LETTERS 14.3.20

Silver lining
FREMANTLE lovers have something to crow about and it is the excellent renovation of Manning’s Buildings along Market Street and the High Street Mall rounding into William Street.
Fremantle developers Silverleaf, aka Gerard O’Brien, have spent an absolute poultice of money restoring the old building and its façade, and driving a new arcade into what will be a new bright Paddy Troy Lane, and at the same time creating nearly 3000sqm of office space on the first floor with fabulous interiors.
For one of the anchor tenants, the Frichot Lawyers’ offices bold white walls with dark metal verticals fill the space that until the 1930s was the Majestic Theatre.
In line with the rule book for restoration of old buildings, “The Burra Charter”,  exposed brickwork and other elements of the past identify with original aspects of the restored building.
Further on, past the Frichot offices, ample walkways lead to new offices retaining the old fireplaces of the original.
All in all, Fremantle is the winner, with high grade office space being newly available for large and small businesses in first floor space that has mostly been vacant for 80 years.
Also the streetscape has been enhanced and the windows at both ground and first floor lovingly rebuilt in period frames with a modern finish.
Releasing such a large area of office space will bring new workers into Fremantle to the benefit of the business community and help build up the general amenity of our city.
No doubt in this age of the “outrage culture” there will be other voices, but for Fremantle lovers we will all say “more power to your arm Gerard – we Fremantle citizens are mightily pleased with your efforts”.
Peter Dowding,
former Labor premier of WA
South Fremantle

Hip to be square
NECESSARY changes are an important part of any city’s growth, but only acceptable if common sense and balance are involved in the decision-making. 
Unfortunately, the present suggestion to rename two historic squares – Kings Square and Queens Square – appears to be another case of change for change’s sake.
The current trend for change reminds me of the failed attempt made in 1987 to remove the name of Arthur Head  and replace it with West Head, an opinion supported by the then city planner Jeremy Dawkins.
The controversy enraged not only local identities but a wide section of West Australians, most of whom felt that  tampering with history and introducing new geographic and meaningful place names would confuse visitors, outdate tourist and educational literature, and gradually dilute some of the port city’s significant contribution to the past in the lead-up to the state’s bi-centenary.
Despite the obvious need for progressive change it may be timely to remember that our past is our heritage and without  some form of continuity and understanding, the sequence of events that established our roots and shaped our destiny will be lost along with a  sense of place.
Fremantle has long been recognised as the gateway to WA and  the city can boast the existence of the oldest building in the state.
Its rich history includes 29-year-old captain Charles Howe Fremantle taking formal possession of the whole of the western coast of New Holland in the name of King George IV.
The lieutenant governor James Stirling named the future port in Fremantle’s honour for the lengthy assistance given by the young naval officer and his men, before and after the first settlers set foot on the mainland from their temporary existence on Garden Island.
The port city it seems can also claim to be the Swan River Colony’s first mainland settlement.
With regard to Aboriginal place names, many have been rightfully chosen to identify Australian suburban and regional towns etc.
However, some have proved  difficult to both spell and pronounce.
Midgegooroo is perhaps a splendid example and  my bet is that any public square given that title will in no time be labelled Midge Square.
Ruth Marchant James OAM

Divisive move
AS a resident/ratepayer of Fremantle for more than 50 years and an ex-serviceman and firefighter with 25 years of service to the city, I am disappointed (to put it mildly) at our council suggesting changing the name of Kings Square.
In naming the civic centre Walyalup, I feel we have respected the Aboriginal connection to our city and the land on which it stands.
I ask that same respect be afforded to our history.
In moving forward we must all remember and respect our past.
To change the name of Kings Square will create division, when we should all be enjoying the square and its development.
Speak up people before it’s too late.
Henry Street, Fremantle

Virus ahoy!
ON Tuesday morning at the not-so-salubrious Bathers Beach, another dog walker and I were momentarily disconcerted to see a huge cruise liner edging its way into Fremantle Harbour.
The vessel is of the numerous kind sailing globally with minimally 1000 member crews and carrying more than twice that many passengers. 
In recent weeks, both the city and the port of Fremantle have been congratulating themselves on the benefits of increased frequency of visits by these vessels.
What the hell? 
I feel like the minor character at the end of the 1949 Cecil B de Mille biblical epic Samson and Delilah, where at a victory feast given by Delilah (Hedy Lamarr) at the Philistine temple, the captured and now blinded Samson (Victor Mature) is hauled in to be laughed at by guests.
Chained between two fake stone columns, Samson prays to Jehovah: ‘Oh Lord, give me strength!’ and with a tremendous effort pushes the columns over.
As the cardboard blocks of the roof (no polystyrene back then) come tumbling down, one of the guests – in total contrast to Delilah and her screeching other guests – holds up his brimming wine goblet and smilingly and calmly states ‘Delilah!’ seconds before being flattened like a cockroach.
In coming months, whenever I am at Bathers Beach and one of these cruise liners enters the harbour, I shall squarely face it and in my best Philistine, unsmilingly pose, mutter ‘Delilah!’
An urgent comment then to the port and city authorities, and to the state government: you only have days or even hours in which to decide how much longer cruise liners or other potentially virus-bearing vessels can be allowed to berth in Fremantle or other ports in WA.
C Dortch
Howard Street, Fremantle

It’s a scoosh
IN last week’s Herald Jan Rodda wrote a lovely humorous article “Take a leaf from our ancestors’ book” suggesting we should replace toilet paper with plant leaves.
Surely this can be done.
When we were kids, if caught short in the bush, we used gumtree leaves.
But they were hardly soft, and I fear they didn’t do a very good job
So in answer to Jan’s article I would like to speak on behalf of the plants.
Sure we would save many trees if we stopped making toilet paper.
However there are more than one million people living Perth.
If we all on average used just five leaves per day, by the end of just one week we would have removed 35 million leaves.
Plants with suitable leaves would be stripped leaving them looking as bare as those shelves in our supermarkets.
Surely it is time we followed the French and started building dwellings with bidets.
My, somewhat limited experience with bidets, is that you leave the toilet feeling cleaner than you do with our present day primitive paper system.
We would also be saving many trees/plants.
Gordon Mac Nish
East Street, East Fremantle

I’VE just been to Coles – not a sheet of toilet paper left on the shelves.
Should I blame the visiting cruise ships or the fact that Fremantle seems to have more than its fair share of halfwits?
Such madness in these sobering times, what does one say to these idiots, thank goodness for the Fremantle Herald.
Robert Swiper
Address supplied

Protect kids
I was reflecting on the Herald article “‘Risky’ jetty to go” (January 11, 2020) as I sat on the river wall at Harvey Beach in North Fremantle, watching children and adults jump off the dilapidated jetty.
And who can blame them given the heat and humidity we have endured over the last month.
While Fremantle council has haphazardly placed some fencing around the jetty, as your article noted people were simply “jumping the barrier tape and continuing to use the jetty”.
It is in fact even simpler than this, with no jumping required.
One can merely walk around the fencing to continue use the much-loved jetty.
The Harvey Beach jetty has been in a significant state of disrepair for months and is a genuine hazard to anyone who is on it or swimming around it.
One only needs to look back to the collapse of the Rottnest Island’s Army Jetty in October 2018 for an example of how poorly managed infrastructure can result in significant injury and in that case the near-death of users.
Last year’s report by KPMG into the Army Jetty collapse concluded: “Risk management activities did not adequately capture and respond to Army Jetty risk” during much of the eight years before the collapse.
KPMG also stated: “Regardless of development plans over a jetty, or how a jetty is used whether it be for boats and vehicles or for pedestrians only, if it is in service, recognised good practice still requires structured asset management processes to keep it safe and serviceable. However, asset management practices over the Army Jetty during the Review Period did not meet recognised good practice.”
Fremantle council should pay attention to the failures highlighted in the KPMG report.
The risk of injury to people from using Harvey Beach jetty in its present condition is foreseeable and significant (the Rottnest incident has shown that). Fremantle Council is (or should reasonably be) aware of the risk posed by the jetty and has not taken steps to remediate the jetty or properly prevent access to it to avoid the risk of harm.
I am aware that the Fremantle Council has received a formal proposal to remediate the Harvey Beach jetty for a price of around $70,000.
I understand the repairs would take approximately one week.
As a long-term resident of Fremantle (and user of the Harvey Beach jetty) I find Fremantle Council’s on-going negligence concerning, and the failure to remediate the jetty disappointing.
Tim Muirhead
North Fremantle

PC Square
IF Kings Square is to be renamed, may I suggest Woke Place would be entirely appropriate having regard to the politically correct airheads who masquerade as managers of the Fremantle’s assets for the benefit of its ratepayers.
I would bet not one of them has read the local government act from cover to cover.
It circumscribes their powers and delineates their duties.
Political grandstanding is not sanctioned.
Nor is virtue signalling.
Peter Nisbet
North Fremantle

Bon news
Hello, I’m the President of the Good News Club.
Surely you’ve heard of us?
On March 1 I attended The Highway to Hell gig.
The liquor store ran out of beer but that didn’t matter.
However if that wasn’t your “First Choice” there was the RSL and they ran out of beer, but that didn’t matter.
The Leopold was packed and people were refused entry.
Even Derrick was refused entry and for those of you who know Derrick, that’s saying something, but that didn’t matter.
What mattered was the atmosphere and positive vibes of all who attended – from the five-week-old baby who participated in the record breaking air guitar event to Derrick’s mum.
Lee Lövmark
Marine Terrace,
South Fremantle

Funny farm
ANIMAL abusers on factory farms were delighted with federal and state governments’ knee jerk reactions to exposés by animal activists, announcing legislation which made penalties for entry onto a farm far more draconian than other forms of trespass.
A criminal stalking your home could easily receive a lighter sentence than a person trying to detail animal abuses, such as chickens suffering in filthy, windowless sheds with 40,000 other birds, or animals being branded, dehorned or castrated without pain relief.
But now the abusers are screaming, as the legislation is revealed.
In a turn up for the books, the most recent legislation in Western Australia is giving vast new powers to animal welfare inspectors to enter premises without a warrant or prior consent.
Desmond Bellamy
PETA Australia

FREMANTLE mayor Brad Pettitt appears responsible for all that ails Herald letter writer Mark Woodcock.
I hope that doesn’t include halitosis and haemorrhoids.
Luckily, if Brad wins Greens preselection and then wins in the state election, he will be too busy running around the country with the other Greens lighting bushfires, starting floods and no doubt spreading Covid-19 to worry good old Mark.
Mark is a purveyor of fine Fremantle whine.
Barry Healy
White Gum Valley

Love live the King
WITH regard to the Herald article “Square renaming floated” (Herald, February 22, 2020).
The article raises serious questions about the council and its process.
Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt believes the “’enlightened’ community will support this change”.
This infers that those who do not agree with him and support this change are not “enlightened”.
Unfortunately it is a growing trend to infer the reader is “stupid”,” uneducated” or “not enlightened” to bully readers to support their cause. It is arrogant and insulting.
It also shows a lack of inclusiveness which this council boasts about.
Arguments for changing the name do not stand up to scrutiny and show a lack of understanding in what they are doing and/or total disregard and respect for heritage.
“There is a Kings Square in Perth”, “it is not a square”, it is “nondescript”, “few would know which king it is named after”.
There are many kings (and queens) squares, parks and gardens across Australia.
They are not named after a king but used to stress their importance as a place for the community to meet and relax.
Septimus Roe’s original plan names it as Kings Square because he was not naming it after a particular king.  To change the name because other squares have the same name is as ridiculous as changing the name of High Street, Parry Street etc because streets in other suburbs have the same name.
The boundary of the original square still exists bounded by Queen, Adelaide, William and Newman Streets.
Ironically councillors cannot recognise the square because they have destroyed it with the monument to themselves.
It is not only unrecognisable but unable to serve its original purpose due to council’s destruction of the square by building within the square.
Name and address supplied

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