South Beach ‘Care and Upgrade’ Plan. Time For Action, Less Talk!

I’m feeling just a little Bolshie about the South Beach upgrade – as you will soon gather.

And I can’t help but sense many Shipees share my frustration.

Surely it’s time for more action and less talk when it comes to required upgrades at South Beach.

The toilets and change rooms at South Beach are a disgrace and have been for some time, especially for a place acknowledged by Freo Council, in its recent letter to residents dated 18 October 2021, to be ‘an iconic part of the Fremantle Community’.

(I must say, as an aside, I do like how this place, or ‘Precinct’ as the letter also describes South Beach, is part of the ‘Community’.)

And while the Council is replacing them, they should also knock over and replace the adjacent, decrepit Kiosk structure and replace it with a fit for purpose cafe.

On both counts, the toilets/change rooms and the cafe, Leighton Beach provides the blueprint. The ablution block there works well. And the Orange Box set up is great.

I’m sure many of you will have recently received, and read, the Council letter to which I refer. It’s about the ‘South Beach Place Plan’ and signed by Jennifer Cooper, Senior Landscape Architect.

Next Saturday 30 October 2021 between 9 and 11 am Freo Council people, presumably including Jennifer, will be conducting a proverbial ‘drop in engagement session’ near the Kiosk and basketball court. You are invited to drop in and help them ‘create a vision for the Precinct’.

I nearly always shudder when I read or hear buzzwords like ‘drop in engagement session’, ‘Precinct’ and ‘vision’. ‘Iconic’ also makes me feel a tad uneasy!

Fortunately, the letter goes on in a more practical vein to convey the reality. They are not actually planning to ‘redesign things’.

But they do want to ‘plan for the replacement and renewal of facilities and ensure the space offers the kind of activities people want’.

‘Plan for…’

I must say, from my experiences at South Beach alone, with my partner, with grandkids and with friends, I just want a new toilet and change room block and adjacent cafe and I want it now!.

I don’t see that ‘activities’ additional to those already at South Beach are required. The open grassed spaces are fabulous for everyone, especially for picnics. And the kids play area is fantastic for the little ones. I’d hate to see any more of the open space resumed for ‘activities’. Maybe a couple more BBQs wouldn’t go astray.

I’d just love to see the Council get on with building the new toilets/change rooms and cafe structures. Can’t really be all that hard, can it? Shouldn’t be taking so long, surely?

All of which makes me wonder just when are we going to stop consulting and talking and planning about upgrading South Beach facilities and get on with the job everyone knows needs doing?

Apart from dropping in Saturday and sharing your ‘vision’ for South Beach, you can also have your say online on My Say Freo. And, if you’re so motivated, you can also register to be on the ‘working group team’.

You can also send us your ideas and thoughts on the ‘care and upgrade’ of the place or Precinct to us here at Fremantle Shipping News and we will publish a selection of your views.

* This article was written by Michael Barker, Editor, Fremantle Shipping News