AS WESTERN Australia’s ‘second capital city’, there is a lot at stake for Fremantle in the upcoming local government election.
Over the years, development has continued to be one of the biggest issues facing the area, as is the slowing local economy and the need to balance both of those with the protection of important heritage buildings and streetscapes.
Both mayoral candidates believe they have what it takes to lead Fremantle through the next four years of development and community growth, but they have different ideas about how to do it.
Incumbent mayor Brad Pettitt said he had seen the City change considerably in his 27 years as a resident and that more was needed.
“While there’s been a slow exodus of more traditional industries, this has been replaced by a service economy that’s seen tourism and hospitality play a more important role,” he said.
bring people back to Fremantle.
“The renewal of the city centre from Kings Square to the east is now underway and, in addition, the renewal of the heart of Beaconsfield and Knutsford precincts are going to be wonderful for Fremantle to bring in more diverse and sustainable housing to our city.”
Former Fremantle Chamber of Commerce president Caroline (Ra) Stewart said in a short period of time she had seen the city go from a bustling hub to one dealing with increased anti-social behaviour and shops closing – a trend that needed to change.
“The feedback I’m receiving from the community is that the changes we have seen in Fremantle in the last five years are for the worse,” she said.
“Residents and ratepayers have turned their back on Freo due to the lack of entertainment options, shopping experiences and accessibility into the city.
“We need to reconnect with our community, clean up the city, put out the welcome mat and encourage people to reclaim Fremantle as their own once again.”
Dr Pettitt said if re-elected he would continue to fight for more people living and working in Fremantle to change ingrained perceptions that Fremantle was faltering.
“I will make sure the hard work by the council continues to bear fruit,” he said.
“Central Fremantle is now back on track and the opportunities around Fremantle Oval/Hospital as well as Victoria Quay will be a strong focus – as will delivering more diverse and affordable housing options.
“Sustainable transport and rolling out our new renewable energy plan will also feature heavily.”
Ms Stewart said she agreed more visitors, workers and pedestrian traffic were needed in Fremantle, as was concentrating on the basics.
“Without visitors, workers and pedestrian traffic, supported by an enabling parking policy, good public transport and a clean, safe environment, we will struggle to attract people to Fremantle,” she said.
“Our economic development strategy should focus on innovative marketing strategies beyond Fremantle to attract people and business into the city, and work with property owners to support small business while Kings Square is under construction.
“My focus will be on representing our entire community, continuing my inclusive and collaborative conversations with our stakeholders and providing transparent, accountable leadership.”
Why you should vote for me
Brad Pettitt: “My experience and track record of heading up an effective council that’s delivering an even more liveable Fremantle is why I hope locals will vote for me.”
Ra Stewart: “I know what it is to live, work and raise a family here. I want to be a voice for everyone within the Fremantle municipality. I want to lead a council that consults with our community and demonstrates financial accountability and transparency for the secure future of our beautiful and unique port city.”