Better and bigger!
“Local economies must have strong and growing businesses in order to achieve sustainable economic growth” This is one of the main themes a mix of committed Fremantle business and stakeholder representatives that make up the Economic Development Working Group( EDWG) have been considering over the past six months, as they work to put a practical and achievable plan before Council for an enhanced economic future for the City.
It seems like years ago that Mayor Brad Pettitt presented the City’s five year strategic visioning document at the Mussel Bar, but it was only in the first half of 2010. Soon after that, the EDWG (an advisory committee of Council) got down to business. Over the period since, there have been a range of development, business, retail, property and other specialists sharing their expertise with the working group.
At the same time and in a parallel universe almost, the Council also established a Strategic Sites Working Group. Our representatives on that group are Ian Alexander and Don Whittington. The Society’s representative on the Economic Development group is Henty Farrar.
The two groups have different focuses but their aims are broadly the same – to pathway a more vibrant city with a strong and growing economy attracting more people to work, live, use and enjoy the City. And for your representatives, it’s always in the context of a City with character and special places. But we do have to have change. Declining retail numbers, fall of in business confidence, competition from other regional centres!
The City’s five year strategic vision puts a strong focus on building a future through leadership and cooperation. It’s a clear vision. The City puts it this way:
The City has a specific focus that relies on the redevelopment of a significant portion of the east precinct of the Fremantle Commercial Business District (CBD). A target is ‘five major commercial projects underway or completed in central Fremantle.
The related projects are:
§ attracting at least one new government agency to be located in Fremantle
§ maintaining existing government agencies in Fremantle and identify opportunities for expansio
§ looking for opportunities to attract large private enterprise and/or develop clusters of service industry businesses
§ facilitating provision of at least one new accommodation hotel in city centre
§ developing a west end activation strategy with key stakeholders including University of Notre Dame
§ implementing a strategy for City-owned sites with staged completion dates for the Spicer site, Point Street site and Queensgate cinema redevelopment
§ establishing a City Centre Sites Working Group to work with private landowners with a view to having these sites re/developed – including (but not limited to) Westgate, Myer, Coke & Gas, Woolstores.
The EDWG is due to present its report to Council before the middle of the year. Cr Josh Wilson chairs the EDWG and Cr Andrew Sullivan chairs the Strategic Sites working group.
The Fremantle Society will be doing its bit to bring understanding and insight to particular issues always, but there will be a fair bit of “no pain no gain” to consider in the months and years ahead.