City looks at turf love: Esplandade Reserve

Picture courtesy of City of Fremantle.
Picture courtesy of City of Fremantle.

BIG Fremantle events might bring thousands to the area, but the much-needed shot in the arm for local businesses could be coming at a cost to the Esplanade Reserve.

According to City of Fremantle economic development and marketing manager Tom Griffiths, the City has to find a “fine balance” between residents who want unrestricted access to the reserve and the business community that wants more events to draw people to Fremantle.

Mr Griffiths said the City allowed five major events and a few smaller ones on the Esplanade each year, but with most big events bringing more than 4000 people with them, it was having an adverse affect on the condition of the Esplanade’s turf, which the City often had to pay to fix.

“Naturally a large volume of foot traffic from major events damages the grass on the Esplanade,” he said.

“Typically, event organisers are charged turf restoration fees which are used to cover the costs of bringing the quality of the grass back to previous standards as soon as possible, (but) the council may decide to waive this fee if advised that it may make the difference between attracting an event to Fremantle or not.”

The use of the park for major events, the health of turf and trees and other points make up the issues behind the draft Fremantle Esplanade Masterplan, which is being reviewed for the first time since 2009.

Becoming more environmentally friendly or ‘green’ is a concept the City has been working on for years.

The latest development is its approval of the draft 2020 Green Plan, which would see a push to increase tree canopy cover from 12 per cent to 20 per cent by 2020.

Short-term goals in the plan include constructing new public open space in Hilton and O’Connor, offering grants and support to community groups and gardens focusing on environmental issues and thinking about ways to protect trees on private land.

The draft 2020 Green Plan is open for public comment until November 11.

Visit www.fremantle.wa.gov.au for more information.