Freo property lobby bid to fight zoning

THE Property Council and the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce (FCC) are considering a proposal to form a Fremantle Property Council to represent developers interests in the port city.

Understood to be in its earliest stages, the concept has arisen following concerns by developers about new planning laws for Fremantle.

FCC president Gary Arcus said the chamber had notified the Property Council of its intention after formerly registering the Fremantle Property Council name.

A small group of about 10 Fremantle property owners have been meeting informally to go over the draft Local Planning Strategy released by the Fremantle Council.

Many local property developers have concerns with the “vertical zoning” policy which means developers would need to provide for retail, office and residential within the same building.

The Property Council has been working with the group to lodge a submission to the Council.

Property Council chief executive Joe Lenzo said the proposal was in its most formative stage.

“We’ve had one meeting with them. We haven’t reached any agreement on how this alliance would work,” Mr Lenzo said.

“Fremantle is in rather a unique situation and they really need to have a voice with respect to a number of planning issues in Fremantle, particularly with the Fremantle Council, where their seems to be a lack of understanding of commercial property development.

“The (Fremantle) Council has some very firm views on how they see the development of that city which may not be shared by many developers.

“What a developer chooses to put in a development should be dependent of market forces and not on the whim of the local council.”

One hurdle that would need to be addressed by the PCA and the FCC before any arrangement will be made is the issue of independence from Government.

The FCC has been put under the spotlight after joining with the Fremantle Council to form Fremantle First with the aid of Council funding.

Mr Lenzo said the PCA prided itself on being independent.

“The PCA if they get involved in Fremantle would jealously guard their position as being an independent and free organisation without encompasses such as local Government or Government funding of any type,” Mr Lenzo said.

“Reality dictates that if someone has hold of some of your purse strings than the way that you can lobby is very difficult.

FCC president Gary Arcus said the funding for the Fremantle First project was kept separate from the Chamber’s and therefore was not a concern.

Mr Arcus said the PCA’s independence was also questionable as it had members from the public sector on its books.

The City’s of Perth and Fremantle are both PCA associate members.

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