“There is a voice that doesn’t use words. LISTEN!” – Rumi

A thought-provoking smoking ceremony by Dr Richard Walley OAM opened the incredible new Department of Communities and Department of TransportMarine’s home in the Kings Squareredevelopment early yesterday morning.

The views, inclusive fit out and fit for purpose building is a credit to the vision of Chamber members Sirona Capital’sMatthew McNeilly’s, persistence and the determination of many to bring a new heart to Fremantle.

Communities Director General Michelle Andrews commented that the learnings since embarking on this significant move for the Department was entrenched in listening and understanding the importance of Fremantle’s Indigenous history, connection, stories of migration and movement of people and community to shape this place. She noted this place brings with it stories of success and persistence, and a sense of what community really means.

Sometimes we forget our success in business is often related to how well we listen, how well we involve our stakeholders and how well we share our stories with those of influence.

Fremantle is often overlooked by State decision makers, in what has traditionally been a safe labour seat, and see as part of the general Perth metropolitan region, rather than a stand-alone asset in its own right.

It was wonderful to see Business News cover Fremantle on the Cusp of Changein a 4-page spread in their latest edition. Property Journalist Katie McDonald’s well researched and positive feature included those property developers who have listened to their guts and hearts – rather than pure investment return – to take a gamble on Fremantle’s potential. Sirona Capital, Silverleaf, Yolk Property, AMB Capital Partners, Minderoo, The Prendiville Groupand others are changing the face of our City in a positive, respectful and well-designed way.

It does lead to the question however of how much listening Main Roads is doing around the new Fremantle Traffic Bridge and its role in creating a new gateway entry into Fremantle to support this growth and change. Our Committees and members have raised a number of questions around protection of the wonderful and iconic hub of North Fremantle, entrance statement, design and protection of the attachment to the heritage listed old traffic bridge. So far…it has been very quiet on the Main Roads front with a promise to engage once designs are in place.

It is the Chamber position that consulting after designing seems to be a Decide-Defend approach rather than true engagement.

Design.Freogroup Chair Pippa Hurst is taking up the mantle on this conversation in their first ever event to discuss discussion on the future of the Fremantle Traffic Bridge, on Thursday 30th July at Tannock Hall.

This event will explore the complex issues around the replacement of the aging Fremantle Traffic Bridge, ahead of Main Roads going out for public consultation. The fate of the old bridge and the design of the new are important decisions that will impact on our communities for decades to come.

The panel discussion, facilitated by Meri Fatin, will feature local experts and will be followed by a Q&A session. Please find further information and secure your ticket here: https://bit.ly/DesignFreoBridgeTix

On listening, we are really pleased to announce our Perth Advertising and Design Club (PADC)partnered event LISTEN at Freo.Social, that was put on hold in the height of COVID-19 madness, is back up and on the calendar for Wednesday 23 September 2020. This is a great opportunity to gather our local creative industries together and showcase what they bring to our business community. Panel speakers will include Garry Dean from NOVA, Mike Harris from WA Music, artist Lucy Peach and other impressive leaders of this sector.

We also look forward to seeing our 70 members, their guests and our Fremantle Business Awards 2020 sponsors at our sold-out Winter Warmers event next Thursday evening. A big shout out to Chamber Members Vasse Felix, Moore & Mooreand Old Bridge Cellarsfor their work to help us pull this event together. It is going to a welcome back to business after hours with a BANG!

Given how quickly this event has sold out it is definitely worth logging online to sign up for our Business After Hours teams event at South Fremantle Football Clubnext month, and our Set the Month in Motion Systems for Growth!

Finally, how wonderful was it to see so many families in Fremantle for the LEGO activation and meet and greet with local LEGO masters legends Jackson and Alex. Between 1,900 new workers now in at Department of Communities and Transport, school holidays family fun and lots of visitors from country WA buzzy-ing about it certainly feels like Fremantle is definitely on a positive cusp of change in the right direction.