Tonight’s meeting against Mega-Mergers of Council held at Kulcha was very well attended. Mayor Brad Pettitt gave an overview of the situation from Council’s perspective and Fremantle Society President, Henty Farrar articulated the community view as seen by the Society. There were vibrant comments and questions from the floor. It was heartening to see so much enthusiasm for the Fremantle we know and love. Please do keep engaged in this important issue.
My personal observations are:
- A larger hinterland for the city of Fremantle can be a good thing and bring vibrancy to our CBD.
- That hinterland needs to comprise of communities of interest. For example, Hamilton Hill, is not in Fremantle under the Minister’s plan, but has far stronger links to Fremantle than Shelley, which is.
- The trigger population of 100,000 residents does not take into account Fremantle’s status of second metropolitan city. 75,000 residents combined with commercial and industrial components will give the same triple bottom line vibrancy as a dormitory suburb with far in excess of 100,000 residents.
- Without doubt larger Council’s as mooted under the merger plan will bring party politics into Local Government. A long thin Council extending east to the Canning River at Shelley will guarantee Fremantle as a Liberal Party Council. Fine if you wish to see the end of Council sponsored services and events, but a disaster if you have grown to like the festival atmosphere of Fremantle, or grown to rely on the many services we offer. You would also have to kiss farewell to Fremantle Council’s carbon neutral status.
- The proposed removal of the Poll Provisions, which allow a community to initiate a poll on any proposed merger and ultimately veto it, are a direct attack on principles of democracy. These changes have not as yet gone to state Parliament, so lobby all State Politicians to keep the Poll Provisions.
- Council has presented a workable amalgamation plan to the Minister, which fulfilled all the requirements. We need to base any alternatives to the current proposals on that plan.
Keep engaged and keep active.