Fremantle’s Fishing Boat Harbour should continue to operate as an authentic working harbour according to a position statement endorsed by Fremantle Council.
The council adopted the statement last night to confirm its position in relation to future planning processes and development at the harbour.
The leaseholders of the Boat Lifters site at 38 Mews Road, next to the Little Creatures Brewery, are currently exploring redevelopment options for the site and the adjoining Sardine Wharf.
As part of their ‘Harbour Connect’ project AMB Capital Partners, a company wholly owned by the Bennett family, have flagged a development that may involve a range of new land uses, including commercial, retail, accommodation and residential uses.
The Department of Transport has also sought the City of Fremantle’s input into a possible review of the vision for the harbour and the principles that would guide any future redevelopment.
Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said Fishing Boat Harbour was a vital part of Fremantle, both as a base for fishing and marine industries and as a visitor destination.
“The Fremantle Council is supportive of investment and any appropriate new development to sustain Fishing Boat Harbour into the future,” Mayor Pettitt said.
“However, there is no question that the harbour should continue to operate as a working harbour with fishing fleet-related and other marine industries, as these industries are essential to the retention of an authentic port attraction and visitor experience for the greater Fremantle area.
“Infrastructure and services to support ongoing use of the harbour by commercial and recreational vessels, including the boat lifting facilities, should either be maintained or replaced elsewhere within Fishing Boat Harbour if the existing facilities are affected by development proposals.
“Any proposal to introduce noise sensitive land uses like short or long stay accommodation should be limited in scale, and should only be permitted if the ongoing operations of the working harbour are legally protected.”
The council’s position statement also states Fishing Boat Harbour should be recognised as an important component of the Fremantle city centre and should not be treated as an isolated precinct.
Commercial and retail uses not directly related to maritime industries or needing a harbour location should complement, not draw away, investment from the city centre.
Any new development should respond to existing context and sense of place, and harmonise with the traditional low profile industrial character of the area.
Some additional building height could be entertained as part of a major development provided it could be demonstrated the development would deliver significant public benefits.
The council has also called for no net loss of parking in the area, key connections and vistas to be retained, connection to the Esplanade, Bathers Beach and the waterfront to be improved and the extension of Norfolk Street to be pursued as a the primary entrance to the harbour.
The Boat Lifters site is Crown Land reserved under the Metropolitan Region Scheme for Public Purposes (Special Use), so approval of any development under the City’s local planning scheme is not required. Approval by state planning authorities would be required.