Hill dream closer

A LONG-HELD dream to transform Cantonment Hill into the “Kings Park of the south” is a step closer, courtesy of a $2.2 million grant from Lotterywest.

Fremantle council’s vision for the former defence department-owned site is costed at $9.5m all up.

“For years Cantonment Hill has been dormant as a community space, but it has massive potential to become a striking entry point into Fremantle and a fantastic passive recreation space all West Australians can enjoy,” mayor Brad Pettitt said.

The grant will help with stage one landscaping, including playground equipment and picnic facilities at the patch known as Tuckfield Oval.

South metropolitan Liberal MLC Simon O’Brien handed over a funding certificate to the council on Thursday morning and congratulated the city for its efforts.

“It is a significant entry for Fremantle — you get that sense of palpable relief crossing the river, “ Mr O’Brien told councillors, staff, Fremantle Labor MLA Simone McGurk and community members who’d worked on the plan.

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“Now, if you wanted something to focus on — and you’d better check the figures with them — but I think you’ll find this is the biggest grant from Lotterywest in this round, so that gives an indication of how significant they thought this project is,” Mr O’Brien said, turning to the Herald.

We checked — it was.

The first stage will also see a major revegetation project on the hill’s Bush Forever site and the signal tower and naval store put back into use. The naval store has been leased to Enkel to run a creatives hub, and the signal tower, with its sweeping views across the harbour and out to sea, will be the new home of Fremantle sea rescue.

The sea rescue news remains a sore point for local community members Stephen Anstey and Patrick Howard: Mr Howard told the Herald he’s happy there’s money for the project but he still feels the community working group for the hill was “stabbed in the back”. The working group had hoped for a community facility, including an interpretive centre.

Mr Howard claims the sea rescue deal was one of the reasons behind Robert Fittock’s demise at the October elections: locals had been so upset with the former north ward councillor’s role in the deal they’d campaigned hard for Bryn Jones to knock him off.

by STEVE GRANT

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