THE City of Fremantle has acknowledged that redeveloping a series of eyesores in its dilapidated east end is key to any plan to revitalise the port city’s economy.
The city’s economic development working group has handed down its strategy to revitalise the port city.
The group set out a strategy for the next 20 years, but focused initially on a five-year plan to establish Fremantle as a primary centre, behind only the Perth central business district in terms of amenity.
The council has targeted the development of an extra 70,000 square metres of office space, 20,000sqm of retail space and 1,500 new dwellings over the short to medium term.
To achieve those goals, the working group recommended the establishment of a city centre sites working group, among other initiatives, to look at redeveloping the Westgate Mall, Myer, Coke and Gas and Woolstores buildings.
The group also recommended redevelopment of prominent city-owned sites, including the Queensgate cinema complex, the Point Street car park and the car park and pine warehouse near the markets on Spicer Street.
From 2008 to 2010, Fremantle attracted an average of 553,000 day trippers annually, who spent a total of $143 million. But many of those visitors complained Fremantle’s layout did not work well and that existing signage was insufficient and confusing.
In response, the group recommended the establishment of a new visitor centre, immediate improvements for Kings Square and to ensure ‘way finding’ and ‘place making’ was part of the city centre master plan.
Other strategies include the preparation of an activation strategy for the city’s historic west end and the preparation of a planning scheme amendment that supports the development required to establish Fremantle as a primary centre.
Key planks of the plan also include attracting and maintaining a large government agency to be based in Fremantle, the creation of opportunities for large private enterprise and the development of service industry clusters.
The group also said a new hotel in the city centre and a West End activation strategy would be paramount to enhance the local economy.
The City of Fremantle said it would establish an overarching body to implement its strategies. It said the authority, to be named the Fremantle Economic Partnership, could include representatives from council, Fremantle Ports, Notre Dame University, the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce and other business foundations.