LETTERS 31.1.15


Council workers do Freo proud
THE staff and workers of the Fremantle council are to be congratulated for their superb work over the Australia Day holiday.
It was amazing to see the number of people who visited South Beach on Australia Day enjoy the wonderful amenity of this special place.
South Beach has changed over the years from being a polluted, eroded, run-down beach, wrecked by the nearby industrial uses, to the special place it is today, thanks to the tireless investment and work of the council over the past decade or so.
Needless to say my friends and I, who use the beach virtually every morning, were bracing ourselves for the obvious mess that was to be expected after so many people had attended to watch the fireworks the previous evening. We even took bags to help with the cleanup.
We arrived at the beach at 7am to find it spotless. Clearly the council workers had been up at sunrise to make sure it was as beautiful as always.
The positive impact this sort of care has on both our community and visitors is not to be underestimated.
Well done to all concerned,
Jenny Longley
Walker St, South Fremantle

Design before development
TWO recent eruptions of community concern about council policies relate to proposed increased height limits around McCabe Street, North Fremantle, and increased densities between Vale and Burt Streets in Fremantle (Herald, January 17, 2015).
In both cases the neighbouring communities are extremely concerned about the effects of bulk, scale, overshadowing, traffic and general population pressure on local lifestyles and amenities.
In both cases council has gone to some length to consult with the community, offering the standard invitations to comment and information sessions, but with little impact on the final form of the relevant policies.
In the case of Burt-Vale the policy went backwards, with the council’s proposed legal controls rejected by the WA housing department and watered down to the form of an MoU.
The McCabe Street heights policy is essentially unchanged, but in discussions with the council the North Fremantle precinct has agreed to participate in the development of structure plan guidelines for the policy’s implementation.  The rub, however, is the planning services committee has rejected the precinct’s argument the policy and guidelines must be adopted together to establish their essential linkage in the eyes of council, developers and the community.
The reason why North Fremantle wants the policy and guidelines to run together has relevance to Burt-Vale too. The policies may contain an admirable level of detail about their provisions, but what they lack is any sense of what council thinks it is trying to achieve in a community sense.
It’s quite possible to tick all of the policy and planning rules’ boxes and still come up with an aesthetic and social lemon.
The safeguards are unimpressive. A promise of consultation prior to the lodgement of a development application, and the oversight of the council’s design advisory committee, consisting entirely of architects. The DA application stage is too late. It becomes a case of “submit and defend” by the applicant. The architects (assuming any four sitting around a table can agree on anything) will be reduced to tweaking the design by the applicant’s architects. What is missing? No-one has asked for, nor offered, any notion of what sort of community we are going to build here.
This is a gap we want to try to fill in North Fremantle with the structure plan guidelines. It seems elementary that surely, vision should precede design?
Gerry MacGill
North Fremantle

The Lang and the short of it
ROBBY LANG’S unique way with words (Herald, January 24, 2015) is very much appreciated.
Warwick Pollard
Jean St, Beaconsfield 

Beyond belief
IN support of Mary Ward’s letter (Herald, January 24, 2015), it is beyond belief that we have allowed the closure of Fremantle’s emergency department without a whimper.
Fremantle as a tourist location has need of Fremantle hospital and its emergency section, not only for residents, but for the population. In WA the need for hospitals is increasing.
What makes this inadequate government believe Fiona Stanley can accommodate the needs of the public? We need both hospitals. Last week I received a government letter about the closure of Fremantle Hospital’s emergency department, advising the nearest other hospitals as Armadale, Perth and Fiona Stanley—all inconvenient for those without transport, and for the elderly.
To make matters worse this government is removing Carmen Lawrence’s free mammogram and breast checks from Fremantle and moving them to Beeliar.
I would like someone to tell me why essential services are being removed from Fremantle, when we have many homeless on the streets, a need for mental health facilities and definitely need our beloved overworked Fremantle Hospital.
So answer me this—if I vote Labor could we please have Freo Hospital back, or will it one day be sold to pay Barnett’s debts, like Kaleeya Hospital has been, as the Liberals privatise and sell our assets to developers and their cronies.
What is it with Liberals? They want money and privatisation. I believe they don’t represent the people, only profits and corporations.
Carmel Callaghan
High St, Fremantl

Spirit guide
FOSTER community spirit. This seemed to be the common theme running through last week’s letters in the Herald. Issues we see as being fundamental or important to maintain our sense of community:
• retain an independent Town of East Fremantle
• retain the Beeliar wetlands
• retain significant trees
Keep the scale of proposed transport infrastructure, such as the innocuously named Perth freight link (PFL), in proportion to the balance of the community’s requirements (ie, public transport to the airport, north-eastern suburbs, radial links to existing rail lines).
It is the disproportionate community isolation and polarisation, arising from ill-conceived projects such as the PFL, that I wish to address in this letter.
Too often, big government looks for short-term fixes to address long-term planning/ growth issues. The resultant extensive infrastructure/road projects generally do not satisfy the key evaluation criteria (is it socially, economically and environmentally justified?).
While Roe 8 and High Street upgrades have been on the WA government/Main Roads wish list for some time, they will not address any of the port of Fremantle’s access issues. These start at the port’s single lane entrances off Tydeman Road and bank back 600m to Stirling Hwy (two-lane bridge), then for another 1900m across five sets of lights to High Street. The most immediate solution the Barnett government and FPA could adopt to advance their road transport gridlock, is to optimise the promised 30 per cent of container freight that can go (immediately) by rail.
This would also drastically improve the safety and health of communities that live on local collector roads such as High Street. It would take not even a fraction of the $1.575 billion being committed to the PFL to achieve this immediate benefit, just some discussion between FPA, Aurizon, PTA and their principal, the WA transport minister. Letters to the previous minister on the 30 per cent commitment remain unanswered/unactioned.
It is also important to note the recent reports of annoying levels of rail stock noise should be explained by the relevant authorities. It appears from a casual observation the trains are now longer and generally contain one or two carriages that have shot bearings or particularly noisy wheels.
Such reports should be viewed in perspective with other transport nuisance issues this community has to cope with.
The PTA has undertaken a considerable amount of maintenance on the section of the line between Coogee and Fremantle over the past year and now the damage of the rail bridge appears to have been resolved, regular freight rail traffic has resumed, albeit restricted to an average of 4-5 trains a day. Emails to Aurizon & PTA on this issue and possibility of increasing freight traffic also remain unanswered.
Rob Jack
Marine Tce, South Fremantle

Hopping happy
I WOULD like to thank the Herald for doing a fantastic write up on my favourite band Silva Dee and the Freo Grasshoppers (Herald, January 10, 2014).
Their music has been very healing for me: I got injured last year, and was depressed over it. I heard this inspirational music, got a signed CD, I met the guys who were so very nice.
I really love their music as it has helped me greatly and I am very grateful to them as I’m feeling much better now.
Erin Woods
Cockburn Rd, Munster

Have your say either way
THIS is an alert to all registered voters of East Fremantle!
We have a chance to save our little town from amalgamation.
We are having a referendum and you will receive a form from the electoral commission. We need at least a 50 per cent voter response for the referendum to be valid, so send your form in ASAP and help save our town!
It is important that everyone returns the ballot paper, whether you vote yes or, preferably, no!
This is grassroots democracy! We, the people, don’t get much of a say in the running of our country or our state. We have the chance to make a difference.
Cast your vote, either way, but please make sure you vote.
Paul New
Hubble St, East Fremantle

Risky business
THOSE calling for clemency for the leaders of the Bali Nine are forgetting they intended to bring a large quantity of drugs into Australia.
They did the crime in Indonesia so they knew the risks and still they tried. They mightn’t deserve to be shot but they need to take the punishment laid down by the Indonesian legal system.
S Cruden
Edwards St, Leda

South Beach Hotel 12x2 Chem Dry 5x2 West Coast House Pet Sitters 10x3

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