City Ward Election

Leisure Centre Car Park Sale “Still on the Table”

One important issue in the current City Ward elections is the possible sale of the Leisure Centre Car Park, following the sell off of so many other council car parks, often to developers at bargain basement prices.

Incumbent councillor Rachel Pemberton, who has been a City Ward councillor for the past 8 years, categorically ruled out the sale, despite its sale being listed in council’s current 10 year plan, a plan she said she was unaware of. This week a council source said the sale was ‘still on the table.’

(see today’s Herald p11)

Candidates’ Forum Last Thursday

A healthy crowd turned out for the candidates’ forum at the fabulous Notre Dame venue in Cliff Street. This is what John Dowson said:

I would be, if elected, a servant of the community, reflecting your needs and aspirations.

Obviously, through doorknocking, candidates can identify some issues the community has, and my experience so far is that the community is divided, and often angry with this council.

One of the best ways to see what the community wants is to read the Community Satisfaction Surveys done every few years. When I was last on council the results were shown to councillors on a powerpoint and then the survey taken away by officers. I insisted that each councillor have a copy if they wanted one and that the survey be put on the council website, where you can today find it.

The latest survey shows that people love Fremantle and that is why we live here. But as a potential councillor I am keen to focus on the key issues that concern residents. The 4 keys issues of concern identified in the latest survey are where Fremantle scores well below the industry standard. They are:

  1. How the City is being developed (only 43% of people (and 33% over 55) are satisfied against the industry average of 50%. The drastic changes to the town planning scheme to allow high rise were not supported by the community and they are still not happy.
  2. Economic Development  (dropped from 51% satisfaction under Mayor Tagliaferri to 37% today despite 10 years of letting developers build whatever they want. We need quality and we are not getting it. A key indice is the government FHI Financial Health Index where Fremantle currently has the worst score of any metro council  44 as against our neighbors Melville on 98 and Cockburn 81 (see today’s West article by Paul Murray about FHIs)
  3. Safety and Security in the City Centre (39% satisfied. City Ward voters more concerned than any other ward. We need more police and more on the beat)
  4. Parking in the City Centre (only 39% are happy. I would simplify the system – free 2 hour parking and reduce fines to $10)

Besides these issues there are others that the community doesn’t perhaps even know about:

  1. The saga of 140 High Street where around $1 million of ratepayer money has already been spent taking a landowner to court. $265,776 paid just last week to the landowner by council as they lost in court, but are still pursuing the matter
  2. Tree canopy cover – in 2009 I got council to double the number of trees being planted each year to 1000, but last year only 714 were planted. How can council achieve a 20% tree canopy target when it plants fewer trees than 10 years ago? What about underground power, one of the best ways to increase canopy.?
  3. Selling off our assets cheaply to developers – just last week Josephson Street car park sold for $1.15m as against its valuation of $1.42m.
  4. The poor deals cut by council. As a businessman I am always impressed when I see a good deal, but this council is not good at negotiating effective deals.

Hospital: 1900 workers went from the hospital because council did not negotiate anything, like a small emergency ward and 200 general beds.

New Council Deport: The new council depot site: council spent $7.5 million buying land in Jones Street and didn’t bother to find out that it is riddled with asbestos which will cost $1 million to remove. It has sat empty for years and its value has dropped sharply.

Police: 50% of police in Fremantle have left under this council, because, as the police said, Fremantle Council did not lobby to keep them. 100 police traffic officers have gone from Fremantle to Cockburn. There is no liquor branch any more, despite Fremantle swimming in liquor licence applications for bars and taverns.

You need a council that can negotiate well on your behalf, and that is what I would work to achieve – genuinely progressive and sustainable deals.

John Dowson Candidates’ Forum Thursday 26 September 2019

Authorised and printed by John Dowson, 12 Mouat Street, Fremantle WA 6160

Doorknocking is fun with an ice cream!

City Ward Election: Candidates’ Forum Thursday 26 September 6.30pm

Reminder of the Candidates’ Forum at Notre Dame Uni in Cliff Street at 6.30pm Thursday 26 September, in one of the best rooms in Fremantle.

John Dowson, Julie Morgan, and Rachel Pemberton will be there to answer your questions.

Half Price Fremantle Society Dinner at Federal Hotel

7pm Tuesday 1 October at the wonderful Federal Hotel in William Street opposite the Town Hall.

Written and authorised and printed by John Dowson, 12 Mouat Street, Fremantle WA 6160

Election Flyer


The Fremantle Society is supporting President John Dowson in his run for City Ward.

Authorised and printed by John Dowson, 12 Mouat Street, Fremantle

For the flyer above the authorisation is:

Authorised by Martin Lee, 6 Brennan Street, Fremantle. Printed by PK Print Hamilton Hill.

Campaign Donations

Campaign donations gratefully accepted.

Please contact John at or 0409223622

Bank details:  Westpac BSB  037 130 account 403 480

Candidates’ Forum

6.30pm Thursday 26 September at Notre Dame’s lovely main theatre, Cliff Street.

Candidates Forum City Ward this Thursday

Three candidates are contesting the local council election for City Ward – incumbent Rachel Pemberton, Julie Morgan, and John Dowson, President of the Fremantle Society.

Arts Precinct under Peter Scott have organised a Candidates Forum at the main lecture hall of Notre Dame University in Cliff Street as pictured above on Thursday 26 September, 6.30 – 8pm.

Please come and ask questions. For example …

Parking: You may wish to raise the issue of parking and ask how the problem can be fixed, and raise the issue of the relentless sale of council-owned car parks at discount prices to favoured developers.

Council assets: You may wish to support the importance of ratepayer-owned assets and the revenue they bring and ask about the relentless sale of income producing assets, leaving Fremantle with less than half the asset base they had ten years ago.

Heritage: You may wish to ask about the world famous heritage town we have and why council puts so little money into heritage – why they scrapped the Heritage Grants Program, the Heritage Awards, the Local History Awards, and the Heritage Committee. Why is Arthur Head collapsing?

Financial Management: You may wish to support good financial management and ask why Fremantle has the worst financial record of any metro council.

Quality development: You may wish to support quality development and ask why we keep getting such mediocre and often poor quality developments.

Tree Canopy Cover: You may wish to support the target of 20% tree canopy cover and ask how that can be achieved when council is planting fewer trees than 10 years ago, and does not support underground power, one of the best ways to quickly grow tree canopy.

Divided community: You may wish to emphasise the importance of a united community, and the existing problems of divisiveness and ideology driving a wedge between people.

Authorised by: John Dowson, 12 Mouat Street Fremantle.

Fremantle Markets – a Top Small Business Election Issue

New Markets for Freo

Statement from John Dowson, President, The Fremantle Society Thursday 19 September, candidate for City Ward election:

You heard it here first – a new markets will open shortly in the former Pine Warehouse on the Spicer site directly opposite the Fremantle Markets.  True Blue have signed a lease with the new owner Twiggy Forrest, for a rent at one third of the allegedly exorbitant rents charged at the Fremantle Markets.

True Blue is offering a rent free environment for some stallholders.

A similar proposal for a low-cost market environment in Pine Warehouse when it was owned by Council was put to council by then councillor Dowson ten years ago, but rejected by Mayor Pettitt.

Fremantle Markets is an iconic part of Fremantle’s culture and a hugely important small business environment that the Chamber of Commerce and Council should insist it be run as well as possible. It is a ratepayer asset which brings in much less rent than it should to ratepayers, and is not being restored as it should be.

Today Fremantle Council issued a press release about small business. There could hardly be a more important small business for us than the health of the 150 small businesses inside the ratepayer owned Fremantle Markets.

The first photo here shows the markets with the increasing unsightly clutter of air conditioners, not hidden, on top of heritage buildings.

The second photo shows the deteriorated exterior of the Markets that has been like that for years, despite the huge income earned by the leaseholder, the Murdochs.

The Conservation Plan identified $4.75 million worth of works needed at the Markets, with $2.2 million being urgent. But only $900,000 has been spent (by Council)  in ten years, and was funded by ratepayers when council had to take out a loan to pay for them. That loan still has not been paid off.

I am working with investigators to get a better deal for the 150 stallholders and for the Markets itself.

Support the Markets and the stallholders by demanding better outcomes. Make this an election issue.

Contact your local councillor: members@fremantle.wa
Contact the Fremantle Herald:

Link to what the Fremantle Society had to say a few months ago on this subject.

Meet City Ward Candidate John Dowson

Fremantle Society Half Price Night at Federal Hotel Tuesday 1 October 7pm

So many people enjoyed the half price night at the Federal Hotel recently, the Fremantle Society is doing it again on Tuesday 1 October 7pm.

The reason is to support Fremantle Society President John Dowson, who is running for City Ward in the current elections.

By 1 October most people will probably have received their ballot papers, and 50% of people vote within the first five days. However, voting continues until Saturday 19 October.

The food is great. The venue is great. The price is great. The company is great. The guest speaker (very brief) is John Dowson, and he could be great if elected.

Bookings are free. Meals are half price. Book now:

Tuesday 1 October 2019 at 7pm
The Fremantle Society – Promoting Quality Development