Letters 6.7.13

14. 27LETTERSAmazed
I LOST my wallet in Fremantle last week but to my amazement someone found it and posted it to the address listed on my driver’s licence, with the money still in it.
There was no return address, so I would like to take this opportunity to thank the very thoughtful person who returned it to me. It renews my trust in people’s good nature and the kindness of strangers.
Sincerely grateful. Thank you.
Kylie Broughton
North Fremantle

Why didn’t you ask?
I WAS in the town hall Tuesday mainly because mayor Brad Pettitt and his council would not put the skate plaza site out for public comment.
A previous special electors’ meeting had been called about the Fremantle Markets issue. Reason: The then-mayor and six councillors would not put the lease out for public tender and comment.
Joining the dots it’s interesting there are four people in common with causing both meetings: Pettitt (then a councillor), Fittock, Thompson and Strachan.
My summary of Tuesday’s meeting: Esplanade Reserve: The Facebook/Twitter crowd of skateboard “electors” swamped the meeting to vote away the concerns of locals who don’t want a massive “international competition skate centre” on their parkland.
The process for allowing a sectional sporting interest (80 per cent of people don’t skate) to take over a much loved parkland has been a disgrace:
• the skate plaza was expressly forbidden in the Esplanade Reserve;
• the Esplanade Reserve Masterplan has not been implemented after five years;
• the community was never allowed to comment on whether the skate facility would be in the park or not;
• the size of the facility keeps growing and growing. It was originally very small, and last year grew to 2000sqm and then 3500sqm and Tuesday night to 4200sqm.
• the facility will cost ratepayers more than $1 million (plus $600,000 grant money) at a time when the council admits it has a $50 million backlog on maintenance.
Arthur Head: Arthur Head is deemed to be WA’s most significant historical area. The council is ignoring the conservation plan and masterplan for the Esplande Reserve and similarly with Arthur Head, there is no respect being shown for the heritage of the area with the current focus on “placemaking” and inserting new transient artists who will not generate the income or tourism numbers to maintain the area.
Warders’ cottages: Wonderful survivors. The council says it will do a business plan and may take on the debt burden of more than $6 million to fix them, but given council’s poor track record with managing government assets (Arthur Head, Esplanade Reserve, Princess May Park), the best solution would be for the cottages to revert to the ownership of the prison, which had them for 140 years. Of real concern is the lack of urgency shown in having immediate remedial works done to the cottages to prevent further winter damage, vandalism,  and arson.
John Dowson
Mouat St, Fremantle
The Ed says: Mr Dowson is a former deputy mayor and award-winning author of two photographic histories of Fremantle.

Thanks, but. . .
AS members of the Randwick Stables Community Group we wish to respond to the article published last week (“Cockburn coast heritage focus,” Herald, June 29, 2013).
Although the article was comprehensive in its coverage of many of the issues concerning the heritage of the area and the threat this heritage is under from proposed development, the article did contain some errors, misrepresentations and inaccuracies which could lead to misunderstanding. Particularly in relation to the site of the community garden.
The garden site is on land owned by WA main roads, not council land. There is no suggestion the garden is on an Aboriginal burial site. Hamilton Hill swamp is several hundred metres to the east on the other side of the paddock.
The site of the garden is in the vicinity of Sydney Smith’s homestead and the market garden Sunnyside.
The community garden group has consulted with a number of Aboriginal people and we value their involvement and knowledge of the area.
Alison Bolas
Randwick Stables
Rockingham Rd, Hamilton Hill

All about love
WHILE Michelle Meyers (Herald letters, June 29, 2013) states she is not the “judge” she misrepresents God or Jesus as condemners of anyone and/or anything “outside’ the “biblical blueprint”.
My understanding is these entities are about acceptance and love for all (ie, inclusiveness).
Her justification? “…and yes, as a Catholic university it is entitled to, ban certain student associations”. “Entitled?” is this the same “entitlement” which has brought about a royal commission into years of sexual abuse of children at the hands of those preaching the “Judeo-Christian standard?”
Please try practising keeping your stones to yourself, particularly if you’re aiming to get to heaven.
Isabel Gavranich
Solomon St, Beaconsfield

Bring it on
UNLIKE councillor Josh Wilson and mayor Brad Pettitt I am a Fremantle resident who is very much looking forward to the mooted amalgamation with the City of Melville.
The way it was explained to me when I worked at Fremantle council was Fremantle is poor because, with its small rates base of 29,000 people, it is responsible for some of the oldest public infrastructure in WA and for providing for visitors from all over Perth and further abroad.
Melville on the other hand, with its large rates base of 100,000 people, is made up of suburbs largely built in recent decades by land developers required to put in much of its public infrastructure. Even Melville’s main shopping hub, Garden City, is privately owned and run at little cost to council.
One of the few ways Fremantle makes money out of the visiting hordes is through parking. I also pay hundreds in parking, over and above my annual rates, for the privilege of spending money in my local area. A Greater City of Fremantle might not have such an unseemly dependence on its parking revenue and could take a real step towards halting the commercial decline of Freo. I would hate to see Fremantle go the same way as downtown Newcastle, which has completely died over the past 20 years.
My biggest bugbear with the City of Fremantle is its way-below standard parks management. I have young children and when I am thinking of a suitable park to take them to it more often than not is across county lines, in parks like Point Walter, Piney Lakes and the Cat in the Hat Park at the old Melville school. Another thing is Melville’s bushland management—seriously staffed and kicking some big goals. The City of Fremantle, on the other hand, is reputed to have finally driven out its sole bushland officer.
Apart from grassy parks like Monument Hill and Gil Fraser Oval, the City of Fremantle just doesn’t deliver parkwise. At lovely little Valley Park in White Gum Valley, the council took away a kids’ bridge made of conveyor belt and coppers logs and left a sign saying it had been removed because of vandals. That was more than three years ago. The council walks away, wiping its hands of us Valleyites. It’s obvious we can’t be trusted with playground equipment.
Then there is the local government “Taj Mahal” syndrome where each council strives to erect a headquarters that suitably displays its importance. Most Perth metro councils have already built one. Even little Vincent has a council centre that would impress a Bond villain.
Hard-up Fremantle has yet to build its Taj Mahal but looks to be planning one with the redevelopment of Kings Square, paid for, in part, by the sale of long-held city land assets. Meanwhile, the City of Melville has its ritzy Taj in a lovely bushland campus behind Wireless Hill and next to Garden City. If council business was conducted out at Booragoon, the Kings Square redevelopment could focus on the delivery of a new library and other civic functions.
When East Germany and West Germany amalgamated back in 1989 it was the East Germans who clearly gained the most as their territory was brought up to West German standards. It seems like some of us Freo-East Germans, enjoying our “hard-won social and cultural fabric”, don’t know a good deal when we see one.
Haakon Nielssen
White Gum Valley

Hip hip Hoytsay!
LAST Friday I took my grandchildren to see Despicable 2. We went to Hoyts Queensgate and bought tickets and then realised the 2.30pm session was at Hoys Millennium. The person on duty refunded the credit card payment and we trotted through the piazza and across the strip.
After buying the tickets again the person who had dealt with us at Queensgate came jogging up the stairs (puffing slightly). He told me one of the credit card refunds hadn’t gone through, and pressed $11 into my willing hand. First-class customer service!
John Melville-Jones
Victoria Ave, Claremont

Meligned
YOUR suggested name “Melmantle” needs some reworking—why not Freoville? Much easier to say and more memorable.
Jim Meckelburg
Davies St, Beaconsville
The Ed says: Despite Melville supplying the vast bulk of the population and economic assets, we’re hearing the new super city will be called Fremantle.

More love
I COULDN’T be happier about the proposed Freo youth plaza and basketball court near the beach.
The Esplanade is often described as “well-loved” and this just provides another reason for the younger generation to love it.  These projects will engage the youth and provide a great place for outdoor physical activity, two things the community can always use more of. Bring it on!
Naomi Sleep
Teaguer St, Wilson

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