DEVELOPER Gerard O’Brien has blasted Fremantle council after his plans to redevelop the Woolstores Shopping Centre were knocked back by the state-controlled development panel this week.
Mr O’Brien says he was gobsmacked when councillors Rachel Pemberton and Jon Strachan stopped the JDAP meeting to brief the other members, behind closed doors, on legal advice the council had received on the development.
“I can’t believe the lengths this council goes to, to stop development as I have never seen this type of action in a JDAP meeting,” Mr O’Brien told the Herald.
He says the state-appointed members of the panel would have been put in a very awkward position by the councillors’ antics.
“Fremantle is definitely not wanting development and when you look at how badly the Cantonment Street precinct looks, it is beyond comprehension.”
Mr O’Brien has previously flagged that if the development was knocked back he’d just give the Woolstores a bit of a make-over, but he’s not quite there yet.
“Future actions are unknown … Rome looks nice with a glass of shiraz,” he wrote.
Local chamber of commerce CEO Olwyn Williams says they’re extremely disappointed in the decision.
“Fremantle still needs to attract significant investment to make planning vision come to reality and this process certainly does not bode well for attracting the investors we need. This will have a significant impact on our economic development.”
by STEVE GRANT