Letters 2.2.13

Photo Place LETTERSFee furphy?
SUZANNE HANLEY (Herald letters, January 19, 2013) there are several free pick-up bays at the station, conveniently located just inside the car park.
Fremantle needs to charge for parking as its rate base is low compared to other councils. We have proportionally many more non-rateable properties (government offices, schools, churches, Notre Dame, etc) than other councils have.
On the other hand the council has to pay for services such as rubbish collection and street cleaning on weekends for many people who live outside Freo or are tourists and don’t pay rates. That is what the parking fees are used for.
In addition, if it was free parking Notre Dame students would just take up lots of the available places all day every day. I support the fees as there are free alternatives such as parking outside the CBD and picking up a free CAT bus, and because otherwise our rates would go up to pay for facilites provided for visitors.
No-one complains about parking fees for Perth CBD and its shopping doesn’t seem to be affected, so maybe there are more complex reasons for the failure of businesses around Fremantle.
Valerie Cousins
Forrest St, Fremantle  

Rent revolt
CHRIS MILLS (Herald letters, January 26, 2013), I have to agree with your sentiments, especially on the reopening of the mall in High Street.
I opened Bodkins Bootery in High Street in 1972 and my business went down when that area was closed. Since then the West End has been segregated from the central and east sides.
In the meantime it would appear the traders in the mall are no better for it. This is very apparent by the quality of stores and types now operating. Very lacklustre!
There is a better presentation in the West End, however it is largely visitors who come across it by chance. It amazes me the number of locals who confess to have forgotten the West End exists as a shopping area, or who say they never go down there. The question is why?
As for the landlords—too many won’t and don’t appreciate what they have, and the responsibility there is in possessing a historic building, in terms of keeping it original and attractive, and not bleeding tenants dry.
As for there hungry agents—their aim is to maximise rents and keep expenditure to a minimum and collect rent and outgoings for their commissions.
Frankly, it is time retail tenants formed a union and went on strike for fair rents.
United with out fear of tenancy loss, rents should be coming down, as retailers we are competing with the world. We are competing with traders with little overhead yet we are still silly enough to hope we will get through the period to a joyous new era.
The truth is this is reality! It doesn’t matter how good you are or how much work and publicity you generate. If your overheads are ridiculous, then you at best work for very little and at the end selling a business to fund your retirement is doubtful. There are many better ways to make a better living and which don’t require seven days of risk.
Robert Bodkin
Barnett St, Fremantle

Lance him
TWO years ago I attended the Australia Day citizenship ceremony at Fremantle Esplanade and was perplexed at Mayor Brad Pettitt’s decision to quote Lance Armstrong for inspiration.
Even then the US cyclist was under suspicion of drug-taking, but I was equally troubled by the fact Dr Pettitt hadn’t been able to find an Australian to quote from. I do hope the mayor learned from the episode, and found an Australian to quote from at this year’s ceremony.
Brenda Mickle

Boom gloom
IT was a magic day and evening at South Beach on Australia Day.
The best crowd numbers I  have seen stayed to watch the fireworks display, which was superb.
At the end of the display families and friends dispersed cheerfully and calmly to their vehicles and homes. What looked like a professional  sound system was set up north of the beach cafe and young ones danced.
My complaint is the boom-boom sound system was active until 5.30am. My neighbours and myself—a 25-year resident—had no sleep at all.
Local residents need sleep, as do others. I feel some police presence at the end of these annual events should be put in place to achieve this result.
Bill Wheeldon
Marine Tce,
South Fremantle 

Hugs for all
I JUST wanted to express my joy and gratitude at having been one of the many people who savoured the wonderful Fremantle Chamber Orchestra performance in the Town Hall on Monday.
åThe FCO makes amazing music and it continues to prove that Fremantle is place of artistic excellence and self-sufficiency.  It was a delight to see Rudolf Koelman work his magic.
Melissa Parke MP
Federal Labor Member
for Fremantle

Wrong place
RECENTLY I attended the design seminar for the proposed youth skateboard plaza.
Do we need it? No, it may be a good concept but not on the Esplanade. It is against all the recommendations of the council’s own 2010 conservation plan. Crazy!
The debate is similar to the proposals for a water fun park and skateboard ramps on another premier reserve—Monument Hill—by council officers in 2000. The community was totally against it, and it was quashed.
This time the community should be aware we will lose one-third of our very precious inner-city green space, and the document asks for an allowance for further expansion in future, even more alarming!
The council wants more inner-city residents and yet our Green councillors are voting to develop our green lung.
The skatepark is costing a million-plus in grants and ratepayers’ hard-earned, which could be better utilised to get our ailing city back on track.
Thank goodness councillors come and go, but we are left with the legacy of their woeful decisions. Solomon and Knutsford Streets are a good example of this, but this time the decision is yours, no excuses.
Before the abusive replies start, let me say this is not a case of NIMBY, but a genuine concern for a historic, beloved green space.
Councillors, take a look at the weekends—the reserve is packed with families enjoying the open spaces and temporary amusements. Wake up Fremantle, before it is too late. Where is the Fremantle Society when you need it? Protest to your local councillor.
Chris Grisenwood
Henry St, Fremantle

Needs a crew
I AM dismayed to hear that tenants of the heritage cottages in Captain’s Lane are being ousted to make way for artists’ studios.
As someone with a strong interest in art I’m pleased to see the council considering artists’ needs however I do not believe that this is the way to go about it for the following reasons:
The heritage buildings will be vacant at night. Because of the high levels of homelessness, they will be attractive to squatters and are likely to be vandalised.
Surely lessons should be learnt from the experience of the prison warders cottages which were vandalised, damaged, had fires lit and now are an eyesore surrounded by ugly fences while they crumble with neglect.
It is people who make a city. Removing them at a time when the city is struggling seems like a poor move. The economic impact of removing families and their friends affects surrounding businesses. It is not just spending by tenants and people they bring to their homes but the multiplier effect of this spending as well, and factor into this, loss of contribution to public life by tenants.
Again, it is people who make a city. Tourists want to see a living, breathing city—the locals and their efforts—not an edifice to tourism. People and their stories constitute the real heritage of a place. Artists will not revitalise Arthur Head because the studios will be mainly closed during the day and vacant during the evenings. The current tenants constantly chat with tourists who walk by and tourists love the family aspect, the children and cats and photograph them often.
There are lessons in what has happened previously. This is not the first time the council have enlisted a heritage cottage for the purposes of an art studio. In 2007 one of the prison warders cottages was taken over for this purpose. How successful was that? Not very! Certainly not worth denying people a home.
Strangely, in this case there were at least four artists living in the street. Rather than bringing people in, maybe the cultural capital of the places should have been supported by supporting the people who lived there, their comunity and stories.
This still applies; for example I’m aware that Roel Loopers, a tenant of the Captain’s Lane cottages is a photographer, blogger, campaigner, and active community member.
Roel’s home is a community hub used by the Fremantle Society as an office. It has been used by different community groups, and used for Heritage Festival and Australia Day events, etc.
I believe that not having residential cottages at Arthur Head is a loss for tourists and for Fremantle. I hope the move can be reconsidered.
Margaret O’Neill
Ed’s note: Ms O’Neill was a 20-year resident of the prison warders cottages in Fremantle, moving in before they were taken over by Homeswest.

Factored in
EVERY week someone seems to write to the paper complaining of having to pay for parking in Freo.
Parking costs money to provide, especially in multi-storey carparks and it would be unfair to expect Freo residents to subsidise parking from their rates so out-of-towners don’t have to spend a few dollars to enjoy our lovely city.
Often the complainant points to suburban shopping centres where parking appears to be free, but they don’t seem to appreciate the parking costs there have simply been added into rents the tenants pay, and so in the cost of each item they buy is actually a parking fee! If you spend a lot it could well be more than you’d pay in a fee-for-parking scenario.
A quick check of various council websites around Perth shows Freo CBD has some of the lowest cost per hour, between $1.10 to $1.80, and recent changes have also introduced one-hour free parking in some off-street areas. Vincent council is at $2.20 and Perth a whopping $3.20 in its main CBD. Even Bunbury charges for parking.
The latest rant, “No meter month” by Suzanne Hanley (Herald letters, January 19, 2013) about having to pay whilst having a meal is terrible, my heart bleeds for her.
For the cost of one flat white she and her friends could have had two hours’ parking and a great meal in our historic city, but then again she may be hard up: After all, Attadale is a pretty expensive place to live these days with a median house price of $1 million!
Keith O’Brian
Bellevue Tce, Fremantle

WHAT a fabulous afternoon!
Our own Fremantle Chamber Orchestra was well and truly up to the challenge of accompanying the remarkable Rudolf Koelman who just seems to get better every time I hear and see him.
The exciting Zigeuner music by Sarasate gave this virtuoso the ideal opportunity to show us his skills and, indeed, show off a little.
I was a little disappointed in the first part of Ravel’s Tzigane rhapsody but when the harp and the rest of the orchestra joined in, this piece developed beautifully—bravo Rudolf and the FCO!
Chris van Tuinen also did a marvellous job bringing out the best in this great orchestra as well as giving us an interesting and entertaining introduction.
Last but certainly not least, thanks to Hans Hug for his tireless work and sustained enthusiasm.
Jono Farmer
Sewell St, East Fremantle

2 responses to “Letters 2.2.13

  1. g’day, came to check out your new website…looking good. i find the letters re the skate park in fremantle interesting, though not surprising to say the least. north freo recently acquired a skate park yes, concrete jungle on a blessed patch of english inspired lawn. This initiative was started off by alex gillam, previous resident and owner of north freo fresh. the first site was rejected outright mainly due to cpmplaints from residents at north bank. Since been build, though designed for 10 and under kids of all ages have been using it. my son is 10 and loves it when th 18 plus rock up. they inpire and guide the kids in their learning of new tricks. friday arvo’s in fact every arvo the park comes to lofe with kids, dogs, nans, pops etc. i think the view of skate parks as graffitti ridden, trouble attracting, crime breeding, drug addict inducing war zones is as old as the grumbling,out of touch opinion makers that write to the herald. My son attended the skate workshops put on by the city of freo and momentum skate shop. The young men and women were awesome role models, patient, knowledgable, respectful and they all had jobs! Their obvious passion of this sport was obvious and was something that had sustained them in the difficult teen years. Why don’t you open your eyes, ears and hearts and take some time to have a chat with the people that want a skate park and will be here in the future to utilise it, even take their kids, grandkids there.
    Nardwyn Thompson
    north freo resident against old opininions that are no longer relevant!

  2. Dear editor

    This was the only place I could find on your website to submit a letter to the editor so here goes:

    To those who left one of the barbecues in the little park in George St East Fremantle – well done! This was the most disgustingly dirty mess I’ve ever seen on a barbecue. Large remnants of the meat you cooked plus piles of some other unisentifiable food stuff were left on the barbecue. In addition your dirty food wrappers were scattered over the barbecue encased in the congealed fat left on the cooking area. There were items of clothing lying next to all this mess as well as a large half eaten chunk of water melon.

    Thanks for thinking of the next people who want to have a barbecue. Clean up after yourselves next time!

    on the barbecue. Scattered over the top of the barbecue were all food wrappings plus bits of odd clothing and a chunk of half eaten water melon.

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