Fremantle’s Esplanade Master Plan

Well at the SPC meeting at Fremantle council the other night had one big issue the Fremantle Esplanade Master Plan review.

Now I’m not so sure if the review is of the last master or just the agenda of a few Councillors for the esplanade.

Listening to the professional staff referring to expert reports, it seems some of the issues driven by Councillors are not quite the same as the expert opinion.

Current flooding of the esplanade is not due to the a sea level issue but that of a matted dead root layer stopping rain water from subsiding, this is due to a disease that the some of the root system has but it was also clear that the park had different issues for different areas due to the amount of rubble or waste buried under the soil, so I suppose this is also a maintenance issue for the grass area. Though the expert opinion made it clear adding a soil topping on top of the ground level @ the esplanade could have bad effects on other parts of Fremantle, forcing possible flooding issues to other parts of town i.e. the West End.

Of course the carriage cafe location was raised, now the expert opinion was it could be looked at to move due to several issues as I understood it, one was heritage, which made no sense from what I could hear. The other was due to an issue for the trees health and safety from trees branch drop issues. It was said that the trees are entering the last 30 years or so of their life and moving the carriage might help them live longer? For me if a tree has survived the last 120 trees in one location and the carriage has been there for decades we stand more change of damaging the trees root structure by moving the carriage from its location that leaving it where it is. Old trees don’t tend to like change.

The other issue is the danger of the tree limbs possibly falling. This was listed as a reason to move the carriage cafe? Seems sensible if true right, then if the safety of people is a concern, then why is it not an issue where the same trees are over a children’s playground, which remains? Danger over cafe, no danger over kid’s playground?? Seriously it looks like this is where their agenda kicks in. One standard for one area, another standard to suit their own agenda elsewhere? What’s new? Not to mention the massive events held on the Esplanade, with 10,000’s of people in the park over very short time. If branch drop is an issue for the café area, what danger are events exposed to and now the issue has been raised at council what public liability issues could arise from such concerns, could have a real impact on the events insurance for issue?

Now it’s also been well reported that the carriage cafes position is not secured due to the fact that the Master Plan for the Esplanade has not been completed. Also sounds reasonable right, well if we need to wait for the esplanade master plan to be finished before making long term plans for the esplanade, then why was the skate ramp built? That must mean the plan is already finished as you think thousands of tonnes of concrete poured into a park is long term, right.

Well it can’t be finished as I just at the  meeting that is a review  of the Esplanade Master plan before it is released for public comment, right, or is that we only get to have comment on certain bit and pieces?

Does that seem strange to anyone that the skate ramp can be decide on years ago but the carriage cafe needs to wait for the Master Plan. Sounds more like someone’s agenda more than a master plan to me, or just another line of hypocrisy from the council.

Transparency and good governance are clearly not strengths in Fremantle’s current council model.

What I find quite pathetic is the lame, weak ass line of needing the Master Plan to be finished before the carriage cafe future can be decided. Yet the community had no say on the location of the skate ramp, nor did the master plan, as now it’s written in as it’s here, like or not. Another Fremantle double standard I expect?

What’s also worrying but predictable is the Councillors reference to experts, if the master plan is open to public scrutiny then the reports from the experts would also be available to the public to view and should all be attached to the public documents available, well we did pay for them right. So will we have access to the expert reports, all of them? Or will it be like the Kings Square Business Plan where we get to see what council wants us to see and the rest is confidential and hidden from us or a limited invite workshop perhaps?

I expect we will just get the purged report where any real facts are removed from our sight or comment, we just get the heavily chlorinated version, which is strange from a so called green council that we would not get the organic natural version?

Surely if the council wanted a truly integrated plan then all of the esplanades mayor projects, would have been held off till this master plan was finalized. A bit like the basketball court idea, it’s just a fact that Andrew seems to have decided on for the esplanade another thing the master plan just needs to absorb as a fact, no say for the community. What’s new right?

I have come to the conclusion that as long as the average rate payer and resident can see that your opinion only really counts as long as it’s the same as the councils, so if you can just understand they know best you will see how good their ideas are, it’s quite simple really.

It also seems clear that certain Councillor had driven through their own issues for the esplanade in fear of possible amalgamations leaving the esplanade Master Plan as a piece meal document just to fill in the gaps their haven’t decided on.

Anyway freo council has another tiresome box ticking exercise to go, so master plan here we come, only to be side lined yet again.

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