Welcome to Melmantle/Freeville. Population 157,000

Today the Premier and Minister for Local Government announced their plans for local government reform including merging Freo with Melville, East Freo and even part of Canning all the way east to Vahland Ave. Whilst we will extend a long way east we get a haircut on the North and lose most of North Freo and don’t extend south at all.

The premier argued this morning it would lead to a stronger, more functional and effective local government sector and that 100k is his preferred size minimum. Freo is about 30k right now.

The new boundaries will mean:

  • 14 Perth councils down from 30 currently
  • The residential part of north Fremantle into western suburbs and out of Fremantle
  • The new council of Melmantle/Freeville will be 157 000 people
  • The stated logic is port transport routes and river management.
  • On July 1st 2015 commissioners will replace elected councils although maybe brought in earlier if no progress been made on amalgamations

The City of Fremantle position is likely to be not to support the proposed new Melmantle/Freeville boundaries but instead make the case for boundaries that strengthen Fremantle as a unique and key strategic centre.

Fremantle Council is not opposed to bigger local government in fact it makes sense but it has to be based around a coherent community of interest not some crass sticky taping together of exiting local governments.

I hope over the next few months (we have until October 4 to have our alternate submission in) we can make that case and convince the State Government to be willing to do more than just tweak the illogical boundaries they have created. But to be frank I am not confident.

melmantle or freville


The West Australia Nuclear Free Alliance is hosting an exciting art exhibition Pakala Parnaku Stand up for the land, opening this Friday 2nd August 5pm at the Moores Gallery in Freo.

This exhibition is quite an amazing collection of art work including prints, photography, sculpture, ceramics, paintings and film. There are Aboriginal artists who have contributed works from Alice Springs, Leonora, Wiluna, the Western Desert and Queensland.

Part of the exhibition will include the “Inhabited” photographic exhibition by upcoming photographer Jessie Boylan http://jessieboylan.com/inhabited/.

Last year this exhibition was a sell out show and this will be another great opportunity to find some hidden treasure.



The City of Fremantle Council adopted its 2013–14 budget on Wednesday which, for the first time, has totalled over $100 million. It’s a budget focused on renewal for Freo.

We kept rate increases low at 4.65%, which is believed to be one of the lowest rate rise among councils in the Perth metropolitan area for 2013–14 (apparently Stirling and Vincent were the only two to pip us) . Last ear we were the lowest. Highlights include:

  • $1 billion long term financial plan for the next 10 years
  • modest general rate increase of 4.65% to minimise financial burden on ratepayers
  • $35 million investment in infrastructure projects
  • operating costs reduced by 3%

The council worked hard to continue to deliver strong economic outcomes and other key essential outcomes in line with the City of Fremantle Strategic Plan 2010–2015 which includes $35 million investment in infrastructure projects.

Some of the major infrastructure projects we’re excited about for this financial year include the $5 million upgrade of the Fremantle Leisure Centre and $1.6 million new youth plaza and a $2.5 million investment in upgrades and renewal of City–owned properties in the CBD.

The budget also includes plans for a new rate concession of 50% in 2014–15 for any property owners who lease out vacant ground floor space in the 2013–14 financial year.

With this budget, we wanted to continue investing in economic drivers but we were mindful of the challenge of minimising the general rate increase for Freo ratepayers. So we are pleased that we were able to deliver this landmark budget with minimal burden on our ratepayers and includes a real reduction in operating costs.

Key projects

Renewed facilities Fremantle Leisure Centre – $3.3m

  • $3.3m upgrade of Fremantle Leisure Centre Pools including adding disabled lanes to both 25m and 50m pools.

Renewed heritage buildings with invest of between $2.5 and $3.5m

This is the biggest investment in Fremantle’s heritage buildings over a single financial year by a Fremantle council for many decades. Our heritage buildings have been under invested in for many decades and this major investment will start to see the large backlog of works needed substantially addressed:

  • $375k for upgrade works at Fremantle Arts Centre
  • $220m Arthurs Head buildings
  • $550k for completion of stage 1 of upgrade to Fremantle Markets
  • $850k FTI stage 1
  • $660k Evan Davies
  • $220k Union Stores
  • $1m for stage 1 upgrade of Warders cottages.


Renewed play spaces for Fremantle’s parks $1.9m

  • $320k for playspaces program
    • $230k Bruce Lee Reserve
    • $63k valley park $40k Beacy Grigg Samson
    • $1.6m for Esplanade Youth Plaza.


A major investment is sustainable (low carbon, low water) Fremantle $3.06m

  • $1.9m for geo–thermal heating at the Fremantle Leisure Centre
  • $350k for hydrozoning of Fremantle Park
  • $150k for hydrozing upgrade to irrigation at Bruce Lee Reserve
  • $150k for public area recycling
  • $510k bikeplan projects.


Renewed funding for the arts in Fremantle

  • $100k new funding for arts based organisations support in Fremantle to ensure that key arts organisation from Kulcha to Spareparts etc are able to thrive in Fremantle and we can encourage new arts organisations to Fremantle
  • $200k Arthurs Head arts precinct.


Buildings and land

  • $14m for new depot (the exit from Knutsford Street)
  • $250k for stage 1 upgrade of Cantonment Hill open spaces
  • $1.1m for construction of new Leighton Beach kiosk
  • $350k for new Mens’ Shed facility at Hilton Park.


Other infrastructure works

  • $2m road improvement program
  • $400k lighting program (Market Street $270k, heritage lighting $76k)
  • $200k upgrade to CCTV system and taxi rank
  • $5m into future parking needs from sale of Point Street.
  • Adding over $12m into the investment reserve.



‘Voxpop’ after Freo 2029 Workshop 1, Esplanade Hotel

Want to get a taste of some the ideas that came out of the first interactive Freo 2029 workshop then check out this little 2 minute clip by Linda Blagg


A friend just sent me this amazing photo of photo charges in Freo in 1967. While it might seem cheap it is cheaper on High and Adelaide Streets now ;-).



Last weekend  the West published the following article called OWNING AN ELECTRIC VEHICLE IN PERTH and used the new City of Fremantle Holden Volt as its case study. Enjoy!

Weekend West, Perth   13 Jul 2013 Motoring – page 1 – 1046 words

A new wave of electric cars can beat range anxiety and go the distance with petrol engine boosters, writes KARL PESKETT

AN empty parking space sits in the corner of a carpark on Barlee Street, Mt Lawley. The first hour of parking costs nothing and, even better, any resident of the City of Vincent who does park there is offered free “fuel”.

Yet, it remains completely desolate for most days of the year.

You’d think this opportunity would have been jumped at long ago. But as ever there’s a catch; the lettering on the ground explains the reason: Electric Vehicle Parking Only.

On paper, electric vehicles sound wonderful; they’re easy to drive, cheap to recharge and produce no tailpipe emissions at all. Best of all, because an EV’s maximum torque is available from zero rpm, they’re quite nippy, too.

Yet, according to a report by the University of WA compiled last year, driver perception of EVs isn’t overly positive.

Chief among the reasons is “range anxiety” a feeling of concern as to whether a driver will make it to their next charge point before the batteries run flat.

Electric vehicles, therefore, haven’t really taken off in Australia. A look through new car sales figures highlights how poor the uptake is: out of 118,758 vehicles sold in June, only 35 were EVs. Of the three EVs which can be bought off the showroom floor (Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Nissan Leaf and Holden Volt), only the Leaf and Volt notched up sales.

While the i-MiEV and the Leaf are pure electric cars, the Volt goes one step further and employs a range extender; a conventional petrol engine set up to act as a generator. It’s that difference which could actually be the saving grace for electric vehicles.

For decades we’ve been accustomed to filling up and hitting the road, being able to cover hundreds of kilometres without having to worry Long distances, however, seem to go against an EV’s raison d’etre to flit about in short hops without using a drop of dinosaur juice. But if you can do both, surely the EV’s major weakness has been overcome.

That was the thinking behind Brad Pettitt’s decision to buy a Holden Volt. The Mayor of Fremantle bought his car six months ago and appreciates the freedom a range extender brings.

“It takes the nervousness out of owning an electric vehicle,” Pettitt said. “While it’s very rare that the Volt’s batteries won’t last a whole day of short trips around Perth and Fremantle (you get about 70km per charge), it is nice to know that the little petrol generator will kick in if need be.

“It’s unnervingly quiet and smooth. But very quickly you get the sense this is the way all cars should be silent, no gears and great, seamless linear acceleration. Plus, the Volt is surprisingly quick in Sport mode.” Based on today’s electricity prices, an EV costs very little to run; about $2.50 per charge, and from a regular household powerpoint it takes about six hours. It’s this that Pettitt says he had to get his head around.

“You have to get in the habit everyday of plugging it in when you’re done driving for the day so it charges up overnight,” he said.

Certainly it’s no more difficult than plugging in a mobile phone, though the charging cord is a bit more robust. The real beauty of electricity, however, is its efficiency. A typical electric vehicle converts about 80 per cent of its energy into motion.

A fossil-fueled car? Anywhere from 15-25 per cent.

While Mr Pettitt charges his car a lot at work, some employers may not be as keen.

Public charging stations, therefore, are the answer. Like the aforementioned parking spot, free charging is available, with some councils also offering free parking. Incentives for EVs are increasing, with specially marked bays set aside.

More than that, the public chargers are usually quick-charge points, cutting the normal charging time almost in half Pettitt says electric vehicles should have all the help they can get.

“EV charging infrastructure in Perth is still developing, with only a limited amount of charge points,” he said. “That is one of the reasons the City of Fremantle has installed two free public charging stations in its Queensgate Car Park.” To help with EV uptake, UWA’s report recommends the installation of a city-wide level 3 (50kW) charging network in Perth.

It also calls for the implementation of a demonstration electric highway project with level 3 charging stations along a route linking Perth to major regional centres, such as Bunbury, Busselton and Margaret River.

Whether having the charging stations will encourage sales of dedicated EVs or whether increasing EV sales will encourage more charging stations is certainly a chicken-and-egg debate. But it’s the out-of-town instances which Mr Pettitt says make the range-extended Volt ideal for the majority of West Australians.

“I have dipped into petrol power,” he admitted, “but almost only on long trips out of the metro area or on the odd day when I have forgotten to plug it in.

“But it’s nice to have the range extender there as backup.” And perhaps that’s what we need to inspire confidence. If range is no longer a concern, the major barrier to owning an EV is simply the cost. Yes, the cars are more expensive than a comparatively sized small car. But once you factor in fuel costs and the money saved on maintenance (no oil changes, no filters), the value equation starts to add up.

Even brakes last longer as electric cars use their motors to brake, converting that energy to recharge the batteries.

electric charging stations in Perth


Thanks to everyone who came down for the photo. We got the 76 people with bikes we needed to do a Freo version of the famous bike, bus, car footprint photo. Thanks to the Heart Foundation too for having the photos done in iconic West End Freo

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