Good to see great new Freo venues taking off

It has been a real pleasure seeing some of Freo’s new venue thrive and raise the bar.

Whether it be Bathers Beach house which seems to be always close to full or the ever evolving and innovating Mantle in the East End.

Distribution Lane has been getting some good press too. Be it the fashion blogs or the West 

distribution lane

Winterfold Primary School celebrates a decade of waterwise education

I got sent this good news story that I thought would be nice to share:

Winterfold Primary School in Beaconsfield will celebrate 10 years enrolled in Water Corporation’s Waterwise Schools Program

As part of the program, teachers at the school have been educating students about the need to value, protect and conserve water resources for a decade.  It is a double celebration as the Waterwise Schools program itself celebrates 20 years in the Perth community this year.

Water Corporation General Manager Customer and Community Group, Catherine Ferrari, thanked the school for its dedication to the program.

“Students are the water users of the future, so its important schools continue to educate students about the value of water in our drying climate,” Ms Ferrari said.

“Thank you to students and teachers for your dedication to the program and I look forward to the next decade of waterwise education at Winterfold Primary School.”

Winterfold Primary School Associate Principal, Brendan Hodge, said the Waterwise Schools Program aligned with the school’s value of ‘Being Kind to the Environment’.

“Students are encouraged to make sure all taps are firmly turned off, students learn about the water cycle through the science curriculum and the school harvests rainwater in their water tanks which feed the toilets,” Mr Hodge said.

“Water is a vital component to sustaining life. Our geographical location warrants that we use and treat water in a respectful manner, and accordingly this message is conveyed throughout the Winterfold School; from the school gardener to all the students.”


Freo’s Transformative Moves as we head toward 2029.

For those of you that missed it, we launched our new long term plan called Transformative Moves 2029 in Freo last night.  This was the result of many months of work and followed on from the 2029 Visioning sessions as well as building on the last strategic plan which laid the foundation for many of these changes.

This is the first long-range document that this Council has done and I think the first for Freo for a couple of decades. It brings together the what the City of Fremantle, Fremantle Ports,  the PTA, State Government and private sector can achieve together.

Bold new vision to transform Fremantle in lead up to 2029 bicentenary – City of Fremantle

Some of the projects flagged in the report include:

  • a new public square outside the Fremantle Rail Station and relocation of the bus interchange
  • major redevelopment of Victoria Quay to better connect the port to the city ~ this would include better pedestrian access to and from the port
  • an expansion of Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour
  • options for the location of an ocean pool at Bathers Beach
  • a light rail system to act as a link to Fremantle and surrounding areas
  • utilising the heritage-listed Fremantle Traffic Bridge as a pedestrian/bicycle bridge with a new traffic bridge built for vehicles
  • a new high-density residential development  on Queen Victoria Street
  • extensive redevelopment of the Fremantle Oval precinct including the provision of high quality affordable housing as well as new commercial and retail spaces
  • implementation of the $220m Kings Square project to transform the city centre.

The Freo 2029 title pays homage to the significance of 2029, which marks the 200 year anniversary of Captain Fremantle landing at Bathers Beach.

Public presentation

A presentation for the public will be held:
Date: Tuesday 10 March
Time: 7.30-9.00 pm
Venue: City of Fremantle Reception Room

All are welcomed (and encouraged) to attend.

for more info

Finally here is the West’s right up of it

Fremantle residents Emily Gibson, Kate Hulett, Dawn Clarke and Matt Bale. Picture: Bill Hatto/The  West Australian
Fremantlites: Emily Gibson, Kate Hulett, Dawn Clarke and Matt Bale. Picture: Bill Hatto/The West Australian

Fremantle’s Queen Victoria Street bridge could become a car-free public space in the tradition of New York’s High Line as one plank in the port’s biggest overhaul since the America’s Cup.

The City of Fremantle will tonight outline its vision for Fremantle up to 2029, with mayor Brad Pettitt conceding step change, not a “business as usual” approach, was needed to arrest the city’s economic decline.

State drags feet on Fremantle move

The ambitious plan involves reconnecting the city with the harbour, in part to tap into the lucrative, growing cruise liner market.

That includes an extra 9500sqm of retail and 30,000sqm of offices at Victoria Quay, expanding the Fishing Boat Harbour to create a tourism node and better facilities around Bathers Beach.

It also envisages overhauling the Fremantle Oval precinct, and possibly using the Stan Reilly site for affordable housing.

An artist’s impression of a revamped Kings Square.

The plan relies heavily on projects either yet to be approved or to some extent out of the city’s control, including light rail into the city centre and the $270 million Kings Square development.

Kings Square would have an extra 20,000sqm of retail space, 1500 new homes and 70,000sqm of offices in the city centre.

Dr Pettitt said the 2029 plan was intended to be realistic but “transformational”.

“I’ll be the first to admit I think Fremantle in the last 15 years . . . it really has struggled, so this is about putting forward a way that we can really bring the vibrancy back to our commercial centre,” he said. “A lot of that is bringing thousands more people to live and work in Fremantle but also drawing on our strengths.”

He said the current northern entrance to Fremantle “couldn’t be much worse” and the Queen Victoria Street bridge could be transformed rather than torn down and replaced.

That proposal is modelled on New York’s High Line, a former freight rail line turned into a popular public park suspended over Manhattan’s streets.

The bridge could form part of a bigger picture for the northern gateway, which is earmarked for high-density housing for 3000 residents. Building work on Sirona Capital’s $120 million Heirloom Apartments is expected to start next month or April.

“That bridge is probably already at the end of its life and there are major concerns around its safety,” Dr Pettitt said.

“There’s a debate with Government. We’re pushing very hard for, rather than just a minor upgrade of the bridge, they should seek replacement.”

He believed it would be fantastic to modify the bridge to turn it into something that built on its heritage and created a unique public space with parkland over the water and cafes and things to attract people.

Fremantle Chamber of Commerce chief executive Olwyn Williams said investment in the city’s infrastructure should be “much higher” on the State Government’s agenda.

She asks: “Is there a State Government plan or commitment to replacing the aged Fremantle traffic bridge?

“Light rail policy deliberations have focused on northern and central suburbs to date, what about the southern suburbs?”

Fremantle retailers are mostly optimistic about what they see as efforts to restore the city to its former glory.

Kate Hulett and partner Matt Bale run the Kate & Abel homewares shop and cafe and manage the MANY 6160 retail project inside the former Myer building.

Fremantle’s old traffic bridge, could become a car-free open space under the redevelopment plans

She said Fremantle was “right on the edge of booming and becoming this amazing place again”.

“There’s certainly a movement,” she said. “I love it that at the end of the night you can hear music and people chattering.

“Freo’s got something: the port city, the grit, the history and the beautiful buildings.”

But Ms Hulett said the city needed more workers, which should happen under plans for the city centre.

Dawn Clarke runs vintage clothing stores BiBi and The Gossamer Project. She said it was “early days” but efforts to get Fremantle back on track were starting to have an effect.

“It may take maybe two or three years, but I think it will get better, I really do, and that’s why I want to be in Fremantle,” she said. “It’s got a nice vibe.”

Embracing the Necessary Transformation – Curtin University Graduation Speech

Last night I had the honour of giving the Occasional Address at Curtin University’s graduation ceremony. Here is what I said:


Good evening Acting Chancellor Sue Wilson, Acting Vice Chancellor David Wood, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

It is a great pleasure to give the Occasional Address at this evening’s graduation ceremony, and I would like to thank Curtin University for inviting me to speak.

I would also like to acknowledge the traditional owners of this land, the Whadjuk Nyungar people and pay my respects to elders past and present.

University graduation ceremonies are wonderfully inspiring events. I can’t help but be reminded of my first university graduation ceremony which was around 20 years ago.

I remember excitedly printing out my last assignment on my Apple Mac SE. A beige square box with a tiny screen and a handle on top. It didn’t have a hard drive but came with floppy disk drives and a (not so) massive 512k of ram. In comparison your average computer today has 8 gig of ram which is almost 16,000 times as powerful.

But this was 1995 when Google didn’t yet exist – in fact its co-creators were yet to even meet. The first video was still a whole decade away from being uploaded onto YouTube. Mobile phones were both very expensive and very hard to fit in your pocket. If someone had of suggested to me in 1995 that in 20 years most people would own a hand held device that would not only make calls and take photos, but could hold 1000s of photos, your entire music collection and most extraordinarily could be used to find the answer to almost any question that came in to your head in a few seconds – for free – I would have thought they were dreaming the impossible. Today it’s just plain ordinary.

Over the last 20 years since I, like you are doing tonight, walked down to receive my graduation certificate, large parts of our world have radically transformed themselves. The information revolution, the internet and new media has gone from the big idea to how we understand and experience the world.  It has been a period of rapid change.

My challenge to you tonight is this – the world you’re about to graduate into is one that will need to transform itself even more dramatically over the next 20 years than it has over the last 20 years. Over the next 20 years we face the enormous challenge of transforming our society and economy by de-coupling economic growth and prosperity from increased carbon emissions, while simultaneously increasing prosperity especially for the world’s poorest people.

Let me explain further the magnitude of this challenge. Scientists tell us that we must radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over the next 20 years if humanity is to have a prosperous future. This is a huge ask because over the last 20 plus years we have instead globally increased our GHG emissions by over 60% despite us been fully aware of the problem.

Last year the American Association for the Advancement of Science said:

Climate scientists agree climate change is happening here and now. Based on well-established evidence, 97% of climate scientists have concluded that human-caused climate change is happening.

And it is happening in a way that left unchecked will change the world as we know. The World Bank says we are currently on track for a 4° C warmer world by this century end – marked by extreme heat waves, declining global food stocks, loss of ecosystems, and life-threatening sea level rise. The World Bank also goes on to say that “There is no certainty that adaptation 4°C world is possible”

Despite this stark warning I am not depressed about how much trouble the world is in. In fact I feel incredibly excited and optimistic about the future.  One of the reasons I remain hopeful for our future is because of graduates like you tonight. Without a doubt your areas of built environment, sustainability policy and education are going to be a vital key to this necessary transformation. Let me explain.

In the last few years humanity crossed a monumental threshold – now more people live in cities than outside of them – for the first time in human history. As Herbert Girardet powerfully said “The cities of the 21st Century are where human destiny will be played out, and where the future of the biosphere will be determined. There will be no sustainable world without sustainable cities.”

This means transforming our cities away for car dependent sprawl to denser cities linked by high quality public transport and cycling lanes and walking streets. This doesn’t mean cities of no cars however. In fact I got here tonight in what I believe will become an increasingly ordinary means of transport. It was via an electric car charged from the solar panels above my office at the City of Fremantle. It was quite strange to drive at first – gearless and completely silent. But it definitely feels like the start of a different future.

Australian buildings are also a major challenge and opportunity. They are currently responsible for around 20% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions and without a major change in direction this is projected to more than double in coming decades. The good news however is that around one-third of building sector’s greenhouse gas emissions can already be eliminated at a no cost. In Fremantle we are working with researchers from CUSP here Curtin to design the first zero carbon housing development in Australia – one that my not even need to be connected to the electricity grid.

This is only possible because of the massive transformation that is taking place in the area of energy. We are now seeing more global investment each year in renewable energy than we are in fossil fuels and as a result the cost of renewable energy is rapidly coming down in cost. For example, the price of solar PV has dropped by 2/3rds over the last 20 years. As a result at Fremantle Council I no longer have to make the economic case for putting solar on the roofs of all our buildings because it is a no-brainer. Solar PV generally pays for itself in less than 7 years.

But perhaps the biggest transformation that is yet to come will be in the area of batteries which are rapidly coming down in price and are now close to the point where a combination of solar and batteries can provide 24 hour a day electricity more cheaply, cleanly and reliably to your home than what you would get down your power line from the coal fired power station. This is going to mean a transformation even more radical than we saw telephones go through over the last two decades. Electrical wires may very soon follow old copper phone lines down the path of an increasingly redundant form of infrastructure.

But technological change and the redesigning of our built environment alone will not be enough to see us through this necessary transformation. Education is also going to be a vital ingredient. Education is key to ensuring that our society has the knowledge and the lateral and creative problem solving skills that are going to essential as we approach a fast changing future. Independent, critical and informed thinking will be essential to this necessary transformation and enabling this change to occur.

Speaking of education, you have all already achieved far more in this area than most people. In Australia despite recent increases in attainment of tertiary education still only one in four people has a bachelors level degree. Internationally only around 1% of people have a university degree. Each of you is now part of that exclusive group. For those of you graduating with a post graduate degree tonight you are in even more rarefied circles. You are part of a privileged global elite and with that privilege comes responsibility. As of tonight you become the influencers, the change makers. My challenge to you is to use this influence to be part of the necessary transformation

Finally, it is customary at graduation event such as these to give advice for a successful career and life post university. Twenty years on from my graduation I still don’t feel qualified to offer it but I can give you a few small tips:

  • Do what you love and love what you do. Then put the time and energy into getting good at it. Competence and passion are a rare combination in this day and age.
  • The more you give to your community the more you’ll get back. A good life is not about getting what you can for yourself. It is about how you can best give.
  • Keep on learning – finishing uni is just the start –  stay open to new knowledge, new ideas and new things;
  • In this rapidly changing world also make sure you hang on to your friends. Some of those around you tonight will be your friends and companions for the rest of your life. Treasure that and look after them.

To paraphrase – Henry David Thoreau – “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined” and be the change-makers for the necessary transformation ahead.

I wish you well and congratulations.



Plans 10MW solar farm on former South Fremantle rubbish dump ran this worthwhile article on Freo Council’s plans for the old South Fremantle landfill site:

The City of Fremantle is considering plans to develop a large-scale solar farm on a former landfill site in the city’s south.

A call for expressions of interest in the ~10MW project was issued by the council last year and received 10 submissions from solar companies.

US-based giant First Solar has been named as the city’s preferred choice for the project, with the company’s Asia Pacific regional manager Jack Curtis describing it as “ground-breaking” for the Australian solar industry.

It would, indeed, be an important win for Australia’s big solar industry, which has been brought to a standstill due to policy uncertainty surrounding the future of the large-scale component of the Renewable Energy Target (RET).

With little support from federal or even state governments, it has fallen to local government councils to roll-out utility-scale solar, providing a hedge against rising electricity prices for themselves and rate-payers.

Queensland’s Sunshine Coast Council has led the way on this, having already lodged a development application to transform 24 hectares of a former sugar plantation near Coolum into a 10-15MW solar farm.


In the works since July 2013, the proposed Valdora Solar Farm would be one of Australia’s largest big solar examples, generating enough power to meet at least half the council’s electricity needs for the next 30 years, and slashing its energy costs.

The planned Fremantle project, if it goes ahead, would not be far behind its Queensland cousin – in size – and according to Mayor Brad Pettit, would be a solid step towards a zero-carbon Fremantle.

“The Fremantle community has been a consistent leader in creating a more sustainable, low carbon Fremantle and this further enables that,” Pettit said.

Long before the plans for a solar farm were hatched, a community-based group launched a campaign for the development of a 12-turbine wind farm of up to 9.6MW to be located in the Port of Fremantle, where it could harness the City’s renowned wind resource, known as the “Fremantle Doctor”.

But while the Council has been supportive of this project – which has been declared commercially viable and not in need of subsidisation – the Fremantle Port Authority, which owns the land, has opposed the idea, citing operational or social risks to the port.

Mayor Pettitt says the solar farm proposal – although still a few years away from regulatory approval – offers a great opportunity to locate a renewable energy source close to a major load centre and to engage directly with the progressive Fremantle community.

“Rather than buying our power from a distant coal-fired power station we will be able to buy power produced sustainably and probably more cheaply from around the corner in South Fremantle,” he said.


The Fly to stay in Freo

The Fly to stay in Freo

The Fly by Night Club will stay in Fremantle for at least the next 12 months after a City of Fremantle committee approved a move to the historic Victoria Hall.

In August last year, the Fly was given a March 11 deadline to move out of its current venue, the heritage-listed Artillery Drill Hall.

Artillery Drill Hall owners, the National Trust, announced Sunset Events had secured a 21-year lease to the building.

The decision left Fly by Night Club management frantically searching for a new venue and prompted them to contact the City of Fremantle to request the use of Victoria Hall.

Last night, the City of Fremantle’s strategic and general services committee approved the move, ensuring the Fly’s continued presence in the port city after more than 28 years.

They voted unanimously in favour of granting the Fly a one-year lease on Victoria Hall with the option to extend for another four years.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said “The Fly” was critical to Fremantle’s arts scene.

“It’s a tough time for arts organisations so we’re delighted to be able to offer up Victoria Hall to ensure the club will remain in Freo,” he said.

“The Fly has not only been in Fremantle for 28 years, but it has nurtured Fremantle‘s famous music scene for that time with over 150 events a year.

“We now look forward to seeing how we can make Victoria Hall work for them and for the local music scene more broadly.”

He said the Fly would join the existing users of Victoria Hall to create a community arts hub on High Street.

In the 2013-14 financial year, the Fly staged 172 events, including 16 international events, at the Artillery Drill Hall.

Westcycle – Renewed calls for safe passing distance laws

It was sad to hear of another death  of a person of a bike this week – hit from behind by a truck.

Westcycle (the peak body for cycling in WA on which I am a board member) put out this media release this week.

I hope we can get action from the state government on this soon.


There are renewed calls for the introduction of safe passing distance laws in
Western Australia following the tragic death of a 25 year old cyclist earlier this
Kaleb Smith was cycling to work along Toodyay Road when he was hit by a truck
travelling in the same direction on Monday morning.
WestCycle CEO Clint Shaw said this latest fatality once again highlights the need
for safe passing distance laws in WA.
“Since October last year we’ve had 3 cycling fatalities in WA. All were a result of a
cyclist being struck from behind by a motor vehicle.” Mr Shaw said. “It wasn’t
because cyclists were riding in large groups, riding more than 2 abreast, or
disobeying the road rules.” Mr Shaw added.
During the past month both the Tasmanian and South Australian governments
have joined Queensland and the ACT in support of safe passing distance laws.
2014 was the worst year on record for cycling fatalities in WA and Mr Shaw said
that now is the time for action if we don’t want 2015 to be the same.
“I think there’s general agreement that we need to do more to create a safer
environment for the 400,000 Western Australians that choose to ride a bike every
week” Mr Shaw said.
“A greater investment into cycling infrastructure and the introduction of safe
passing distance legislation is the best place to start.”
A Keeping Safe Passing Distances Bill has been tabled before Parliament and is
expected to be debated again in March.
For more information contact:
Clint Shaw
WestCycle CEO
Phone: (08) 6336 9688 or 0410 491 917