Letters 19.12.15


Cultural demise a sad legacy
IT was disappointing to read the comments by the retiring Fremantle council CEO that he is wary of “throwing money at another organisation…after our experiences with Deckchair and Kulcha” in last week’s story about the hardship facing CircusWA (Herald, December 12, 2015).
Kulcha never had any substantial money “thrown” at it by the City of Fremantle prior to its closure. It did receive a negotiated not-for-profit rent subsidy after the city took over the Evan Davies building’s split lease arrangements, but it also independently refurbished the internal venue in the year prior to its departure in early 2014.
Ironically, the city did announce an allocation of $480,000 in May 2014 to restore the external facade of the Evan Davies building and the site has remained vacant ever since.
But with the number of cultural organisations based in Fremantle now facing extreme financial hardship, the city’s lack of an effective strategic policy to nurture and sustain Fremantle’s not-for-profit community arts sector is greatly concerning.
For decades, these tightly financed community organisations have been a great portal for community cultural engagement and collectively they have contributed enormously to Fremantle’s cultural vibrancy, local economy and artistic reputation.
In the post-boom era of minimal corporate arts sponsorship and radically shifting state and federal government arts funding policies, they don’t deserve to be dismissed simplistically by the city as just another struggling arts organisation.
Fremantle’s economic development is essential, but its cultural development is also fundamental and a great attraction for many people.
The depressing example of the Fly By Night Club being kicked out of its Army Drill Hall home after 28 years, only to be financially snookered for months without a bar licence or a city lease at Victoria Hall is a terrible community outcome.
It would be a great shame to see more of our locally-based arts organisations disappear, and I hope the legacy of our retiring CEO will not be the total demise of Fremantle’s once proud culturally participative community arts sector.
Jon Cope

THE arguments in favour of bulldozing the Beeliar wetlands and carving the Perth Freight Link to the harbour are getting more bizarre by the day.
“Fremantle will be able to undertake all manner of public improvements,” says Helen Hewitt (Herald letters, December 12, 2015).
Presumably, that would include the massive cancer hospital the city will need to cope with the pall of diesel particulate emmissions the government is planning for us.
Barry Healy
Holland St, Fremantle

Big sell-off
THE comments by Cr Clive Robartson City of Melville (Herald letters, December 12, 2015) are very misleading and partly incorrect in respect to selling prime pieces of public open space for high density housing.
On the contrary, the city has rezoned and offered approximately 75 per cent of the Carawatha primary school site in Willagee for high-density housing and commercial development to any would-be developer.
Vincent Green
Charsley St, Willagee

Dobbed in
A WARNING to East Fremantle residents not to park your car in your own street for more than 24 hours! Should you do so and another person complains, you are liable for a $60 infringement notice.
After living in our street harmoniously and happily for more than 27 years, riding my bike to work and leaving it parked in the same place for a week or more at a time, or even longer when we would go away on holiday, this sadly occurred to us in the past month. I am sure other locals would be as shocked as we were to know such a law exists!
Trish Green
Sewell St, East Fremantle

Ramping up
I WAS very disappointed to find the South Metropolitan Aquatic Use Review was published on the Department of Transport website. There was a 30-metre ”access for vessels” shown on the map of changes, yet this change of use for South Beach is not mentioned anywhere in any of the written submission. One is left wondering if this was by accident or on purpose…. hoping that  South Beach would be saddled with a boat ramp.
John Tassicker
Marine Tce, Fremantle

Joy to the world
THIS weekend I lost my handbag after shopping at Coles, and an an amazing individual returned it to the police, completely intact.
I didn’t know there were people like this around in this day and age. So in my state of panic, not caring about my wallet but convinced I’d lost all my pictures of my newborn boy, I ran around the Woolstores and eventually made it to the station.
They said someone had brought it in right away. I honestly cannot thank this person enough. It makes me think nowadays when there is so much negativity, people still have the capacity for kindness and thoughtfulness.
I don’t know how to get hold of the person to thank them, it seems so insignificant but I was distraught. I’d so appreciate this mentioned in the Herald, to extend my gratitude to this amazing human being. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Stephanie Brockman
Hampton Rd, Fremantle

Turn the other cheek
TO the beneficent commodore and his 3000-strong congregation (Herald letters, December 12, 2015) — contrary to what you think, the Bible does not say: Give unto others that which does not belong to you.
CE Dortch
Howard St, Fremantle

And Roe it shall be
THE Prophecy of Roe 8 and 9. “And so it will shortly come to pass that a wise man will travel from the east to meet with King Colin of the west, bringing tidings of great comfort and joy at Christmas. The great road shall be built, removing accidents, congestion and pollution, improving house prices and saving Cockburn Sound from the Devil’s hand of environmental destruction.
“Cain will say unto his mayor that no longer can Cockburn hide its secret report from the people, nor bear false witness about the environmental damage to gain its 30 pieces of silver. The people will know that the road is good.
“In the court of Ludlum the money hast been cast on rocky soil and his tribes of lost sheep will see they have been misled and will need to rethink the link as they will no longer have anything to protest. Nalder will be anointed and people will worship him and the mayor of Melville and his twelve disciples for they have spoken the truth and they have saved lives, the sensitive Cockburn Sound, houses, jobs and businesses, and safety, good health and a merry Christmas will reign for all the people across the region.”
Jim Reddyhough

Too busy to lose
THE constant proposals submitted over the past 20 years for expanding Fremantle Sailing Club into our community space is disturbing.
Sunday December 13 was a mildly warm overcast morning and the carparks available to beach-goers were nearly full. I counted on Little Dog Beach, at 9am over the 30-minute period, about 60 people, plus 25 dogs and seven people swimming from groyne to groyne.
With the increase of dwellings and urban infill and the onset of another very hot summer I just cannot fathom how a small proportion of the community can threaten such an important and engaging community space. Little Dog Beach is going to be very busy. Maybe we should propose that the club open its sparsely used carpark to the beach community.
I do support the fact our kids (if they can afford it) have the opportunity to participate in the sailing club but I do think that maybe the club could reconfigure its internal space to assist the young, budding sailors passage to the ocean. It seems to have a lot of funds available. I say no to the expansion of the sailing club: leave it for the general community to enjoy!
Deb Pyatt
Hamilton Hill

Wake up!
THE Fremantle Sailing Club has probably nurtured more national and international world champions and Olympians than any Fremantle, indeed WA, amateur sporting institutions.
It employs a youth Olympic coach and even won the prestigious AYF coach of the year award this year. Optimist sailors start sailing as young as eight-years-old and sail “single handed” or by themselves in optimist dinghies. Optimist dinghies are 2.40 metres long and are an accredited recognised pathway vessel to many Olympic classes. There are more Optimists sailing than any other sailboat on the planet. The FSC currently has and trains a strong Optimist fleet.
Currently, Optimist sailing dinghies, skippered by eight-year-old children have to “tack” or “zig-zag” against the wind and waves out of a sheer, rocky-faced harbour exit which is the common exit for the three boat harbours South of Fremantle, being the FSC, the commercial fishing boat harbour and Challenge harbour.
These harbours are home to more than 500 vessels, many as large as gulf prawn trawlers and super yachts up to 40 metres long and weighing hundreds of tonnes, and the vessels are restricted in both manoeuvrability and visibility. It is the equivalent of sending an eight-year-old across a freeway, alone on a pair of roller skates. Disaster will happen.
Sailing is not an elitist sport. I know a man who recently purchased a racing yacht at 84-years-of-age. I know many sailing in their 70s. Sailing is a healthy, challenging friendly non-contact sport that can be enjoyed well into old age. It is non-violent, non-polluting and teaches a high respect for the natural environment, order, organisation and much, much more.
The FSC is not interested in a greedy “land grab”. It is merely responding to a healthy, safe requirement for a rapidly growing healthy activity for our children.
The current FSC land footprint was determined approximately 40 years ago. Things grow, things improve. As I recall the original clubhouse was an asbestos shed on Marine Terrace with absolute beach frontage about 1km north of its current location. This was before the construction of the Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour in the 1950s.
In fact I believe it is an — if not the — original sporting club in WA. Yes, I am a member of the FSC, and have been for 40 years. I also have two fantastic dogs who are family. They have legs — they can move up a bit. I love the Herald but I have never read a more biased campaign.
Wake up activists, and on the way home from the beach, make sure you buy your children a computer game, some lollies and a few spray cans!

Defence duds
THE acting CEO of the Town of East Fremantle is right on the money when he says (Herald, December 12, 2015) “we need to get this right, not just for our community but for the whole state” and he might well add “and for future generations”.
After 73 years of continuous occupation, Defence intends to bury its shameful past, maximise its dollar return and vacate the site with no dignity, no pride no honour and most certainly no thank you to the citizens of greater Fremantle who have welcomed the RAN and warships of many navies into their hearts and homes and extended hospitality and generosity on every occasion (FANG and the lunatic fringe notwithstanding).
Having categorically refused to consider any alternative use for at least part of the site, Defence simply wants the money to shuffle around its other ill-conceived and yet to be funded projects.
Retaining at least half the site as public open space in the form of an RAN memorial park (a tree for every ship sunk in action and a plaque for every WA sailor who lost his life at sea), establishing a PTSD and traumatic injury recovery and rest centre for ADF personnel, emergency accommodation for homeless veterans, aged care facility for former ADF personnel and a recreational facility for serving ADF members are all possibilities not entertained by Defence.
Yet again, eastern states-based bureaucrats are making decisions that impact on WA in a vacuum of ignorance and arrogance.
No doubt $20 million of the anticipated $100 million or more will go to the remediation of HMAS Platypus before it is gifted to the Sydney Harbour Trust, (NSW being a major beneficiary of Defence largesse over its former Sydney harbour sites — some 17 in all being gifted to NSW), some to offset the aborted sale of SAS houses at Swanbourne (helps to have the foreign minister and the premier, the area’s local MPs, on side) and some towards the restoration costs in the long-running debacle over the married quarters at the Army Museum, which have remained derelict and abandoned since the ‘80s. Now, Defence has decided it wants them back.
Strangely silent throughout have been those whom I would have thought would have raised their voices in protest.
Speaking up in protest have been a few state and federal politicians from both the major parties (the Greens are conspicuous by their silence) who have the foresight and wisdom to understand the value of public open space and the travesty its constant erosion by developers has on the quality of life of all who are adversely impacted by its loss.
I cannot help but wonder that if the Leeuwin Army barracks were located in anything other than a blue-ribbon Labor seat, then a more innovative and beneficial solution may have been found.
Goodbye Navy, goodbye Army, goodbye Defence, you have left nothing to remember you by except the shattered lives, dreams and careers of those many hundreds of young boys to whom the Navy failed its duty of care.
Kevin Bovill
ANZAC veteran

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