FREMANTLE council is miffed its East Freo neighbour is pulling out of a long-running arrangement to share the costs of running the Fremantle Library.
Although Fremantle’s community development director Fiona Hodges was playing the withdrawal with a straight bat, a councillor told the Herald it was a bit stiff for East Freo to pull out after posting a $700,000 surplus this year.
“It’s up to the town of East Fremantle to decide how to best serve its residents and ratepayers,” Ms Hodges told the Herald.
“The City of Fremantle is continuing to provide first class library services in our temporary home at Fremantle Oval and our new library in Kings Square will be truly outstanding when it opens in 2020.”
East Fremantle residents will still be able to sign up as members of the library, but the Herald understands that free parking permits that have previously been offered are at risk.
Ms Hodges said East Fremantle had been contributing $200,000 a year to the library, but had reduced that to $150,000 and will completely pull out after that.
East Freo mayor Jim O’Neill says it’s because not enough of his shire’s bookworms are going to Freo any more.
”Most residents are using the Melville library because the parking is better, although members still have access to the library until the end of the year,” he said.
The Freo library houses much of the smaller municipality’s historic collection, and Mr O’Neill said negotiations were underway for new storage locations, with some moving to Dovenby House after an agreement was reached with the WA Museum in June 2018.
While opting out of the library, East Freo has opted in to Fremantle’s revamped recycling centre on Montreal Street.
The centre gives East Freo residents a place to get rid of tricky items like paint and batteries in addition to general cardboard, plastic and recyclables.
Residents will also be allowed to bring household bulk waste four times a year, getting rid of the need for verge-side collections starting in 2019/2020. There will also be the addition of a new skip bin service.
“It’s proven really popular with Freo residents so it’s really exciting now that our neighbour East Freo will be part of it and be able to use it as well,” Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt said.
“What’s really important about the centre is that the recycling rates are much better than just simply putting stuff out on your verge and waiting for the truck to come and pick it up and take it to landfill.”
Mr O’Neill says he’s sure East Freo residents will love the system and contributing to an environmentally positive initiative.
by MOLLY SCHMIDT
and HARRIET BURROWS