I wrote this up last week at work and I thought I may as well upload it here so I can feel that I'm posting something, at least. It's in response to the City of Fremantle's plan to engage with business to redevelop a very tired area of the town.
It’s a long needed attempt to undo the damage done to the city in the 10 years from 1983-1993 after which all so-called development stopped. Driving out businesses, as aided by the early 80s credit squeeze started the process and it’s good to see them putting business at the forefront for a change. It’s taken Fremantle nearly 30 years to realise that one point. Like Freo, Cuba’s a great place to visit but not a nice place to live. Lots of decaying heritage and culture but no economic development which means you have lots of rotting Victorian buildings. So keep those, of course, but use business to revitalise them.
Soulless developments like Queensgate and the earlier ones were never fully realised after the mythical ‘post-cup boom’ never eventuated because businesses would not invest.
Another great piece of damage were the horrific things done in that decade by a Mayor who hated grass. Look at King’s Square, which was once a living breathing heart of Fremantle but which caught a classic case of that era’s RBP disease. In this case grey concrete rather than Perth’s Red Brick Paving. Now you can’t move through King’s Square quick enough. It’s the worst public space in WA in my opinion. So yay for a plan to revitalise Fremantle, we’ve been waiting 20 years