Fremantle Council Mauls Questioning Resident

A whole thinking allowed piece in the Herald was used by the Fremantle City Council (COF) to attack a resident who dared raise questions about a Fremantle Council business plan? Now from what I read last week, Mr Lee did not criticize the actual business plan but raised questions to the methodology or info that was used to develop the business plan. Keeping in mind that council refuses to give access to documents it used to make the business plan and has reportedly refused to answer any of Mr Lees questions. I don’t see in his piece where he says the business plan is a bad idea?

What is really amazing is that COF has managed to write a whole article for the Herald that seems to avoid answering even one of Mr Lee’s actual questions?

The article opened with factual inadequacies then goes onto attack Mr Lee with statements in direct contradiction to the article he wrote for the herald I quote I quickly became distracted by a business plan full of flowery words and nice pictures, but very little substance or proper detail. While I am fully supportive of improving council facilities and redeveloping this area, this plan simply does not add up.”

I see the COF goes on to denigrate Mr lee with statements such as “You can imagine someone with a similar mindset to Mr Lee in 1885 making exactly the same case as to why the council of the time shouldn’t build the town hall when “that shed down the road” is just fine. So they have made statements that have nothing to do with Mr Lees thinking allowed piece?

Mr Lee has chosen to spend months asking simple questions of council while receiving no answers. He has now chosen to take these questions to the public arena, in doing so has received an outlandish personal attack as noted above OR choice pieces such as, “Mr Lee has not looked at how the project will double the size of the community library, or bring with it a new Fremantle visitor centre and new public toilets with much-needed baby change facilities. He has not put a value on the new public spaces in Kings Square for people to enjoy, the value to the local economy of 1000 new office workers, nor has he put a value on the pride we’ll all have in our new city centre” Question, what value has the council put on this? Mr Lee in his article does not question the actual idea of the project, his concern is the figures council is using to justify the business plan.

Mr Lee’s opening statements are that he is fully supportive of the improving council facilities, this said the COF seems to have chosen to ignore this simple statement and personaly attack Mr Lee, on that he doesn’t understand that the new building has public toilets or baby facilities, can you take any cheaper shot? Are they suggesting Mr Lee doesn’t like babies too?

This seems to come as a warning to others who chose to question the ideology of COF, be warned, voicing your own questions will come at a cost, Public ridicule?

Having read both articles I fail to see where Mr Lee criticizes the actual business plan, but instead questions how the Business plan came up with the financial position it has. What is clear is the COF has failed in their propaganda piece to answer or counter even one of Mr Lees questions but instead seemingly lay a trail of spin, smoke and mirrors to deflect the real questions Mr Lee asked?

We wonder why more people don’t engage with council on Fremantle’s future – today we see why!

I would encourage people to read both articles and see for themselves, what Mr Lee actually said as to what council says he said?

Being a proud West Australian, a Proud Freoite, I question the sad ideology of our city council. It appears in this article they have engaged in the lowest form of politics but I hear Clive is looking for some new members?

They have played the man not the ball!

Leave a Reply


  1. Jayne says:

    So true Mark. It was disappointing to see the city’s “leaders” responding so immaturely to a reasonable request for information. Many of us see through the veil of pretty pictures, glossy brochures, flowery writing and bold statements, and note the absence of detail, fact and supporting evidence.

    • Mark says:

      Jayne your type of comment I hear more and more people are tired of the spin the big ideas and little delivery

  2. Suzanne says:

    Mark I hope you are also sending your pertinent comments, re the COF’s criticism, but lack of answers to Mr Lee’s reasonable questions, in the Heralds ‘Thinking Aloud’.
    Mr Lee asked for information, in which we would all be interested.
    COF forgets who he is employed by.
    Council forgets it is meant to represent the Ratepayers and Residents and stop the secrecy when genuine answers are politely sought.

    • Mark says:

      Suzanne all great points.
      As my Dad told me many years ago, new let the facts get in the way of a good story, certainly looks relevant to the councils spin piece

  3. It’s interesting regarding the views on the article and the other comments and your blog post in general. Its actually all very good and quite factual. I felt exactly the same when I was reading it. It was easy to spot the section written by Brad Pettitt. Its the one which engages in personal attacks and ridicule. Thats par for the course for a university academic in his field who has zero business and financial acumen. It did have a twang of Josh Wilson in it though, so I’m not sure the Mayor can take all the credit, but it might be that those two work hand in hand being the deputy and the mayor.

    The whole throw back to 1885 was code for, your living in the past if you don’t get on board and support our dream, err, I mean fantasy, err I meant our vision. Our wondrous vision for Fremantle.

    What is wrong with the City Offices? Nothing from what I can tell. We are being told there is a problem with them, is that the issue? Is the Library too small? Really. I haven’t heard anyone state that. The City offices are certainly aging. But a complete replacement? There are schools and other offices, government department offices which are being upgraded all the time, but the same building still exists. Surely an upgrade and not a complete gut and rebuild, which they are wanting. It seems to me that too many of the city employees have too much time on their hands and they simply want a better office in order to do their work. Whats wrong with the model of rates, roads and rubbish? It potentially puts the Mayor in a situation where they have to cut staffing numbers, cut unneeded and superfluous services which are not really the core objective of the City of Fremantle. You have to remember that all of these services cost money and the ratepayer is ultimately responsible for picking up the tab.

    There was another artcile in the Herald which hinted to further rate increases, no surprises there. They are obviously softening up for July 1st.

    Having the international competition to find a design for the City offices was another of the gimmicks that Dr Brad Pettitt is well known for. If you make it a competition, make a big noise about it being open and have a selection panel, then who is going to argue with that? You see it time and time again. But the point still remains as to why the people of Fremantle, and I say people for a reason as its their money, should part with $50 million for a new council office block and library. Is this the best way to spend such a large sum of money. Sell off a heap of current City assets and fund a lifestyle choice. Hmm, dont know about that. Sell off assets and buy a liability.

    All Mr Lees was asking for, was a bit of accountability regarding said new liability which the Mayor and CEO are wanting. By resorting to personal attacks, he is obviously seen as a threat and this should be all the more reason for more people to ask the City officers more questions. Send in more letters, make more noise, until this ludicrous idea that the City of Fremantle needs a completely new $50 million office for itself, funded by the sales of its own assets.

    Where is the proof that by building the city offices, economic riches and growth with suddenly stream into Fremantle from afar. Its a complete hoax. A Sham, and people are now starting to ask pointed questions. Its a shame the Herald allowed the debate to deteriorate, although, I wouldn’t really expect anything less from them. No doubt they will be publishing the backlash from people in the wider community who will write letters in. The Herald is predictable if anything.

    Anyone who has asked a question which may be out of step with the thinking at council gets the same answer. You have no right of reply, you have to sit there and listen to any argument be picked apart with little basis for the facts. Their whole business plan relies on getting a government department into Fremantle into the Sirona/Myer building. When the economy changed, this threw this plan into jeopardy. They don’t want to admit that this whole plan, might not come true. They are simply ‘willing it forward’ under this ‘hope and ye shall see’ mentality.

    The other interesting feeling I got from reading this article is who is actually in charge. The Mayor and councilors advise the City officers, which can be seen as a pseudo government department, to what the wishes of the people are. But, you don’t get that from reading this article. In fact, its pretty easy to see that the CEO wears the pants in this relationship. I could make another comment about who’s doing who’s, but I think its pretty obvious.

  4. Diana Ryan says:

    I was reflecting on Brad raving about FORM 15, a “creativity” symposium on urbanity he’ll be going to soon, and thereafter the tour of liveability he will speed through at the rate of 13 cities in 14 days in Europe, and how he’ll pay for none of those “itties”, and it occurred to me that if he were forced to budget on what “ity” events he could go to, he might just arrange for a change to Fremantle to be the outcome for it. You know, actual value for money, instead of endlessly going on about what someone else, from somewhere else, is always doing better than us and that apparently we can’t learn from unless we fly overseas 400 times a year, or attend 2,000 expensive talks a year.

    Just do it already, and try to remember Perth is very likely the same as everywhere else – it has its good bits, it bad bits, its very clearly a major go-to migration and interstate relocation zone so it must be doing more than a little right….. and just get things done instead of constantly needing encouragement to get things done.

    God, the resources that are overly consumed simply because we can’t seem to accept ourselves as the happening community we already are….

    • Mark says:

      What we can guarantee if Brad spends rate payers money to burn fossil fuels to fly to Europe while we divest from fossil fuel as a city, Fremantle will go and be still be here with same issues? The real cover up on the Kings Sq hype is that why they say Myers leaving gave them a once in a decade opportunity, its just a cover for them making a once in a century screw-up by losing a mayor attractor.

      • Diana Ryan says:

        If its a once-in-a-decade opportunity, then the decade is fast running out, isn’t it?

        Kidding…. I don’t pretend I’d know how to do it better in terms of timing. Guess what just happened at City of Canning? The $2.8m war memorial that was the previous Commissioner’s baby (unfortunately started before we received any federal or Lotterywest grants) has just come to a stand still – builder went bust. Won’t be ready for the big event now.

        You can’t predict what will happen with developments, unfortunately. Everything is now so much more expensive to do, and that’s a big part of the problem.

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