This Election Should be About Quality

The two pictures here are indicative of the problems the community faces when developers not only push the boundaries as to what is allowed to be built, but then inflict on their communities a quality of architecture that is utterly inappropriate, unloveable, and NOT the ‘heritage of the future,’ Dr Pettitt keeps promising us.

The first photograph here is from Bayswater, showing plans from the Fremantle based Yolk Property Group for something that has locals seething. The second image is from the Yolk website showing the new 4 storey building they have inflicted on the West End, described by one long term resident as ‘the worst building in the West End.’

This election should be about getting not only value for money (our council property assets have crashed from $60 million to $20 million under Dr Pettitt) but BETTER QUALITY.

The Fremantle Society has repeatedly asked for a proper review of the Design Advisory Committee of Fremantle Council, which costs $1,000 an hour in fees to run. The Chairman is still Professor Geoffrey London, who was nominated for the committee by the mayor 8 years ago, and who, at the very first meeting of the committee, rejoiced at plans revealed for 18 storeys on the Coles Woolstore site opposite the railway station. The committee, and mayor and council, have failed to prevent poor quality developments in Fremantle, damaging to the value of Fremantle as a special place.

Nominations Have Closed

Nominations for council elections closed at 4pm today.

Some candidates have been scared off by the juggernaut of Labor politics and its influence in these local elections, and by the hostile social media campaigns attacking anyone as being negative who dares question Fremantle Council.

For the mayoral position, only Ra Stewart has put her hand up to take on the incumbent Dr Pettitt. The mayor Dr Pettitt, on his nomination form, states that he delivers ‘sound financial governance’ when the reality is that the government website MyCouncil rated Fremantle as having the WORST financial management of any metropolitan council. A score of 70 represents sound financial health. Fremantle Council is rated a 42. By comparison, our neighbours, Melville, have a rating of 98.

The alarm bells should be ringing. The community cannot afford another four years of this.

Dr Pettitt also says there has been ‘better community consultation’, whereas the latest community satisfaction survey shows in the How the Community is Consulted section, that satisfaction has DROPPED since the last survey. 31% think consultation is excellent or good, but 41% think it is terrible or poor.

Given that Dr Pettitt has received around $1 million of ratepayers’ money since elected, he should tell the truth about the actual results so far after 8 years as mayor, and deliver what he keeps promising.

For North Ward, high rise advocate Michele Corbo will run against incumbent Doug Thompson.

In South Ward, Greens candidate Liam Carter will run against incumbent ‘ex Green’ candidate Cr Sullivan, who advertises himself as a ‘recognised leader’ and a ‘heritage expert’. No comment needed. Jennifer Suffling, Maria Vujcic, and Ben Moodie round off an interesting group.

For Hilton, Catherine Hammond is standing against incumbent Socialist Cr Wainright.

In Beaconsfield, Fedele Camarda will run against the Labor Party’s Hannah Fitzhardinge.

In East Ward, Michelle Cunningham will run against Jenny Archibald.

In City Ward, Roel Loopers, Adin Lang, Claudia Green, Lynda Wayman, and Julie Morgan will contest that seat.

What Happened in 2009?

An interesting book entitled To the Beach lies on the shelf of New Editions. It posits that the North Port Quay issue of 2009 was a defining issue that shaped politics in Fremantle since.

It is not often that a whole book is devoted to one local Fremantle issue. One reviewer wrote:

Ever since Rats in the Ranks we have known that local politics can be fascinating. Thor Kerr provides a heady analysis of the volatile swirl of sentiment, advertising, politics, activism and sheer opportunism that determined the outcome of a key development in Fremantle in 2009. Kerr has a keen eye for capturing public personalities with a telling detail, and brings the tools of cultural analysis to bear on media stories, images, policy documents and popular discourses. Both as a Fremantle local and a cultural theorist I learned a lot about the mechanics and machinations by which conflicts of development, environmentalism, heritage and local politics played out on this particular ground – and indeed continue to reverberate through the city. PROFESSOR SUVENDRINI PERERA, CURTIN UNIVERSITY

Mayoral Debate

The Fremantle Society has for a long time been a co-sponsor of political debates in Fremantle.

Cr Pemberton and the Chamber of Commerce, also co-sponsors, tried to get rid of the Fremantle Society this time, by having us excluded.

But, we are back, at the insistence of the university, and would like to invite you all to the next mayoral debate at Tannock Hall (University of Notre Dame), Cliff Street, on Tuesday 3rd October at 6pm. More details later.

Public Art – What are we Getting?

The Fremantle Society is keen to see high quality urban art to to ensure high quality streetscapes. This is the letter we wrote this week to the Director of Planning:

to: The Director of Planning Mr Paul Garbett

Dear Paul,

The Fremantle Society keen to see high quality public art and high quality restoration projects, but is concerned with the effectiveness of the Percent for Art Program.

The intention of the program was to provide money for heritage or public art. Developers have to spend 1% of the value of their project either on public art or heritage works.

This is an opportunity to make a positive contribution to the public realm with art that is loved and appreciated and which enhances the urban streetscape on a permanent basis, or heritage improvements that add to the authenticity of Fremantle.

It would appear that what the public have received so far has in most cases been very poor quality art installations, often affixed to the property of the developer.

Examples:

a) The Fremantle Society wrote to council about the unattractive sheets of blue plastic on the Quest apartments at 8 Pakenham Street and were told that council was satisfied that those few sheets constituted the developers requirement for $140,000 worth of public art.

The developer was also required to produce an archeological report. The Fremantle Society has read the detailed and excellent report, but is dismayed to see that such an important site, where the largest private house in the State once stood, is not interpreted in any meaningful way for residents or tourists. Council should have insisted that the archaeological report form part of the brief for interpretive work carried out and then monitor the outcomes of the program.

b) 50 Pakenham Street: This dismal four storey development has a metal disc stuck on the side of the building which appears to represent the required percent for art.

c) Atwell Arcade Project: The Fremantle Society asks what was the percent for art requirement for this project? There are a series of metal poles recently installed in the High Street Mall which many people find offensive, intrusive, and interfering with views of the Town Hall and High Street. Do those poles constitute the required public art from Silverleaf?

d) The King’s Square project is a $270 million project, meaning that $2.7 million needs to be spent on public art of heritage. Can we have details of what is proposed there please?

e) The LIV apartment complex currently being built in Queen Victoria Street is a $61 million project, meaning that $610,000 is required to be spent on art or heritage, a sizeable sum.

We ask (i) What works are projected to be created with that $610,000? (ii) Can we please have a copy of the archaeological study done for that important historic site?

Regards

____________________________

John Dowson
President
The Fremantle Society
0409 22 36 22

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