Vujcic joins race

• Marija Vujcic and team, including Steven Pynt and Jason Amaranti. Photo by Peter Zuvela

ANOTHER Fremantle councillor has put their hand up for the top job, with Marija Vujcic revealing a four-strong ticket which includes a forensic accountant, a lawyer and a businessman.

“We will bring back a city delivering best value for ratepayers,” Cr Vujcic declared at her launch on Tuesday, noting she wants another 10,000 of them living in Freo.

“We want the smart, innovative people returning from overseas to step up right now and make the changes for Freo,” Cr Vujcic said.

She later told the Herald she wants that innovation to stretch to architecture so new residents have something to look forward to if they’re heading home to more density: “You can’t put up a rectangle and get excited about it,” she said.

Opera House

Cr Vujcic even cited the spectacle of the Sydney Opera House as something to aim for when the city’s port operations are moved south to Kwinana and the vast expanse of North Mole is opened up for redevelopment.

“You really want something bold and with an international flavour, more than just some rectangles,” she said, calling out some of the recent developments along the border with Cockburn as bland and disappointing.

Cr Vujcic said she’d be seeking to develop a strong relationship with the state government to get good outcomes for the city on the port redevelopment, but also wants to “increase the pool of developers” operating in Fremantle to boost private investment and innovation.

She noted that she’d be the underdog in the race; having not always seen eye-to-eye with her council colleagues and having publicly criticising the council’s financial transparency, she wouldn’t be their flavour of the month.

“I opposed $1.3 million of ratepayers’ money going to business operators,” she said, also taking credit for exposing the city’s $8.5 million loss and massive land devaluation.

Her City Ward candidate is chartered accountant Craig Ross, who peppered the council with questions about the cost of the Walyalup Civic Centre during public question time on Wednesday.

Mr Ross claimed he’d calculated the true cost of the project so far at $53 million and rising, while the council claims it will be able to complete the job under $48 million.

Cr Vujcic said she wants to get to the bottom of why the council doubled its payments to builder Pindan just weeks before it went into receivership, saying she had “no trust” in the official explanation; she thinks the builder was trying to rake in cash before the crunch and the city got sucked in.

The team’s Hilton candidate is metallurgist and businessman Jason Amaranti, who has purchased several buildings in the Freo CBD in the hopes of creating a small mining hub.

Steven Pynt will run in South Ward; a commercial lawyer operating in Fremantle for 20 years, he says he’d like a review of density in the Heart of Beaconsfield redevelopment and parking in South Fremantle, and would bring experience in contractual overview and oversight to the job.

Cr Vujcic also told the Herald she has a brand new approach to tackling homelessness in the city, and while she wouldn’t go into detail yet, indicated it could involve training that could get people into employment within weeks.

by STEVE GRANT

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