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Freo shortchanging itself

WITH an eye on the almighty dollar, Queensland’s Gold Coast introduced sexy, bikini-clad meter maids to attract and keep money-laden shoppers by pumping coins into expired parking meters.

This is the sort of campaign that should be adopted by sea breezy Fremantle.

It will certainly go down better with shoppers than the city’s money-grabbing parking policies.

They’ve even put wretched machines on the wharf outside the struggling E-shed eateries – covering day and night to deter hungry customers – and imposed strict limits outside local movie theatres so that parking time was up before the movie reached its climax.

This was recently amended after proprietorial protests.

Drive down Freo main drags and be greeted with Third Reich signs: No Parking At All Times (forget the bad English).

Welcome to friendly Fremantle, the city that is already struggling to compete with myriad other shopping centres in the metropolitan area.

His worship the mayor of Fremantle, Richard Utting, is a friendly, practical and socially-conscious soul – unless you are facing him across a courtroom bar table.

Not that the mayor alone carries the full responsibility for a city’s sternness.

Think Fremantle – Think friendly. The city can have that slogan for free.

Rip out all meters and ticket machines. There’s a media photo opportunity for you.

Restricted parking times would remain, as would fines so parking cops won’t lose their jobs – in fact they’ll be enhanced.

They’ll put on fresh faces, if not bikinis, welcoming visitors by giving directions and handing out information sheets on beautiful old Fremantle.

After all, it’s not short of attractions. It is our major port with a serious (albeit short) history, not to mention the cappuccino strip, boat-building, upcoming nautical display, restaurants, prison and parks. And free parking.

For survival’s sake, for business sakes, abandon that ugliest of big city practices.

You’ll be streets ahead of the opposition.

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