“Rather than focusing on the obstacle in your path, focus on the bridge over the obstacle”. Mary Lou Retton, Gymnast

The community and business groundswell around view on the new bridge for Fremantle has been growing over the last few months. From a Chamber perspective it has been an interesting process to observe in terms of the passion and drive of our community for better design outcomes, but also how the processes of consultation can influence stakeholder perceptions.

On Friday, I was fortunate to represent our Chamber, its Committees and members at a stakeholder workshop, facilitated by Nicole Lockwood, on behalf of Main Roads. The leaders of a variety of sectors of our community and an expert panel gathered to explore in more detail the vision for the project, the opportunities and constraints and how we could maybe move forward in a more construction manner.

Based on the feedback of our Development and Infrastructure Committee at the last Main Roads presentation, I articulated our Chamber vision for the project as “establishing a future gateway into Fremantle, and one that contributes to the social and economic development of our region through better access and entry into our City – a gateway to Fremantle as a destination, while maintaining the role it plays in our heritage, our place and our lifestyles (both on the water and off) and truly connects the important business and social community in North Fremantle to Cantonment Hill and Queen Victoria St.

There was a lot of talk through the forum of “resilience” and “adaptability” into the future depending on the future of the Port, but also linking into opportunities around the potential of the Indian Pacific relocation, and North and South broader transport corridors.

A number of options were presented as potential solutions, and the pros and cons of each discussed at length. It is clear from a City of Fremantle, Community and Business perspective a Western solution is preferred, and the City’s vision for the project certainly stood out in its ability to address a number of criteria. The challenge it appears centres around what can be done to resolve the barrier to rail going West (primarily around minimum clearances for vessels, the gradients of rail into the station, and around Peter Hughes Drive, and the timing constraints around the growing maintenance issues of the bridge caused by scour issues, Teredo worm activity and exposed timber piles at river bed level – leaving a steel and concrete solution as one of the only alternatives.

A full presentation of the options presented and discussed is attached, and Main Roads will be back to chat to our Chamber community next Thursday following D & I Committee at 9am. Please register with Michelle if you would like to attend this presentation.

OPTIONS UNDER CONSIDERATION (INCLUDING TWO NEW CONSIDERATIONS PRESENTED BY CITY OF FREMANTLE)

In other news this week, the scaffolding is down off our Chamber building as Phase 1 & 2 of the works draws to completion. We are seeking quotes for Phase 3 the rear facade and some work to the Boardroom window frames that face Phillimore St. We are very grateful to our tenants for their patience through this process, and also our members for their ongoing support to preserve this important part of our heritage and reputation.

The judges are finalising their scores for the Fremantle Business Awards and we wait with baited breathe. The top 10 shortlisted retail, hospitality, products and attractions that sell Fremantle Experiences will be announced mid next week and put to the public vote. The winner of the People’s Choice Award wins a new IMAC courtesy of sponsors Entire Tech, and the public go into competition to win an incredible set of Fremantle Experiences, donated by a number of our Chamber businesses from the National Hotel, to Benny’s and the Tourist Wheel. All other finalists and winners will be announced at the SOLD OUT black tie gathering on 20 November 2020.

Given our last four Business After Hours events have sold out, we recommend getting in early to book for the Chamber Christmas Party Thursday 10 December 2020 – which is now up online. I also hope you can join me to discuss art, heritage, culture and design as business assets on Wednesday morning at 8am for Set the Month in Motion.

Enjoy the spring sunshine this weekend.

Danicia

Read more in the Chamber Weekly here.