Fremantle’s King Square, No News

Another month has pasted and Fremantle Council must be loving the much needed distraction of the PFL issues to take attention off issues like Kings Square, which seems to have gotten no further.

It gives them a chance for a little more state government bashing, to distract from Fremantle’s lack of direction and real issues facing our Great little city.

Good to see the High St Mall area getting a touch of love, shame to see even the Pop ups moving out of the mall again.

Disgraceful to see the state of our town hall, has been left to degrade to, lets hope we have a dry summer and no strong out of season rains which could have real destructive effects on our icon building.

Fremantle’s Mayor Brad Pettitt told Fairfax Media last month a maximum output, privatized port connected to a tolled freight freeway has the potential to chop the port city off at the knees economically.

I think our Mayor is being a little theatrical pointing the finger at something that has not even happened bringing Fremantle to its knees, when its been there for years now, seriously how much worse can it get for Fremantle. Seriously, has Fremantle ever been in a worse financial state than it is now, retail is dead, office workers have left by the thousands, it has a shocking rep for parking, driven by council. An image for anti-social behavior, also not helped by council decisions. The council has been for years driving an anti-car strategy, now to blame a road that could bring thousands of more cars from the east to Fremantle as killing off Fremantle is truly amazing? If u think they don’t have an anti-car stance just read their (ITS) Integrated Transport Strategy

Over the last years we seen Fremantle suffer loss after loss, of course not all council fault, there is a variety of factors, but for the Mayor to now claim a Port Lease that has not happened and a road that has not been built, is bringing Fremantle to its knees, is just laughable, its blame shifting at a colossal level. I’m sure it suits somes political ideology but does Fremantle no good at all?

Fremantle city council has taken years of poor decisions making to get Fremantle to its current state. The recently released City of Fremantle’s 2015 community perceptions survey paints a true picture of Fremantle being at perhaps at a decade low, is that an all time low, can anyone remember Fremantle looking worse?

King Square project was suppose to be a beacon to attract development into Fremantles CBD, instead it may well have become a lighthouse to warns others of pending doom.

Looking forward to hear some good news for the Kings Sq development and Freo as a whole real soon.

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7 comments

  1. I’m am yet to hear an argument which backs up the failure of Fremantle because the State Government leases the Port, or builds a larger road to accommodate more travelers, trade and throughput to and from the area. It just doesn’t make any sense.

    Anyone with a modicum of business knowledge will understand that a privately run, yet State owned, port facility will actually be working harder to get the port to its operational capacity, and to keep it at that level. That means, more tourism, more ships, more trade, and yes, more people. For goodness sake, Fremantle is not a major port. Its ‘The’ major port. Every time a ship lands in port, the Port charges a fee. The longer the ship is in port, the more money the port makes. Fremantle is a large port and has a lot of capacity.

    The City of Fremantle would do better to spend their time and energy getting people to stay in town and utilise ports ability for trade, than opposing and scaremongering it. One only has to remember back a month or more to when 2000 people were in Fremantle for a week and what a boost that was.

    The City has fixated itself on an idea that its only going to get people and business through initiatives like Kings Square, where it itself has to spend a heap of money. Its realistically not very clever.

    With a port lease, the State Government gets rent. So the State benefits. One could then argue that that rent be spent in the electorate from which it was derived, i.e. helping tourism, promoting trade, granting assistance to rebuild the terminal infrastructure.

    Opposing the port lease is opposing an increase in productivity and most likely trade. Opposing the PFL is opposing an increase in trade. Trade equals jobs and income and growth for Fremantle. Its a pretty simple formula. Some people just don’t want Fremantle to grow and develop beyond what it already is.

    Don’t ever lose sight of the fact that Fremantle is a port. Port’s are there for trade. Trade is business. Money changes hands. People have jobs. Locals have shops to visit.

    • Diana Ryan says:

      Good point, Matthew – Fremantle should certainly demand some of the monies made from leasing the Port should go in to the City. The State would be foolish not to see their way towards this.

    • freoishome says:

      The days of the CoF benefitting from the Port are long gone. When it required ready access to a labour force, certainly the City folk got their living from the Port. But these days at shift change you see a fleet of vehicles from suburbs north and south charging towards North Mole. But even that work force is in relative terms, tiny. Coles and Woolies with their subsidiaries employ far more local people.

      In reality CoF has to put up with the decisions of the Port. They aren’t even controlled by the same planning and building regulations, a law unto themselves. The income goes into State coffers, not CoF.

      It is one the primary reasons why I have been arguing for land that is no longer required for pure Port Ops, should be handed over to the CoF for it to manage. I argued that it should have been part of the Local Authority reorganisation. The media didn’t pick it up neither did the Council. It could still happen now, CoF needs a larger rate base to deliver everything that is needed. It is nonsense that the whole of Mews Road is not under CoF control, or part of its rate base, let alone Vic Quay, and parts of N & S mole!

      Paul

      • Des says:

        Please with the state of Fremantle who in government in their right mind would give this council authority over any more area, than they already have.
        Fremantle in free fall, port thriving!

        • freoishome says:

          The idea that the Port is thriving is strange. It hasn’t nothing whatever to with the FPA, with management, with pricing. As the only harbour for the Perth Metro it is a pure monopoly. Why on earth would one privatise a monopoly? How can one compare a simple business like managing a ship manifest, with running a Council on a shoe string.

          • Mark says:

            Paul don’t know about running a council on a shoe string budget, this years Fremantle budget is over $100,000,000.00 with about 30,000 residents, yet in comparison to Melville which has a population over 104,000 residents, 27 suburbs, a population of almost 3.5x of fremantle, yet has a budget of only about 50% more. When you see the services Melvilles offers its residents its a step above Fremantle too.
            Most of the Port operations are already privatized as all container off loads are done by companies that lease the space for their businesses

  2. I don’t think selling off port land for housing is a good idea at all. The port land is much more valuable as a port. Leasing a monopoly is a good thing as you can get more for it. You can even base your lease provisions on net profit made and it makes a competitive point for another terminal to be set up.

    The port and infrastructure should realistically come first. People have come to Fremantle and grown up around it. If you don’t like living near or around a working port, then you should think about moving. A lot of Fremantle’s growth and wealth can be attributed to the port. That’s almost undeniable. The first two blocks of land sold in WA on Cliff street were to Lionel Samson and his brother, who were merchants. The port and original long jetty were the lifeline to the original colony and all the warehouses in Fremantle were for Storage. I agree that it has changed, to a point, and yes, the container traffic could definitely move down south, however, I don’t see that happening for the next twenty years.

    Also, there are quite a few shipping companies buying back into Fremantle of late. The Atwell buildings and Shipping company on Cliff street to name a couple. These people have a lot of workers. Customs is still in Fremantle and has a lot of workers. Saying that all goods are in containers and that trade doesn’t support Fremantle is simply wrong.

    Port trade, in any form, benefits Fremantle.

    Even if you build a port in Kwinana and offload certain trade through that port, it still has to run at a profit. You cannot build these massive pieces of infrastructure and have them sit there making a loss. There has to be sufficient work that can otherwise go to the container port in order to justify its construction. At the moment, this is 20 years away and the argument that we should be spending $1.6 billion on that port, doesn’t solve the problems that Fremantle still faces. Which is, its still growing and still needs to grow to reach capacity.

    You don’t build airports and ports to only run them at 50-75% of their capacity, then build another one. You run them at 95% capacity 24/7 then you build one. There’s a lot of factors, such as economics, population growth, etc that all contribute. They have already stated that the existing port will increase by 500K containers.

    I’m not happy about any road going through anyone’s property. However, if you choose to live in and around a significant piece of infrastructure, this is what happens. Its a bit like living near the airport and complaining that more planes are flying overhead because we have a boom. It wasn’t that long ago that land in and around Fremantle was pretty cheap.

    This project doesn’t affect a lot of people directly, yet they still protest it against it. Why? A lot if it is ideology.

    I would like to see the arguments “for” the Perth Freight Link and the Port leasing come forward. How can people honestly get a good picture of the benefits if this doesn’t happen. I’ve seen some of the ‘against’ arguments and they are pretty wishy washy.

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