged as it is a good way to recycle the boxes the goods arrive in at the shops.
It is interesting to read in the Fremantle Herald this morning that Subiaco Councillor Julie Matheson has told them she will stand as an independent in Fremantle for next year’s state election.
Matheson stood for the senate in the recent federal election and she founded the Scrap the DAP movement that is calling for the abolition of the highly controversial WA Development Assessment Panels.
I am disappointed though to read the platform Matheson will try to get into parliament on as it is quite naive.
Matheson told the Herald that all that is needed is to put a new passenger terminal at Fremantle Port to boost tourism and there will be no need for container and sheep transport at Fremantle as that all can be moved to Kwinana.
According to state government, Fremantle Ports, and experts though a new Kwinana Port would be an overflow port only and Fremantle Port would be needed for container freight for at least another 25 years.
While I agree a new passenger terminal closer to the railway station would be good, it also has to be acknowledged that the vast majority of passengers hop on buses to the Pinnacles and Swan Valley and don’t spend a lot of time and money in Fremantle.
After extensive community consultation plans have been drawn up by Fremantle Ports for the development of Victoria Quay and they don’t involve moving the terminal, so that too is unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future.
While the DAP is controversial in the Perth metro area the Labor and Liberal parties support it, so whatever the outcome of the state election it is unlikely the DAP system will be scrapped.
I admire Julie Matheson for being very active in the Subiaco community and beyond, but hope she will make more informed statements about Fremantle Port if she stands as an independent for Fremantle in March next year. Just shifting Freo port to Kwinana is not going to happen in my life time, but as I have expressed many times before a Kwinana port needs to be a priority for the WA government as it will take a very long time for it to become a reality.
WA Today reports that councils in WA have problems getting a quorum at Council and committee meetings because of the new gift disclosure rules by the State Government.
I believe this is very important for Fremantle as Councillors will be asked to consider events applications, sponsorships, reduction of fees, etc. and their attendance of previous events might jeopardise their ability to perform the duty and vote on these matters.
As I wrote in a previous post I believe Fremantle Council should stop accepting all complimentary tickets and pay for them instead, so that a conflict of interest no longer applies.
If the Mayor or other members open or speak at an event that should not be considered free entry and no disclosure should have to be made.
The updated gift register of the City of Fremantle shows the tickets accepted by Councillors were not expensive gifts, so why can’t COF budget for a few thousand dollars a year to accommodate members fulfilling their duty and going to events to monitor what is going on.
It is not good local government to end up with committees and ordinary council not having a quorum, so the City needs to be proactive to prevent this from happening.
There was not a bookmaker or betting agency in sight when Fremantle Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren joined about 200 people and almost as many dogs at Wilson Park in South Fremantle on Sunday morning to call for the WA state government to join with NSW and ban greyhound racing.
NSW banned the ‘sport’ after acts of animal cruelty were exposed and mass graves filled with greyhounds were discovered there.
It does not look as if the Greater Fremantle group that wants to separate parts of Hamilton Hill and Coogee from the City of Cockburn and be added to the City of Fremantle will have any success.
The group was initiated by Adin Lang, who stood for Cockburn Council at the last local government election. He managed to get the 250 signatures required for the Local Government Advisory Board to consider the proposal, but the Fremantle and Cockburn councils are not interested.
The City of Cockburn allocated $ 50,000 to oppose the proposal and a recent survey there showed over 70% of people do not support the idea.
The City of Fremantle Ordinary Council meeting this coming Wednesday will debate the issue but the officers’ recommendation, as shown below, is negative and I am certain Council will reject the Greater Fremantle proposal.
During the local government structural reform process in 2014/15, the City of Fremantle adopted a position of support for a number of boundary adjustments with its adjoining Councils, as part of a comprehensive process of boundary reform to create rationalised boundaries that were logical, coherent, and promoted long-term sustainable local government entities. The Council was disappointed when this process failed to achieve any reform, and the City of Fremantle still supports its previously adopted position on this issue.
The current proposal before the LGAB, to transfer Hamilton Hill and part of North Coogee from the City of Cockburn to the City of Fremantle, is outside of any organised and comprehensive boundary reform process. This change is also opposed by the City of Cockburn. Given that the Council understands that the Minister for Local Government will not agree to any boundary change not agreed to by the relevant Councils, the City does not believe that it is in either communities best interest to be pursuing boundary reform at this time. The previous reform process created a significant deviation of energy and resources for local government, and in that context, the City considers that that there are many other higher priorities to be addressed at this time. The City is also seeking to maintain a strong and collaborative relationship between the Cities of Fremantle and Cockburn.
Consequently, the LGAB is advised that at this time the Council does not support the current proposal to transfer Hamilton Hill and part of North Coogee from the City of Cockburn to the City of Fremantle. The City will welcome dialogue with all of its adjoining Councils over boundary adjustments that might be agreed by both parties to be mutually beneficial to both Councils.
There will be a rally to call for a ban on greyhound racing in W.A. at Wilson Park at South Beach in Fremantle this Sunday between 11 am and 1 pm.
The location of the rally is quite significant as the first horse races were held at South Beach.
The City of Fremantle is one of only a few metropolitan councils who have not yet joined the call for the abolishment or drastic reform of the W.A. Joint Development Assessment Panels(DAP).
Only a few days ago the Town of East Fremantle joined the 21 of 30 metro councils who called for the State Government to have a serious look at what is wrong with the DAP.
Councils and communities claim the DAP erodes local government democracy and removes the opportunity for them to be part of the decision making process, which results in buildings of inappropriate height being approved by DAP, threatening the local character and amenity of place, especially in the older suburbs. The building next to St Patrick’s and the Australia Hotel, rejected by Fremantle Council but approved by DAP is an example of it.
Fremantle Councilllor Rachel Pemberton put a Notice of Motion to Wednesday’s FPOL Committee and appeared to have support demanding changes to the DAP system, but committee wanted the wording tweaked and the CEO and Pemberton will now work on that. The item will then go back to FPOL at the September meeting.
It was interesting to hear FPOL Chair Councillor Andrew Sullivan stating he believed less robust councils than Fremantle were more affected by DAP decisions, but that Fremantle Council should become even more robust in its planning policies. I fear Councillor Sullivan means that Fremantle Council should introduce substantially more height in future scheme amendments.
Councillor Pemberton claims that there is bipartisan support for the DAP at state level, but I hope that is not true. With so much outrage in so many communities reform of the DAP system could become an election winner for the Labor Party if they promise to overhaul the process or scrap the DAP.