Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt has been outspoken on why he believes the Arthur Head A Class reserve needs a tavern, and now first a temporary two-year events venue with live outdoor concerts for up to 1,500 or maybe 1,000 patrons, depending on if full Council on Wednesday will accept the changes to the original application.
I lived at Captain’s Lane in one of the old Pilot’s Cottages for about two and a half years and absolutely loved it. I adored the historic feeling of the area, to sit in quiet at night on the veranda and look down at the harbour and see ships coming and going. It was a magnificent experience and so was the interaction with the delightful Crookes family next door. Kids from Lance Holt School played up on the hill, we held bocce nights for the locals, the Fremantle Society held events during the Heritage Festival, on Australia Day, etc. and we looked after the place.
The Captain’s Lane area is lovely. It was delightful to live there and to sit on the veranda and talk to people passing by. The kids from next door and I introduced many foreigners to ‘bush tucker’ lilly pilly, and the few homeless people who walked by came for a chat or yelled goodnight at me through the window. We were the passive and active surveillance of the area. I asked Council to put a proper path down Captain’s Lane so it would make access to the Roundhouse and to the lawn-for weddings more accessible, and they did.
I have suggested to light up the cottages from the front and make them a feature. It would surely not be a huge expense to put four lights below the wall and light it all up. I would love it if disabled people could get into the Roundhouse. I have suggested Council uses the grassed area for events and I have suggested an art market there.
I have asked for years if we could have a ‘stage’ at Little High Street during the Street Art Festival long weekend to encourage people to walk down High Street and discover and enjoy the far West End of town.
Georgie Adeane and I extended the Bathers Beach Sunset Food Markets all along the path from Kidogo Arthouse to J Shed and onto the A Class reserve, we lit up the tunnel beautifully and I have asked Fremantle City to at least put more attractive lights in the tunnel and make it a feature, but it fell on deaf ears. How many people see the lit up cliff face? I thinks it looks great but not many people visit there during the night.
The heritage area deserves more and better attention from the City. I can’t believe there is still no proper wayfinding signage in the area although we have asked for it for years, and that is not acceptable.
The Mayor sits in Council and tells us the area needs activation because nothing is happening at Arthur Head, but the City has failed to do the basic things. Where is the Arthur Head promotion, where is the signage, the lights, the events and a bit of tender love and care for the area?!
Yesterday the Whalers Tunnel was still closed at 9 am! I have alerted the City on numerous occasions that the security company either failed to open the gates, did it far too late and closed the gates too early at night, but who cares. I am just a geriatric nay-saying whinger who should shut up because Brad and his mates know best what’s good for us. Quiet enjoyment of the great historic area is not good enough. It needs to be destroyed by making it into a live outdoor music venue.
Only Councillor Ingrid Waltham got it on Wednesday when she suggested to only approve events for up to 400 people but not the 1500, or now maybe 1000 patrons, ticketed concerts.
We have been banging our heads against the wall for many years to get improvement at Arthur Head but all we’ve got is a few benches, but still no shade structures for tourist to sit under or a water fountain.
The City of Fremantle has failed the area and neglected it, and because they did that they now want to destroy it. They have been giving similar reasons for Pioneer Park. No one uses it so let’s build a multi storey building on it, when all it needs is some creative landscaping, seating and shade structures and a playground near Spare Parts Theatre. But that is just common sense low-hanging fruit placemaking the Mayor no longer seems to want to support, although it was he who brought out David Engwicht on several occasions to preach exactly those solutions.
Arthur Head needs better connectivity and wayfinding and signage all the way from the Esplanade and Fishing Boat Harbour to Victoria Quay and the Maritime Museum. It needs to be included in events. Bathers Beach needs a public toilet and shade structures and so does the grass area next to the Roundhouse.
Make the area a feature and light up the cottages, set standards for the art galleries and insist on professionalism and proper signage instead of some ugly banners hanging off the verandas. They need to be as professional and inviting as the Glen Cowans photography gallery!
There are many many small and inexpensive ways to make the area more attractive and safe that would reduce vandalism, but the City of Fremantle has no eye for detail and only wants to do the big picture stuff.
P.S. Those of you who have criticised my very critical and sarcastic article about the Planning Committee session as being disrespectful to Mayor Brad Pettitt should have witnessed how disrespectful the Mayor was to all those who addressed Council and who send in submissions.
Pettitt’s attitude toward Fremantle Society President Henty Frrar and historian and former Councillor John Dowwson was unacceptable, rude and arrogant. He had no right to interrupt Dowson’s address to the members and question if he had even read the agenda item on the Workers Club development. If the Mayor wants respect he needs to treat us with respect, so start earning the respect some still believe you deserve, Brad.
ROEL FOR FREO. Beaconsfield Ward. Truly Independent.
Written and authorised by Roel Loopers of 5 Maxwell Street, Beaconsfield 6162.