Letters 27.6.23

Rates up, services down

DID you hear the one about the City of Fremantle having a surplus of $2.1 million in 2021-22?

Was it just an urban myth?

After all, above inflation rates are pending.

And, major service cuts are pending – such as the looming CAT bus chop.

Yet we have the continued financial bleeding of the once-mooted Council depot site at Jones Street (up to 2021 year-on-year costs were $142,000 against rent of $12,000).

Thus it seems an important community service (also meeting the needs of tourists, and students) in the CAT bus is up for the chop – and a lame duck asset that is bleeding ratepayers dollars continues beneath the radar. 

How many other lame duck assets does the City have?

The CAT isn’t one of them.

Sean Hefferon
South Fremantle

CAT-lovers a caring kind

It was shameful to hear Fremantle mayor Hannah Fitzhardinge complain about locals using the CAT bus as it was intended for tourists. She singled out schoolchildren getting to and from school.

It beggars belief that the mayor is so resentful of her ratepayers. 

The service is used by locals and tourists alike often with locals helping tourists about what to see and which stop to disembark. 

If Perth City can have six CAT bus services, surely Freo can fund one.

Damien Takac
Fremantle

It’s a great deal for Freo

I’m writing to set the record straight about the Fremantle Society advertisement “Fremantle Markets, People’s Palace or Murdochs’ Money Machine?” published on May 19, 2023. 

The owner of the historic markets building, City of Fremantle, is responsible for structural repairs that were identified as urgent many years ago. 

Fremantle Markets Pty Ltd has offered to pay for these together with other building repairs, but needs a long term lease to offset the cost of these multi-million dollar repairs.

Long delays in resolving pressing commercial issues (such as security of tenure, urgent works) create a long list of other expensive problems. Given City of Fremantle councillors voted to authorise the then CEO to negotiate a new lease with us in 2020 to allow urgent works to go ahead, we cannot apologise for seeking to resolve this as soon as possible.

Our 150-plus stallholders have demonstrated a great deal of patience, working in less than ideal conditions. We do not believe this situation 

is sustainable or fair to these traders. Neither is it fair to our customers and visitors. That is the reason we are seeking to have this situation resolved as soon as possible.

We have no interest in moving our business. We simply want to operate from a structure that is safe and sound. However, if we cannot, after almost three years of trying, strike an agreement that allows these urgent works to go ahead, we have to consider how we can provide a safe environment for our stallholders and visitors.

On the issue of Fremantle Markets Pty Ltd running at a profit, we simply wish to point out that if we were not operating profitably, it would limit our ability to pay commercial rent, our rates, have a profit-share arrangement with council, and spend more than $350,000 a year promoting small Fremantle enterprises, the markets and Fremantle as a global tourism destination.

During Mr Dowson’s tenure as a councillor at the City of Fremantle (1996-1998 and 2005- 2011), which includes his role as Deputy Mayor (2005-2009), Fremantle Markets Pty Ltd paid over $3.5 million in rent and rates to the City of Fremantle. During this time, and under Mr Dowson’s watch, the only work carried out on the historic structure were the stonework restoration mortar repairs to the South Terrace facade that have since failed.

It is strange that Mr Dowson, despite professing concern about the state of the building, fails to support a constructive plan to pay for and conduct the urgent works to a heritage landmark. Instead, he attacks Fremantle Markets Pty Ltd and campaigns for delays that will inevitably result in further deterioration to this much-loved icon.

We hope the community will support our commitment to Fremantle. We believe we all benefit from caring for historic structures that are safe for our stallholders, visitors and tourists.  

Jamie Murdoch
Director
Fremantle Markets Pty Ltd

Will there be Voice in local matters?

IN response to “East Fremantle finds a Voice” (Herald, Saturday May 13, 2023). 

The proposed amendment to the Australian Constitution may well establish an ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice’ to the national Parliament, but it is by subsequent legislation, yet to be determined, how that ‘Voice’ will actually function. 

There have been several published descriptions of proposed legislative formats for the operation of the ‘Voice’ and generally the operative format follows the standard bureaucratic structure used throughout Australia. 

So it is proposed that the ‘Voice’, in Canberra, will be informed by various federal-level groups, various state-level groups, various local government-level groups and various community groups and even individuals.

So after the ‘Voice’ has been proclaimed, and in respect to every matter the East Fremantle council must deal with, how does the council feel about the possibility that each and every matter might be required to be assessed by representatives of the ‘Voice’ before the council is able to make an appropriate decision on each respective matter?

In considering a response, and as the council will be aware, due recognition must be given to the Racial Discrimination Act 1975.

Norm McNally
East Fremantle

Fair share

THE Fremantle CAT bus is a public transport service. 

How about our state government steps up and contributes a fair share of the cost?

Alan Payne
South Fremantle

Better spot

CONCERNS for the proposed wave park in Cockburn, in support of protected wildlife; the area around the Baldivis water ski park would be the ideal place to build the wave park.

But it would be outside Cockburn’s electoral boundary, and too far south of the metro area.

Frank Cherry
Southlake

It’s wrong!

MINING equals earth raping and there’s no expenses spared it seems for this industry.

Resort-style accommodation, top-notch food and pay that dwarfs every other worker’s lot. It’s all wrong.

Brad Capes
Coolbellup

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