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

What Freo Council is doing about Homelessness

While door knocking this weekend, a few people raised concerns about what was being done to address homelessness in Fremantle.

It was refreshing that the residents I spoke to emphasised the need to help people experiencing homelessness rather than simply moving them on, and it reminded me what a compassionate community we live in.

I thought I would provide a summary about the ways in which Fremantle Council is working to improve this complex issue. Continue reading

Freo Development snapshot

The Council is currently updating the Economic Development Strategy, and we were privy to a briefing that was informative and somewhat surprising.

The graph below shows the decline in economic growth in WA since 2012, which appears to have hit rock bottom in 2017. Importantly, it also shows the decline in disposable income  – the money people have to spend on shopping, eating out and recreation. Thankfully, it appears that the worst may now be behind us.

Staff undertake a detailed assessment of the business mix and vacancies in the CBD annually, which is shown below. What surprised some of us on Council was the business mix in the CBD – is this what you would have expected when thinking about the proportion of different types of businesses in the CBD?

Continue reading

Carbon Neutrality and tackling climate change

The City of Fremantle was one of the first local governments in Australia to take action to reduce carbon emissions and promote renewable energy.

When the City first started taking serious action to reduce our carbon footprint in 2009 installing a large-scale solar PV system was complicated and expensive. 

At the time the council made a very rational decision to invest in carbon offsets in the short term to reduce our carbon footprint, while also putting money aside in a Renewable Energy Investment Reserve for future investment in renewable technology.

The carbon offsets the City has purchased have been used to support a range of projects, including the planting of approximately 150,000 trees on degraded farmland in the West Australian Wheatbelt. Continue reading

Fremantle’s Economic Development position and strategy

FomoFreo – coming soon…

A very interesting agenda item is coming to the FPOL committee this week. The Economic Development Strategy, developed in 2015, is coming to an end and it is an opportunity to review and reset the strategy.

Below is an interesting excerpt from the report, which outlines the wider economic climate, and the specific conditions, successes and challenges in Fremantle.

I have been thinking for some time about what new employment opportunities and economic drivers are growth opportunities for Fremantle? Hospitality and tourism are obvious. Arts, culture, education and the creative / knowledge sectors as well as the maritime industry are also a natural fit. Do you have any other ideas?

Take a look at the background information below and feel free to leave a comment with your economic development ideas for Fremantle. And while you’re at it, make sure you shop local and support our local economy during these challenging times.  Continue reading

Budget snapshot for City Ward

The 2019/20 budget was approved by Council last week, with major investment in CBD renewal while managing to keep rate rises low.

Total budget expenditure is $130.1 million, including $56.6 million in capital expenditure and a small cash surplus of $30,000.

The 1.8 per cent rate increase is the second lowest rate increase since 2000 and aligns with the Local Government Cost Index prepared by the WA Local Government Association, which takes into account CPI and more specific costs like electricity and street lighting, which have gone up by 5.8 per cent in the past year.

The budget includes the following projects in City Ward: Continue reading

It’s a WRAP!

Members of the WRAP reference group

After months of discussion, reflection and consultation among Fremantle’s Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community, the Council signed off on the Walyalup Reconciliation Action Plan (WRAP).

Reconciliation Australia encouraged us to undertake a stretch RAP because of the degree to which the Fremantle has engaged with reconciliation issues over the past 30 years.

Below is a summary of Fremantle’s reconciliation journey so far, taken from the WRAP: Continue reading