Sometimes You Have To Get Out Of Town To Find Great Shopfronts

Sometimes shopfronts are persevered in small towns due to a lack of re-development. This is Northam, Australia, and its main street: Fitzgerald Street.

Fine signage. Nice door. Stallrisers. Excellent lettering. For sale.

Ex-Roediger Bros. 182 Fitzgerald Street.

Would make a great residence (for me). I would keep the lettering.

Above and below: Elizabeth's Mens Hair Design, 192 Fitzgerald Street East

Transom windows are different (the bumpy panels above the signage). Shiny and skinny mullions (the rods in between the window panels). Recessed door with funny windows.

When we think of good residential property, decorative features such as pressed tin ceilings are synonymous with value.

Above: Pressed tin soffit. 

Above and below: Deeply recessed shopfront. Goods face the customer as they walk down the street. Weather protection.  Very cool and very rare. Keep your varied shopfronts in the mainstreet or if you're building a new mainstreet require a variety of shopfront shapes and sizes.

Homestyle Chic, 224 Fitzgerald Street.

Above and below: Colour - but light colour. Big windows. Panelled window at corner. Recessed entry. Thin mullions, except door.

Northam Travel, 178 Fitzgerald Street

This Is How The Private Sector Pays For Community Development

You're at a street. You see something new.

You cross the road.

An old service station has been fit out as a cafe. The forecourt has a large, timber deck on it.

The place is packed.

You're glad your friend recommended this place, and you sit down with him and have a chin-wag.

And, as a bonus, the coffee is excellent.

Along come 2 more chums you haven't seen in a while. Together, you all hatch new plans for your careers. Away you will go to improve your businesses and households.

The world wins.

And innocently in the background, pedalling away to maintain all this community, is Place.

And that place is made and maintained by Johnny Retailer.

*           *           *

Retailers fund community development.

All the local government has to do it curate it.

Never wait for your place to populated by the best retailers. Go out and hunt them down.

They are the place managers who drive  community building at no cost to you, the local government.

Cash, talent, design, resources, risk - it's all handled by your local independant retailer.

Roasting Warehouse, 312 South Terrace, South Fremantle, Australia

Di Bella Coffee Roasting Warehouse on Urbanspoon

A Message For Mainstreets

We should never have to complain that our place is not vibrant. And we don't have to.

The lack of so-called vibrancy in our towns and high streets is because local governments, I'm afraid to say, don't manage them well.

A well managed city must have a shopping-centre-style focus to reduce vacancies, attract the right businesses, and have effective deisgn management.

Want a street full of shops?


Want a street full or pornographic bookshops? Tattoo parlours? $2 shops? No.

Want a street full of unique and interesting experiences all paid for by the business operator? Want your essential services back in town so when we're old we can walk to the shops to buy a stamp, or do the drycleaning, or meet our chums? Or perhaps you would like a street full of empty windows, vandalised shopfronts and fly-posters instead?

Have you got the resources to locate and seduce the best independent businesses for your mainstreet, one by one, like the way it's always been done: the hard way, the correct way?

The real estate agents do that, right? That's the landlords problem.

No, it's not.

It's your problem.

*           *           *

Managing vancancies

Your street is full of vacant shops, your community is on the nose, your kids and old people are being let down.

You're indirectly telling people to go somewhere else where the prospects are better.

Yes, the landlords and their agents should beaver around and do the right thing. But you have a stake in the outcome as much as them, plus: they pay your taxes in magnificent proportion compared to their cousins in the residential streets behind.

Do you want retail businesses in food, gifts, fashion; a mix of essential services in peculiar combinations you never thought imaginable before?


Then bring the stakeholders together and go out and hunt down the retailers and other business operators you need. This is not about blowing your budget on newspaper advertising or a festival. It's about business-to-business marketing, with property and precinct details available to those retailers who can contribute to your town's sense of place, local identity, community resiliency and sustainability.

This is an expert service provided by those with distinct retail property knowledge and experience.

We've Jiggled The Site Round A Bit

We've jiggled around the site a bit.

What started as a blog, turned into a business, so all the Blog Categories have been moved from the top row to the side ☞.

All the critical pages are on the top row now☝.

We've changed our text to grey (7d7d7d), the headings of each article into Josephin Sans font, and the main body to Open Sans.

We have also added our current by-line, 'We Fix Mainstreets'. And, in the A Beautiful City habit of having an argument with ourselves we've written a comprehensive About Us section.

Get a bit of it down here☟

A Beautiful City is a Proprietary Limited company located in Perth, Australia.

Australia is a country in the world.

We are interested in Mainstreets, which you may also know as 'city centres', high streets, 'strip-shopping areas', downtowns and 'urban villages'.

We are interested in these areas because they represent the sustainable future of human development.

They are already there; they have served us well for thousands of years; and when they're not there, we're building them new because that's what people expect in modern urban development.

So they should.

Place Managers are the entities which essentially manage these places and are responsible for the outcomes. Largely, they're stuffing them up.

The thing that makes mainstreets sustainable, interesting and vibrant is independent retail and place management.

*           *           *

Our mainstreets are managed by local governments, with responsibility occasionally ceded to a business association. In some rare cases private landlords own whole mainstreets.

When your lover, your neighbour or your friend talks to you about their wonderful holidays you usually hear about the vibrant and interesting retail streets they spent their time walking in, and then 'Why can't we have that type of thing here?'.

They are interesting and vibrant because of independent retail and place management.

Chain stores and filthy streets rampant with psychopaths are not the places your lover will recommend.

And such places would not be sustainable for the innocents who live there, either.

We have learnt this through our passion for these places. And we have lots of experience in the private and public sectors to work out how the whole shebang works.

The thing that mainstreets need, and that everyone is missing, is the attraction of interesting and sexy businesses.

That means independent retail.

*           *           *

Don't think that if you secure big businesses, like Apple or Gucci, that all the little, interesting businesses will follow. They won't.

It's the other way round.

If you have streets full of interesting small businesses then the big businesses will find you - because of your interesting and vibrant streets which exude independence and creativity.

After all, chain stores have staff who travel to look at potential new-store locations. Unless they go home to their lovers, bosses, neighbours and friends and say 'You gotta check this place out!' they're not going to try and set up a new shop there.

The days where local communties build highways, give tax breaks and re-zone land just to attract a so-called 'big employer' are long behind us.

Businesses travel to the sexy workforce now, and that workforce is found near streets of diverse and vibrant cafes, interesting street life and a busy, creative economy. That's Mainstreets.

If you do it the other way round, trying to attract the trophy tenant to catalyse the retail economy, you will alienate the local community (they don't give a shit about big retail chains) whilst perhaps never getting the trophy tenant you wanted so much.

And if you do lure the trophy tenant first, rents will go up all round, so independent retail wont have a look in.

Downturn coming? The 'big businesses' and chain stores will pull out of your town leaving the high-rent expectations still in the mind of the landlords - meaning independent retail will still not get a look in.

Don't spend you money on customer attraction - expensive newspaper advertisements and festivals - until you have a strategic independent retail and place management framework in place.

*           *           *

People will love your community because of the distinct portfolio of interesting local businesses and well maintained streets (independent retail and place management).

You must go out and hunt down retailers who will build a sense of place for your community.

Implicitly, they will be from the grass roots of your community, reinforcing the local economy paradigm because businesses are seeded from within your own ecology.

And that's what's nocticeble and attractive to customers.

Get that right and the customers will come without the expensive newspaper advertising and festivals.

Place management means that your public and private spaces are well made, well maintained and well marketed to potential new retailers (not customers ... yet). That's small and interesting businesses.

*           *           *

The reason people love mainstreets is they recognise that they are the pinnacle of community participation. Theme parks, shopping centres, libraries, schools, universities, office precincts, industrial and residential zones all serve a purpose, but nothing brings the community together in such an efficient and sustainable way as our mainstreets.

Mainstreets are the places to meet and participate whether you're a baby, an old man, a customer, a young lover, teenager, entrepreneur, budding landlord, charity, not-for-profit organisation, teacher or student.

All these people must be thrust together simultaneously because the diversity accelerates innovation.

That innovation not only drives the interest-factor for people living or working in this area, but it also makes the community and region as a whole more resilient (ie: sustainable) because of the fertile ecology of innovation, creativity and human interaction which cannot be replicated in any other place.

There is no price of admission to participate on a mainstreet.

And mainstreets include the community from birth until death in a sustainable way. 

So what I do at A Beautiful City is explain, argue, fret, communicate, sell products and services and generally play my bit in the story of mainstreets.

And that's what I do. I Fix Mainstreets.

Phnom Penh: Shopfront and Streetlife study

Yesterday was pretty good. Gritty roads from the airport to civilisation were relieved by a tidy street of evening smell and colour. And I ate a frog.

I can't stay at a hotel for more than one night, so I've already booked in another, just to taste it. And I'm going to torture a man.

This chap. I've commissioned him, for life, to show me every street and shop in Phnom Penh.

This is his tuk-tuk and it is essentially a slow motorbike with a cabin on the back. 

But first we have to stop at the local fountain to pinch some water for his radiator.

Hey, look - they stole our Queen.

And they have angled car parking bays, like us, too.

You hear a lot about The French Architectural style here because of history and things like that, which means when you build a new building you are forced to quote 'the local vernacular' which is probably what this building is doing.

And the outcome is good. Someone built a sponge cake and then a proper patissiere has sculptured and decorated it afterwards.

OK, we're getting more shoppy now. I took this photo because I thought 'Ha! Elephant!'.

Only later did I read it more closely.

French vernacular.

I should definitely leave the food photography to the experts, but I want to develop a pathology of photographing everything I eat, like the wrongly-accused savant caught with a murder weapon in his barn, brought to us by Midsomer Barnaby.

Moving on, Mr Tuk-tuk.

Pyjama ladies 1 & 2.

Due to the horrific, international oppression of men, only women are allowed to wear comfortable and colourful clothes to work.


End of Part 2

Here's a tip. Wherever you are, ask to be shown the embassy precinct.

Here you'll always find the best residential architecture.

If you're a diplomat you're always going to justify being in the part of town where people don't hack your arm off with a rusty KA-BAR.

And because you're 1,500 miles away from the taxpayer who is funding your party, you can always pretend that you are.

So if you get a chance to go to a party with Barack Obama and U2's Bonobo and advance your career in media and politics, put your hand up for this important, diplomatic work.

If it's a funeral for Nelson Mandela - even better. You'll be under no pressure to politically perform for your country so you can just get drunk and slip Oprah Winfrey your business card.


Go backwards to Part 1

Hanoi, Here We Went

But first, this is where we left it:

A Beautiful City's company mascot, Super Chubbs, was getting some kip in Singapore Changi Airport:

And then we went to Phnom Penh.

We know the ride from the Phnom Penh airport to my hotel was going to be ugly but we still pinched what photos we could.

Well, That Went Well

That went well. All of November's people counting reports are tucked away warmly in their client's desks.

And I will do that again. I will blog about charts as I create them.

In the meantime, I've begun a summary-chart, comparing all counters in my network - a League Table, if you like.

Below: People counting totals in Perth for the month of November, 2013

It's Superb!

I love this.

A jolly mintox Octopus Sign.

Beautifully conceived and prepared: The preparation of the building in white is just as important as the fine, grey octopus.

Every councillor must understand how signage affects their disctrict, for good and for bad.

And this is a good one.

And, oh - look: a Ford Falcon something-or-other done in burnt tobacco racing green.

Hooked Healthy Seafood, 172 Chapel Street, Windsor, Australia

And here's Chapel Street, Windsor. A bit. From Duke's Coffee Roasters, 169 Chapel Street.

Followed by a shop-a-dog down the road at Surace Fresh, 233 Chapel Street, Prahran

I Get Off On This

'When the world is grey and the feeling is lonely, you can always go ... downtown'

Or so the famous song nearly went. But check this out.

Why isn't the world paying attention (to me, mainly)? Hot shopfronts are where it's at. They make streets tolerable, walkable ... and that means you meet more people and have more friends, which means you will die later.

So suck up all your taxes donated throughout your lifetime by hanging around a longer, have more lovers, and get off on shopfronts in the meantime.

Above: Mariana Hardwick Flagship Store, Hardwick Bulding, 459 Sydney Road, Brunswick, Australia.

Above: Olive Grove Studios, 159 Sydney Road, Brunswick. Noice.

Alas: Sydney Road, Brunswick, Australia.

There's Been a Major Disturbance in The Force

Ewww..! There's been a major disturbance in the force at East Vic Park.

Just look at this chart. Look at it!

I don't have time for this! What I like is predictable and even behaviour.

Look at Sunday, 24 November. Why on heck was there 4,008 pedestrian movements?

This is way above the average for all other Sundays. Why? What's going on there? Was there a fault with my equipment?

Look at the whole month again, scrambled so the footfall of each day of the week is bundled together:

This is 101% more than the usual Sunday average of 1,991.

But don't worry, I think I've worked it out. This counter is too close to Baskin Robbins, an ice-cream shop. As our Summer bleeds-in, we are getting huge, Sunday, ice-cream traffic. Problem? No.

Yes. We need counters that are representative of the community-activity good for all businesses in the street. Solution? This counter could be re-located further toward the centre of the precinct where specialised business aren't dictating the trends for the whole counter.

By why should we? It's not Baskin Robbins fault they provide a delicious pick-me-up to so many people. And this data is representative of people on the street. So deal with it.

In fact, I think this huge, fat Sunday is representative of a change we won't see at our other counters - and that is because of ice-cream, because of Baskin Robbins, and because of what they can attract.

We will see foot traffic heft upwards here.

The stinking heat at other locations is keeping foot traffic stable, despite the 'holiday season', merry weather and all that.

So, let's look and see, shall we? 

Another Reason Why I'm Completely Wrong. Probably.

Here's a juicy chart from our East Victoria Park counter at Blockbuster Video (installed with the Town of Victoria Park in July 2013).

I love it. It's sweet. It's really peculiar, I'd say, that two subsequent months have nearly identical counting numbers, 57410 and 57401 (October and November).

But I'm wrong.

The foot traffic is not the same at all.

You see, November had one less day than October.

Come on, check out our Daily Average chart for a better comparison.

There's been a lift in footfall from October to November - the daily average footfall has risen 3.29%. That's 61 extra people per day, on average.

The Daily Average. Stick to it - because it is a simple and accurate record of community and customer activity.

Here we go ...

Pretty good this month - about two and half hours work to create December's pedestrian data template.

Each month, we create an Excel spreadsheet with customised fields, becasue each month is different: the days each date fall on, the amount of Sundays this month is different to last ... things like that.

All this data is extracted manually from our people-counting portal, a sort of live-graph view of all our people counters that our clients get to see (and I'm going to get that to you, soon, so watch out).

A Beautiful City's Live View People Counting Portal

Below: An A Beautiful City, Excel, People-Counting Template

It's Now December

It's now December, and we beaver around ponds of pedestrian data for November and publish it.

This month is different.

Since July we've been doing this, and each time it's a private excitement which I'm no longer going to hide! So I am writing mini-articles as I go (it might take three days to collate and publish all our reports) which publish my insights (into whatever) as we go.

I recent had a look at the statistics for this site and realised we have quite a chunky number of readers. Instantly that strangled me. I want to maintain relevance and quality whilst being un-boring.

So you have to tell me how I go. OK?

Tracer Mk3 at St George Bank, 21 Adelaide Street, Fremantle, Australia

8 Lessons For Local Governments Shooting for a Vibrant Mainstreet

I was invited to a mainstreet workshop.  About 60 of us there was, in a village hall, huddled into an enormous circle on those warty, orange and beige, plastic school chairs, looking at a table. With a texta on it.

The exercise this time was anyone who had an idea to 'revolutionise' the mainstreet was to break the silence, skate across the freezing distances to the stranded table in the middle and squeakily press their idea onto a page. Then, slowly turning as if on a dais, speak it out loud to everyone whilst holding it up like a dead mouse. They then couriered it to the moderator who sticky-taped it to something nearby.

This happened about five times until it was called to a halt as a satisfactory enough contribution. And we all broke our gaze on the texta and with a big, slow blink we pointed our necks in a new direction, as invited, to genuflect on the conclusions.

There are always two conclusions that appear on these occasions:

1.  We should all wear two dresses and spin around on the road with a twig in our hair.

2.  Stab the landlords.

That's fine. We deserve these conclusions.

*           *           *

Ideas that trickle trough the long, boring, unstable, cracked, weed-strewn and lonely pathways laid down by our traditional community consultation processes are eluctably sustainable.

Your decision making system, like every ecology, is fertile for certain decision making outcomes and hostile to others. It's just that we've created a system which is only good for the bitterest, boniest and gnarliest arguments to make it. All the sexy people are too busy running cafes. Somewhere else.

But that's OK.  The system's not broken.

*           *           *

Turning to the Lord Mayor beside me to carefully curate the converstaion to my own needs and services, I listened to their angst about the 'rainbow-flavour' of it all and thought, "Good, this is my chance to tell you how to actually deliver a vibrant mainstreet," and so delivered my consolatory sermon on local economic vitality.

And then this is what I said, or words to that effect.

1. "I agree, it's a dear shame that there is little substance between yearning the community has for a so-called 'vibrant mainstreet' and the conclusions of community consultations".

2. "It is normal business for governments to heavily fund community development departments".

3. "But the biggest and best community development areas are our mainstreets".

4. "Our mainstreets are largely funded by the private sector.  The buildings are owned and maintained by non-government entities and the activities and places are provided by businesses at their cost".

5. "Obviously, high vacancy rates, bad mixes of businesses or the wrong businesses coming in all squeeze out community participation in a mainstreet and hinder community development".

6. "The least the community deserves, let alone the landlords and businesses who are funding the whole shooting match, is that some of the local government efforts are given over to a shopping centre role where there is wisdom, caretaking, governance and outcomes delivered for the place".

7. "It is imperative - it is essential - that local governments accept their role as the chief place manager in their streets and appoint committed, experienced individuals to be given equal credibility within local government organisations just like community development teams enjoy".

8. "The place manager's role is to drive community participation, creativity, innovation and energy, through better street management".

I then put my leg up on a warty orange chair and, pointing my nose to the heavens and amid a crescendo of strings, sang:

"Similarly, it's that community participation that will help preserve, maintain and grow a distinct retail offer - something every local government requires to out-compete other areas and shopping centres, minimise vacancies, and, of course and most importantly, satisfy locals, who want nothing more than a useful, distinct and sexy retail mainstreet: one they can call their own, one they can show off to their friends and visitors, and one they can be proud of".

But I don't think they heard me. I only saw their bum, as they were walking away. Alas.

*           *           *

Even if they don't think so, local governments are the shopping centre managers in our mainstreets. The 'market' will not 'sort itself out' on our mainstreets and 'stable the ship'.

Our mainstreets are shopping centre areas which must be curated, controlled and designed to drive our community development. There's plenty of 'play' in the system for the so-called free market to run amok in the meantime.

If you do not control your shopping centre, shitty businesses and vacancies can appear to a tipping point where your 'steady ship' is more Titanic, dragging down the expectations of your community along with your residential property values and everything else, like retail turnover, local employment, safety, security and your 'brand'.

Until there's awareness, backed up by proportionate funding, that a shopping centre focus delivers community development better than a $150,000 cairn at the beachfront, then we will have to sit through more community brainstorming sessions and bite each other's lips at the peel of each tie-dyed sticky-note.


*           *           *


You don't want to be one of those guys who 'perhaps has some good ideas sometimes' but who cannot be left unattended: you're essential-interviewing for your insider-knowledge but are, ultimately, a crank. Like a tweed in Midsomer Murders. 

That is why I have developed a Place Management System which satisfies all the local government necessities of:

  1. Baseline data
  2. Business communication and networking
  3. Enrolling the business community and landlords into the management of your mainstreets
  4. Sustainable systems of place making, place maintenance and place marketing
  5. Retail planning, urban design, traffic flow and controlling vacancies

Something community-run mainstreets have always done and will always do, if managed right. (And something shopping centres are doing right now.)

A Beautiful City has (I have) just delivered a $150,000 local government program to satisfy requirements in several departments' independent business plans.

To get started, contact this number for a coffee at your local ( 0418433280)

- Nicholas

*           *           *

The Fremantle Business Improvement District Co. Ltd - A Beautiful City's Newest Client

I can now reveal that our latest client is the Fremantle Business Improvement District Co. Ltd - a not-for-profit business district management company with funding of about $1.7million over five years.  Juicy.

Just like all clever people, the Fremantle BID has a place-based focus to local economic vibrancy, community particpation and all those yummy synonyms of a beautiful city.

The BID has a business plan and is accountable to the commercial property and businesses owners within the Fremantle-CBD boundary.

Funding has come directly from the local council rates levied within the BID area - a differential rate, it's called, which is an extra tax on top of the normal council rates. This goes straight to the BID. They have their own employees and their own offices (just like a shopping centre management company) and they co-opt with their members (the aforementioned differential rate payers) to affect business improvement within their district.

I am thrilled to announce that they have chosen us to provide their people counting services within the city.  We have started counting in four locations; some of the numbers are really off the scale and I look forward to analysing them shortly for all their juicy insights.


Above: We are counting on South Terrace, Adelaide Street, Market Street and High Street - four really interesting retail streets with fascinating histories - and futures, I'm sure.

I would like to thank the following people who participated in this project:

Chloe Coombe -  Administration and Project Coordinator, Fremantle BID

Kim Low - Executive Manager, Fremantle BID

Cameron Bartkowski - City of Fremantle

Sharon Atkinson - City of Fremantle

Tom Griffiths - City of Fremantle

Peter Kanganas - Landlord, 55 Market Street

Richard Poulson - Morrison International

Kylie-Jane Radford - Morrison International

Peta - Morrison Fremantle

Daniel - Hush Espresso

Bill May - Landlord, 28 Adelaide Street

Tony Chapman - Landlord, 34 Adelaide Street

Nicole - Valleygirl Fremantle

Gerard McGann - Landlord, 93 High Street

Moti - Clara True Beauty

Rebecca - Clara True Beauty

David Wallace and The Gub Gub Family - Landlords, 52 South Terrace

David Heaton - Metropolis Fremantle

Vince Recupero - Metropolis Fremantle

The staff at Metropolis Fremantle

John and family- Fremantle Bakehouse

Alan De Souza - Fremantle Bakehouse

5 Principles Of Mainstreet Management, Independent Retail And Streetside Vitality

I am at a councillor candidate debate for the inner city ward of Fremantle and I'm pleased to say that all of the opening questions from the floor are about:

  • The city's 'decline as a centre for business and retail'
  • How can we create, restore or bring in 'vibrancy' to the town centre
  • And why do people put neatly wrapped nappies underneath their cars then drive away?

The answers from the candidates include having more festivals, giving the shops away for free and stabbing the landlords.

Principles, not ideas, please.

Festivals and free properties and murder are jolly good fun but they are temporary - and expensive.

This is what potential councillors should say to the electorate:

Question: "What are you going to do to revitalise businesses in High Street West End!?"

Answer: "Thank you. Please keep in mind that my position on council is as a member of a team. If the council agrees, as a whole, then we shall direct the City (the organisation) to put our strategies in to action. I bring this up because I am of no use to the community if my promises can never be realised, and I vow not to drag the electorate into a fight after the election because I misunderstood how local government works and I just need to save face. Showing off in the local paper about my 'council issues' puts the community and council into 'stalemate' which prevents the community from truly developing."

"With that aside, and to answer the question more directly, this is what I would promote to my team, and I know that they'll agree:"

  1. "The council, and the City, must acknowledge that it is the chief place manager in the town."

  2. "It cannot pretend it has 'nothing to do' with local retailers. Whilst it is reasonable that the personal, financial circumstances of businesses are not the council's responsibility, the council must appreciate that there is a virtuous cycle of: a) high quality places, b) high quality businesses, and c) high quality community participation, creativity and innovation."

  3. "A good quality place manager - and that should be the local government - should create a bespoke management system, unique for its place, so all three elements of this cycle efficiently maintain the other. It is the c) high quality community participation, creativity and innovation which creates b) high quality businesses which create the c) high quality places."

  4. "To get started, the council really needs to fund a person, or a team, who are experienced in retail and property management to facilitate the measurement and sustainable growth of the a) high quality places, b) high quality businesses, and c) high quality community participation, creativity and innovation."

  5. "The council must also acknowledge that it may have systems in place which are repugnant to this cycle. Some of the council's activity must include permissions-to-change internally and to 'move out of the way' so this virtuous cycle can be sown and harvested by the skilled representatives employed to do such a thing."

"We should never have to complain that our place is not vibrant - and we don't have to. The lack of so-called vibrancy in our towns and high streets is because local governments, I'm afraid to say, don't manage them well.  A well managed city must have a shopping-centre-style focus to reduce vacancies, attract the right businesses and have effective design management."

"I would use my position on council to encourage my colleagues to appreciate and understand all of this."

These are the outcomes we want.  Principles, not ideas, please.

Above: Shhhh. Local community debate over 'high streets', retail, business attraction, vacancies and 'vibrancy'. At the Fremantle Workers Social and Leisure Club, 9 Henry Street, Fremantle, Australia.  "Don't mention the skate park," the moderator warned the candidates, "... a decided issue and candidates should not mislead the electorate that they can go onto council and reverse it".