CRUISE ships have started returning to Fremantle for the new season, but for passengers and crew it will be onto the same old bare and shadeless Victoria Quay.
On Friday October 20, the season officially began with the arrival of the Coral Geographer.
“There is a busy schedule of cruise ship visits planned,” Fremantle Ports government relations manager Neil Stanbury said.
Mr Stanbury is working with the City of Fremantle and Tourism WA to heighten passengers’ cruise ship experience and connect them to Fremantle.
Tourism WA released a strategic plan July 20 this year which aims to increase the number of vessels calling Fremantle home, partially by expanding itineraries which could see connections with regional Australia and South East Asia.
Fremantle will become one of two “turnaround” ports with Broome, with eight transit ports on the main routes.
The cruise industry through Fremantle was estimated to be worth more than $285 million to the economy in 2022-2023.
But the $7.5 million allocated by the Cook government in May 2022 to beautify Victoria Quay hasn’t resulted in any softening of the harsh industrial area for passengers.
Shade, landscaping and pedestrian cycling pathways were just a few of the plans proposed for enhancing Victoria Wuay.
The Department of Planning and Heritage denied the plans had stalled and said the design phase was underway, with works expected to start in 2024.
But Fremantle Society president John Dawson reckons early drawing were scrapped when he complained about and “inappropriate suburban garden plan for the gritty industrial heritage area”.
“Hopefully the next set of plans actually follow the conservation plan that the Fremantle Society spent eight years getting Fremantle Ports to commission,” he said.
by AVIA FRANKHAM and MARLENE TANNENBERGER