Plastic Bag Free Fremantle Update

A plastic bag free Fremantle was another step closer  as a result of Council recently endorsing the new working group that will come up with the local law and the recommended plastic bags alternatives.

On the working group will be members of the group Plastic Free Fremantle (who got this ball rolling) as well as a retail representative and plastic bag manufacturers. From the Fremantle Council will be Cr Jon Strachan and myself.

Fremantle’s approach is also getting some good state and national attention.

Not only did it make the front page of the West Australian but also was on channel nine news. More recently the state ALP and the shadow environment minister Sally Talbot highlighting Fremantle’s leadership after the stage Government blocked state wide plastic bag ban when it voted down Labor’s Plastic Shopping Bags (Waste Avoidance) Bill on party lines.

Plastic Free Freo has also  inspired people all around Australia

It was also on the Australia wide Today show.

Nationally it was also picked up by the Fifth Estate in this article:

Public and business drive Fremantle ban on plastic bags

By Lyn Drummond

21 March 2012 – The City of Fremantle’s recent initiative to ban plastic bags was driven by local businesses, a public petition, and strong commitment to sustainability and renewable energy, according to the WA city’s mayor, Brad Pettit.

The city is the first carbon neutral local government in WA  and the second in the country behind City of Sydney and will now be the first council in Australia to pass a local law banning single use non-biodegradable, lightweight plastic bags.

Dr  Pettit told The Fifth Estate the council had a policy of encouraging retailers not to use the bags but a committee had now recommended changing by-laws to enforce the policy.

The local law, expected to be in place by June, has had positive responses from the community, Dr Pettit said.

The initiative to ban the bags had in fact come from Fremantle businesses and a public petition to council as well as local green group Plastic Free Freo who had lobbied extensively for the ban including screening of the film Bag It.

“We’re banning the bags both for environmental reasons and the impact it has on wildlife,” he said.

“We waste four billion of these lightweight bags a year around Australia and for environmental leadership we hope this move shows the rest of the state.”

The draft law will be put out for public comment, and the ban will follow a phase out period and public education campaign. Penalties would apply, he said.

The alternatives will be biogradable bags made from corn starch, paper bags or BYO bags.

Towns such as Coles Bay in Tasmania and Mogo in southern NSW have gone plastic bag-free since 2003 but according to Planet Ark, Fremantle will be the first council to enforce this policy with a local law, Dr Pettit said.

The law would draw on legislation passed in South Australia, the Northern Territory and the ACT.

Fremantle council also plans to switch to biodegradable dog refuse bags.

The World Wide Fund for Nature estimates that more than 100,000 whales, seals, turtles, and birds die every year as a result of plastic bags.  In Australia, a Bryde’s whale died in Trinity Bay near Cairns.  An autopsy found that the whale’s stomach was tightly packed with plastic including supermarket bags, food packages and bait bags.

Dr Pettitt said Fremantle council was pursuing many initiatives to create a low carbon community including large scale investment in renewable energy.

“We see ourselves as a leader in the sustainability area in WA,”he said. “Most challenging for urban based councils like Fremantle is reducing carbon emissions in our own corporate activity and mandating energy efficiency buildings.

“We have been working with the state government on plans for a light rail network, travelling south from Fremantle 20 kilometres to the City of Cockburn.

“In Fremantle we have radically increased our bike network, and our target is for people to increase their bicycle trips from three to eight per cent daily.”

National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout comes to Freo

You might have noticed that the National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout was announced recently and Freo suburbs have done OK.

Beaconsfield, Fremantle , Hilton, North Fremantle, O’Connor, Samson, South Fremantle  and White Gum Valley will all get a fibre roll out starting in about 2-3 years (starting June 2014 in phases with last work scheduled to commence in June 2015). Given the fast internet dead spots in places like Beacy and others who still have only dial up this is good news

Here is a blurb from the letter they sent me:

Today NBN Co announced over 1500 new locations that will be part of the three-year construction program of the National

Broadband Network (NBN). I am pleased to confirm that communities in your area are included in the rollout schedule of

the NBN over the next three years.

This means these communities will be among the first to experience the benefits of high speed broadband over the NBN,

including the ability to deliver online education, health, business and social services to the home, potentially changing the

way we learn and live. The network is being built in a series of modules each covering approximately 2500 premises and

further detail will be provided on the coverage of these modules closer to the time of construction. It takes on average 12

months from the start of construction on a specific module until services are ready to be delivered to end users.

Kings Square community engagment to kick off

With the debate over A49 almost behind us the City of Fremantle is now turning its focus to the urban design strategy for the Kings Square precinct.

The Kings Square precinct, as well as being the geographical centre of the city, is also Fremantle’s civic hub and a key redevelopment site to  to revitalise the Fremantle city centre.

The urban design strategy will incorporate:

  • indicative concepts and design guidelines for key City owned development sites within the project area,
  • identification of preferred land uses for the key sites, and a
  • concept design for the public spaces throughout the project area.

The strategy will focus on Kings Square and the streets bounding it (Queen, William and Adelaide Streets and Newman Court), but will also include the full length of Queen Street as an important pedestrian connection to the Train Station and Victoria Quay.

The key City owned development sites include the City Administration building (8 William St), Queensgate offices (10 William St), Queensgate carpark (22 Henderson St) and the Spicer site (8-10 Henderson St).

To ensure the urban design strategy is the best possible outcome for Fremantle, a detailed design and consultation process has been put in place.  The process consists of visioning, design development, community consultation events, amendments (if required) and then finally, adoption by council.

The first task in the preparation of the strategy is to identify the aspirations and visions of all stakeholders for this area of the city centre.

This workshop is intended to inspire participants by drawing on international and local precedents as well as previous plans and proposals.  These will be used to determine the high-order aspirations and objectives for the urban design strategy, and therefore the ultimate parameters of the project.  By focusing on fairly conceptual issues of ‘place’, it will establish the desired role and character of the square as it relates to the physical and social fabric of the city.

The outcome of the ‘visioning workshop’ will be a written and illustrated vision statement for the project area.  Following the workshop the project team will undertake research and analysis and develop strategy and design options as to how to realise the vision.  Community feedback on the options will then be invited during an intensive week long series of consultation events that will commence with an information session and walking tour on 28 April 2012 and a community workshop on Tuesday 1 May 2012.

Following the design development and community consultation events, the council will call a special meeting at which it will hear public comment on and debate the various strategies. It will then take a formal vote and adopt the preferred urban design guidelines for the Kings Square precinct. It is expected that this meeting will take place in late May/early June.

Back to back free Fremantle forums on our City’s future

It is going to be a busy week for those interested in the future of Freo…

Thursday 29th March 7.30pm to 9.00pm

Better Fremantle Forum

Put together by the Fremantle Greens this aims to be a conversation on how to make Fremantle a more vibrant and sustainable city.

Venue: Fremantle Town Hall

Forum panel:

  • Brad Pettitt, Mayor of Fremantle
  • Annie Matan, Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute (CUSP)
  • Roel Loopers, President of The Fremantle Society
  • Scott Ludlam, Greens Senator
  • Emma Powell, The Fremantle Inner City Residents Association
  • Cole Hendrigan, The Fremantle Network.

Facilitator: Martin Drum from Notre Dame University

Format: Each panel member to speak for 2-3 minutes presenting their most important one or two ideas for a better Fremantle. Then we will have 60 minutes of audience questions and comments.

Each panellist wil reflect on the planning principles of Jan Gehl as presented in his book Cities for People (this is well worth a read)

Free entry. No RSVP required

For further information and to pre-select questions or suggestions please contact Rob Delves at


Friday 30th March 5.30pm – 7pm

The Fremantle Network is back with a discussion about plans for the redevelopment of Kings Square.

Venue – Rosie O’Grady’s – in the Claddagh Room

Meet Matthew McNeilly, Managing Director of Sirona Capital – the company that owns the Myer building – and hear about their vision for the Fremantle’s city centre and Sirona’s potential role in its revitalization.

Plus hear from David Shetliffe, who has been working with the City of Fremantle to stimulate economic development and investment with a particular focus on redevelopment of King’s Square.


PS this is a couple of photos from CODA’s deign studio. It was very impressive what the teams came up with:

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A glimpse of what Freo might look like after Amendment 49

Over the past few months there was a lot of debate about what Fremantle Council’s controversial scheme amendment #49 might look like?  To help answer that question, Fremantle architectural firm CODA have put together design charrette on Scheme Amendment 49.

CODA have recognised that Fremantle is in the privileged position of being home to a number of Western Australia’s leading architectural practices and so who better to attend to this challenge than a room full of Fremantle architects?

The aim is to offer up a series of credible and aspirational design options that show a positive future for Fremantle, its built environment and people.

This Saturday the 24th of March, seven teams will work on developing a proposition for a single, allocated site – think master-chef but with buildings. The teams are made up of architects and fourth-year Curtin University Masters of Architecture students who are currently undertaking an Urban Design studio at CODA.

At the end of the day each team will have 5 minutes to verbally communicate their ideas to the jury using a series of built models and drawings.

The jury is comprised of:

  • Dr. Brad Pettitt Mayor, City of Fremantle Jury Chair
  • Dr. Richard Weller Winthrop Professor of Landscape Architecture, UWA Director of the Australian Urban Design Research Centre
  • Melinda Payne Principal Policy Officer, Office of the Government Architect Member of the City of Fremantle Design Advisory Committee
  • Dr. Beth George Lecturer, Curtin University, School of Architecture Founder “”
  • Patric de Villers Associate Professor, Architecture, Landscape and Visual Arts, UWA Principal of Urbanizma

It is intended that these schemes will be able to be read just as easily by members of the general public as the architectural community.

We hope that they generate positive conversation and offer a starting point for inspired change in Fremantle. Interested parties are welcome to drop in to the CODA studio at anytime during the day or to attend the jury presentation at 4.30pm. We are located at 10 Elder Place, Fremantle.

Thanks to CODA’s Kieran Wong and Emma Williamson for pulling this great idea together.

These are some early sketches from EG of what might on the Coles Woolstores site.

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Retro Repower event at CUSP in Fremantle for greener buildings

Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) is holding Retro Repower- ‘Retro partying for new-age energy’ at the Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute (CUSP) in Freo

The money raised will go to repowering the CUSP building into a low emissions, green building

So put on your finest op-shop wear, and head to:
Where: The CUSP building, 3 Pakenham Street, Fremantle
Date/Time: Friday 23rd March, 8pm til 12 midnight
Tickets: Online, at CUSP and on the door, pay what you can afford between $10 – $20
Dress: Fancy Op-Shop Dress (think sparkles, lycra, suede, studs, shoulder pads… whatever makes you feel funky)- prizes for best dressed!


Thanks to everyone for your amazing support for the greatest shave. We raised over $2200. Special thanks to Ra from Bright Blue Council design who put in the $1000 and got to write a big “F” on my head which I was assured stood for Fremantle not Fail!

The City of Fremantle team raised close to $4000 all up which is amazing and thanks to all of them for being such good sports.

All the money will go to the Leukaemia Foundation to support blood cancer patients and to fund vital research.

Here is how it unfolded:

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