FREMANTLE mayor Hannah Fitzhardinge has set her goal for population growth in the CBD way too high.
In an interview with Mark Naglazas for WA Today, the Freo mayor said she wanted to increase the CBD population from its current 1,500 people to 10,000. “It’s a high number, but why not aim high,” the mayor is quoted as saying.
Let me explain to Mayor Hannah why her “high” is far too high and why it is unrealistic.
Getting 10,000 people to live in our relatively small CBD would be a disaster; a devastation.
It would absolutely destroy the unique character, ambience and lifestyle Fremantle is known and loved for.
Let’s do the numbers.
If we allowed for an average of two people occupying an apartment, we would need a massive 4,250 new apartments for an extra 8,500 people in the CBD. We’re talking about an area from Market Street to Parry Street, and from Elder Place/Beach Street to Wray Avenue, since the heritage-listed West End has a limit of four-storey buildings.
Even if we extended what we call the CBD from Parry Street to Finnerty Street, building that many high-rises would still be a visual disaster.
Keep in mind that the mayor is not talking about North/South Fremantle, Rouse Head, Victoria Quay (where there’s a mandated buffer prohibiting housing), etc. but only about the CBD.
It’s a long stretch to believe developers would even find enough suitable sites in the compact Fremantle CBD to accommodate the 10 apartments per floor needed to reach the mayor’s target.
Maybe Mayor Hannah would prefer a couple of dozen 20-storey buildings instead? Sorry, Hannah, but it is a truly ludicrous suggestion.
Here’s a snippet of fact and reality. I live in a seven-storey building that has 49 apartments. About 70 per cent of the units are occupied by a single person, there are seven B&B and the remainder of the apartments have two people living in them. I wonder what the figures for Little Lane (eight storeys,70 apartments) and Heirloom are?
It is very disappointing that during the time where Fremantle council is reaching out to the community for suggestions for the new Strategic Community Plan, the normally well-informed Fremantle Mayor is expressing a brain fart of tsunami proportions.
We want progress and development in Fremantle and we need more people living, working and visiting. We also want a council and mayor who are full of optimism and let developers know that Freo is keen on new development, but suggesting that 10,000 people could be accommodated in our CBD is ignoring facts.
That is not proper city planning.