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

Releasing balloons prohibited

The City of Fremantle passed a local law this month, that will prohibit the release of balloons.

This local law effectively reinforces the fact that letting balloons escape into the environment is effectively littering and will attract a fine. The local law will now go to the WA parliament for final approval.

Balloons that are released are very harmful to our wildlife, marine life and our ecosystem.
Here’s a conversation I had with Jenni Seaton on Curtin Radio about it:

More information about the balloon local law is here 


10 years to turn around a city

Beaufort Street shuts up shop as Five Bar becomes latest Mt Lawley casualty (ABC News)

There is little doubt that high streets in our urban centres are struggling at present.

High rents, competition from online shopping and suburban shopping centres, Uber Eats and paid parking are often blamed. But this challenge is not unique to Fremantle, it can be seen in Mt Lawley, Subiaco and parts of Perth too. In fact, it is a global crisis.

Experts from around the world have been tackling these issues in cities across the globe and we can learn a lot from them. For example, this story which described the transformation of the city of Mullhouse in France. Continue reading