BRAD PETTITT has launched a charm offensive in a bid to woo backers for Fremantle council’s ambitious Freo 2029 project.
On Thursday potential investors from the WA government and private industry, as well as local community leaders, were treated to a swanky dinner and marketing pitch at Bathers Beach House.
Mayor Pettitt says to make the vision a reality, people are going to have to part with cold hard cash.
“At the very heart of this vision is that Fremantle has great potential that can only be realised in partnership with the state government and the private sector,” he said. “We are approaching the 200th anniversary of Fremantle’s settlement and we will argue that we are important and the state’s second city.”
Freo 2029 aims to connect the CBD with its beaches and the port, encourage more inner-city living, transform Kings Square, create a Fremantle Oval precinct, make the old traffic bridge car-free public space and create a northern gateway.
Fremantle Labor MP Simone McGurk, who attended the dinner, was pessimistic about the vision coming to fruition.
“It’s one thing to come up with ideas for how to revitalise Fremantle, but to my mind the real issue is how this is actually achieved,” she said.
“Labor had allocated $80 million for a new Fremantle traffic bridge, but that money was removed from the budget by this government.
“Government assets are crumbling or being sold off, Freo Emergency Department has closed, and the government wants to drive a massive freeway through the centre of our community.
“Until the state government comes on board, I fear Freo will be struggling to achieve the turnaround it really needs.”
Freo 2029 incorporates several council initiatives, including:
• an extra 9500sqm of retail and 30,000sqm of offices at Victoria Quay
• $270m Kings Square redevelopment
• making Fishing Boat Harbour a tourism hotspot
• more facilities around Bathers Beach
• affordable housing on the old Stan Reilly nursing home site.
Freo 2029 will have its public launch in the council reception room on March 10.
by STEPHEN POLLOCK