You and Your Council

Six Fremantle Society Candidates

With the withdrawal of Mike Finn from the October election race, there are now six candidates who are currently members of the Fremantle Society, and a further five who are former members. A new candidate joined the race today, who is not a member of the Fremantle Society, Adin Lang for City Ward, as predicted by the Fremantle Society.

Whether the candidates support the ideals and objectives and issues of the Fremantle Society is largely up to members. We need members to be informed, active, and engaged. The Fremantle Society continues to work to encourage people to run and continues to provide issues for discussion.

While Fremantle has a commendable percentage of eligible voters filling out their postal votes, 65% of eligible voters do not vote.

Fremantle Herald

With just weeks to go, the Fremantle Herald again this week had not one letter about the elections. Last week’s paper featured the mayor Dr Pettitt over the whole of the front page. This week we get the mayor’s photo again, along with the Labor candidate for Beaconsfield, Hannah Fitzhardinge. Over the page is the Greens candidate for South Ward, Liam Carter, and an article having a dig at the Fremantle Society (which is trying to focus on the big issues).

This bias has nothing to do with the full page ads the council runs each week in the Herald. Today’s full page ad from Fremantle Council features verge mowing, strangely just reintroduced weeks before an election with a personalised and expensive mail out to every resident, along with a reminder about the upcoming spraying by council of poison all over our parks.

What did you think?

The Fremantle Society wants to see the results of the 2017 Catalyse Fremantle Community Survey well before the election, because the 2015 results were alarming enough. In 2015 the following survey categories showed a DECLINE compared with 10 years earlier when Peter Tagliaferri was mayor and Cr Pettitt first joined council.

– council leadership (down)

– open and transparent council (down)

– how community is consulted (down)

– how community is informed (down)

– control of anti social behaviour (down)

– how heritage is preserved (down)

– streetscapes (down from 83% satisfaction to 69%)

– parks and green spaces (down)

– care for seniors (down)

– disability access (down)

– footpaths and cycleways (down)

– rubbish and recycling (down)

– planning and approvals (down)

– economic development (down from 72% satisfied to 40%)

– parking in city centre (down)

Among positive results were youth facilities and festivals.

King’s Triangle

The two images above represent the proposed $50 million administration centre. Fremantle’s senior architect Rob Campbell has written to the Fremantle Society after examining the latest plans. Kerry Hill architects are getting $1.2 million for their drawings, and major problems raised when the plans were first released still exist, Rob believes.

Rob Campbell says the only reason for an underground library, which the staff don’t want, was the initial demand for upper floor office space. But that demand has gone, and the whole building could be pushed up to avoid the unpleasant and expensive to build underground library, leaving off the top floor which council want to keep as a speculative investment (costing $5.4 million to build).

Rob Campbell told the Fremantle Society: “Whoever is pushing the design is making it more expensive and less of a civic building.”

Rob Campbell is concerned with the sharp angular nature of the building, especially when viewed from the corner of High and Newman Streets (near the crosswalk next to Myer). He said the sharp angular turn of the building at such an acute angle is “architecturally awful and not in the Fremantle tradition. It is a terrible mistake which undermines the architectural presentation.” He said it was council playing developer and not creating a civic space, because that awkward corner retail space would be difficult to rent and would compete with the adjacent Sirona development.

Rob Campbell also believes that the new building should pay greater respect to the historic Town Hall, with greater separation from it.

The full text of Rob Campbell’s analysis will be made available.

Contracts for this unnecessary council headquarters will not be signed until next year and the Fremantle Society still believes its vision for a true town square without this building is a better long term option.

John Dowson
President
john.dowson@yahoo.com

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.