THERE was a rare bit of joy for a safe seat this week with Labor promising $2 million towards a 177-bay park and ride facility in North Fremantle if it wins the looming federal election.
Shadow infrastructure minister Anthony Albanese briefly dropped by the proposed Port Beach Road site with Labor incumbent Josh Wilson on Tuesday to make the announcement.
“It ticks all the boxes, and you guys will do it, so we will fund it directly through you,” Mr Albanese told Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt.
Fremantle council will also kick in $600,000 towards the project and has prepared detailed plans including pedestrian cross-overs to both the nearby train station and the Fremantle Surf Lifesaving Club.
Club committee member Mick Burke said the site was currently used as an informal car park and the upgrade was timely.
“The thing is you’ve got a major beach here and a major beach there, and on a hot day in summer when we have a carnival on, it gets packed,” Mr Burke said.
As if to emphasise his point, there’s a car bogged in one of the informal entrances when everyone arrives for the photo op.
Mr Albanese says the land is owned by Fremantle Ports, but he’s not expecting any problems getting approval for the new facility.
Mr Wilson said new train stations were being built in Perth with adequate parking, but it was important to invest in upgrades to older stations like North Fremantle.
“One train can take hundreds of cars off our city’s roads,” he said.
That is why it is critical that governments invest in facilities to encourage greater use of public transport.
“In this case we also get an expansion of safe parking that serves the acute needs of the Fremantle Surf Lifesaving Club.”
Mr Wilson said he was also pleased to see that his call for a replacement for the nearby Fremantle Traffic Bridge has been picked up by the McGowan government, which recently put it back on WA’s wish list for assessment by Infrastructure Australia.
The proposed park and ride sits beside an old industrial strip which has been subject to speculation about its future after being purchased recently by developers.
Dr Pettitt said the developers’ plans to continue the precinct’s apartment expansion was being hampered by the McGowan government’s resistance to a rezoning until its Westport Taskforce has delivered its final verdict on the state’s port and freight needs.
by STEVE GRANT