Your Town. Your Issues?

What are the Issues?

Council Elections

The Fremantle Society has a range of issues and concerns it hopes will be addressed by candidates in the upcoming council election. Here are some. There will be MORE!

1) Heritage Grants

Funding for the Fremantle Heritage Conservation Grants Policy: This policy of giving grants to owners of heritage properties sits on the council website (see above), but there is no money available, and has been none since 2011. With over 3,000 heritage listed properties in Fremantle, there needs to be incentives to get people to restore their property for the common good. A businessman in High Street may be tempted to reinstate his original shopfront layout, which would be a dramatic improvement to the authenticity of the important shopping street, but a quote of $200,000 would quickly quash any interest. However, a council grant of even $20,000 might be enough to make him consider the project.

Subiaco and Perth, with far fewer heritage properties, are two councils that give generously to owners. $100,000 a year minimum is asked for this fund, the same amount as 2010.

2) Community Satisfaction

Firstly, to obtain objective data, the Fremantle Society is seeking the results of the Catalyse 2107 Community Survey so it can be compared with earlier surveys -to understand what the community feels about the council. Council already has the results. Previously such results were released in July, and the 2017 results should be released well before the election.

3) Environmental concerns

The Fremantle Society believes that environmental issues are not being treated seriously or effectively enough. Examples:

(i) Fremantle has the second worst tree coverage of any council in the state. Council promised a significantly improved tree coverage from 10% to 20% by 2020 but has not committed the funds to achieve any real progress in the next few years. Next year council will be planting FEWER tress than it did in 2009. Council apparently has committed no money to underground power, an important step towards a greater tree canopy. Plus, Council has not progressed the Significant Tree Register, and there are only 11 listings on it. This lack of attention to such an important issue is disappointing.

(ii) Despite spending over $300,000 to join One Planet, basic things are not being done. For example, there in NO air quality monitoring in Fremantle. The nearest air quality monitors are in Swanbourne and North Rockingham. There should be air quality monitoring in a port city with at times noxious cargoes. Clean air is a basic right and residents have the right to know that their council is monitoring their air quality.

4) Better Quality Buildings

Fremantle has suffered a tsunami of poor quality development detrimental to its heritage, undermining the very reason people come here in the first place. The community deserves a higher quality urban fabric, not a lower quality one. We want a review of the Design Advisory Committee and a review and implementation of the Local Identity and Design Codes which council spent over $100,000 on. These would be a positive guide to improved sustainable and compatible development.

5) Council finances

The Fremantle Society and FRRA have long raised the issue of the sustainability of council finances and the selling off of ratepayer issues. The Fremantle Society believes it has a better plan for King’s Square, and even at this late stage wants the square saved to become a true open town centre. The contract for the proposed administration centre will not be signed until next year. The ratepayers cannot afford a $50 million administration building, one that requires the sale of further assets like the Leisure Centre car park and Samson Rec Centre, and higher rates.

Fremantle Society Committee Statement Concerning Claudia Green

From August 15 Committee meeting: “President John Dowson’s statement in the most recent email to members relating to Claudia Green was based on Ms Green’s resignation from the Committee last year which was disruptive (around the time of the Beaconsfield by-election). ”

Committee Member Statement

Mike Finn says he is withdrawing from the council election race for City Ward due to the negativity and hostility of social media towards those who volunteer their time.

He believes his withdrawal will help fellow Fremantle Society member Claudia Green in her run for City Ward.

Mike says he will continue as a committee member of the Fremantle Society, and strongly supports the Fremantle Society’s determination to seek better quality development in Fremantle that builds on its special and valuable character rather than undermining it.

Fremantle History Society

The hard working committee at our sister society the Fremantle History Society produces wonderful newsletters, organise interesting events, and can be joined by sending $25 to the Membership Coordinator, PO Box 1305, Fremantle 6959. Or secretary.fhs@gmail.com

They have two important upcoming events:

a) Tour of the recently restored Dalgety Building on the corner of Cliff and Phillimore Streets 16 September at 10.30am. This large and magnificent building has been there since 1902. It would be worth joining the Society just to do this tour. The restoration there is first class, though incomplete. The 6 flagpoles and the chimneys have not been replaced. The cupola is still missing. The sectioning of upper windows on the north side has unfortunately disappeared, and the marble floor has lost its 100 year old patina by being ground into a shiny flat surface. But, what a building.

b) Studies Day: Sunday 22 October at the Fremantle Army Museum at 1pm.

Thanks Garry

Garry Gillard has resurrected our blog. Check it out (fremantlesociety.org.au). Amazing work. He has his own websites and a wonderful coverage of Fremantle history on one called Fremantle Stuff.

Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid

Council Elections:
Mike Finn Declines to Run for Council

Well known Fremantle businessman and committee member of the Fremantle Society Mike Finn (above looking out of his Market Street premises) has withdrawn from his intention to run for City Ward in the upcoming October local election.

The coming election is vital for the future of Fremantle given the financial problems and damage to heritage caused by the current council.

The mayor and six councillors are up for re-election. The Fremantle Society has worked long and hard to research issues, make submissions, lobby for high quality development, and encourage people to be involved in local politics.

At the moment Ra Stewart appears to be the only person willing to run for mayor against Dr Pettitt. In North Ward at least one person will be running against incumbent Doug Thompson, while in South Ward Liam Carter (Green) is interested in running against Cr Sullivan (former Green). The mayor is supporting former mayor Jenny Archibald to run in East Ward to replace Cr Coggin (Labour) and Fedele Camarda intends running against Cr Fitzhardinge (Labour) in Beaconsfield. In Hilton, Fremantle Society committee member Catherine Hammond will run against Cr Wainright (Socialist).

In City Ward Claudia Green (not a Green) was first out of the blocks to run the election race. Mike Finn, longtime businessman in Fremantle running Kakulas Sisters, expressed interest. Now, according to Cr Sullivan, the mayor is getting Linda Wayman to run. And Adin Lang could run as well.

Unfortunately, the keyboard warriors have written so much inaccurate and conspiratorial material about the election manoeverings, and upset so many people, that Mike has decided he has better things to do and will not run.

A major problem in Fremantle is the apathy of voters, the lack of candidates, and the low voter turnout. People should be encouraged to run, of whatever background or philosophy, but social media now seems to encourage personal attacks and wild speculation. Most people have enough to do in their day keeping a job and looking after their family without entering a Roman Circus.

The Fremantle Society was delighted when Claudia Green became the first to show interest in running in City Ward and we said so. But, the Fremantle Society has never formally endorsed Claudia Green. Two Fremantle Society committee members decided to run (Mike Finn in City and Catherine Hammond in Hilton).

This does not mean the Fremantle Society will not support other candidates, whether they are members of the Society or not.

The Fremantle Society has repeatedly asked for member’s views, and again we ask if you have specific issues you feel candidates should support and focus on.

The mayor and his big team have been campaigning for months already even if you havent noticed it. Just don’t drink the Kool-Aid.

John Dowson
President
john.dowson@yahoo.com

Next issue: Environmental Fraud in Fremantle

DAPs tweaked for more transparency

Extract – BUSINESS NEWS, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Author: Dan Wilkie
Thursday, 13 October, 2016

THE state government has moved to make the development assessment process more transparent, unveiling a raft of changes to the system in response to feedback from local governments and resident groups.

Development Assessment Panels have been in place in Western Australia since 2011, with the system designed to add an additional level of technical expertise to the planning process.

Changes announced today include publishing DAP agendas earlier, providing opportunities for developers to opt out if their project does not significantly impact local amenity, and more information to be provided in regard to why decisions are made.

Other changes include local governments being required to contact all those who provided written submissions to DAP applications to inform them of the meeting, and allowing developers to choose between local councils and DAPs when seeking minor amendments to existing approvals.
Planning Minister Donna Faragher  –faragher

– said the changes would ensure the decision-making process is better communicated and understood. Ms Faragher said the system had been reviewed twice to provide the best planning outcomes for the state.

All of the amendments can be seen below:

  • Provide an option to opt-out of a DAP in favour of a local government for developments, such as industrial warehouses, that will not significantly impact local amenity.
  • DAP agendas will be published at least seven days before a meeting – instead of the current five days – to provide greater advance notice to the public.
  • Local governments will be required to proactively contact each person who has provided a written submission in relation to a DAP application, to inform them of when the meeting will take place.
  • Responsible authority reports to include more information about why decisions can be made, to ensure that the decision-making process is clearly communicated and can be better understood.
  • DAP members and local governments to be provided with more governance support, where required.
  • DAP presiding members will be able to intervene in the ‘stop-the-clock’ process if parties disagree about the level of information that has been provided for an application.
  • Provide proponents with the option to choose between a local government or a DAP when requesting an amendment to a minor aspect of an existing development approval (Form 2).
  • Empower the Minister for Planning to remove DAP members who do not undertake the appropriate DAP training.
  • The maximum term of office for DAP members can be extended if a vacancy is waiting to be filled.
  • Add a reference to the DAP regulations that all Form 2 minor amendment meetings should be open to the public.
  • Changes to the DAP fee structure.

DAPs Changes Superficial                                      

WA Local Government Association
Media Release

Thursday, October 13, 2016

PROPOSED changes to the Development Assessment Panel process are superficial and will not redress many of the concerns identified by the Local Government sector.
Announced October 13 by Planning Minister Donna Faragher, the proposed changes include a two day extension to the notice period for meeting agendas, extension of the scope to opt-out of the DAP process and a further notification requirement of upcoming DAP meetings to be undertaken by Local Governments.WA Local Government Association President Cr Lynne Craigie said the changes did not go far enough to redress Local Government concerns surrounding the system’s effectiveness and increased rather than reduced red tape burden on Councils.

Significant concerns

“Feedback from our members has revealed significant concerns about the strategic intent and effectiveness of the DAPs system, however the changes proposed are merely administrative in nature,” she said.

“Our call for a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis remains unheard and instead the sector is being required to undertake additional administration that should be the role of the State.”

Cr Craigie said without the cost benefit analysis, questions would remain around the relevance and effectiveness of the system with limited DAPs resources being focused on minor planning matters, rather than matters of State significance.

“The current system is getting overrun with everyday applications such as petrol stations and fast food outlets with a staggering 258 DAPs meetings held over the last financial year”, she said.

“Many of these applications currently considered by DAPs align with Council recommendations and take longer to determine than through a Council-led process.”

Token changes

Cr Craigie said WALGA had been advocating for ministerial call in powers and changes to the opt-in system to reduce this unnecessary pressure on DAPs and refocus the process with its original purpose of strategic high level vision rather than day to day development applications.

“Instead of effective review, we are faced with token changes and are being required to absorb an administrative burden on behalf of the Department,” she said.

“Whilst the sector agrees those providing submissions to a DAP application should be notified of upcoming meetings, it is the responsibility of the Department of Planning that administers DAPs rather than the role of individual Local Governments.

“We remain committed to working with the State Government on ways to deliver genuine improvements to the system, but these changes are at best superficial and will do little to benefit local communities and industry alike.”

CONCERNS OVER PORT SMALL BAR – FREMANTLE HERALD

October 7 2016, by Your Herald, in News

 

weighbridge-035

Photo: Colin Nichol

FREMANTLE council has approved plans to turn the old weighbridge at Fremantle port into a small bar, despite Public Transport Authority concerns over pedestrian safety.

The heritage-listed building is positioned on the notoriously confusing Cliff/Phillimore Street intersection and is close to a railway level crossing, but council voted to approve the micro boozer.

“People cross the railway line to get to Little Creatures and there are countless pubs positioned near busy roads and intersections,” Cr Hannah Fitzhardinge said.

“The weighbridge is laying empty and we need to activate empty heritage buildings in creative ways—inaccessible heritage is heritage lost.

“One of the big selling points of Fremantle is its quirky experiences—having a small bar in the old weighbridge fits that ethos.”

During council question time a member of the Fremantle Society argued against the bar, saying that the explosion of boozers in the city was turning Fremantle into “Northbridge by the sea.”

Applicant David Anthony said he wouldn’t make a big profit from the venue and that it would be a cute “speak easy” for locals.

Cr Dave Hume said the Fremantle Society opposed any progress in the city and that the weighbridge had been gathering dust since Scoot Freo closed.

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

 

ARCHITECT’S CRITIQUE – FREMANTLE HERALD

October 7, 2016 · by Your Herald · in News

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

A FREMANTLE architect who established heritage guidelines for the redevelopment of Atwell Arcade says the project has “gone off the rails” and deviates from its planning approvals.

“[Stripped] of its historical references, [it] shares its impersonal and generalist design with shopping…malls anywhere,” Sasha Ivanovich says.

He was on Fremantle council’s design advisory committee when the $16.5 million redevelopment was approved in 2014, and says the arcade’s heritage has been ignored and the building modernised, counter to approvals.

“During construction, original heritage features like timber mouldings were uncovered but these have been ignored,” he says.

“Though there has been some restoration of original glass shopfronts, new contemporary style materials have been introduced.

05-41newsFinishes to Atwell Arcade concern Fremantle architect Sasha Ivanovich

“Substantial restoration has been performed…intermixed with a modern look fascia to the street canopies.”

Council’s system of checking whether developments comply with planning approvals is flawed and should be revamped, Mr Ivanovich says.

He sits on Vincent council’s design advisory committee and is a member of the state government’s Development Assessment Panel, and says the DAC must review documents when they reach the building license and construction phase.

“They would be most sensitive to design issues and be alert to the carefully worded conditions of original planning approval,” he says.

“Whilst council remains shy of enforcing every detail in planning approvals, there can only be more breaches in a process that is considerably invested in time and professional resources.”

05-41news2

The Fremantle Society backs Mr Ivanovich’s call for a revamp

“You only need to look at the brutal aluminium shopfronts on Boost Juice and City Beach to see the system is failing,” president John Dowson says.

“City Beach installed a timber-framed shop front, but recently it was ripped out and replaced with a totally modern full glass shop front… inappropriate to the heritage of the arcade.

“[It] represents a missed opportunity, and is another sub standard development in the tsunami of unacceptable developments hitting Fremantle’s valuable heritage heart.”

Fremantle council planning director Paul Trotman says he is aware of Mr Ivanovic’s concerns and is reviewing the matters raised.