AS someone who has lived near Fremantle for all of my 40 plus years, and has spent a lot of time visiting Fremantle, to see the present state of the shopping precinct in the CBD is very alarming.
Over recent years, the list of retailers that have closed in Fremantle reads like a who’s who of the retail market and enough to fill a large shopping centre
The list of closures includes Myer, Harvey Norman, Spotlight, Dymocks, Angus and Robertson, Thingz Gifts, Dick Smith (nationwide closure) and McDonald’s (Fishing Boat Harbour), plus other retailers too numerous to mention.
Now on May 27, Woolworths will close.
The recent reported comments about Woolworths’ closure by Mayor Brad Pettitt that “Woolworths has always been in a strange location in Fremantle” would be very disappointing to everyone involved with the supermarket.
Woolworths should have been applauded for having invested in a new shopping centre in the Fremantle CBD.
The City urgently needs to address the closure of shops and businesses in the CBD.
It should start an advertising campaign to attract shoppers back to Fremantle, similar to the ongoing campaign by the City of Perth.
Shopping in Fremantle could be promoted as a fun and vibrant alternative to the sterile, look-alike shopping centres.
The availability of free parking in the central business area also needs to be promoted.
Money in the City’s budget also needs to be set aside to make the city more attractive to shoppers. The state of Westgate mall, next to Target, is an eyesore urgently in need of renovation.
The owners of the vacant land at the corner of Adelaide and Point streets should be encouraged to turn it into a temporary recreational park or maybe even a car park until development of that site goes ahead.
The owners of the Woolstores shopping centre should also look at freshening it up.
In addition, landlords also need to reduce shop rents to help attract more retailers back to Fremantle.
Security issues also need to be addressed. The City needs to look at having its own security officers patrolling the CBD to help stop and report the petty crime that is driving customers and businesses away. The police cannot do be expected to do this alone.
I hope that the City of Fremantle can address some of these issues so that Fremantle can return the fun and vibrant place I remember of years gone by.
SANTO IANNELLO, Winthrop.