THE Swan River Crossings project has been around for two years and Main Roads WA has at last done us a favour; produced an option so universally unloved that Fremantle council has finally decided enough is enough and come out in support of the community to demand that the design be subject to a proper community consultation process.
East Fremantle will almost certainly join them.
When the project was first announced the council was conned into a confidential consultation exercise involving only the mayor and CEO; the elected members (and the community) having no say.
Three elaborate public forums followed from which the result was that of the bridge options on offer, the one west of the Traffic Bridge was selected.
This was the singular good (or least bad) result of all those hours of work by community members and a phalanx of public servants.
Those forums, however well and fairly run as they were by Nicole Lockwood, were hamstrung by a restrictive government agenda that paid no heed to the profound implications of the outcome for the region’s transport network.
The present option emerged out of the blue for most of us and was greeted with community wide bewilderment.
SOS – Save Our Shores, among others, mobilised public opposition with the result that following a recommendation from the council’s finance and policy committee, the full council resolved last Wednesday to unanimously support their officers’ recommendation that included:
“Requests that at least two distinctly different and workable options (in addition to the reference design from July 2021) are presented in full to the community for engagement, discussion and feedback.”
In doing so council supported an amendment from Crs Sullivan and Groom that even more forcefully set out the consultation process to be followed.
What MRWA and the Alliance who are running the project make of this remains to be seen, but they need to reflect seriously on their own flawed consultation methodology and concede that they could have spared themselves a great deal of pain and expense by acknowledging not just the community’s level of knowledge and expertise, but the depth of our attachment to our river and the environment of its crossing point.
North Fremantle Community Association
Do the math
BE very careful when filling out Fremantle council’s survey for reducing councillor representation.
The survey for ratepayers says that under proposed reforms, the City is entitled to nine councillors.
But most of the options in the survey provide for fewer than nine.
There are some recommendations for only FIVE councillors including the mayor.
Imagine the workload for those who are left.
This, then in a growing council area, and where a planned towers project in the North Freo Ward is likely to increase the number of ratepayers by 50 per cent.
Is Freo Council helping the state government make local government irrelevant?