THE team behind the Greater Fremantle proposal will not concede their dream is over, despite finding little support at a public hearing into the proposal.
Hundreds packed the PCYC hall in Hilton last night, but only convenor Adin Lang and supporter Alan Beazley spoke in favour of having Fremantle Council’s boundaries extended to include Hamilton Hill and part of North Coogee.
Just six of an estimated 300 people in the room raised their hands when asked if they supported the Greater Fremantle movement.
About 35 people – including former Cockburn Mayor Don Miguel, Phoenix Revitalisation Working Group member John Cunai, Coogee Beach Progress Association president Geoff Sach and Coolbellup’s Ugo De Marchi – spoke against boundary reform.
The Local Government Advisory Board (LGAB) will now consider information it collected at the meeting and submissions gathered during the public consultation period before making its recommendation to the Local Government Minister.
Despite the crowd appearing keen to see the Greater Fremantle bid crumble, Mr Lang told the Gazette is was now a “waiting game” to see what the LGAB’s recommendation would be.
“The LGAB will make a decision based on the weight of the argument, that’s just the way it is,” he said.
“They’ll take into account a number of factors – Fremantle being ‘crap’ or Fremantle being a ‘dog’s breakfast’ isn’t one of them.
“There’s two more steps to go – there’s the board and the minister.
“We’ll have to wait to hear what the board says.”
Mr Lang said the crowd, heavily slanted in favour of keeping Cockburn’s boundaries as they are, may have scared other Greater Fremantle supporters into keeping quiet.
“(The City of Cockburn) had a lot more supporters here and by virtue of that I think a lot of our supporters were a bit afraid to speak up,” he said.
“The key thing is this debate has existed in the community since 1960.
“There have been a number of attempts to get a movement like this occurring and I’m really happy we’ve managed to get this debate in a public forum to finally have their views heard.
“It’s just a bit unfortunate that the negative campaign Cockburn has run has filtered through the community and you could see the result tonight.
“Our supporters were too scared to speak up.”
With much of the work done for him, Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett chose against delivering another blow to the opposition during his time at the microphone.
“Isn’t it great that we live in a democracy where people can come out and have their say without any fear or favour,” he said.
Chatting afterwards to the Gazette, he said it was clear the majority of support was to have the 10,000 affected ratepayers remain with Cockburn.
“We knew the support was there. We’re approached all the time from people, no matter where we go, saying ‘this has to be stopped’,” he said.
The LGAB’s public consultation period into the proposal closes October 13.
A recommendation is expected in November.