Letters 6.5.17

Head in the clouds
THERE is no doubt that Fremantle is in decline, empty shops, neglected areas off the Cappucino strip, and at night the place looks desolate again apart from the strip.
In the meantime, the mayor and his cohorts have been busy politicking and making themselves warm and fuzzy with all sorts of social issues that are not within their remit.
The debacle of Australia Day celebrations is only one issue.
The banning of plastic bags is yet another (well if more shops close down, plastic bags will not be required anyway).
Rivers left as did Millers, both popular stores and there is little likelihood they will return, as for Myers, the building looks more dilapidated than usual.
The million-dollar proposed Kings Square transformation appears to be based on new offices for the council, although they were pretty quick to move into the Dockers old admin building (the chairs were probably still warm when they walked in).
A reduction in parking fees might be a good idea, free evening parking like there used to be, but certainly there seems to be a policy of laissez faire as far as doing something about the old shopping centre and beyond.
No doubt wiser heads than mine have some solutions, but it would be a good idea to do something constructive before any vestige of the city we love is swallowed up by soulless apartment blocks.
Geoff Dunstone
Carrington St, Palmyra

Mr Angry
I REFER to the story ‘Bus bullies anger’ (Herald, April 22, 2017).
Obviously the bus driver could not give them a talking to.
The source absolutely mortified about the behaviour of those two bullies from a Christian college for a period of two years?
I am at a loss about the person’s lack of action as a responsible adult.
He should have stood up and admonished those youngsters about custom, manners and indeed courtesy in public.
Clearly they had never heard about behaviour in school or at home.
With such inaction, I am not surprised that this society is going downhill fast.
Furthermore, with regards to the story ‘Bad Girl a head turner’, (Herald, April 22, 2017) about the film industry.
I heard it all before since the last century, including the studios idea on Murdoch campus land along Farrington Road.
The language being used by the art representative is anything but useful.
We don’t need that on an arts page.
Money must be invested in some infrastructure.
The commentator forgot that the public domain has only debt and an entrepreneur needs to make a profit.
Otto Mueller
Windilya Road, Murdoch

Fair?
I GENERALLY appreciate the fair reporting which we expect from the Herald.
However, the half page devoted in the edition of April 22 to opinion calling for building of Roe 8 after the proposal was ignominiously rejected by the voters of Perth and WA, was surprising.
One had hoped that you would then at least set the balance right with three times at least of opinion rejecting this silly fight-back.
But, nothing. Had your readers not complained to you? I certainly heard many grumbles.
Shortly before the elections I was at the intersection of Stock and Forrest Roads one morning where a new area of bushland was being bulldozed. A woman leaving had some pamphlets she’d been handing out at the intersection and asked if I would be able to complete the job.
Despite initial reluctance, I did so. I was utterly amazed at the level of support among the passing traffic for the protectors and rejection of the ill-conceived road and wanton damage being done. My very rough perception was that at least 80 per cent of the passing traffic with whom I interacted were opposed to this road and understood that it was not addressing the problems it was purporting to solve.
Similarly, door-knocking in Bicton and Melville for Rethink the Link before the election, I was encouraged that the majority of people did not want this destructive non-solution. This was borne out without any ambiguity in the election results in Bicton, Perth, indeed, the entire Western Australia.
This makes it ever more strange that the Herald, which we generally believe to be more sensitive and responsive to the concerns of the general public, chose to support this one-sided fight-back. It brings into doubt your apparently reasonable arguments for carrying the disgusting advertising by the Liberal Party about Roe 8 prior to the election.
In fact, there is a wide belief that the Liberal Party should be criminally investigated for this outrage and intentional destruction and Barnett be held personally to account.
Your public looks forward to seeing how you proceed and for an explanation of this uneven support of a lost cause.
Louis de Villiers
Melville
The Ed says: The Herald has never been in the practice of censoring opinions simply because they haven’t come from the herd, and never will. Publishing these views doesn’t indicate support; we felt that while we’ve carried a myriad of opinions against Roe over the years, we hadn’t really heard much from the “general public” who support the highway. This we thought, was an interesting balance.

Driving me mad
A RECENT article appeared in the Herald regarding the restricted vision of motorists at the corner of Lloyd and Parmelia Streets, South Fremantle (‘Verging on Silly’, Herald, April 8, 2017), and how the council is flexing authority regarding vegetation and some personalised parking control measures that have been added during a recent development.
Two streets up (a controlled intersection), cars are allowed to park on the islands past the stop signs.
You can’t see the intersection clearly for theses cars.
So what’s the city on about?
As parking on footpaths is rife here in South Fremantle then the question remains.
What’s the fuss about?
If I phoned each time I have to walk in the road because people park on or across the footpath, I would not be able to afford food for my table.
New start for a 61-year-old is only $1,050 a month.
William West
Harbour Rd, South Fremantle

No rah-rah for Ra
I HAD hoped that Ra Stewart would run for the City Ward councillor position as I believe she would be ideal for the role and make a valuable contribution to our city at this critical time.
Sadly, her mayoral platform shows a disappointing lack of knowledge or critical insight to what is actually going on.
For example: we already have an independent auditor sit on our audit committee and oversee our books, our marketing efforts already reach Hilton, Samson and the suburbs beyond – but what is needed is a wider metropolitan reach.
While we’d all like to see the state government invest more in Fremantle, raising the GST issue seems like obtuse and irrelevant popular distraction in a mayoral election.
In one breath Ra says central Fremantle is run down, in the next she questions the redevelopment of Kings Square — so what is her actual position on this?
Or what is her plan to revitalise Fremantle if she thinks this council is doing the wrong thing for our community?
What did she do to address the decline in retail and foot traffic as president of the Chamber of Commence for the past four years?
It is easy to criticise, but much harder to implement real tangible change, especially within the peculiar limitations of local government.
However that is what this council has successfully achieved, with over $139 million development completed, $256m currently underway and a further $220-500m underway within the next 12 months.
Fremantle’s renewal is finally coming to fruition.
This council worked with the community for over 12 months to develop a collective vision for the city, which informed our strategic plan and is now being systematically implemented, despite the challenging economic climate.
This is an exciting time for Fremantle as we undertake the most significant investment and renewal the city has seen in decades.
Our 10-year financial plan (currently in development and due for release in coming weeks) shows that we can deliver the Kings Square project; the most significant renewal project this city has undertaken, with no more than CPI increases in rates over coming years. There may be a couple of tight years in the short term but we will see a significant return on investment that can be reinvested in our community in less than five years.
And the loan for Kings Square can paid off in 10 years.
What Fremantle needs now is to keep our eye on the ball and stick to the game plan to reach our goal.
To fumble now would be to return to Freo’s reputation in the bad old days when “nothing ever happened” and it was “not a place in which to do business”.
I truly welcome Ra’s contribution to our city’s success.
However local government is a peculiar beast that takes a while to navigate effectively.
I am not sure now is a good time for an inexperienced mayor who wants to change the game plan in the final quarter (however we’re gonna need a couple of new star forwards!).
Rachel Pemberton
Fremantle councillor

Love and marriage
THOSE who oppose same sex marriage are still living in the dark ages or another planet.
Research into humane countries that have accepted same sex marriage and you will find that the sky didn’t fall. Many things were not acceptable in the past but they are now because of our critical thinking and our secularism. Many children adopted by gay couples are found to be happy as long as they are given unconditional love and not stigmatised by society as they used to do with children born out of wedlock.
Gay marriage made the 2 per cent of the population who were gay as happy as the 98 per cent who were heterosexuals, and was approved by 60-70 per cent of the population.
Isn’t that wonderful?
Alex Mulla
Smith St, Highgate

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