Pioneer Park, scene of ‘tent city’, returned to City of Fremantle . management

Pioneer Park is being returned to the people of Fremantle, with or without a working water supply.

The green space at the center of Fremantle’s ‘tent city’ saga, which began on Boxing Day 2020 and only ended when police and authorities intervened four weeks later, is being returned to the control of the city of Fremantle.

The park has been under the supervision of the state government for more than 15 months, after which it became the means to break a deadlock between the local government and agencies charged with fighting homelessness.

Then, on January 22, 2021, Secretary of State Ben Wyatt signed a withdrawal order to remove the city of Fremantle and make the Stage Government the governing body for the park, paving the way for police to dismantle the tents and government agencies to provide residents with alternative options. Short-term contracts. Term accommodation.


Fremantle councilor Andrew Sullivan, who was acting mayor of the city at the time, insists ministerial intervention was never necessary as the authorities involved had everything planned out to close the tent city.

The city agreed to take back the park last week, but the fact that a well has broken and will likely cost taxpayers $250,000 to replace has upset some city council members.

Cr Adin Lang said the adage “you broke it, you bought it” should apply to the state government to pay at least some of the bore replacement cost, as it stopped working during the government control period.

Further obscuring the waters of the responsibility of the bore is a long-held arrangement for the Public Transport Authority to access the bore to the water outside Fremantle train station. However, the PTA no longer needs it.

tent city

Both the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage and the Public Transport Authority has already rejected approaches to help pay for a new borehole. Still, the council has insisted they be asked again.

There is also a longer-term vision to redevelop Pioneer Park in conjunction with Spare Parts Puppet Theater and some desire to create a more water-conscious space and perhaps do away with the need for a bore altogether.

Tent City placed Pioneer Park at the epicenter of the homelessness debate in Perth, and the very public crisis highlighted the complexities of responsibility and obligations faced by authorities.

Homelessness is a designated responsibility of the state governm. Still, becauseuthe se tent city arose on land allotted to the local government, it was allowed to operate without interference as authorities grappled with issues of trespass, alternative housing options, ultimate responsibil,ity and the need for compassion.

At its peak, the tent town housed about 75 tents and 100 people.

In the wash-up, Fremantle drew up its homelessness action plan last year. It includes mandatory training for frontline municipal staff, such as forest rangers and library staff, who are likely to come into contact with people who are homeless.

Other high-priority actions include creating a local directory of information and crisis support services, using the library as a base to connect homeless people with relevant services, developing partnerships with outreach providers, and continuing to push the state government for more housing options.

John D.Mayne
I love to write. When I wasn’t writing for my school newspaper or college blog, I was writing personal essays and journal entries. Then I discovered I loved to write. In college, I wrote for my school paper and my campus radio show. I started doing freelance writing for the Huffington Post in 2009. Then, I joined the team at Newsmyth as a writer/editor. Now, I spend most of my time writing for Newsmyth and as a guest blogger on a handful of other blogs. When I’m not writing, I like to read, travel, cook, and spend time with friends.