– Update –
A COMMUNITY led push to have Fremantle Council’s boundaries extended to include Hamilton Hill and part of North Coogee has failed.
Greater Fremantle convenor Adin Lang was told Friday afternoon that Local Government Minister Paul Miles had accepted the Local Government Advisory Board’s (LGAB) recommendation the bid not be supported.
After a twelve month process, which included a public inquiry by the LGAB, Mr Lang was disappointed with the outcome.
“It’s a debate that has existed since the 50s and 60s so I’m glad we got to put our case forward and have a shot,” he said.
“I’m disappointed it won’t be going ahead but now we have an answer.
“It’s put to bed a long-running debate.”
Mr Miles confirmed Monday morning he had accepted the LGAB’s recommendation, which was a result of a lengthy inquiry process.
“(The recommendation) was due to a number of factors but particularly overwhelming opposition from electors in the directly affected communities of North Coogee and Hamilton Hill,” he said.
Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett said the announcement was a great start to 2017.
“The community of Cockburn came out very strongly to express its feelings against the Greater Fremantle proposal from day one,” he said.
He said the City’s focus would now turn to service delivery and community infrastructure projects.
The campaigners behind Greater Fremantle had argued people living in Hamilton Hill and the section of North Coogee in question – particularly the South Beach Estate – identified more with Fremantle than Cockburn and were more likely to visit the port city than shops and facilities in their own council.
They said a rate base boosted by an extra 10,000 residents could help reinvigorate Fremantle.
Mr Lang, of Hamilton Hill, said he discovered support for the idea during an unsuccessful run for a seat on Cockburn Council in 2015.
The Greater Fremantle team got the ball rolling last January by starting the signature-gathering process needed for the LGAB to consider the proposal.
But with the pitch coming less than a year after the City of Cockburn had defended its boundaries from State-backed local government reform, a process that had cost millions, the City was quick to jump on the offensive.
Mayor Logan Howlett argued a growing number of people were avoiding Fremantle due to parking fees and a lack of shopping options, and were choosing instead to head south to take in what Cockburn had to offer.
By May, Greater Fremantle campaigners had the necessary signatures and a proposal to submit to the LGAB, prompting the City of Cockburn to establish a $50,000 account to fight the movement.
The LGAB announced a month later it would hold a formal inquiry into the proposal, but a ReachTEL poll commissioned by the City of Cockburn soon after found there was little support for change.
With Local Government Minister Tony Simpson favouring reform backed by all affected councils, campaigners felt their bid was unlikely to be approved.
But they were given fresh hope when Paul Miles was installed as Local Government Minister after Mr Simpson left the post in September.
That hope seemed dashed shortly after when Greater Fremantle was found well short of support during a public hearing held at the PCYC in Hilton in October.
Just six of an estimated 300 people in the room showed support for boundary changes, although Mr Lang felt some in the crowd may have scared other supporters into keeping quiet.
The process finally concluded on Friday after the Mr Miles backed the LGAB’s call to scrap the application.
After a long year of campaigning, Mr Lang said he would not be part of any further push for boundary reform.
“I know others in the community are interested,” he said.
“But it won’t be me that time.”
– Greater Fremantle timeline –
January 2016: Greater Fremantle campaigners begin gathering the 250 signatures needed for the Local Government Advisory Board to consider the proposal.
May 2016: Greater Fremantle campaigners submit a proposal and more than 300 signatures to the LGAB. The City of Cockburn sets up a $50,000 budget to fight the campaign.
June 2016: The LGAB announces it will hold a formal inquiry into the Greater Fremantle proposal.
July 2016: A ReachTEL poll commissioned by the City of Cockburn finds less than 20 per cent of those surveyed were supporting of a move into the City of Fremantle, although close to 60 per cent of people said they were in favour of a referendum on the issue.
August 2016: The LGAB locks in dates for community consultation and a public hearing is scheduled.
September 2016: A change in Local Government Minister offers new hope to campaigners after former Minister Tony Simpson said he supported reform backed by all affected councils.
October 2016: The team behind the Greater Fremantle push fail to concede their dream is over, despite what appeared to be a crushing defeat at a public hearing held at the Fremantle PCYC in Hilton.
January 2017: Local Government Minister Paul Miles accepts a recommendation from the Local Government Advisory Board that the Greater Fremantle bid should not be supported.
Greater Fremantle convenor Adin Lang (third from right) said he was told Friday afternoon the Greater Fremantle campaign would not be supported by the LGAB or Minister for Local Government.