Council to sell community sites

FREMANTLE council is poised to sell three properties currently leased out on peppercorn rents to a charity childcare centre, an old folks’ home and a budget dentistry.

The properties include Wanslea Family Services’ childcare centre in Quarry Street, the Fremantle General Dental Clinic on Parry Street and Silver Chain’s nursing home on Laidlaw Street, Hilton.

Council staff say they’ll be recommending next month that the trio are put up for sale by tender, partly on the basis they were mis-classified as part of the council’s investment portfolio instead of community purposes.

A report to the council meeting on Wednesday night says the Quarry Street site would be “ideal for private development” while the dental clinic is “not a strategic site for council and is ideal for private residential development”.

The old folk’s home in Hilton is not considered strategic, and while staff make no comment on its future potential, mayor Brad Pettitt says it’s likely the council will try to sell the site to Silver Chain or another aged care provider.

He says he hasn’t got much detail on what staff have proposed, but believes there have been discussions about moving the dental clinic to Fremantle Hospital which is currently under-utilised.

The clinic, which is run by the health department, has its genesis in a service for disadvantaged children which was created by former Fremantle councillor Jack Gustafson who convinced a group of local dentists to participate. The clinic was set up on High Street, but in 1952 it was taken over by the state dental health services with Cr Gustafson as chair and its clientele broadened to include adults.

The clinic was moved to its current Parry Street site in 1956, with the original building demolished and a new one built in 1994. There are currently 13,660 people within the clinic’s catchment who are eligible for public dental care.

We flicked questions to Wanslea, the dental clinic and Fremantle council but didn’t hear back.

by STEVE GRANT

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