December Council Meeting

Last Wednesday’s full council meeting was the last one for this year and consolidated what has been a very active year for Fremantle Council.  Items from the Planning Committee showed the council still has a strong strategic vision for Fremantle.

Planning project priorities are developing a structure plan for activity centres, finalising the precinct plan for central Fremantle, working with Fremantle Ports, stakeholders and community on Victoria Quay commercial precinct plan and furthering the work on achieving State Heritage listing for Fremantle’s West end.

Council has also been working hard to get a good outcome on the large Department of Housing site on Burt Street.  This is a large site that the Department intends to develop into both commercial and community housing.  It has the potential to offer some stunning new homes with panoramic views of the harbour and river mouth, with funds from the sale of these lots being used to develop a social housing component to the project.

Just next door to the Burt Street site is Cantonment Hill, which reached a significant milestone with the adoption of the Master Plan for the Hill.  Community and Council, with Coda’s help have developed a clear vision for the area which will be implemented in a staged process, as funding becomes available.

The now familiar West Coast Blues & Roots festival will again return to Fremantle, and a new Festival based on the Notting Hill Carnival, the Good Times Festival is approved to come to Fremantle in February.

Deputy Mayor, Cr Wilson moved a notice of motion to initiate a community survey to garner community views on Local Government reform.  The Robson Report has now been released and recommends radical council amalgamations, is this what our community wants?  The survey will be run by an independent company, please be involved if you are contacted, any amalgamations should reflect community wishes rather than council wishes.

An item not on the Council agenda, but important to many in Fremantle is the Fremantle Dockers move to Cockburn.  The club issued a press release on Friday confirming their intention to go to Cockburn.  Frankly the club has been less than honest with Fremantle Council throughout the negotiations, it they think that is their way of playing hardball, it does them no service at all.  What it does do is free up the Stan Reilly site for another community use.

Have a great Christmas, and unlike many other councils’ Fremantle will be back at work with meetings in January, that way we can start the year ahead of the game.

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3 Responses to December Council Meeting

  1. dianaryan says:

    Good idea to do a survey on local govt reform. Begin the education process. Use what’s happening at City of Canning as a guide – what is the Barnett Govt actually planning?

    Nothing in the inquiry in to Canning would surprise any fully cooked human being. Our papers, our blogs, are filled with aspersions about councils, govt depts, bureaucracies everywhere, constantly.

    Canning’s Mayor initiated the inquiry – the only council hit with a suspension to have done so. That’s about the only unusual characteristic I can see.

    The investigation, on the other hand, was characterised by suppressed evidence (including most of the Councillors’ responses), almost no current employees participating, and no Labor politicians interviewed.

    What wasn’t found were shocking financial irregularities, etc – big deal problems indicating fundamental instability, in other words.

    However, no matter what the problems, and the role of the CEO, it is usually the Council that is suspended.

    But something new is occurring with Canning – the 5th biggest council by land holding, I believe, and in a very viable spot.

    Unlke the building trail of councils being suspended (Shire of Cue, Shire of Ashburton, possibly the Shire of Kalamunda), Canning is to undergo a second inquiry, with no cause listed, and no start date or timeline declared.

    Unlike the most recently suspended, Ashburton, the Council has not been sidelined for 6 months and required to undertake governance training, in order to return and carry on as the democratically elected representatives.

    The Commissioner appointed to oversee City of Canning may, in fact, be in place for up to 2 years.

    So, what is the deal? Are we seeing the next phase of amalgamation at work?

    I’ll leave it up to you if you would care to publish the blog I have set up to examine the issue as it is played out in Canning next year, Jon. It will be from within the eye, so to speak:
    http://canningaccountability.com/

  2. Rob Harrison says:

    Why are we ratepayers funding a survey on Local Government Reform. There are so many responsible surveys we could fund as rate payers that would benefit the City and its people without this fluffy waist of money. You can spin it any way you like, but I think most ratepayers strongly believe a little local government reform is well overdue.

    • jonstrachan says:

      Rob,

      When Cr Wilson first suggested this survey I was against it, however I came around because the reforms proposed in the Robson Report are very broad reaching. I, like you assume most people see some reform as a good thing, but how much and where? For Councillors to assume they know what the community want on this significant issue may be seen as self serving or arrogant. I think the community have the right to expect a say on what form of representation they feel would work for them best. It is then Council’s responsibility to respond to the messages we get back from the survey.
      If you are contacted do use the opportunity to give your views. If you feel there are other issues a survey would be useful on let us know so we can consider including it in the annual survey, or if deemed appropriate another survey could be funded. Trying to garner the wishes of the greater Fremantle community is one of the hardest things about been on Council.

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