Freo tree planting makes most of a wet weekend

Much of this weekend was (as they say) good weather for ducks – and fortunately for tree planting.

As part of 21st year of Planet Ark’s National Tree Day today, the City of Fremantle held three days so tree planting at South Beach, Bathers Beach and Wilson Park.

Thanks to all those from the community  including lots of City of Fremantle staff that volunteered their times and made Fremantle a bit greener over the past few days.

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The Fremantle Network: This Tuesday Liam Carter shares his vision for Freo 

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Join us for the next edition of our monthly speaker series, featuring Liam Carter.
This month we’re looking for the *youth* perspective on the future, so bring along all possible pre-conceived ideas about the laziness and apathy of the millenial generation and Liam will prove it all wrong by looking towards what young people are actually doing to make the city a better place for everyone! 
See you for a 6pm start at The National Hotel on 2nd August.
Liam Carter is a passionate local youth advocate that grew up and has spent his entire life living in South Fremantle. After asking how best to give back and make a difference in the Freo community, he decided to work with the City of Fremantle to create a Youth Advisory Council. Liam has been working to change the debate around youth issues and enable young people to engage in community problem solving to the benefit of Fremantle, and its surrounds. The extent of youth engagement in many cities is service provision, but Liam is working to increase the accessibility of planners to young people and create a lasting dialogue that gets good results not just for youth, but for the whole community.

What is your story about stories about your alternative housing choices?

Do you live in a small house, apartment, loft or granny flat? Or are you looking for housing that’s smaller than what’s currently available?

As our population grows and household make ups change, smaller affordable housing options are needed as part of Fremantle’s future….

Here at the City of Freo, we’re keen to hear stories about your alternative housing choices.   We’d like to know what you look  for  to help us better understand what individuals, families and other households need from a smaller house.  If you are looking for or have found the perfect ‘smaller’ house, we’d love to hear your experiences in this short survey.

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A warm welcome back to Mike Pauly after 15 months walking solo around Australia

It was great to welcome back to Mike Pauly to Fremantle after 15 months walking solo around Australia!

Mike is the ripe young age of 70-something and he walked solo unaided around Australia to raise funds for Men’s Mental Health.

A great supporter of his walks are the Fremantle Men’s Shed has been a in the past including materials, equipment, and morale support over the year. The Fremantle Mens Shed runs several successful programs to promote and combat Men’s Mental Health issues in the Fremantle community. Half the proceeds Mike has raised be sent to the Fremantle Men’s Shed for them to put back into the community and keep the programs running. If you want to donate or find out more go to

mike 2 Mike Pauly

DAPs – are there better ways of enabling development and density?

DAPs are a contentious issue in Perth right now. You might have read about a growing campaign against them led by predominantly inner-ring and western suburbs councils (ABC story here). While they are getting lots of press and “Scrap the DAPs” is a punchy slogan, I am not convinced that the current anti-DAPs movement offers the best way forward if we are interested in creating a more liveable Perth.

Former WA planning minister John Day recently dismissed the DAP opposition as ‘cause célèbre‘ and I am not sure this dismissal is quite right either.   There are some real and concerning issues with the current DAP system that need to be reviewed and rethought. DAPs have been shown to be slower, more expensive and less representative than the approvals process was before – and that is when they are not approving developments that are pushing the bounds of local planning schemes and good design.

In fact, a WALGA report in collaboration with the Local Government Planners Association conducted a comprehensive analysis of all DAP agendas and minutes from meetings held between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2014. Analysis of the 520 development applications dealt with by Development Assessment Panels during this period revealed that:

  • there has been an increase in applicant fees by 19%;
  • it takes longer than 100 days to process applications (on average);
  • the process results in a high number of SAT appeals at great expense to the Department of Planning; and
  • DAPs expended vast resources in determining a significant number of relatively straightforward and clear cut applications that could have easily been processed under delegated authority by Local Government officers.

While DAPs might not be performing as well as promised it is important to remember that they were brought in, in part, because Perth was failing to realise its urban infill targets and address suburban sprawl in a coherent and strategic manner, in part due to an overly localised, NIMBY attitude to new development and density in some areas.

While in a post-DAP world we are now seeing higher rates of urban infill and higher density development slowly emerge (we have gone from 27% to 31% infill in recent years) I am not convinced that this approach is working as well as hoped. For a start Perth’s urban infill rate of 31% is still way off the 47% target signed up to (See recent report in  The West)

I am even more concerned that the urban density that we are currently getting is not the high quality, strategic kind of smart density Perth really needs. By that I mean density located in around train stations and good transit, in activity centres and close to jobs and schools and shops. Instead we seem to be getting haphazard often dumb density away from good transit and centres and often approved by DAPs. This dumb-density is angering local communities who can clearly see what this density is costing them in terms of their suburb’s amenity and character but cannot clearly see what benefits smart density could achieve in terms of a less congested, more diverse, sustainable and liveable city.

In other words DAPs have failed to adequately solve the problem they we largely created to address and are instead in danger of fuelling a new density hangover that will once again set back community support for density for decades.

I am increasingly of the view that we need to rethink DAPs and more fundamentally how we best achieve greater density in Perth. To do this we should consider turning the DAP idea on its head by returning power to local communities how and where they put density. But to avoid the NIMBYism that has plagued development in Perth so far local Councils should be required to sign up to agreed density targets and the onus should be on them approve developments that achieve these.

If these targets are met then those local governments should be rewarded with greater infrastructure spend by the State Government This localises power and responsibility and with the right incentives to communities it should result in better informed and strategic decision making. This is covered in part of the DAP item that came to Fremantle Council last week which (along with other possible improvements) called for:

Consideration of incentive based replacement for DAPs which rewards local government for setting appropriate density targets for their area (through community led design) and making strong progress towards meeting these targets. This should include a particular focus on development and density located in areas adjacent to transport and near designated activity centres. Local governments who are delivering on agreed density targets will be rewarded with infrastructure and other funding that will not be available to Local Government not meeting their targets.”

The DAP debate in Fremantle has a fair way to go but I am pleased that the Fremantle Council’s approach so far has been about more than a catchy slogan that says “no”. Both the Labor and Liberal parties in WA support DAPs so this approach is not likely to lead to much change. That is why we are looking towards a more sophisticated approach that is willing to work through the complex issues so we can then advocate improved and workable solutions to our challenges of development and density.

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WA Today on “The cherished diversity and sameness of Hidden Treasures in Fremantle”

WA Today has written a rather amusing review of Week 3 of Hidden Treasures that took place last night in Freo’s West End. It is worth a read.

It you haven’t been yet then next Thursday is your last chance to check it out.



Almost 200 years of service for Blessing of the Fleet Volunteers acknowledged.

This morning the City of Fremantle held a special appreciation morning tea for some amazingly long serving Fishing Fleet Festival association committee members. Between them they have put in 181 years of volunteer time to keep going one of Fremantle’s most significant cultural events.

The Blessing of the Fleet in Fremantle has now being going for 68 years and it because of the commitment of people like this that this important event is still going strong. It will be back in Fremantle at the end of October.

Mr John Minervini  (who is sadly no longer with us so  his wife Mrs Frances Minervini to accepted his certificate)

John joined the Fishing Fleet Festival Association (Blessing of the Fleet) in 1965.  He served on the Committee for 45 years and was elected President of the Committee in 1975.  He served in this role for 35 years until he passed away in 2010.

Mr Giuseppe Caputi                    

Giuseppe joined the Fishing Fleet Festival Association (Blessing of the Fleet) in 1969 and was elected Vice President in 1998, a role that he held for 14 years until 2012.  He has served the Committee for 46 years until his retirement in 2015

Mr Frank Mazzeo

Frank joined the Fishing Fleet Festival Association (Blessing of the Fleet) in 1965.  He served on the Committee for 50 years until his retirement in 2015.  During this period, he served the Committee in many different roles.

Mr Nicola Visaggio (Male)

Nick joined the Fishing Fleet Festival Association (Blessing of the Fleet) in 1965 and was elected Secretary in 1969, a role which he still holds.  Nick has been involved with the Committee for a total of 51 years.

I’d also  like to thank  Mr. John Alberti for proposing this very deserving  idea to host this  morning tea to show our appreciation to the long serving committee members and acknowledge their remarkable achievement.


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