Letters 23.7.22


“DEAR Notre Dame – we need to talk,” wrote [Fremantle mayor] Hannah Fitzhardinge to the Herald on May 14, 2021.

The recent letter to the Herald from councillor Rachel Pemberton claims that the context of Fremantle council’s decision to increase residential rates by a proportion that is different from the increase in commercial rates sheds light on the issue of that differential.

That ”context” is explained by Cr Pemberton as being that businesses, especially in the CBD, “will pay more again” and council has rising costs and wants to improve infrastructure and invest in improvements.

Cr Pemberton is right of course; council does have rising costs and Fremantle sure does need improvements. But council needs to look beyond rate increases. That’s just the easy way out.

Alternatives are obvious: fiscal responsibility, efficiencies, commercial rents for council owned properties let to private operators (eg. Fremantle Markets!)

And not to forget – Notre Dame University, which is the  biggest single occupier of West End property. Its students and staff freely use the CAT buses and council provided car parks and council funded public open spaces. 

It pays $0, as the Local Government Act does not permit councils to levy rates against educational institutions.

Under a 2012 Memorandum of Understanding between Fremantle Council and Notre Dame University (NDU) it was a financial contributor (a paltry $75,000 per annum) to the Fremantle’s Council’s costs from which it derived a benefit. That MUA ended in 2019.

What have Cr Pemberton, her fellow councillors and the mayor done to negotiate a renewed MUA with Notre Dame University that will ensure a fair financial contribution by NDU? 

I would have thought that contribution should be in the millions.

Jenny James

Still waiting…

MAIN ROADS WA and the City of Fremantle endorsed an agreement to upgrade High Street, which included the Fremantle Public Golf Course being replaced with similar facilities and function.

MRWA was to pay, and Fremantle council to control the work on the golf course.

FPGC closed on June 30, 2020.

The golf course reopened in February 2022 with a temporary golf shop.

The temporary facility is very basic and has no seating/eating/meeting area under cover from summer/winter weather. It is not suitable for a long-term solution.

We have been waiting all this year to hear the result of the tender for the replacement clubhouse and community facility. 

And now have received news that it is to be re-tendered at a more favourable time.

When will this be, and who will it be more favourable for?

This is truly a pathetic story and sounds as if Fremantle council are holding onto the funding to suit themselves and prop up their bank account.

Helen Cariss
President Ladies Golf Club 

The Ed says: It was disappointing to trek up there a couple of weekends ago to give the new course a try-out, only to find they no longer hire out junior-sized clubs. Shouldn’t we be encouraging the next generation of young golfers as they could be tomorrow’s paying customers?

A joke?

I REFER to the article “Freo’s Time comes” that appeared in your last edition (Herald, July 16, 2022).

When I read the above named article, I didn’t know if it was a joke or not.  For Fremantle to be named by Time magazine as one of the top places to visit, I couldn’t believe it.

I suppose that if you like looking at vacant businesses and shops, walking past beggars in the street and hear people shouting obscenities at each other, then I suppose that good old ‘Freo’ is a great place to visit.

I was discussing this matter with a few friends over a coffee and one of them said “there must be some shithole places in the world if Fremantle gets a guernsey”.

What I’m waiting for now is for Vladimir Putin to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Steve Grady

Stronger laws

THE five-yearly State of the Environment report, released today by environment minister Tanya Plibersek, finds Australia’s natural environment is in poor condition and is deteriorating due to increasing pressure from climate change, habitat destruction, invasive species, pollution and resource extraction. 

We need strong national environment laws, an independent regulator to enforce them and adequate funding for the recovery of Australia’s threatened species and the restoration of degraded landscapes. 

Australia also needs to champion ambitious international goals to halt and reverse biodiversity destruction, end extinction and protect at least 30 per cent of land and seas by 2030.

Karen Witcombe
South Fremantle

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