PUBLIC 2015 – Transforming our city


One event that I am very excited about over the next month is PUBLIC 2015 brought to us by the always extraordinary cultural not for profit group FORM.

PUBLIC 2015 is sponsored by the City of Fremantle it will bring together 50 artists, 42 walls, and 18 international change makers to shake WA up a bit.

PUBLIC 2015 has two main components:

  1. Large scale public art – Local, interstate and international artists will gather in Perth from 10-19 April 2015 to transform a cluster of distinctive urban neighbourhoods, as well as transforming some of Western Australia’s most evocative regional landscapes – check out the photos below of some of the works this week. Fremantle will get some major international street artists transforming our walls over the next few weeks so look out for this. I am very excited!
  1. A centerpiece of PUBLIC 2015 will be an international symposium exploring the value of creativity in building dynamic places. Speakers include local and international leaders in the arts, architecture, urban planning, technology and philanthropy. They have been invited to share a range of perspectives on the needs of places and communities as they transform and renew. It includes amazing speaker like Carol Colletta, Charles Landry, Enrique Peñalosa (former Mayor of Bogota who says: “Public space is for living, doing business, kissing, and playing. Its value can’t be measured with economics or mathematics; it must be felt with the soul.”) For more info check out

Get involved and check it out. It isn’t every day we get to talk about culture and the arts in this way that can really make our city.

20150327_123504 (2) 31_March Dan 31_March

We’d love your feedback on Freo CBD’s bicycle awareness zones

We’d love your feedback on Freo CBD’s bicycle awareness zones.


Investing in Heirloom and the East End – a quick Q&A

This Wednesday Council will be debating buying up to 5 units in Heirloom which will undoubtedly be controversial for some so here  are some likely FAQs:

What is the recommendation before Fremantle Council?

Council is asked to consider purchasing up to five apartments (one and two bedroom) in their Heirloom Development on Queen Victoria Street (aka Fort Knox) to assist with the development achieving the required sales target to begin development.

Would it set a precedent for other developments?

Not in any significant way. Heirloom is a special case as it is a significant heritage building. It is a Level 1A building on the City of Fremantle heritage list and also on the WA state heritage list and that is a key reason it is getting special consideration. A significant heritage building like this is often more complicated and expensive to adapt into apartments than just building a standard new, tilt-up apartment block. This means that banks are more cautious in lending and require higher pre-sales before any development gets the go ahead. It is on this unique basis that the Fremantle Council is considering supporting the development by buying up to five units.

Thankfully Heirloom has already sold 118 out of the 187 apartments and needs to sell 125 to finalize finance for the development. The Fremantle Council will play a key role in closing this final gap and therefore enable development to start as soon as possible – hopefully in the next month or so. Match haven’t asked for any height bonuses or another development incentives so this a key way the Council can proactively support this important heritage development of the East End.

We wouldn’t repeat this with a standard apartment development so I am not concerned about the Fremantle Council setting a problematic precedent.

Will it cost ratepayers money?

Potentially the opposite.  The cost is expected to be around $75k in interest each year based on current interest rates. The development however will however generate at least 4 times this in new rates – over $300k per year. This investment is therefore more likely to generate income than it costs the City of Fremantle. Granted a fair chunk of the rates are to provide specific services to those residents but a fair chunk also goes into general city revenue to be spent on things that all ratepayers benefit from.

It is also important to include the positive economic impact of another 250+ people in the inner east end of Fremantle and the key role it will play in bringing that area back to life.  The City of Fremantle spent $1.9 million upgrading the streetscape in that area a couple of years ago and the new apartments and office at 11 Queen Victoria Street are getting close to completion. I think it is good timing for that part of town.

Why is the City of Fremantle in the property market at all?

You may not know but the City of Fremantle already has an impressive commercial property portfolio with dozens of properties. Council has been active in the past to use this commercial portfolio to do more than just deliver a good financial return. In the past, the City has purchased strategically located properties to make them available for redevelopment. In the 1990’s the City purchased a few small shops on Queen Street and amalgamated these with the former Treasureways building on Adelaide Street so as to create a site that could be redeveloped. More recently, the City successfully acquired the few properties it didn’t own in the street block that included the Point Street Car Park and the Port Cinema. Again, a super block was created and made available for a very important redevelopment for the City – the Doubletree by Hilton Hotels.

In these instances, the Council looks beyond chasing a purely commercial profit and considers the longer term strategic benefits to the City itself. Using the commercial property portfolio to catalyse development can create immediate and ongoing benefits to the rate base for the City. Given that the Council heavily invests in its own City, there is merit in gaining additional benefits by using the commercial property portfolio in ways that also assist with the implementation of our strategic imperatives of CBD revitalisation, affordable housing and the like.  (thanks to Andrew Sullivan for his words for large parts of this question)


Investments of this kind are clearly an area where the council should act conservatively and be extremely confident that ratepayers money is not going to be put at risk. The more I look at this the more I am convinced it is a smart and strategic investment that will be of direct benefit to the City of Fremantle  and the ratepayers as whole. That said, I’d love to hear your views before we vote on this Wednesday night.

East End Queen Vic St south existing 5nov09

This Friday launch of the new Market Street Piazza


You’re invited to come along for a Cappuccino Strip Street Club reunion too launch the new Market Street Piazza

From 6pm Friday 27 March.

There will be an interactive street projection and board games and music.

Grab a bite to eat and bring your own musical instruments, games, costumes, kids etc – let’s celebrate this new CBD spot for people 🙂

We have transformed the Market Street Piazza behind Ginos with funky seating, “shared street” style paving, the walls and artworks have been restored and an interactive projection artwork will be on the street itself, and that’s just the beginning!

The Market Street Piazza will be closed to traffic and open to the community over four weekends starting 27 March. I hope you can come along and make the most of this special little space we helped create.

I hope to you down there…… in fancy dress if you dare!

Market street piazza

WGV Community Orchard Launch

There are lots of amazing community activities happening all around Fremantle and this nicely made video of the launch of the White Gum Valley community orchard is a perfect example of this. Residents came together at the local precinct meeting with an idea for taking an underutilised piece of Fremantle Council land and turning it into a shared community orchard and they made it happen!

Freo 2029 – Transformational Moves Video

For those of you that missed the recent public presentation on Freo 2029 we have made a video of it. Thanks to Linda Blagg for pulling this together.

You can also download the full document and other info from

Fremantle ocean pool petition

How does an ocean pool in Freo sound?

Fremantle local and building designer, Sam Martin proposed the ocean pool to Fremantle Council who enthusiastically supported the concept and endorsed the investigation into its viability and assistance in making it a reality as part of the planning of Bathers Beach.

We now need your support to show the state government that the people of Fremantle and Western Australia want an ocean pool so we can take this from being a concept to a reality.

Where can I find out more information on the ocean pool?

Visit Sam Martin’s website for more information on the proposal and its benefits.

I love it! How do I sign the petition?

Step 1: Download and print off the petition (PDF).

Step 2: Sign the petition and circulate among your friends and family for their signatures. If you run out of space for signatures you can always print off another copy.

Step 3. Return the completed petition(s) to the Office of Mayor Brad Pettitt, PO Box 807, Fremantle WA 6959 OR drop it off at the customer service centre (8 William Street, Fremantle).

Ocean pool_transformfreo version