UNBALANCED THINKING ALLOWED

As a still wet behind the ears President of the Fremantle Society I thank Bryden Dalitz for his Thinking Allowed (Fremantle Herald 4-12-10) because it gives me a perfect opportunity to respond.  I make no apologies for the effectiveness of Fremantle’s peak heritage lobby group, the Fremantle Society, we are good at what we do; perhaps Bryden could look closer to home and lay some blame for “economic growth being severely lacking” at the feet of the business lobby group for whom he works and question why the Chamber of Commerce has not achieved similar success.  Bryden sends mixed messages berating the heritage lobby for their recent work but complimenting us by telling readers; “..citizens of Fremantle should be grateful to groups who went against the zeitgeist of decades past and prevented many wonderful and iconic buildings that characterise Fremantle from being destroyed.”  A case of wisdom in hindsight …..

Bryden sings the praises of ING’s Victoria Quay proposal, whilst criticising opposition to it.  I argue a large box shopping centre with multi-storey carpark is not the highest and best use for Victoria Quay, it would not “bring people to the West End“; they would drive past local businesses to park, shop and leave, as at Bondi Central in Sydney and Harbourtown in West Perth.  But of course ING did get planning approval, but then chose to do nothing until their approval is close to lapsing.

Similarly, Council recently granted a third 2 year approval for a heritage building in the West End which remains boarded up rather than adding to Fremantle’s vibrancy.  I must here mention Fremantle’s biggest disgrace, the Cantonment Street woolstores which Council granted development approval over 4 years ago, yet nothing has been done, effectively stifling that end of town.

Bryden, it’s not groups trying to protect our assets, our point of difference, our heritage, that holds Fremantle back, but owners of significant sites and buildings allowing them to disintegrate along with Fremantle by land-banking instead of developing, maintaining and even using these assets.

Enjoy your trip to Melbourne and when you are in hip Lygon or Acland Streets check out the buildings, you will find low rise heritage, like Fremantle’s West End.  Go to Sydney and check out Paddington, travel the world, I bet you come back to Fremantle.

Jon Strachan    9-12-2010

Fremantle Society Election for President

At close of nominations on November 22nd, there were two nominees for President of the Fremantle Society for 2011.

They are Society members Lloyd Hammond and Jon Strachan.  Having previously feared there would be NO nominations, the Society’s Committee resolved not to ‘endorse’ either candidate : it is now up to the Members to vote for their favoured candidate at the upcoming AGM on Monday December 6th.

In the meantime, candidates will be conducting their ‘campaigns’ among the Society’s membership. They will be given 5 minutes each to address the AGM and permitted to distribute one-page statements there. All currently financial members of the Society who come to the AGM (which is at Notre Dame’s Santa Maria Lecture Theatre in Mouat Street, 7 for 730pm) are entitled to vote.

The AGM will commence with an address by Dr Carmen Lawrence in her new role as Chair of the Australian Heritage Council. She will address the timely topic of “Why list the West Kimberley?”

Ian Alexander, President of the Society (well for 10 more days anyhow!)

ING Property Group’s Failing Finances

There is some encouraging news in Thurday’s (11/11/2010) “Australian” newspapers “Prime Space Section (Page 33) regarding the financial fragility of the ING Property Trusts, which may compromise their continuance of their Victoria Quay involvement.

Nevertheless, there may well be other “suitors” waiting in the wings to take over the proposal, and the  people of Fremantle need to continue to be alert and ever mindful as to the possibility of other property developers taking over the development (most likely at a discounted price) and continue their efforts to debase and erode Fremantle’s Victoria Quay-side heritage.

Nicolas Gurr

Fremantle Society Election makes History

A few weeks ago, it seemed that no-one was going to put their name forward for election as President of the Fremantle Society for 2011 and beyond. Now, with nominations to close in a few days, two Society members have  indicated they are going to stand for the position. If this occurs, it will be the first time there has been an election for the post in the Society’s 40 year history.

I think that’s great, as it indicates there is a high and growing level of interest in the recently ‘re-badged’ Society.

Watch this space for an official announcement after nominations close on November 22nd!

Ian Alexander*

*Ian has been President of the Society since 2007, but is not standing for re-election