Good Planning is not a Popularity Contest

Apartment Towers for Boat Lifters’ Site?

1) Protect the Fishing Industry 2) Extend Norfolk Street across the railway 3) Allow LOW scale development

The proposed development of the very large Boatlifters’ site (top centre left) in Fishing Boat Harbour could be a great step forward in giving the public better access to the waterfront, and useful facilities.

But only if the needs of the fishing and boat industry continue to be met, and if high rise is not part of the mix.

The West Australian asked the Fremantle Society for its opinion, and this is what we replied:

At this stage the Fremantle Society supports low scale commercial development of the site if the developer is prepared to facilitate the extension of Norfolk Street into the site with a jetty at its terminus, in order to better link the town with the water, and give public access to the area. The development must be guided by council policies and expert opinion.

The last thing the working harbour needs is high rise apartment towers of 10 storeys as hinted on the front page of the Herald this week.

The community is asked to fill out a survey for the developers by August 26, but nowhere in the survey does it state there exists policies (especially height) to guide the development. Good planning is not a popularity contest. Most people will tick the boxes for more shops and coffee and better access, but a working fishing boat harbour in a heritage town is more than that.

Thank goodness the overscaled proposal pushed by the Labor Party in 2007 (second image) was never built, but at least it didn’t try to bring in high rise there. The Minister responsible then, Alannah MacTiernan, at the same time was trying to ram the ING high rise development down Fremantle’s throat across town on Victoria Quay, despite the opposition of 76% of Fremantle people, and the Fremantle Council back then (now in 2019 Alannah is back in town sprucing high rise on Victoria Quay again).

The mayor encourages people to fill out the online survey, but he should be emphasising three key council policies that the survey avoids altogether:

a) DGF10 – the third image above is taken from it.
b) Local Identity Code (on council’s website)
c) Fremantle Council Urban Design Strategy

The future of the Boatlifting facility is a key issue. In the June 2007 Department of Planning Background and Context to the Formulation of a New Fremantle Harbours Policy it states (p18): “Council has adopted the DGF10 to guide development of the Fishing Boat Harbour. This policy was developed jointly with the Department of Planning…….According to the Council’s Heritage Planner, it is the council’s long term plan to relocate the boat repairing industry along Mews Road.”

In order to reunite Fremantle with the waterfront in this area, project 6 of council’s City Centre Urban Design Strategy states that Norfolk Street should be extended through Mews Road into the Boat Lifter site. Council policy DGF10 proposes in the attached drawing a jetty at the end of that extension.

The fourth image above is from the Local Identity Code found on Fremantle Council’s website, a set of development guidelines that cost $140,000 to develop and seem to be ignored by those who should know better. It emphasises the need for low rise development in that area.

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