While council deliver a mantra of sustainability the signs of a collapse in the Fremantle economy is glaringly evident in the CBD.
I took a walk around the area and counted in excess of 40 properties which are empty, offered for lease, or moving. The total is probably closer to 60 as the Woolworth’s building houses a number of vacant outlets as does the Coles Woolstore. These pictures were taken within about 250m of the Town Hall
Very recently one new retail outlet, selling high quality home furnishings and decorations, has closed after six months. It was located in the Mall, opposite the Town Hall. The rent was $240,000, higher than similar sized properties in downtown New York.
Shepherd’s News agency have to move from their prime spot. It holds the longest serving tenancy of Fremantle. The original Shepherd’s News Agency was established in this building in 1908 and the current business owners have been there for 26 years. They now have to move aside for developers.
The Woolworths shopping centre, next to St Patrick’s, has been closed for a couple of years. It was gleefully broadcast that this would bring new life to the east end of the city. Opposite them the Hilton site, which used to contain a number of shops, is derelict and scheduled to become a temporary car park.
The centre hosted about 20 retail and office business’s. They were not included in my count of about 40 empty premises.
CODA, a mainstay of council’s PR sustainability spin, have closed shop and amalgamated with a Perth based company. CODA was a foundation stone of the Future Fremantle organisation, established to build a better Fremantle.
And finally, in one vacant shop window the mayor delivers his mantra of a vibrant city.
Mayor Brad Pettitt appears to be backing away from one of the most exciting election debate formats a candidate has ever proposed.
Mayoral challenger Ra Stewart has suggested a series of debates between Dr Pettitt, her and any other candidates who may run for the top job. A debate will be held in each of Fremantle’s wards, one a week for six weeks.
Locals to ‘have a go’ on their territory
The diversity in the demographics of each ward mean a 6×6 series will give residents of each ward the chance to question candidates on concerns which are specific to their locality.
This style of localised debates may help residents understand the importance of local government effect on everyday life.
Brad’s immediate response was enthusiastic, agreeing to have diverse debates. Six debates in six weeks will offer a lot of tempo and interest to the campaign. It’s an idea which deserves to succeed.
However Dr Pettitt appears to have distanced himself from the idea, indicating it is necessary to liaise with precincts. That is a reasonable point but precincts are not wards and his request appears to be a delaying tactic, maybe on the advice of his campaign team.
Ra Will Run Alone – unless candidates for local seats join the debate
Ra Stewart has resolved to run the debates alone which may be a little one-sided but an obvious expansion of her idea would be for local ward candidates to be part of a debate with her. This opens up a direct one on one discussion related to local issues.
The first debate is on the evening of Thursday 7th September, 5.00pm at the PCYC, 34 Paget Street, Fremantle.
And an apology to Brad: Sorry if the headline seemed a bit OTT but I just couldn’t resist it having considered the current family event. Best wishes to you all.