Hope for City of Fremantle’s future

TWO young local business owners believe there is a lot to look forward to in Fremantle’s future despite constant talk of the area’s decline.

Much has been said about Fremantle’s economic drop in recent years, but for two of Fremantle’s newest investors the lure to set up shop locally was strong.

For North Fremantle resident Anatoly Mezhov, who is the owner of The Mantle, Fremantle provided the perfect chance to set up a hospitality, creativity and artist hub in a forgotten warehouse, an initiative that has grown in popularity since it opened late last year.

He said he would like locals to continue to recognise the past but also start helping Fremantle move towards becoming more prosperous, innovative, sustainable and multicultural.

“There’s definitely merit in recognising and respecting your past, but we need to look more into the future and leverage Fremantle’s deep cultural history,” he said.

“We need more people living, working and playing in Fremantle. These days seeing development getting out of the ground around town is a great sign of progress and a step in the right direction.”

Mr Mezhov said Fremantle would be better by focusing on rejuvenating the area around the Woolstores shopping centre and banks precinct, as well as improved links between North Fremantle and the CBD.

Royce Surman, who became the owner of Market Street’s new venture Ohana Acai Bar three months ago, said rather than having too strong a connection with the past, Fremantle needed to find a way to break the reliance on being a fair weather destination.

“Fremantle relies too heavily on summer for customers,” he said.

“I can’t see why Freo shouldn’t be WA’s most ‘happening’ and sought after suburb. It has awesome hospitality and offers more to customers than anywhere else I believe; it just has big issues that constantly get swept under the rug instead of dealt with.

“More open spaces, more parking and better recreational boat access to the fishing boat harbour would see Freo booming.”

Mr Mezhov and Mr Surman are just two members in the 25 to 40 age group, which the City of Fremantle’s recent Forecast i.d population predictor deemed would see the most significant increase by 2036 as Fremantle looks to grow from a population of 30,000 to more than 42,000.

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