LETTERS 21.11.15


Concrete disaster
THE Melville Plaza shopping centre carpark is completed and what a disaster, what a disappointment. It’s a concrete desert, a big bare, ugly concrete heat sink.
The architects had an opportunity here to make a real statement by adding trees, making the area functional and also beautiful, something the local residents and shoppers at the centre would have really appreciated, not to mention the birds that used to congregate in the gum trees.
Instead, they removed the trees that were there, which were always in demand for their shade, and replaced them with absolutely nothing.
Shame and brickbats to the centre for such a short-sighted project, and what happened to Melville council’s push to bring more trees into the area? Who, I wonder, signed off on this planning disaster?
Absolutely disgusting,
Suzanne Hanley
Calpin Cres, Attadale

Thanks for the motivation
AS one of the “unsuccessful candidates” referred to by Roy Lewisson in last week’s Herald Thinking Allowed, I must first congratulate the elected member for south ward, Jon Strachan.
However, I feel a need to express my disappointment with Mr Lewisson’s article on a number of grounds.
First, by generalising about the conduct of some unsuccessful candidates he has by omission tarnished us all with the same brush. Sadly, his generalisation does pack a punch for all who have chosen to exercise their democratic right to stand for election.
I contacted Mr Lewisson last weekend and had a polite conversation with him. I have never met him nor been in the same room as him. He did clarify that the article was not directed at me. Thanks?
Secondly, I find it deeply concerning that Mr Lewisson failed to disclose in the article that he was Brad Pettit’s campaign manager and authorised his mayoral election propaganda.
Mr Lewisson also failed to disclose he was one of Cr Rachel Pemberton’s main campaign donors.
I guess all this smoke and mirrors is Mr Lewisson’s definition of “grass roots democracy” at work. With most of Fremantle council now controlled by political parties, it must be with great jest that Mr Lewisson gushes about the principles of our councillors “representing the constituents in my ward”.
He is clearly enjoying mocking constituents with his comments about respect between councillors, and yet the general public is just a rabble of disrespectful trouble-makers.
Perhaps he is even smirking about the lack of voter turnout playing into the hands of political parties. The punters certainly didn’t spot the phantom candidate who was enlisted simply to split opponents’ votes!
With so much joy in Mr Lewisson’s Thinking Allowed article, an innocent bystander might even wonder whether a ghost writer on the council had perhaps written the article for him, mocking Fremantle residents, the election process, and the transparency with which this council chooses to operate.
Thank you, whoever actually wrote the article, as it just gives me great motivation and encouragement — see you at the 2017 election (if not sooner).
Tony Toledo
Scott St, South Fremantle

Dark history deserves better
THE Fremantle History Society joins the chorus of people appalled by the latest attempt to exploit the darker side of the heritage of Fremantle Prison.
By cynically allowing this appeal to sensational voyeurism (“screaming with fear”), the prison authorities are betraying the trust the community has in  their sound judgement and good taste in its commercial use.
Emma Simper’s assertion (Herald letters, November 7, 2015) that the Tower of London condones similar events is untrue. There is, however, a facility nearby calling itself London Dungeons which offers such tawdry fare to the hardened thrill-seeker.
Do we really want to emulate this in our World Heritage-listed site?
Bob Reece
President, Fremantle History Society 

Traffic truths?
MOST Cockburn councillors seem to be unaware of two independent traffic studies, conducted in 2006 and 2013, that were commissioned by the council.
The studies looked into traffic scenarios with and without Roe 8.
Both reports clearly show the Roe 8 option significantly reduces rat-running and congestion.
I believe these reports have been dismissed by the council and mayor, even though they are relevant to the highway argument and could save the city millions in road upgrades and maintenance costs.
Who is the council representing, and does it not interact with its own administration?
Hayden Shenton
Kipling St, Munster
The Ed says: This letter has been significantly edited for clarity.

Respect, please
WHEN governments are stingey, heritage places need to generate funds for conservation and upkeep, and Fremantle Prison is no exception.
Torchlight tours and weddings (which I have never commented upon) are relatively inoffensive, but promoting the prison as a house of horrors for a Halloween party is a step too far.
The 44 persons executed may not have an opinion about this, but they deserve our respect, as do their descendants and, in at least one case, their still-living relatives.
Gerard MacGill
Harvest Rd, North Fremantle

A failure to declare
WHOOPSIE. In Roy Lewisson’s glowing “Thinking Allowed” (Herald, November 14, 2015) he neglected to mention he’d authorised the “Vote — Re-elect Brad” campaign at the prior mayoral election, and, can be found on any number of sites pushing the mayor’s doctrine.
Amusingly, he compliments the current councillors for their lack of ‘in-fighting’ in chambers, presumably not comprehending, the very reason there was a record turnout of candidates in October was because of the lack of debate by the “whatever you say, Brad” council.
I supported four independents to try to free up comment on the council. Mr Lewisson is disingenuous in bad-mouthing unsuccessful candidates who put time, money and energy into wishing to work for the good of  Fremantle.
I see Mr Lewisson also chucked in $1000 for Cr Pemberton. Best he mention his bias in future articles.
If ratepayers are so content with the Fremantle council, why did East Fremantle go into overtime panic to avoid amalgamation, with massive meetings and submissions?
Plus, North Fremantle residents at this very minute are trying to cut themselves off from this Fremantle fiefdom.
That’s two and counting…..
Suzanne John
High St, Fremantle

Why Aubin?
WITH Cockburn council and WA main roads and businesses all talking about the traffic problems that will associated with a new Aubin Grove train station, I wonder, is it the right location?
I totally agree a new station is needed, but perhaps Rowley Road is better suited, with less infrastructure required and less business congestion. What was the rationale behind Aubin Grove that made it superior to Rowley Road?
Is it too late to move? Surely not. The state government would likely prefer another two years to study another location. It does have a good track record in that regard!
Jamie Bradford

Four for Freo
THERE is much to think about in Joan Mann’s letter (Herald, October 31, 2015).
Not until 1970 did I first have anything much to do with Fremantle.
It was then a busy, diverse and multicultural city with a healthy mix of retail (now largely gone), manufacturing that provided employment such as Mills and Wares (long gone), and pleasant family restaurants and cafes.
Certainly there wasn’t much residential, apart from a few very run-down houses and flats around the CBD outskirts. There was an earlier and far less chaotic version of the cappuccino strip: this is not to say I dislike the present one.
Big business in the form of high-rise developments (where will the occupants shop?) now seems to be taking over the CBD, but one positive effect of this is the burgeoning of the South Fremantle/Beaconsfield area. It’s already become a pedestrian-friendly dining zone.
I’d recommend a few major changes for the now rather tired looking (notable exception National Hotel!) CBD:
1. Close Market St and South Tce from the train station to Norfolk St to all non-commercial traffic, similarly High St to Pakenham St, extending the present mall west. The absence of noisy traffic would greatly enhance the alfresco dining areas! After all, Fremantle was designed as a “walking city”.
2. Build a pedestrian tunnel or overway to allow easy and safe access to trains and buses. I pity the poor bus drivers trying to turn right into the station precincts!
3. Please, please, council, simply clean and brighten up Kings Square without making it into some futuristic, sterile and totally boring theme park!
4. Pressure the recalcitrant state government into extending passenger rail to South Beach. This could I’m sure be achieved relatively cheaply. After all, during the 1987 America’s Cup defence, this was done.
Freo recently made it into the Top 10 in the Lonely Planet Guide. Perhaps these and some of Joan’s ideas would push it up even further.
Dave Rodda
Winterfold Rd, Hilton

People are feral
PREDICTABLY cats and ravens have been singled out as the culprits for declining native birds in the suburbs.
That’s a laugh because everyone knows species decline and loss is down to habitat destruction. Is everyone blind?
Look at all the bushland destruction for new housing estates and roads, and tree removal for high density infill, etc.
Only one creature destroys everything else’s habitat and ultimately its own in the process. A clue: it’s got two legs and no brain but thinks it’s the the most intelligent creature to inhabit the earth.
Brad Capes
Miranda Cres, Coobellup

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