Letters 14.12.19

Christmas spirit?
THE other day I had some flowers stolen from the grave of my mother at the Fremantle cemetery.
I would like to say – I don’t care who you are, as stolen petals fall among thieves.
Having deliberately searched for a particular flower among many, someone stole this flower from my mother’s grave at Fremantle.
You have caused pain among the family of my mother.
There are many words describing those that steal from a grave, but in reflection you are not welcome in this place at Christmas.
May the flower you stole wither in your heart.
Harbour Road, South Fremantle

Burning desire
PLEASE pass on my sincere congratulations to Mrs Yvonne Barron, who wrote and contributed the excellent Thinking Allowed “Seeds of Disaster” (Herald, December 7, 2019).
I am sure we all “think aloud” but it seems that very few have the courage to express such opinions in writing and we all see things and complain that something should be done by someone else.
Rest assured that nothing will be done by any of the authorities without a public outcry.
My hope is that many of your readers will now recognise and understand the threat and take heed of a very timely warning, particularly those who unwittingly live in a “Flame Zone”.
Who planted these tinder boxes at our doorstep and what will be done to properly maintain them to reduce the threat?
Prevention is better than cure and residents need to do everything possible to reduce their personal risk in the event of fire in or near to their homes.
Fire and emergency services do a magnificent job, but the reality is they may only be able save a few houses in some circumstances.
State and metropolitan local governments are empowered to enforce property owners to meet various bush fire safety standards with a multitude of local laws, but fail to do so as they are invariably underfunded and understaffed and inadequately trained.
Local governments are also compromised by the fact that they fail to apply fire preventative measures on public land and fail to intervene in the vast majority of cases thereby setting a precedence for inaction.
Where does all the money collected as an “emergency services levy” actually go?
The issue of a few glossy publications are informative but I doubt if they motivate the majority.
Maybe a Christmas gift of a DIY fire extinguisher to a friend could spark their interest in the whole issue of “Prepare. Act. Survive.”
In my opinion there are severe weaknesses at every level of government that are unlikely to be resolved and the onus is back on residents to put their own properties in order.
Malcolm Doig

Happy page
WE enjoyed reading your recent edition of the Herald celebrating its thirtieth anniversary.
You seemed to be soliciting suggestions from readers.
May I humbly suggest you devote one page to good news stories?
There’s so much negative, depressing material pumped out of the media each day.
How refreshing and uplifting it would be to read an amusing, touching or good news story about human achievement, sacrifice or goodness?
Even a ‘Did you know that?’ section would interest us.
We all need to smile and be tickled.
Just a thought.
Lesley Saunders
Queen Victoria Street, Fremantle
The Ed says:
Thanks Lesley, we do try to weave some good news through the paper, but a stand-alone page sounds like a good idea.

Let’s clean this matter up
FREMANTLE Men’s Community Shed is always grateful to the Herald for any publicity and I thank you for highlighting the work of our Clean Team last week in the ongoing struggle to rid Fremantle of visual pollution.
The team which is comprised of volunteer shed members completes this task in the CBD area every Tuesday morning.
I must however point out the backing the city of Fremantle gives our organisation; the clean team activities are a significant source of funding that enable the shed to offer services to the greater Fremantle community.
The shed works effectively with several council departments and is thankful for this ongoing support.
We welcome members of the community to drop into the shed and have a look at what we do.
Mark Thomas
President, Fremantle Men’s Community Shed

Long thanks
THE team at St Patrick’s Community Support Centre and I have been on a high this week – following the resounding success of another Fremantle Long Table Dinner.
The flagship fundraiser from St Pat’s and our event partner The National Hotel is now in its fourth year – and has really become a whole of community event.
Every year I am astounded as more and more local businesses, organisations, venues, artists and individuals pitch in to help our city’s most needy.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the local businesspeople who kindly donated hundreds of items to be auctioned as part of the Freo Long Table Dinner Charity Auction. We gratefully received many quirky and wonderful things – which set in motion an exciting online bidding war.
My wife even got in on the action.
Once again, too, we were gifted beautiful paintings by some of our region’s most exciting artists.
On the night itself, the wine enjoyed by diners was donated by some of the state’s best-known wineries.
Meanwhile, many people gave their time, and deserve special thanks; the students from Empyrean Cooking School who volunteered their time to help the team of chefs at The National with the delicious three-course dinner, and our wonderful 150-strong team of St Pat’s volunteers who waited tables; served at bars; sold merchandise; gave their time so selflessly; and were so professional.
Funds raised from the Fremantle Long Table Dinner go directly to supporting the St Pat’s Day Centre, which provides meals; showers; clothing, food and toiletries; access to doctors, nurses and other health professionals; emergency relief by way of food hampers, vouchers and utilities bill assistance; for men, women, families and young people struggling.  In 2018-19, the St Pat’s Day Centre helped 200 people per day, on average, with their basic everyday needs.
Michael Piu,
CEO St Patrick’s Community
Support Centre, Fremantle

IT’S a shame the Herald no longer attends council meetings, or they would have known that the Lefroy Street development was not approved.
It was deferred so the applicants can amend the proposal to: “significantly reduce the variations sought to the building height, boundary wall, sight lines, driveway widths, visual privacy, primary street setback, outbuilding and primary street fencing requirements.
Rachel Pemberton
City ward councillor Fremantle
The Ed says: Thanks councillor; unfortunately council meetings clash with a production night for the Herald’s sister publication the Perth Voice, making attendance difficult. We normally check results of votes before running stories, but in this case overlooked that important step in the process. Our apologies to our readers for the error.

Art attack
DEAR Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt,
It may be policy to promote/support arts in the community, but the problem is you and your team are not artists.
Witness our colourful city car park – now matt black – there’s no excuse for that.
East Street, Fremantle

I FIND it a bit strange that Fremantle is providing free parking in its parking bays, when for years it’s been pushing its green agenda to get us out of our cars and use public transport.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission enforces the trade practices act.
All local governments are responsible for the competition effects of its actions, known as the competitive neutrality principle.
The overall aim was to remove competitive advantage from government business enterprises and parking is certainly a business.
When you give away products and services that are already being provided by private businesses, that is certainly anti-competitive trading.
No doubt every day ratepayers will be picking up the costs for lost revenue and compensation costs for lost income from private parking companies.
M Whitworth
Caribbean Drive, Safety Bay

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