Tuesday, 31 January 2012

My Freo lowlights from 2011

Following on from my highlights, here are my Freo lowlights from 2011.

Bathers Beach debacle

“It is difficult to design a space that will not attract people. What is remarkable is how often this has been accomplished.”

- William H. Whyte

I think this quote pretty much sums up the remarkable failure that is the Bathers Beach upgrade.

No Design Guidelines for SA49 and the East End (Queen Victoria Street)

Almost two years ago Council initiated its scheme amendment to facilitate redevelopment along Queen Victoria Street without a set of design guidelines. During the consultation process design guidelines were promised. A year after the amendment was finalised there still aren't any design guidelines in place, and the clock continues to tick.

Last year SA49 was also initiated by Council without an accompanying set of design guidelines in place. Sound eerily familiar? Yep, you guessed it, promises have again been made that accompanying design guidelines will be prepared at a later date. Why not have them ready as part of the consultation for the amendment?

Ten day turnaround policy at City of Fremantle

It's policy at the CoF that phone calls and emails must be responded to within ten days. To me, this kind of turnaround is just too long to be acceptable, and the fact that it's officially sanctioned seems to indicate a deeper lack of regard for ratepayers. Time to change the policy.

More city centre vacancies and earlier closing times for New Edition

When we moved to Cantonment Street in 2008, I don't recall any vacancies along High Street and New Edition was open to 10pm on weekdays. Unfortunately things have changed, and one of my lowlights was seeing the increasing number of vacancies in the city centre along with earlier closing times for my favourite bookshop.

Alfresco decking at Moore & Moore cafe

To paraphrase Winston Churchill, I believe that a city trying to encourage innovation in an environment rife with unreasonable red tape is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.

Last year we all got to see the City literally stand in the bucket and try to lift itself up by the handle in its farcical approach to approving the alfresco decking at Moore and Moore cafe. They got there in the end, but not before providing a useful example of why this year the City should be embarking on a red tape reduction drive.

Dishonourable mention

ISAF letdown, working groups, Local Government elections (shortage of candidates, low voter turnout and not enough votes for yours truly!), Fremantle Festival, no Memorandum of Understanding with Notre Dame.

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