June 28, 2013 7 Comments
I expect Freo Council meetings don’t rate highly on most of your “things I must read about” list. But for those of you that do want to have a look at what’s going on below is a summarised version of some key bits
1. Warders Cottages
In principle support for City to lease and refurbish historical Warders’ Cottages
Council has given in principle support to a Department of Housing (DoH) offer to the City of Fremantle for a 50 year peppercorn lease over the historical Henderson Street Warders’ Cottages. In return, the City would take financial responsibility for their conservation, refurbishment and ongoing maintenance.
Council’s support for the offer is subject to a publicly available and advertised business plan being produced which will address key areas including the ability for the cottages to generate enough income to service loans and fund future maintenance.
The City will also seek a contribution from the DoH and the State Government for initial conservation works.
The Warders’ Cottages are three blocks of two storey limestone terrace houses constructed between 1851 and 1858 as part of the Fremantle convict establishment.
Originally constructed to accommodate the families of the warders at the Fremantle Prison, the cottages were used as government housing for over 140 years until the closure of Fremantle Prison in 1993 when they were sold to the Department of Housing and renovated for use as social housing. They have since been disused by the Department of Housing and are vacant.
The cottages have significant cultural heritage significance and have been recognised by their inclusion on the State Register of Heritage Places as well as the City of Fremantle’s Municipal Heritage Inventory and the Heritage List in the City’s local planning scheme. Their location in the heart of Fremantle’s tourist district is another factor which adds to their importance.
The City has for some time been investigating taking on the conservation and regeneration of these significant heritage buildings for a new sustainable use. The City also sees the project as a catalyst for the reactivation and revitalisation of this part of the Fremantle CBD.
It is proposed that the regenerated buildings would be sub-let to a suitable tenant(s) and the income derived from the properties used to pay for their initial conservation and refurbishment plus their future maintenance and management.
To undertake these works the City would need to borrow a substantial sum of money and as such, the lease agreement is regarded as a major land transaction under the Local Government Act 1995. The City is therefore required to prepare and publically advertise a business plan.
2. Essex Street road repairs
Council has approved works to repair parts of Essex Street damaged by the root systems of trees located along the street.
The works, which will include road re-surfacing and new kerbing as well as the reconfiguration of the tree planting pits and some parking bays, have a total estimated cost of $280,000. These funds will be allowed for in the 2013/14 annual budget.
As a result of the Maritime Pine street trees planted on both sides of Essex Street now reaching maturity and outgrowing their original planting pits, extensive damage to the road surface and footpath is occurring. The damage to the road surface has resulted in a number of car bays having to be blocked to prevent use.
The City engaged a professional Arborist to investigate and report on the trees’ health and condition, their suitability and possible actions to rectify the problem. The report outlined several recommendations for the council to consider. The decision was made to repair the car parking road surface and kerbing; and to reconfigure the tree planting pits and parking bays.
3. Fremantle Park hydrozoning and ecozoning
Council has approved the installation of a new bore, pump and irrigation system to deliver significant water savings at Fremantle Park.
The new system will enable hydrozoning and ecozoning of various sections of the park to address key actions of the City’s 2009 Water Conservation Plan.
Hydrozoning identifies different zones to enable high irrigation (for active playing fields), moderate or minimal amounts of water (more passive recreation areas) or no irrigation (areas of minimal use), thus allowing for reduced water use. This hydrozone treatment is anticipated to reduce current water usage at the park by 10% and will cost ~$350,000.
The ecozone concept uses the landscape design practice of grouping together plants with similar water, soil and microclimate requirements to conserve water by improving water efficiency. Ecozoning will see the creation of mulched garden beds consisting of native plants and will be used predominantly in the non-irrigated areas.
The City is working towards creating sustainable and efficient management of its water allocations. The use of hydrozoning and ecozoning will address key actions of the City’s 2009 Water Conservation Plan and satisfy the commitment the City has made to the ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability initiative.
Fremantle Park, located adjacent to the Fremantle Leisure Centre, is one of the City’s largest and most used reserves, with sporting clubs on lease agreements and the Christian Brothers College regularly using the grounds for sport classes.
The City recently undertook the consultative and concept design for this project. In order to best determine the use of the park, two community consultation events were conducted, with stakeholders invited to comment. These stakeholders included all sporting clubs who use the park, nearby schools, residents and the broader Fremantle community; and event users of the park such as ‘Blues and Roots’.
4. Esplanade Reserve reclassification to Class A Reserve
The City of Fremantle will advise the Department of Regional Development and Lands (RDL) that the City has no objections to a change in classification of the Esplanade reserve to a ‘Class A Reserve’ (Esplanade is currently classed as ‘Reserve’).
Class A Reserves afford the greatest degree of protection for reserves of Crown Land, with any major amendments to a Class A Reserve required to be tabled before both Houses of Parliament, and may be subject to a motion of disallowance.
As the City has no intention to seek major amendment to the Esplanade Reserve or to change its purpose, the reclassification would have no practical implications and on this basis there was no objection from council.
The RDL received a request for the Esplanade Reserve to be reclassified from its present classification as a “Reserve” to a “Class A Reserve”. RDL then formally requested from the City of Fremantle, as the management body for the Esplanade Reserve, council’s position with regard to the proposal.
The reclassification of the Esplanade Reserve is sought by community members who “consider the reserve worthy of this level of protection to ensure that the social, cultural and heritage values of this important public open space are preserved into the future”.
5. New festival on the cards for Fremantle
Council has agreed in principle to a five year agreement with Sunset Events for the popular St Jerome’s Laneway Festival to be held in Fremantle from 2014 onwards.
The decision was made given the significant economic and cultural benefits that the festival would bring to Fremantle, including the activation of the Esplanade Reserve and the West End of Fremantle.
The City has agreed to waive fees (approximately $17k) to Sunset Events for the hire of the Esplanade Reserve.
St Jerome’s Laneway Festival began in Melbourne in February 2005. From 2006 to 2008 the festival branched out to include Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide and in 2009 the first event was staged in Perth at the Cultural Centre in Northbridge. The event expanded into Singapore in 2011 and this year saw the event launched in the USA.
Since its first Perth event in 2009, the attendance in Perth has grown from around 4,500 people to a sell out 8,000 people (the maximum capacity of the Cultural Centre in Northbridge).
The popularity of the event in WA has created a very strong demand for tickets and therefore the need to review alternative venues to cater for this demand. Laneways Festivals aim to deliver a unique event in a special space and with a cutting edge line-up often never seen before by Australian audiences.