As a follow-up to last week’s Q&A event we asked candidates to submit written responses to questions and enable those, who were unable to attend, to get a picture of each candidate.
In the recent community perceptions survey, staff understanding of community needs and how open and transparent Council processes are, are rated low in South Fremantle residents. What are your plans to improve this?
The Fremantle community is more engaged than most. Our people form strong opinions on most issues. Debates can be polarising and even combative. Our community has a high expectation of being kept informed.
Some issues are extremely complex and it can be hard to provide information in an easily digestible format. I will continue to push the CEO to deliver better ways of providing information so our community conversations are well informed.
The Council meetings and committees are all open to the public but few people attend. We need to find better ways of enabling the community to see what their Council is discussing, such as using live streaming.
The role of the Councillor is to be available for residents and ratepayers to help explain and/or clarify proposals and decisions. I always endeavour to articulate information in the detail necessary and in a language suitable for the audience.
Fremantle’s Vital Signs report shows housing diversity and housing stress is a key issue in Fremantle, which could be a contributing factor to high levels of psychological distress of 1 in 10 Fremantle residents. As a councillor what would you do to improve this?
Council must do a better job at working with the State and Federal governments in delivering the key services and housing we need. Council has limited capacity or authority to provide social services or housing but we can play a lead role in facilitating a coordinated regional response by all the agencies. There appears to be a slow incremental loss of social housing in Fremantle and this must be halted.
Council must provide incentives for affordable housing in our planning scheme and policies. Also, we can facilitate developments using Council owned assets. Using this dual approach I’ll deliver the following:
- Student housing, possibly over the Leisure Centre car park;
- ‘Key Worker’ housing, via planning incentives;
- Self-developed housing models and shared equity housing;
- Specialised housing designed for people with disabilities; and,
- New options for empty nesters struggling to stay in Freo.
Since there is a lot of focus on economic development in the City centre, how do you plan to enhance South Fremantle economically.
Implementing the South Terrace traffic calming and streetscape works as soon as possible is critical to providing the right environment for business to thrive. We must develop a balanced and integrated approach to parking in South Fremantle. We must also kick-start the business precinct group again to help build a clear marketing approach for the precinct
Other longer-term economic opportunities exist in areas either side of Hampton Road south of the Duoro Road intersection. I will work with the major landowners to explore ways of transforming the area to include a district shopping centre set within a town centre environment and surrounded by much needed urban infill.
Likewise, the redevelopment opportunities in the Beaconsfield valley should include new commercial opportunities capable of servicing local needs, including establishing a small community hub.
Do you support the Outer Harbour and are you aware of the impacts on the South Fremantle area, specifically alleviating heavy rail transport and opening options for light rail along the corridor?
I acknowledge the complex arguments for and against an outer harbour. I am concerned about the environmental impact on Cockburn Sound but the roads in Fremantle can’t take more trucks either. Creating mega-freeways in heritage suburbs is never the answer.
Fremantle Port is operating well short of capacity. The core constraint is transporting containers to and from the port. A new dedicated rail tunnel would have expanded the life of the current port indefinitely.
The current rail route is extremely limited as it shares the rail bridge with the passenger line. The flow on effect is not enough trains travelling during the day and too many late-night trains negatively impacting residents, not to mention the disconnect from our waterfront.
As a rail tunnel is highly unlikely, I accept an outer harbour is needed ASAP.
Providing light rail is the most important infrastructure needed for Fremantle’s future.
What is your concept regarding north south directed traffic though South Fremantle, and the roles of Marine Terrace, South Terrace and Hampton Road in the mix?
There has been considerable community input into individual decisions about each of these roads. What we lack is an overarching transport plan for the road network.
We have limited road capacity in and out of Fremantle. We also have limited opportunity to accommodate more cars in the city centre – this gets back to the critical need for passenger rail to the south and east.
The three main north-south roads do serve inherently different functions. Hampton provides some access to the city but is more used to bypass it. Marine is free flowing and should continue to be used to access the city centre and harbours. South Terrace is loaded with alfresco activity but should still carry its fair share of traffic at a slower pace. We must get the South Terrace upgraded ASAP to accommodate its dual role as both a through route and as a place to congregate.
Follow on question if traffic calming is not addressed in answers for the above: What role does traffic calming play in your vision?
I’m quite wary of piecemeal traffic calming devices and I think our ratepayer money is far better spent on making pleasant streets using good urban design and landscaping.
Traffic calming devices squeezes the over-all traffic balloon and pushes cars into nearby streets. As such, I haven’t been a fan of the traffic calming devices our City engineers have implemented in local streets “in the name of safety” and I think they may have caused more problems than have been solved.
The money spent on traffic calming in King William and Sydney streets would have been far better spent on getting South Terrace implemented and on dealing with the flow and speed of all traffic rather than chopping and changing the hierarchy of the roads.
What is your position on Australia Day and specifically the CoF actions?
Council made the right decision based on the information available. We wanted a more sensitive and inclusive way to celebrate our national culture. We suggested there be less of the patriotic fervour so enjoyed by so-called “aussie patriots”. We wanted to encourage a debate in the local community that reflected on the past and the ongoing injustices that have so disadvantage the first peoples of this land.
That said, with the benefit of hindsight we should have consulted more and/or implemented the changes over a couple of years to help avoid the division.
I was greatly moved by the response of the different Nyoongar groups in Perth and beyond and in the way they came together as one to conduct their ceremonies at Arthur Head and Bathers Beach. That our decision opened up a space for this one moment to occur was a real blessing.