This Week's Herald, and the legacy of Andrew Forrest?

Demolishing Convict Heritage to make Aboriginal Art

Buried in the developer's 50 page planning document for the Andrew Forrest 6 storey hotel on the Spicer Site on Henderson Street, one of three controversial hotels Andrew Forrest is currently involved in, is a description of what will happen to the 1852 convict era wall about to be demolished at the rear of the building where the numbat proudly walks.

Because the development will be at least a $35 million one, under the % for art scheme, $350,000 has to be spent on public art.

So, the rubble is going to be given to an Aboriginal artist paid to do an Aboriginal interpretation of colonial history.

How is that any different from bulldozing Aboriginal rock art in the Kimberley and giving the rubble to a white man to be paid to do his interpretation of Aboriginal culture?

It seems Andrew Forrest's foray into development in Fremantle will be just as controversial as his Forrest on the Swan hotel at UWA and the proposed hotel behind Indiana Tearooms in Cottesloe.

The real controversy is the bulk and scale of the proposed hotel.

If it is allowed to go ahead in the heart of the historic town of Fremantle, Fremantle will be finished as a well protected homogenous heritage rarity.

If it goes ahead, the next developer will ask for 6 storeys, and then the next developer after that will ask for 6 storeys, and the streetscape and roofscape of Fremantle will be ruined forever.  Gone.

In recent meetings that the Fremantle Society has held with the Fremantle CEO, the Fremantle Director of Planning, the local member of parliament Simone McGurk, Fremantle Port, and various developers, it is obvious the system is set up to expedite development, no matter how ordinary.

There is just no apparent advocacy for quality development in a famous place like Fremantle.

The Design Advisory Committee (DAC), set up to vet new major developments, has only on one occasion over the past 10 years, refused an application. Every other application no matter how mediocre, has been approved.

So, the future of Fremantle lies in YOUR hands, no-one elses.

John Dowson
The Fremantle
0409 22 36 22


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