WE are two of the more than 50 people who attended the full meeting of the Fremantle council on Wednesday May 23 with the purpose of urging the city to reject Sunset Events’ proposal for a large shed tavern on Arthur Head.
We are also two of the 24 men and women, including many young people, who stood to address council about why this proposal was not right or good for Arthur Head and J Shed.
As long termers in this fight to save Arthur Head, it was heartening to hear the breadth and depth of argument and the strength and power of reason and rationale given by ‘the 24’.
Contrast this with just five men who stood to speak for the proposal.
At least three of the five being Sunset management or employees.
Perhaps a kind of knowing bemusement describes our reaction upon hearing mayor Brad Pettitt publicly refer to at least one of the Sunset proponents as ‘mate’.
This term of endearment was used to David Chitty, a director of Sunset as he was making his presentation.
Not one of ‘the 24’ concerned citizens who pleaded with council to ‘Preserve the Reserve’ and for non-tavern-driven activation could claim such rapport with mayor Pettit.
None of us were addressed by him in such familiar terms.
In the end the Sunset proposal was supported by a slim majority of one—councillors Sullivan, Fitzhardinge, Thompson, Hume and mayor Pettitt all voting for it.
Sadly in this sorry almost-five-year-long saga, it was not an unexpected result.
We left the meeting with the term ‘Freudian slip’ loudly echoing in our ears.
Cheryl Greaves and Maryrose Baker
THE Royal George Hotel needs protecting and we all have a part to play.
Last Wednesday night East Fremantle town council passed an amendment to its Town Planning Scheme to do just that. The amendment gives council the best chance of preventing a 21-storey tower being built at the rear of the hotel, which was purchased by Saracen Properties for $627, 000 (yes that is correct).
The developer and owner of the hotel site could still apply directly to the Development Assessment Panel for approval to build a 21-storey tower.
The residents of the town and those who profess to care about our history and heritage need to let our elected representatives in both Fremantle and Bicton (a marginal seat) know that a structure which would literally tower over the entire Fremantle area is not wanted.
We must support our council in its efforts to secure the restoration of the hotel and a sensible development with a maximum of six stories to the rear (north) of the building. This would not exceed the height of the historic hotel.
Show your support for East Fremantle Town Council by contacting your MP: Simone McGurk, Fremantle@mp.wa.gov.au, and Lisa O’Malley, Bicton@mp.wa.gov.au
George Street, East Fremantle
CULTURAL tourism versus a tavern? It’s really a no brainer.
A split council? It makes very little difference .
The majority of the council is hellbent on promoting this direction, for the greater good of Fremantle.
The time for a rethink is due: Embrace the history of Fremantle and if egos are dented so what, but we need to alter the direction Fremantle is taking.
If this tavern is approved, Freo will be the worse for it, but I strongly believe the application will be rejected, common sense prevailing .
Well done to the Herald for its comment piece on the tavern proposal in last week’s edition.
Varna Place, Coolbellup
THE worst thing about your report of the Fremantle council meeting of May 23 was not the four-letter expletive—removed Pravda-like from your online archive—but its lack of balance.
Emotions were high, but the parting shout of an emotional young woman was in no way characteristic of the meeting.
There was some foot stomping and applause, but nobody was ‘ejected’.
Twenty-nine people spoke and the mayor did well to keep them to the rules: in some cases insisting firmly that they wind up.
Emotions were high and many spoke from the heart, but there were many thoughtful contributions: from the dignified Brophos, historian Bob Reece, a carefully-presented analysis of the tendentiousness of the applicant’s arguments, and Mary-Rose Baker’s forceful contrasting of council’s routine acknowledgement of the traditional owners with its actions on Arthur Head.
These are not people who can easily be dismissed, as in your subsequent editorial, as ‘the crabs’ or mere ‘heritage buffs’.
They might even be willing to subscribe to the lofty sentiment expressed in your editorial.
But we reckon it is time for a rethink; time to move on.
We feel a serious conversation could help heal this ill-feeling.
Harvest Road, North Fremantle
Aplogise or resign
IT was discouraging to see your apology in last week’s Herald because it did not go far enough.
While apologising for the unbelievable failure which gave the impression that the man in the photo swore at the mayor, you tried to justify the use of the ‘F’ word in the headline.
Not only was this attempt pathetic in itself, you went on to have the word printed several more times.
Newspapers are supposed to rise above what’s said in pubs and clubs and streets.
By printing it several times in two editions (one of those occasions in a letter written by someone) you have seemingly sought to normalise it.
Someone said it at a public meeting. So what? Newsflash – it’s been said at public meetings before. It’s also been said at protests and even in courtrooms.
Yes, it’s on the Internet, but there’s lots of stuff online which isn’t appropriate for newspapers, whether they’re community publications or metro mastheads.
Newspapers haven’t printed it because it lowers the tone and reflects on the entire organisation.
Your headline also represents an utter lack of respect for the mayor, who was elected by the people. Presenting it as a quote doesn’t make a difference.
How many times do you think an elected official has copped four letter word abuse in public? How many times has a newspaper printed that abuse?
Your paper is free. We don’t get a choice whether it goes into our letterboxes. You have spread obscenity in the community.
Your paper used to provide an invaluable public service to the people of Fremantle, a generally highly educated group who tend to take an interest in the well-being and future of the city.
The tone in your paper has been lowered to a point from which it cannot return, unless there’s wholesale change at the top.
There are serious ethical issues at stake.
You’ve apologised to Herbert Bropho.
You need to apologise to the mayor and the people of Fremantle.