Process flawed

IN response to Deputy Mayor Josh Wilson’s letter in last week’s edition regarding J Shed, the Fremantle Residents and Ratepayers Association highlight the following points.

No attendees at a community engagement exercise costing ratepayers $7000 on the future of Arthur Head, held in March 2013, were able to comment on a proposal for a 850-patron tavern plus outdoor concert area for 1500 people at J Shed because they were told only that ‘a bar/cafe/gallery’ was planned for the site.

This was despite the City already having received Sunset Events’ proposal.

In November 2013, Crs Wilson, Sullivan, Coggin, Fittock and Massie opposed a council motion to defer a decision on granting the lease for the tavern, a deferral that was necessary for business plan consultation to take place.

The City’s analysis of public submissions to the consultation process was flawed. Several submissions opposing the tavern proposal, including petitions, were omitted from the summary of submissions.

A petition signed by 200 Fremantle electors opposing the proposal was counted as one submission, equal to one submission by an individual in favour of the proposal.

No acknowledgement was made of Sunset Events’ extensive social media campaign to generate online submissions to the City.

No distinction was made between detailed submissions from electors that took hundreds of hours to write and two-word comments in favour of the tavern that, in many cases, referred inaccurately to the site or proposal.

The new Aboriginal Cultural Centre on Captains Lane is not ‘included’ in the tavern, as Cr Wilson’s letter infers, but a separate venue that is already operational.

Traditional owners have jointly written to the council expressing concern about its failure to consult them on the tavern proposal prior to making a decision to grant the lease.

It is questionable whether it can be asserted that a tavern that only exists as a proposal and has such a background will be ‘iconic’, as Cr Wilson’s letter states.

Fremantle Resident and Ratepayers Association Inc. committee