Freo celebrates 30,000

• Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt with sustainability mentor Peter Newman, a city councillor in the 1970s. Photo by Matthew Dwyer

• Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt with sustainability mentor Peter Newman, a city councillor in the 1970s. Photo by Matthew Dwyer

Just as it looks set to be swallowed up by neighbouring Melville, the population of Fremantle has finally creeped above 30,000 for the first time.

The Barnett government brings down its local government boundary changes Tuesday, which are widely tipped to see both East Fremantle and Fremantle annexed by Melville.

Mayor Brad Pettitt says the port city reached the milestone after four decades of negligible growth. Between 1971 and 2011, it went from 26,036 to 26,582—an increase of just 546 people, or just over two per cent.

Over the same period the population of metropolitan Perth more than doubled, from 703,000 to 1.785 million.

“The past few years is the first time we have seen a sustained increase in Fremantle’s population in many decades and that is good news for the future of Fremantle,” Dr Pettitt says.

“Fremantle as a vibrant centre fundamentally depends on more people living nearby. This is what will ultimately sustain the shops and other businesses in our city and see us thrive as a seven-day-a-week city, not predominantly as the three-day-a-week economy that is part of Fremantle economic challenge now.” Dr Pettitt expects Fremantle’s population to swell in coming years courtesy of inner-city projects.

“This will see a quadrupling of our  inner-city population to around 3500 and an overall expected Fremantle population of around 35,000.

“Of course, we are still very small compared to a Melville or Cockburn that have over 100,000 and that is a fundamental part of the amalgamations issues and how Fremantle‘s interests might be adequately represented in that.”

by BRENDAN FOSTER

 

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