FREMANTLE mayor Brad Pettitt hasn’t given up hope of his council getting hold of some heritage-listed warders cottages in Henderson Street.
This week the Barnett government announced the cottages will be the first project to get money from a revolving fund aimed at restoring historic buildings. The cottages will be progressively upgraded then sold off or leased, with the profits going towards the next in the queue.
But Dr Pettitt says the $2 million allocated won’t go far and still wants the council involved to try and speed things up.
“This also would have the added bonus of ensuring at least some of WA’s oldest terraces stay in public ownership,” Dr Pettitt said.
WA heritage minister Albert Jacob said $2 million would be allocated to the cottages.
“The important thing is that they have to produce a return to the state,” Mr Jacob says.
Deputy mayor Josh Wilson says the fund “as a concept has merit”.
“The government at this stage is only dipping its smallest toe in the water given there are 1300 heritages properties in WA,” he says.
He notes the council is not opposed to the sale of some cottages, on the proviso they are properly restored first. The council would be interested in getting its own hands on two or three.
The premier toured the cottages Tuesday with Mr Jacob, saying $4m will be allocated over two years to establish the fund.
Fremantle Labor MP Simone McGurk brushed off the fund as “window dressing”: “This was an $8 million promise which is now a $4 million promise, but we have now heard that only $2 million is to be spent on the cottages—and that includes the feasibility study.
“This money will basically just cover the maintenance that the government should have done for the past two years.”
She welcomes the announcement that WA’s heritage council will be involved in the feasibility study to look at potential uses for the cottages. Consisting of three sets of terrace housing occupying 3544sqm, they housed warders till the prison’s closure in 1991.
Part of the other $2m will be spent on the heritage-listed Coogee hotel (and former children’s home) and post office, both built in 1898.
by CARMELO AMALFI and STEVE GRANT