Korcula, heritage and place activation

One of Korcula’s many similarities to Fremantle is that in summer months it attracts lots of tourists to a heritage town in great Mediterranean weather.

What it does differently is activate the spaces with innovative and sometime temporary structures that enable residents and tourists alike to really enjoy the City.

Doug has kindly edited the following video that will give you a sense of the old city:


 I also wanted to share with you a few of my favourite examples of activating heritage spaces:

Video projections and temporary cafes and bars – many of the café/bars around Korcula only operate for part of the year. The temporary structures are often in the best spots in town with views of the water and the heritage centre. The use of video projection of the side of walls of old buildings is great too.

Activating heritage spaces – we visited a small bar that was in a 14th/15th century turret in the old city which you can see in the video – a unique space using a unique part of the City in a sympathetic manner. Too often we treat our heritage like museum pieces. I think the future needs to be how we best use it in a way still protects and enhances it.

Another very fine example of this (and the thrid photo) is Hotel Dimitri whish was a major heritage restoration in the old part of the city to make one of the finest hotels I have ever seen. It is not cheap but an exquisite example of luxury and heritage in harmony. No I didn’t get to stay there but the tour was good enough!

Finally here is a video by Doug of the City from the distance


Thanks, Brad

Korcula – friendship city of Fremantle

Korcula is an island and historic city off the coast of Croatia and has also been a friendship city with Fremantle since 1999. The Deputy Mayor and I took the opportunity while in the region to catch a ferry from Italy to Korcula to meet with Council officials and to reestablish this relationship. It was a trip that was well worth the time.
This post will focus on the official side but I also will post separately on how some the visit more generally has relevance to Fremantle.
The official part of the visit involved attending Council and meeting with Council members including discussing how we might enable the friendship city relationship to be utilised to benefit both Fremantle and Korcula.
The deputy Mayor Franc was especially welcoming and generous and spent many days showing us parts of the City that average tourists would not get to see. Once again the challenges that face Korcula had many similarities to Fremantle so it was great hear about their innovative approaches to addressing these. I’ll share some of these ideas in the next post.
On the first evening we attended a performance of the Moreshka fighting dance that is specific to Korcula. The tradition of the dance is kept alive by community groups and the support of the Council. Doug’s account on YouTube sums it up: “We went to watch the dance which is physically demanding and even hazardous for the participants and as was explained to us also sometimes to spectators. In the dance we saw if they had the AFL was blood rule at least two of the dancers would have had to come off. It was very spectacular and all the participants were community members. This short video shows us visiting the community group in part of the 13th century council building that the Council provides for their use. They were very welcoming and enthusiastic.”

The Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Korcula also took us to watch a Croatia v Russia friendly water polo match. The water polo club is situated on the coast and is basically a sea water pool with outlet at each end which allows the sea water to flow through. Simple, sustainable and effective.

Enjoy, Brad

Capo d’Orlando and Fremantle’s cultural heritage

Capo d’Orlando in Sicily Italy is a beautiful historic seaside community of about 15,000 residents that like Fremantle is a fishing community and popular with tourists.

Capo d’Orlando is also a sister city of Fremantle and one that I have just learnt is very special to the people of Capo d’Orlando. Capo d’Orlando has an extraordinarily strong bond with Fremantle . I was told that throughout the 20th century around 8000 people from the Capo d’Orlando area came to live in the Fremantle area – shaping the Fremantle we know and love today. At dinner last night the proprietor of the restaurant said all of last six mayors have all visited his restaurant in Capo d’Orlando. It was good to be part of this tradition and I also got some copies of photos that capture this history.

My visit to Capo d’Orlando with deputy-mayor Doug Thompson and Cr John Alberti (which I must add is primarily being paid by each of us personally and NOT by the ratepayers of Fremantle) has been an extraordinary experience. The hospitality by Mayor Enzo and the Capo d’Orlando people has been extraordinarily generous and kind. Cr Alberti was known and clearly loved by everybody in town. We were here for the Blessing of the Fleet and everyone we met on the streets knows and is often related to someone who now lives in Fremantle. Our visit has caused a lot of publicity including TV coverage:


My visit has shown me how sister city links like this highlight Fremantle‘s unique social and cultural heritage and that is important that the City plays its part in maintaining and strengthening these bonds. I can’t think of many other places in have these clear links back to its past. We have talked to Mayor Enzo about ways in which we can facilitate education, cultural, artistic and other exchanges between Fremantle and Capo d’Orlando over coming years.

I also look forward to repaying the hospitality of the Mayor and his councillors if they are able to come to Fremantle in 2011.

Bicycle Freedom – Velib and the Parisian bicycle revolution

Last time I was in Paris was just over three years ago and the proposed Velib bike share system was still in construction phase. Returning to see how it has transformed the French capital has been a true highlight of my visit this time. Not only is there a bike station with up to 20 bikes on every second street corner of the capital but the system is accessible and easy to use for residents and visitors alike. It costs a Euro a day to join and then it is free to use so long as you only use the bike for 30 minutes or less. As a result Velib riders are everywhere.

It is exciting to see cycling making such a global recovery. Not only does it have huge environmental benefits but it also makes the City much more liveable.

Providing the free bikes though is only part of the reason for its success. Just as important is the investment in 100s (371km from memory) of kilometres of cycle lanes and making the vast majority of roads cycle friendly. Many Parisian streets are narrow and one way for cars but new lanes and markings have made many of them two way for bikes. All of a sudden it is cheaper, easier and more pleasurable to ride than get in a car. VELo LIBeration (Bicycle Freedom) – I think Fremantle could do with a bit of that.

PS In the Fremantle 2010/2011 budget we increased our expenditure on bicycle lanes and other infrastructure around ten fold to close to $400k so we should see some decent changes underway to make Fremantle a more bike friendly city. There is also a renewed push for bike-share in Fremantle which would be great if it can get up. Look out for a Fremantle Network event on this in the near future.

out of Fremantle

As many of you would know I am won’t be in Fremantle over the next month and a bit. Now that the new strategic plan and the 2010/2011 budget have been signed off and the new working groups are all underway it seemed like the perfect time to head off to renew the batteries and to get some fresh inspiration on what the best cities around the doing to reinvigorate themselves and to make themselves more sustainable. My first stop will be Europe where after passing through Paris I will be heading to Capo d’Orlando (one of Fremantle’s oldest sister cities) where its Mayor has kindly asked me to visit. After that I will head across to Korcula our friendship city in Croatia. Deputy Mayor Doug Thompson and Cr John Alberti are already in Europe and will also be joining me for parts of the Europe leg.
I will then fly to US. They say that the US has the best and worst of everything and no doubt it applies to Cities too. I’m starting in New York and Washington and then heading to the West Coast. I’ll update the blog with highlights.
Cheers, Brad

Cantonment Hill returns to the people of Fremantle

As many of you would be aware the City of Fremantle was handed back the keys to Cantonment Hill last week. I had the chance to have a look inside both the Signal Station on top of the hill and the Navy Store (down near the bridge) over the last week and they are amazing places. Even more amazing is the view from the top of the signal station – breathtaking!

This is really going to be a special place once we are able to open it to the public on a regular basis. The new working group met for the first time this week to enable that to happen. In the meantime I thought I’d show you some snaps of what I saw. Enjoy. Brad

The Mayor’s first blog post…


Hi and welcome to my first blog as mayor. It’s great to have the blog up and running and thanks to City of Fremantle staff for getting it up in conjunction with the city’s new funky website. 

Why have a mayoral blog? A lot happens at the City of Fremantle every week. It is just not possible to communicate everything through more traditional channels such as the local papers or even media releases on our homepage. The blog is a space where I hope to be able to share not just what we are doing and also what we are thinking. BUT… I don’t want it to be a one way flow ideas and information. I’ll also be using the blog to hear from you – to get your ideas and feedback on how we can make Fremantle realize its potential as a vibrant and sustainable community. I hope I get to hear a wide range of ideas from a wide range of people and be able to feed them into council’s decision making.I’m looking forward to the conversation.  Brad Pettitt