Letters 23.5.15

Worst council, ever
SO, Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt is thinking of entering state politics (“Pettitt reflects on 10 years,” Herald, May 16, 2015).
Par for the course I think, after successfully killing Fremantle with the worst council in living memory,  he’s now moving on to ruin the state.
He says he “failed to recognise the depth of  Fremantle’s retail collapse”. I don’t know why, when letters to the Herald over the past 10 years kept telling him all was not well with our once thriving city.
Still, his self proclaimed greatest success is “re-engaging with young people”, so it’s not all bad.
Apart from a city on its knees he is also foisting a hideous super-modern building on us, right in the heart of historic Fremantle. I’m just surprised he hasn’t suggested demolishing St John’s church, or at least moving it.
Still I suppose he has to leave a monument to his “success” behind, so we don’t forget him.
Poor Fremantle.
Suzanne Hanley
Calpin Cres, Attadale

Feeling crabby
LAST weekend I was shopping for seafood at the local supermarket.
I far prefer local produce first, secondly Australian, and finally imported. I particularly insist upon WA seafood. More as a curiosity I perused the frozen seafood section and frozen WA Shark Bay crab flesh caught my eye.
With metropolitan crabs under fishing pressure and my fishing skills the laughing stock of my workmates I thought this might be the go for the odd stir-fry.
Guess what. The seafood was genuine Shark Bay crab flesh, but had been processed in Thailand!
I could not fathom the economy of (refrigerated) transport to an international air or shipping port (Perth), refrigerated freight to Thailand, processing, then refrigerated transport back to WA?
Yet another example of us pricing ourselves into financial collapse.
Chris Gaudet
Barrett St, Spearwood

Bring back the bypass
THE residents of High Street East Fremantle and those abutting Leach Highway in Palmyra have every right to feel aggrieved as they are given notice of resumption of their homes to construct a blatantly unsuitable section of the Perth Freight Link.
What hurts more is the obvious logical path for the route, the Fremantle bypass is being purposely overlooked to protect retired politicians and other high-profile identities who purchased resumed land along the proposed route when Labor had a fire sale of the properties to prevent a future change of government reversing the political vandalism.
The money allocated to resume the East Fremantle and Palmyra properties should be used to buy back the land on the Fremantle bypass route.
The billions of federal and state money about to be wasted on this debacle needs to be urgently re-assessed and the political manoeuvring behind the scenes of the get-rich-quick opportunistic bypass landowners needs to be exposed.
Daryl Binning
Norton Ridge, Winthrop

All Freo
IF the May 16 edition of the Melville City Herald is anything to go by, your “Melville City’s own independent newspaper” claim hardly lives up to its name.
Out of a total of 15 news articles, all but one covered Fremantle issues, with one solitary piece on a damaged section of footpath in Applecross.
Similarly, all the letters to the editor related to Fremantle concerns. Am I right in believing that during the week there was not more than a single newsworthy event in any of Melville’s 11 suburbs?
Or perhaps it was a printing error in the title, which should have read City of Fremantle Herald.
A Tuft
Farrin St, Attadale
The Ed says: Fair point—but it was a ripper yarn about the damaged footpath in Applecross. Our small but dedicated team of journos is always on the hunt for more, though.

A clean view
PERTH, the cleanest city on Earth. It was great to get away on a holiday on a cruise ship up to Indonesia, it was also just as great to get home and enjoy our great autumn weather, with our clear blue skies and our beautiful Swan River as clean as ever.
Unlike some of the ports we visited, with huge amounts of rubbish around our cruise ship. It was not a nice sight, with plastic bags, bottles and other household rubbish in the water.
I might add the debris did not come from our ship, as all rubbish and waste products are processed on board. When I ventured out on to the deck, the smoke and pollution from the industrial chimneys was something we do not see in Australian ports.
The only thing we have to put up with in Perth is the smoke haze from the controlled burns of the bush, to protect us from the summer bush fires. It does a person good to travel and appreciate just how clean our port and city is.
Frank Granger
Melville Bch Rd, Applecross

Muddled Macphail
COUNCILLOR Duncan Macphail’s letter (“Negative error,” Herald letters, May 9 2015) is a bit muddled and mostly inaccurate.
I certainly was a serving councillor in 2012 (he got that right). Investments in the CDOs were voted on and approved by councillors including, yes, you guessed it, Cr Duncan Macphail.
The fact is Cr Macphail voted for the “investment” in the CDOs and I voted for the City of Melville to take part in a class action to sue the financial adviser to try to recoup some of the huge losses!
Cr Macphail’s notion that the CEO’s involvement in the local government amalgamation/reform was confined to the “south east metropolitan areas” and not Melville, is just plain wrong.
Melville is part of the south metropolitan region. The CEO’s involvement by being on the local government advisory board brings into question an obvious conflict of interest, which by the way was mysteriously supported by the WA local government minister Tony Simpson.
At least I can rightly assume the rest of my letter (“Image before service,” Herald letters, May 2, 2015) was correct as Cr Macphail did not dispute any of it.
Image of the city, and not service to community, is everything at the City of Melville.
Effie Nicholson


Rambling response
WHAT a rambling seven page “response” by the City of Fremantle CEO for the still unsatisfactorily answered concerns on the Kings Square business plan figures.
After months of stonewalling, dismissing financial concerns as boring or academic, attacking ratepayers for asking questions, hiding behind confidentiality, and missing-in-action councillors, we still have dodgy assertions the $45 million expenditure on the proposed civic and administrative buildings with minimal income after redevelopment will generate a commercial rate of return.
The CEO is still struggling with the financial concept the $45m building expenditure won’t actually suffer from any depreciation for technological and service obsolescence.
Just ask the CEO and councillors—based on their logic that any building expenditure constantly rises in value, how is it the existing council building has reached its service limit and is now worth demolition value?
Then ask if the financial assertions in the Kings Square business plan make sense.
Craig Ross

Testing my limits
I WAS pinged on Preston Point Road a month ago for doing 62kph in a 50 zone in my work ute.
My supervisor received the camera notice and gave it to me to sort out so I wrote a letter to Main Roads and told them there was no way I would be doing 62kph on Preston Point Rd: I admitted to 55 so they let me off with a smaller fine and one less demerit point.
My point with this letter is I rang Main Roads and they told me Preston Point Rd has been a 50 zone since 2001—which is BS as Main Roads has only in the past month erected a 50kph sign on the East Freo end of Preston Point Rd.
I asked why Preston Point Rd, Marmion St, Petra St and Carrington St were all different speeds and they told me the respective councils set the zones—again, that’s BS.
So, please beware motorists that Preston Point Rd is 50 and Petra St is 50 but Marmion St and Carrington St are 60. If you ask me they should all be made 60 or 50 to avoid the confusion. And I will be contacting the mayors of all cities and towns about this.
Steve Gray
Stoneham Rd, Attadale

Adjust the attitude
I HAVE been struck in recent times by the superior/ insular attitude of our elected/ designated officers in failing to make any effort to represent their position to the general public, when responding to perceived criticism of their actions.
Do you recall the Melville councillor bemoaning the fact a Herald reporter hadn’t sought his opinion on an article that legitimately questioned the need for spending tens of thousands of dollars on a trip to “look at” high temperature incinerator operations in Europe?
Contrast the elected member’s (unsupported) denials of wasting ratepayer funds with the well-argued letter by Jane Bremmer on the same subject.
Then there was the belated Thinking Allowed article by the Fremantle mayor and CEO, responding to a call for more information on their $15 million venture into seeding the redevelopment of King’s Square and Central CBD commercial property.
Instead of welcoming comment on their thoroughly researched project, their initial reaction was to retreat to their default position of “you do not need to know the details, it’s been considered”.
Their eventual public response was preoccupied with countering what Mr Lee had claimed rather than providing a plain English explanation of the key goals, constraints and benefits of this joint venture.
And then there is the ongoing (you don’t) “need to know” attitude of Fremantle Ports, when it comes to questioning its decision-making processes. When appearing before a state estimates committee, the CEO only felt the need to dismiss the request for siting a wind farm at Rous Head, that could have provided clean renewable energy for the port as, “it is not in the best interest of the port” or words to that effect.
No effort to justify this decision, so the taxpayer could take some confidence in their decision as being in the state’s best interest.
We are mostly human, which implies that we are prone to the occasional mistake. Far better to admit and learn from possible short comings and embrace the improvement, than to pull the shutters down and deny the issues.
Rob Jack
Marine Tce, South Fremantle

Tell me why
JACKHAMMERS or compressed air chisels, the name matters not (“Skills centre for East Freo,” Herald, May 9, 2015). Both are percussive impact tools that produce the same result in limestone walls.
As my previous advice—in digging out old mortar pointing, they roughly knock off the edges of the adjoining stones and widen the joints. Not good trade practice.
But please don’t just take my word for it—trust your eyes. And then study the shrapnel that litters the footpath on which you can see bits of raw limestone still attached to the old mortar of the joint, both of which have been dug out together by this crude tool.
There are better ways of doing it—without collateral damage. The more important point is—why is it being done at all?
R McK Campbell

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