13. 10LETTERSBreathless

WHAT a joke this current Greens council turns out to be! Spending $2 million on taking away the green lung of Fremantle to replace it with a concrete skate park that will turn out to be a rubbish dump covered in graffiti.
It is a serious and costly decision: It should be put to a ratepayers’ vote and not be left to the few Green councillors with children who skate.
Joan Kempthorne
Marine Tce, Fremantle

Labor on track
THE debate about cost projections for Labor’s Metronet ignores a pressing reality: A city the size of Perth with its acute traffic congestion must eventually build such a comprehensive rail system for high volume passenger movements.
And, looking back at history, only ALP governments have the enthusiasm and perseverance for such a project. So they will build it sooner and better.
Many electors in Fremantle are too young to remember when we had no train service to Perth; it had been closed down by a Liberal government in the early 1980s, and had to be re-opened by Labor. More recently, the excellent transport minister Alannah MacTiernan had to endure constant groaning and sniping from the Liberals to get the Mandurah line built over the Narrows and under Perth.
As for light rail, I believe electric buses and improved cycleways are more practical methods for connecting people easily to Metronet.
Gordon Payne
Jenkin St, South Fremantle

Lucky
I WAS at the candidates’ debate at Notre Dame. Adele Carles was professional, passionate, across her brief, and head and shoulders above the rest of the field. We are lucky to have her as a parliamentary contender in Fremantle.
Michael Adeane
Rose St, Fremantle

‘dozer time
SO now the Fremantle mayor is calling on the state government to save the city (Herald, March 2, 2013).
Hopefully, after the coming election, we will have a government with the wisdom to relegate Fremantle council to the scrapheap. It really is time to have the discussion on the removal of local government. We simply cannot afford all the levels of government anymore.
Twenty-five years of mismanagement is the cause of Fremantle’s woes. The mayor and others should not blame anyone else but the council.
Constant pandering to the vocal minority by his and previous administrations, massive parking fees, charges for plastic shopping bags has all added to the non-viability of business in Fremantle. Cap that with all the suburban shopping centres that provide the service that people want, in comfort, and Fremantle does not stand a chance.
The time is long past where much of Fremantle can be reclaimed at reasonable cost. Time to send in the bulldozer: High-rise, 30-plus storeys, apartments, offices, restaurants and decent facilities. A population of at least 100,000 is the only way Fremantle can survive. Time for people to get their heads out of the sand and start to think. Learn from the mistakes of the past and do not repeat them.
Proper planning and using the expertise of international consultants and companies is the only way forward. Fremantle could be the Monte Carlo of the southern hemisphere if the blinkers were removed. Innovation, not procrastination should be the order of the day.
Hell’s Bells, I can hear the gnashing of teeth and feel the cold Antarctic wind already.
Richard McNaught
Visser St, Coolbellup

Sex educating
YOUR front page (Herald, March 2, 2013) advises me my federal MP Melissa Parke is a strong supporter of same-sex marriage. This prompts me to ask the question, “would the said Member be happy to stand in front of a class of primary school children and advise them that sodomy is perfectly normal”?
Humphrey Johnston
Justinian St, Palmyra

Undermining
THE positive essentialness of Australia to a great extent lies in its public beaches. Partial privatisation of these beaches (and harbour foreshores and river frontages) inevitably means partial undermining of the nation’s vitality and uniqueness.
Charles Dortch
Howard St, Fremantle

Less Freo
WHY is your newspaper called the Cockburn City Herald? Don’t we have any newsworthy stories in the city of Cockburn, a much larger city than Fremantle so I am sure your reporters would find a lot of good and bad to write about (hopefully more good).
Josie Outram
Carrington St, Hamilton Hill

Residents ignored in Melville
I AM writing to express my complete dismay toward the secrecy and attitude of Melville city council surrounding the proposed development of 94 Kitchener Road Alfred Cove (Herald, March 2, 2013).
The development will consist of 90 dwellings and be at least four storeys high, adding between 90 and 200 cars to the area. The proposal contravenes a large number of the state’s R-Codes and the council’s own by-laws.
We only found out about the development after one of the neighbours dropped in my letterbox a copy of a note that only seven residents received from the council.
I phoned the council to find out more and was put through to Simon Burnell, who I was told was in charge of the project, and when I asked Simon why the council did not see fit to provide all residents in the immediate area with a copy of the note, he replied that it did not directly concern us.
I live three doors from the proposed complex. How does this not directly concern me? This tells me how out of touch with the community the council truly is.
Alfred Cove’s residents consist mostly of young families and the elderly.
Kitchener Road is extremely busy already as it is used by motorists to bypass traffic lights and the addition of this extra traffic will only make the road more dangerous.
If the councillors would just get off their backsides and come and park their cars in the street for 10 minutes at around 7am, I am sure they would see the problem, although at that time of day I expect they are still snuggled up in bed while their electorate struggles through the problems they have created.
The council seems to have no interest in the well-being of its residents or the amenity of the area, they seem only concerned about their rich mates getting richer.
Expect to see a much larger turnout at the next council elections.
David Rayfield
Kitchener Rd, Alfred Cove
The Ed says: This is one of the effects of bigger councils—elected members who are increasingly out of touch with the concerns of constitutents, and especially at Melville where most councillors are in thrall to management.

Miplaced and misdirected
J ROSSIE (Herald letters, March 2, 2013), your blame is misplaced and misdirected.
The folks of the G4F are people like you and me. Maybe more money here and a nice house there, but like you, I am sure they have worked for what they have, though this is missing the point.
They are community members with big brains, big hearts and a big love of creativity and community, I know, because I am lucky enough to have shared time with a couple of the middle-aged bores you refer to. I see this group as a complement to the council, I like what they stand for. Will they affect any change? I don’t know, but I think it is in the trying that we show who we are.
A final note, on the state of shopping in Freo. I correct you on the point that the shops in Fremantle were previously not a “curiosity”. Untrue. Ask anyone that does not live here and they will say they love the “interesting little shops” they find here, always have. I don’t claim to have the answer to our current retail slump (I cringe each time I see another “for lease” sign where once a favourite store used to trade), but I am confident it is surely not the fault of the G4F members.
They live here too!
Unity, all community members great and small.
Danielle Barker Mead
Russell St, Fremantle

Rags to riches
I WAS horrified to read E-Shed exodus (Herald, March 2, 2013).
As the owner of Frock This dress exchange in E-Shed Markets I can confidently say not all traders in the market are trading poor.
Frock This currently has more than 2000 Facebook followers, 14,000 followers on Instagram and continues to grow each month.  It’s a shame to read the same doom and gloom stories over and over in the Herald each week. The only positive articles are those that retailers pay for. What ever happened to supporting small business?
Rent is not expensive in E-Shed and is a good starting platform for any small business. If traders have left it is because of their lack of marketing and customer service. If you sit around waiting for people to come in it won’t happen, you need to be proactive.
Gemma-Lee MacDonald
Frock This, E-Shed Markets
The Ed says: Gee, Gemma-Lee, last week we had drummers, faeries and equal love on the front page, a new Round House bell, ghost stories at the arts centre, rates relief for landlords who find tenants, CBC’s heritage listing, people power overturning an unpopular oval development in East Freo, a councillor being cleared of misconduct and 15,000 whale-loving greenies hitting the Esplanade reserve to fight for a stretch of paradise. Surely that’s a fair dose of good news for a week.

Value everyone
THANKS for your opinion J Rossie (Herald letters, March 2, 2013).
It really kicked me out of my inertia and made me think about my town and what I consider important for our future.  Like you, I lament the empty shops and general loss of vibrancy in Freo and I’ve found dodging particular areas at any time of the day has become quite a skill.
What I have admired though is the persistent nature of the small Freo trader and their continuing efforts to bring life to this be-stilled town and still earn a quid.
I admire the efforts of different groups and council to engage residents and outside participants in events and regular festivals and markets.  I love small communities having street parties and sustainability courses and generally getting to know each other.
The people who have bought homes and restored them over the past 15 years have now had children and are sending them to their local schools.  They are frequenting our cafes, buying from our stores, going to gigs at Kulcha and Fly by Night Club, using our parks and vying for space on our skate ramps.
They are nurturing their own little communities within (check out the “Cool Room”, Old Values and Post Irving on Onslow Street, Retro Freo Art at its best and good food!)
Everyone’s opinion is valuable so whether it’s G4F, Grandma’s Knitting Group or the Keep It Authentic Club, make sure you are heard. We can coexist creating that wonderful diversity Freo is known for if we simply respect each others’ backgrounds and visions.
Jacqui Du-buisson
Forrest St, Fremantle

Catch the bus
I AM surprised how often Mayor Pettitt calls for light rail for Fremantle, when the public transport master plan recommends bus rapid transit to support its existing rail benefits.
Members of the independent panel that signed off on the master plan also comprise his much lauded Fremantle Union initiative.
Perhaps the mayor only listens to the reasoning of senior planning and transport experts when it’s something he wants to hear?
Reece Waldock, respected head of our major transport agencies, stated only months ago it wasn’t necessary to build more rail, as our current system has the ability to double its capacity.
What we need to do is support the entire system of public transportation more effectively.
The current cost of public transport provision is $1.12 billion annually, but only $180 million is returned in fares. The rest is just plain subsidised.
Studies show investing in bus stations, road and traffic light priority for buses, and enhanced bus stops, also demonstrates the permanency and commitment needed to encourage private development, at a fraction of the cost of railways.
Diana Ryan
Walpole St, Bentley 

Lovely bloke 😉
ALL out! So the headline (Herald, February 16, 2013) declared, following my letter in the previous week’s edition.
However the point of my correspondence was missed and the article was based on a brief and disjointed interview between customers and a very fine photo of my good self.
High rent demands and empty shops are not just a Fremantle problem. So I have always wondered why the rent issue’s never a priority when traders complain about trade and the marketplace they’re in. It’s always about up-skilling, advertising and the challenge of the new way of selling, etc and in our case the Green council is proposing to solve it with more new shops.
Business would be so much better if we had no overheads, right? Well that’s never going to happen! However we, as retailers, need to have the muscle to negotiate the reasonable rent along with those other outgoings.
I mentioned my rent to the Herald, not with the intention of it been published but thinking it would then have a basis of comparison with the staggering rents of  empty shops and tales from retailers in real trouble or losing their life’s savings while working hard to build a business. Nobody says or does anything except “bad luck mate”.
Often it’s not bad luck or bad management. But I shan’t discuss banks, another problem.
I believe my landlord to be a reasonable person as until recently I have trailed well behind in my rent and except for a number of final notices he never acted on them, for which I am eternally grateful. I have no idea how others pay the rent I hear demanded by their landlords. As no way could I support that sort of impost. It frightens the hell out of me as I am now only up to date by selling some assets.
So my truck is not with my landlord, however I think perhaps many property owners follow the advice of their letting agents who seem to have scant regard for the welfare of those who have to work to pay all the outgoings of someone else’s property.
The owners are now at arm’s length and the agents are on commission, have all the retail letting data and an attitude that property value should dictate rental value. Surely it should be around the other way. Clearly it is not, as why are those at the bottom of the pecking order falling out of the trees? Or is there another answer that I and those long empty shops and struggling retailers have missed?
The built history of Fremantle is the foundation. The retailers are only the mortar and require infrastructure that the council and owners should be providing to make Fremantle pristine and what it purports to be, a “tourist town”.
As a fisherman said to me, “if you want to grow a great garden you have to tend to the soil first. If you want to reap a good crop you have to maintain the garden.”
Pearce Bros Building High Street, (makers of footwear in North Fremantle) is home to me and it has been a shoe store since the late 1800s and that’s historic and very important. On that foundation we have built a well respected business. However it has not made a lot of money as my partially restored Victorian home will attest, but I love it all!
The comments were not particular to me or my situation. They should be taken a general feed to me from others. I will be around for some time yet (I trust) and no doubt will leave “feet first”.
Robert Bodkin
High St, Fremantle

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