There was much excitement when late last year when the City of Fremantle announced an opportunity for a co-operative housing project on 7 Quarry St in Fremantle. It was an opportunity we had been waiting on and working towards for some time. The three information sessions our group held were each booked out, demonstrating great interest in sustainable, affordable and community living.
But you may be thinking that it’s gone awfully quiet since then and wonder what’s going on? Particularly if you do not receive our newsletter updates (make sure you subscribe!) Anyway, time for an update/overview of what’s been happening with Quarry St these past 8 to 9 months.
Expression of Interest
The City of Fremantle called for Expressions of Interest (EOI) late last year. The documents were officially released early October and closed two months later, on 5 December 2016. Our group consisting of Rebecca Hicks (CEO, Co-operation Housing), Anthony Rizzacasa (Senior Development Manager, North Point Property Group), Sid Thoo (Architect), Melinda Marshall (Townplanner, Veris), Dr. Elizabeth Cheong and myself (Eugenie, Green Fabric), submitted a detailed proposal.
Mid February 2017 the selection panel conducted interviews with the proponents.
Originally, after the interview stage, the panel would shortlist a number of proponents. These proponents were to present at a Special Projects meeting of council. Instead, the City of Fremantle decided to modify the mechanism for approving the selection panel’s decision, and these presentations did not take place. Instead, the panel prepared a report which was tabled and discussed in April. First at the Finance, Policy, Operations and Legislation Committee (FPOL) and then later that same month at the Elected Council Meeting (OCM).
Changes in selection process and criteria approved
On Wednesday 26 April, at the OCM, the City of Fremantle Elected Councillors voted in favour of the Officer’s report and recommendations (with one minor amendment) and approved changes to the selection criteria and process for the Quarry Street co-operative housing demonstration project.
The changes to the selection criteria include:
- The council will not provide any direct or indirect support, except for delayed settlement (criterion f, new/mandatory);
- The purchasing body must demonstrate that it will not be structured in such a way as to not pay rates (criterion g, new/mandatory);
- Demonstrating an effective long term means of maintaining ongoing housing diversity and affordability is not mandatory, but a qualitative weighted criterion, with 25% weighting for initial affordability and 25% for long term affordability (criterion h, amended/qualitative);
- Ease of private sector replicability based on normal market conditions (criterion k, new/qualitative); and
- Minimise financial risk to council (criterion l, new/qualitative)
Originally, all criteria were equally weighted; there was no distinction between mandatory and qualitative criteria. Note, the original criteria have been included at the end of this post.
The next step: tender
The next step now is for the City to proceed with a more detailed tender process. Four proponents who previously met the Expression of Interest selection criteria will be invited to tender. This includes our group.
We have recently been informed that the City anticipates to finalise the request for tender documentation in July, and that a report will be sent to the August Finance, Policy, Operations and Legislation (FPOL) committee meeting. When this report is approved, the request for tender will be released. We expect this to be sometime in September at the earliest. Back in April, the City expected to conclude the overall selection process within six to eight months. Assuming that’s still the case, a final decision can be expected before the end of this calendar year.
The agenda, attachments and minutes of the meeting are available and can be viewed and downloaded on the City of Fremantle website.
We now wait for the tender documents to be released and will provide you with further updates as and when more information becomes available. We plan to hold a follow up meeting with those who have expressed an interest in this project when the tender documents are released.
Eugenie, on behalf of the
The Quarry St Steering Committee