Freo’s budget for year ahead
July 5, 2016 2 Comments
Late last week we adopted our $90.98 million 2016–17 budget. This was a balanced cash budget that included a 3% rate increase from 2015–16.
It was a tough budget as it was one in which it was agreed we needed to keep rates as low as possible while having a strong focus on essential services.
This year there is an especially strong focus on heritage projects. Over the last few years we’ve undertaken a range of large-scale capital projects to kick-start Fremantle’s rejuvenation. Projects like the Esplanade Youth Plaza, major upgrades to the Fremantle Leisure Centre and streetscape enhancements to Queen Victoria Street have created a lot of positive momentum and laid the foundations for Fremantle’s future. This year’s budget will continue that but with a particular focus on our heritage buildings and places.
Spending on maintenance and refurbishment of City-owned heritage buildings is continuing at the highest levels in many decades. This includes works on the Fremantle Town Hall and atrium, the Old Fremantle Boys’ School, the Naval Stores building and the Fremantle Arts Centre. There is also $800k set aside to acquire a heritage-listed Warders Cottage in Henderson Street for future adaptive reuse.
With a strong pipeline of new developments across Fremantle underway, Freo Council views restoring and improving the City’s wonderful heritage buildings as a priority and this shines through in the budget.
We’ve also ensured sustainability initiatives to deliver our One Planet objectives are well funded in the budget and as part of this we’re investing a record amount on planting new trees and other initiatives as part of our vision for a greener Fremantle.
This year there are also a number of projects to make Fremantle more accessible for people with disabilities to deliver on commitments made in the City’s new access and inclusion plan.
The transformation of Cantonment Hill into a functional and vibrant public space is another strong focus of this budget with more than $2m allocated to paths, lighting, park furniture and landscaping.
Here is a summary for those of you who enjoy a few numbers below after one of my favourite quotes from Vancouver urban planner Brent Toderian:
- Operating expenses $ 70.68m
- Capital expenses $ 18.7m
- Loan repayments $ 1.6m
Key projects/initiatives (2016–17)
Completion of $2.8m exterior restoration works for the Fremantle Town Hall and $77k to repair and repaint walls in the Fremantle Town Hall atrium.
$700k for Stage 2 upgrades of the Old Fremantle Boys’ School.
$800k to acquire a heritage-listed Warders Cottage in Henderson Street for future adaptive reuse.
$680k for refurbishment of the Naval Stores building.
$130k on conservation works at Fremantle Arts Centre to repair entrance walls and windows and to replace doors and floors.
$100k in heritage building grants to private property owners.
$285k for One Planet sustainability projects.
$221k on tree planting and other initiatives to help meet Fremantle’s goal of 20% tree canopy coverage by 2020.
$90k to maintain Minim Cove foreshore and Hollis Link plantings to improve biodiversity linkages as part of green plan.
$50k to fund community workshops on the future of diverse housing in Fremantle.
Parks and reserves
$200k to construct a full-sized basketball court at South Beach.
$2.1m for paths, lighting, park furniture and landscaping at Cantonment Hill.
$75k to prepare a business plan to upgrade Fremantle Oval and surrounding precinct.
$187k for landscaping as part of the Princess May Park masterplan.
$32k to establish a ‘friends of’ support model for local community groups who help look after local natural assets.
$65k for tree protection and turf work at Esplanade Park.
$250k to complete the City’s wayfinding pedestrian signage project across the CBD, North Fremantle and South Fremantle.
$70k to upgrade library systems for a more user-friendly experience across all library functions.
$48k to implement an online development application lodgment system to make it easier for people to lodge and track applications.
Access and inclusion
$85k to conduct accessibility audits on selected public buildings.
$33k to investigate options for an accessible change facility(s) to cater for adults and their carers.
$2.5k to provide audio loop for customer service area to make it easier for people with hearing difficulties communicate with City staff.
$11k for gopher and electric wheelchair recharge points.
Arts and culture
$150k to deliver the In Cahoots art exhibition and Aboriginal artists’ residency initiative at Fremantle Arts Centre.
$40k for public art installations.
$70k for tutors to provide classes as part of growing demand for Fremantle Art Centre art courses.
$520k to upgrade paths and cycleways.
$110k in bike amenity improvements including green bike lanes, bike parking and bike lane separations.
$40k to prepare a parking plan for the greater Fremantle area to cater for current and future demands.
Land and buildings
$3m for the re-development of 2 Jones Street as the new City of Fremantle operations centre (depot).
$75k to develop concept plans for public spaces in Kings Square.
$50k to design the community hub planned for the Esplanade Reserve.
$35k for concept plans for a new pedestrian-friendly city square at Fremantle rail station.
$175k to expand CCTV coverage in Fremantle.
$50k to fund the extension of operating hours of the community safety and rangers team (ie 7.00 am – 9.00 pm seven days per week).