Bright idea for CBD 

Cr Hannah Fitzhardinge with Benny’s manager Nelson Galvao and owner Ivan Dzeba.

GRANTS for traders to install lighting in their shopfronts and tizz up their signage could help make Freo brighter and safer at night, says mayoral candidate Hannah Fitzhardinge. 

Cr Fitzhardinge has been working on the initiative with restaurateur and chamber of commerce president Ivan Dzeba, who owns Benny’s on the Cappuccino Strip. 

“I just noticed at night time when the businesses go home, they turn the lights out and there are corners and pockets that are dark and don’t feel comfy to walk in,” Mr Dzeba said. 

Cr Fitzhardinge said Perth and Adelaide councils have similar incentives, and while the South Australians offer businesses up to $10,000 each she’s thinking Freo’s should be pegged somewhere around the $4000-$5000 mark. 

She wants the council contribution to be up to 20 per cent of the overall cost and is pushing for LED lights, saying they will help illuminate CBD footpaths. 

Cr Fitzhardinge said walking through the business district, there were a lot of “shabby” sandwich boards which could do with a new lease of life.

But she acknowledges there has to be a “shared ownership” if the streets are to look their best, and says the council has to do its share in ensuring the paving is clean and things like seats in better condition.

She says the initiative has to have minimal red tape so it can provide a “quick win-win” for businesses and the council.

Mr Dzeba said recent council initiatives such as its Lego treasure hunt had been a great success in bringing families back to Fremantle during holidays, but there’s also been some lasting effect.

“The kids come back; they love their spaghetti,” he said.

by STEVE GRANT 

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