Discord over concert plan: Arthurs Head, Fremantle

FRUSTRATED residents packed the City of Fremantle council chambers to again voice their disapproval over a proposed music venue on Arthurs Head.

It is an issue that has irritated residents since 2013 when Sunset Events proposed incorporating a tavern in the J Shed and reserved the right to hold music concerts and other smaller events.

While it continues to make its way through the system, Sunset Events has approached the City with a second proposal to have a temporary special-event venue on the site.

They have asked for a temporary permit until June 30, 2017, which would be broken up into two summer seasons. No events would be held during the winter months.

There would be 12, 1000-patron concerts during the summer, a weekly Sunday community beach barbecue and other private or community events, all of which would start no earlier than midday and finish no later than 10pm.

Residents attended the committee meeting in droves, voicing their anger over the potential of anti-social behaviour, excessive alcohol consumption, damage to heritage elements in the area and the impact on local businesses.

Fremantle Society president Henty Farrar said during the meeting that residents felt like the City wasn’t listening.

“The representation of the public consultation gives a clear impression that there has been no real response from the public,” he said.

“The council needs to rethink the document and tell the WAPC the proposal isn’t a good fit, it’s not appropriate and it should not be supported.”

Sunset Events managing director David Chitty tried to alleviate concerns, saying he believed the temporary approval would be a good way to see whether the permanent proposal would work.

“If we were given the necessary approvals I think we would be able to have the opportunity to see how things went with the relevant stakeholders and the broader community who will probably enjoy a cultural experience in the area,” he said.

Fremantle councillors were divided. Cr Bill Massie said he could see alcohol, drugs, transport and lack of parking becoming big issues, while Cr Rachel Pemberton argued it would be a good test of the concept.

The proposal will be sent to the Western Australian Planning Commission, which has the final say.