Proposal for a Disability Liaison Group

Bill supports a Disability Reference Group in Fremantle

I have recently been discussing with senior staff a proposal to introduce a Disability Liasion  Group at the City of Fremantle.

The City of Fremantle currently has a Youth Network and a Reconciliation Reference Group to advise on specific topics, and it makes sense to also have a reference group advising and liaising with the City regarding the needs of people with a disability in our City.

The Disability Liaison Group would be made up of people with a disability, or perhaps disability advocates, who would advise the Council and City administration on issues affecting them. It would be a two-way flow of information where the City could get feedback on service or infrastructure plans and changes, and the Group could raise issues of concern or interest they would like the City to follow up. Continue reading

Pedestrian safety a priority

I’m a pedant for pedestrian safety and amenity.

During my last term on council, I managed to get pedestrian crossing signals installed at the corner of High Street and Ord Street, and the corner of Hampton Road and Wray Ave. At present, I am working to get pedestrian signals installed at the corner of South Street and Hampton Road, and also on Marine Terrace at the crossing to South Beach at Scott Street.

I have also been successful in getting two zebra crossings installed on Marine Terrace at the Esplanade Reserve. I am currently working to get a zebra crossing on Parry Street and the roundabout outside the Fremantle Markets and Fremantle Oval, and a resident also suggested a zebra crossing on Ord Street outside the Fremantle Arts Centre and Fremantle Leisure Centre, which I agree is a great idea. Continue reading

Clarifying Fremantle’s financial position

 Investment reserves

In 2012, the State Government was focused on local government amalgamations. Mel-mantle was on the cards via merging Fremantle with East Fremantle and Melville. Given the significantly higher population in Melville, the Fremantle Council was concerned that our reserve funds would be spent by a future council outside of Freo, largely made up of Melville representatives.

So, we created a number of new reserve funds, so that Fremantle’s cash reserves would be spent on the future needs of Fremantle residents. New reserves included: a Cantonment Hill fund, the Town Hall restoration fund, the Stan Reilly reserve, an Esplanade Skate Park (Playspaces) fund, the Leisure Centre Upgrade fund, and a Kings Square Improvements fund. This was in addition to the existing parking, heritage, Fremantle markets, parks and reserves, sustainability and investment reserves.

At the time, the reserves totaled around $27.5m. Of course, local government amalgamations were later abandoned, and we got on with renewing the centre of Fremantle. For example, since 2014 the council invested almost $10m in heritage renewal. Continue reading

Services for Seniors in Fremantle

The Wanjoo Lounge

Seniors make up a significant portion of residents in the City of Fremantle and also contribute substantial rates. The Council works hard to ensure older people can live full and healthy lives and remain active in our community. In 2018, the City of Fremantle was recognised for its efforts to become an age-friendly city, winning the Age Friendly Local Government category at the WA Seniors Awards.

The Age Friendly City Plan 2019-2024, adopted by Council in June this year was developed in consultation with 150 older people who engaged either online, through surveys, at events or through one-on-one meetings. The Plan aims to decrease loneliness, increase social participation and volunteering, provide inter-generational and cross-cultural activities and improve communication about services and opportunities for people over the age of 55. Continue reading

Urban forest for Fremantle

A number of people have raised their desire for more trees in Fremantle. In my last term, I initiated the Greening Fremantle Strategy 2020 which was developed in consultation with the community and sets clear goals to improve the City by:

  • ensuring for every resident/worker to be within walking distance (400m) of a public green space
  • applying nature play principles to new and existing Fremantle parks and their upgrades
  • working towards a target of 20% canopy cover for tree planting
  • developing strategy and policy to deliver a range of high quality landscaped environments capable of meeting the often competing needs placed on open spaces
  • improving habitat that supports biodiversity
  • ensuring water sensitive design
  • being responsive and adapting to climate change.

Subsequently, we created two pocket parks in areas that lacked public open space and also developed The City of Fremantle Urban Forest Plan – a coordinated approach to increasing the City’s canopy cover and cooling our suburbs. Continue reading

Representing Community

When I was first elected to council, I thought I could do X, Y and Z and my first election campaign was comprised of lots of promises I had no idea how to deliver. I soon learned that when you become a Councillor, you don’t receive a magic wand that lets you do what you want (or promised).

A key aspect of my job as councillor is to advocate on behalf of local residents and ratepayers to achieve what they wish to happen. I have supported many initiatives that have come from the community by putting forward their case and effectively advocating on their behalf.

To do this effectively, I learned to navigate a bureaucratic system and work within existing regulatory framework regarding what Council can, and cannot do. I must persuade my fellow councillors to support the initiative; engage with council staff and other levels of government effectively; secure any necessary budget; and engage the community to build support. Over the years, I have gotten better at doing this.

For example, I represented South Beach users when negotiating with the Department of Transport regarding changing the boating rules for South Beach (and little dog beach), successfully getting it declared a Swimming Zone that excludes motorboats.

I have worked collaboratively with the Friends of Hampton and Ord (FoHO) to help them realise their vision for a safer Hampton Road, which has informed a Masterplan for Hampton Road developed by City of Fremantle staff. This year, I secured $100,000 in the budget to improve bike lanes and pedestrian crossings between High St and Knutsford St, at the request of FoHO. See the Ord Street Concept Plan here.

Rachel has been an excellent representative for our community. She has been responsive and helpful, has advocated strongly on our behalf and delivered results in making Hampton Road and Ord Street safer and more pleasant for all road users and residents; with pedestrian walk signals, wider pedestrian refuges, improved bike lanes and landscaping.”
Julie Murphy, Friends of Hampton and Ord (FoHO).

When community members brought a petition to council requesting that the release of balloon be banned on council reserves, beaches and property, I managed to get a local law passed to do just that.

“Late last year I wrote to the councillors within the City of Fremantle asking if they could assist me in producing a local law to stop the release of Helium balloons due to their devastating environmental impact. With no hesitation at all Councillor Pemberton was more than happy to take on the task. I was overwhelmed with the speed at which she worked; within a few weeks the first meeting was in place. These things take time, and there were several meetings after that one, but councillor Pemberton made sure I was up to date with where things were during the whole process, as well as inviting me to attend the relevant meetings if I wished. I am pleased to say that as of June this year, it is illegal to release any gas filled balloon within the City of Fremantle and if seen doing so you can receive a fine of $125,” Lisa Jane Hills, Boycott Balloons Fremantle.

I collaborated with business and property owners to upgrade the High Street Mall and create the Market St Piazza. Last year, a local resident approached me about the Council supporting Sustainable House Day. I secured funding for the event and collaborated with local businesses to create the Freo Sustainable Home Expo, which showcased local businesses and innovation in sustainable housing.

Following an approach from a local resident, I have been collaborating with community members to initiate the Friends of Monument Hill with the aim of the implementation of the Monument Hill Conservation Plan 2009 and other initiatives to maintain and protect it. A welcome outcome has been that the MHCP has been recently re-endorsed by the current Council and new interpretive signage will be developed in consultation with the Friends of Monument Hill. At the request of community members, I initiated a restrictions on flying drones at the Monument, in respect of its purpose as a place of reflection and passive recreation.

The role of Councillor is a challenging and interesting one that I love. It gives me great joy to be able to work alongside passionate and knowledgable locals who, like me, what to make Fremantle a better place.

Queen Victoria, Adelaide and Parry Street plan

If you have ever tried to cross the rood on foot here, you will know it is nearly impossible to do safely. Cyclists entering the city also run the gauntlet sharing the road with cars and buses as they negotiate the asymmetrical intersection, often at speed. It is also an important gateway into the CBD and the slower traffic environment. As more residents move into the eastern end of the CBD, along Queen Victoria Street, they need a safe way to be able walk and ride to the centre of Fremantle, the train and bus station. Continue reading

Local investment in the arts

This Week, the Australian Local Government Association released a statement that said “Local Government contributes more than a quarter of total national expenditure on Australian arts and cultural activities… Demonstrating the increased importance of art and culture to local communities, the 26.2 percent local government proportion was up from 22.4 percent a decade earlier, The Big Picture report said.”

The City of Fremantle will invest $4 million into local arts, culture and events this financial year.

This includes funding for the hugely successful and popular Fremantle Arts Centre, Festivals including the Heritage Festival, 10 Nights in Port, Hidden Treasures and the Fremantle Street Arts Festival, as well as the Moores Gallery and Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre, Fremantle Biennale, and community arts grants (which are now open for applications). We also have an extensive Public Art program and a policy that requires 1% of major development costs to go towards public art.

These initiatives provide employment opportunities for local artists as well as enriching the lives of local people and attracting visitors to our city. It benefits the local economy and community wellbeing. Continue reading