Dowson clashes with candidate

RELATIONS between the Fremantle Society and city ward candidate Claudia Green have been strained, with society president John Dowson accusing her of bad behaviour.

Ms Green was formerly head of the Fremantle Residents and Ratepayers Association and was pally with Mr Dowson when the two organisations merged earlier this year.

But that soured when the society chose to support Mike Finn to run against her in October’s elections.

In the society’s last newsletter to members, Mr Dowson said the committee had “concerns with Claudia Green’s behaviour last year towards the Fremantle Society.”

That earned a stinging rebuke from Ms Green’s campaign manager Richard Mehan, who demanded it be retracted and Mr Dowson stop using the society’s newsletter to undermine her campaign.

Mr Dowson told the Herald he’d made the comments because Ms Green’s resignation from the society committee last year had been “disruptive”.

Since then, Mr Finn has withdrawn from the election, saying he’d been put off by the what is emerging as a pretty nasty social media commentary on the elections.

Mr Dowson, hoping to smooth the waters, says that will help Ms Green in her campaign.

He says the society has a raft of issues it wants addressed in the campaign, and top of the list is the return of heritage grants. The council has a policy for delivering cash to help owners of heritage properties do them up, but no money has been allocated since 2011.

“With over 3000 heritage-listed properties in Fremantle, owners need incentives to restore their properties for the common good,” Mr Dowson says.

He says the society also wants better quality buildings, repeating his recent catch-cry about a “tsunami of poor quality development”.

We ask again for a review of the Design Advisory Committee and a review and implementation of the local identity and design codes which council spent over $100,000 on.”

He says there are also gaps in the council’s environmental achievements, such as the city’s poor canopy cover, while there’s a cloud hanging over whether the council can really afford to rebuild its admin centre in Kings Square.

by STEVE GRANT

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