It is annoying that WordPress does no longer allow for slide shows on this blog as a series of photos can only be shown as small thumbnails. This photo of the Fremantle Maritime Museum is too arty to be hidden I believe, hence I did not put it with the previous post about the autumn storms. The watercolour effect is not a Photoshop application. The photo was taken through the wet passenger side window of my car and that created the soft pastel tones.
If you’ve got 4-5 million dollars spare cash you might want to make an offer for the gorgeous heritage listed Fremantle Orient Hotel on the corner of High and Phillimore Street. It is for sale or lease and expressions of interest close on May 23.
The agents say it has potential for residential conversion and that is definitely something the west end of Freo needs more of. I am sure though it won’t be affordable student accommodation should anyone want to develop the lovely old building. There is a liquor license with the property so residential with ground level small wine bar(s) would help revitalise that part of town.
Real Estate agents SAVILLS have listed the property so make a move on and help make Fremantle a more vibrant place!
A good opinion article in the West Australian on urban living by Alannah MacTiernan, the Mayor of the City of Vincent, and a blog post by Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt about green spaces being underutilised made me contemplate what Fremantle’s inner city will look like once hundreds of apartments and many multi-storey buildings have been erected in the inner city. We need to plan for public open spaces as MacTiernan points out. I believe we also need to design our green areas much better and learn to share them with other users. A large chunk of grass somewhere won’t attract that many people unless they want to play cricket or kick a footy. Reserves like Stevens and Fremantle Park should be shared with other sporting clubs and users, while large spaces need to be made into many smaller ones to make them look more attractive. Even trees around a footy oval would look much better than what most of them are now.
Mac Tiernan writes about density well done in Berlin, Germany where apartment building heights vary between 5 and 8 storeys and many are built so they surround a large green courtyard. While this is not necessary public space it is an outdoor space for those in the apartments to enjoy.
I don’t think we have strict enough regulations in place to demand good public open spaces from developers and we don’t seem to design our public areas that well, hence they remain poorly used. Often lack of trees, shade, native bush that attracts birds, good seating, small playgrounds, pathways, so that the grassed areas are not huge, etc.
There is a lot of room for improvement and I for one hope the City of Fremantle will decide to get a working group of landscape architects and planning people together to see how we can improve existing public spaces and plan for new ones once the inevitable development of Fremantle will start to happen. It is essential the City is pro-active and won’t allow developers to only offer left-over bits as open spaces. We need more and better than that.
The big four page A New Ara for Fremantle wrap-around in the Fremantle Gazette today has tongues wagging in the community with some people saying it is electioneering for Mayor Brad Pettitt. I want to give the mayor the benefit of the doubt as he alone cannot decide on an advertising campaign like this, but I need to ask why when it is about promoting Fremantle‘s future, it is not in a Perth metropolitan wide newspaper and only in the local one? Surely this promotion is meant to attract investors and developers and I wonder how many of those actually receive and read the local community newspaper. Would it have been better in the West Australian or even Sunday Times? I know that would cost more but spending money on a local campaign only seems a waste to me.
Inside the newspaper is yet again one of those boring full page ads Find Yourself in Fremantle special events day, this time for Mothers Day. I don’t believe that retail marketing is the right thing for Fremantle and we should be doing destination marketing instead. Figures shown to me last year indicated that shoppers surveyed about these kind of campaigns had not seen them in the community paper and most shoppers only became aware of it in shops or from listening to the radio, so why waste money on print advertising when in-shop promotions have more success?
I believe this is a historically significant photo as it shows the Crooks family of 10 Captain’s Lane on Fremantle’s historic Arthur Head. The Crooks lived in the heritage listed Pilot’s Cottage for nearly two decades and were the last residents, as Fremantle council in their wisdom evicted them from their home to make place for art related usage as part of the Arthur Head Arts Hub concept.
I hope Michal, Sunshine, Remedy, Bodhi and Natalie and their two cats, two birds and several fish will be happy in their new home at South Beach. Sadly they will no longer be residents of Fremantle and now live in the City of Cockburn. That is a loss to our city.
I have today resigned as president and committee member of the Fremantle Society. After years of giving far too much of my time to the Fremantle community I realised I have neglected to look after myself better and am burnt out and also pretty disillusioned about the lack of impact at local council level. I have had enough of ramming my head against brick walls, my input being ignored, and my time on workshops and committees being taken for granted. When elected members become arrogant and patronising and unwilling to compromise at any level, it is time to move on and stop wasting my time.
I am committed to remaining engaged mainly through this blog, but will no longer closely liaise with Fremantle council. Trying to get this council to compromise is like trying to convince the Mormons they should not be wearing black.
I feel a bit sad today about two Fremantle issues. Today was a historic moment for our city as the last residents of Arthur Head moved out of their Pilot’s cottage at Captain’s Lane. Michael, Natalie, Sunshine, Remedy and Bodhi Crooks vacated the place that has been their home for 16 years or so. It is sad that such a significant event went almost unnoticed and it is sad there will no longer be people living up on the historic hill which overlooks Bathers Beach and the heritage west end of Fremantle. I hope the Fremantle history library will keep details and photos of the last residents. I will take photos of them at their garage sale on Saturday and post them on this blog. Go and say goodbye to the Crooks and buy some of their stuff!
I am also sad the City of Fremantle‘s elected members again failed to be open to compromise and forced the Esplanade skate park through. Contrary to the spin by some councillors the debate was never against a skate park in the inner city, but it was about the specific location, where many residents asked council to move the skate park to the north or south of the Esplanade Reserve. It would have been a small compromise but a real gesture that council is still listening. Sadly this council has shown stubbornness bordering on arrogance when we ask them to compromise on issues. They know everything better, and we commoners are treated as uninformed idiots who waste their time participating in community workshops whose findings are largely ignored by the elected members.
On Tuesday the 23rd FICRA (Fremantle Inner City Residents Association) will hold a public meeting at Tannock Hall of the Notre Dame University. It starts at 7 pm and I hope many residents and elected members will attend and have a robust debate about Fremantle’s future.
I am glad the FICRA advertisement was changed as the first one looked too much like a lynch mob attack. The second one is more restraint and professional and even looks better.
One of the points FICRA wants to talk about is if the City of Fremantle should spend around 6 million dollars to renovate the historic Henderson Street Warders Cottages. For me personally that is a real dilemma. I doubt there is a single person in Fremantle who is happy with the state of disrepair of the badly neglected vacant cottages next to the Fremantle Markets, but should the City take over the responsibility from our wealthy state to repair and upgrade them so they become usable again? Where would the City get the money from when the National Trust failed to get a grant from Lotterywest to renovate the buildings, and if the City would be paying for it, how would they recoup that investment? I support the idea to make the cottages into short-term tourist accommodation Bead&Breakfast, but it would take a very long time before the City would get its money back that way. Is that a good investment in the future and can we trust the City to look after the cottages well when they have neglected the historic Arthur Head buildings for years?
What it comes down to is what is best for the cottages and Fremantle. There is no doubt the buildings need to be renovated with urgency and the Department of Housing should do that without delay. The National Trust is not a good option as they already have too many buildings to look after and not enough funding to do so, according to a senior NT officer I spoke with recently. Six million dollar would be a huge amount of money for a small city like Freo to spend on buildings they would not own but only lease from the Western Australian state government, so why take on that task when there has not even been enough money to look after the Town Hall, the Arthur Head Pilots Cottages, etc. It’s a dilemma indeed and I wonder what the solution will be.
Join the public forum on the 23rd at Tannock Hall, corner of Croke and Cliff this Tuesday. I hope it will be a fair and balanced democratic debate.
Some elected members of Fremantle council dismiss genuine community concern as claptrap and negativity, in the same manner they dismiss people who are worried about highrise in the inner city as anti-development. When we tell them we want to be listened to and not being taken for granted they shrug their shoulders arrogantly and say they listened but came to different conclusions.
Over the last years I have taken part in numerous lengthy community consultation workshops and have shown I am willing to be part of the solution and problem solving. I have shown dedication and commitment to Fremantle, but I don’t feel my concerns have been listened to, instead I feel ignored and my time and input have been taken for granted.
Where is the coordination at the City of Fremantle? Why does it so many things in ways that would not be accepted in large commercial organizations. Have a look at the shambles Arthur Head has become. First there is inadequate community consultation on the Old Port Project. Stubbornness and egos took over from sensible compromise and we as a community are now looking at maybe having to spend an extra $ 100,000 on making better the dust bowl in front of Kidogo Arthouse that should never have been put there in the first place.
Let’s move on and look at how the City is going about to solve the problems at Arthur Head. There are now two separate stakeholders groups each having $ 150,000 to beautify the area, but they are not supposed to look at signage and legibility because the city already has another committee for that, there is also another group looking at public toilets in Fremantle, so the stakeholder groups can’t address that either. To top that all off council pays thousands of dollars to fly in place-making expert David Engwicht and we have another workshop on how to improve Arthur Head. Where is the collaboration and integration of those groups, why do we need so many different ones, when the best thing to do would be to have them all around a table so decisions can be made and put to the elected members?
But it gets worse. Why hold all these community meetings when councillors then go against the grain and do what they intended to do anyway. I hear that a number of the elected members are not going to approve more grass at Bathers Beach but instead want low limestone walls to keep the dust out of the galleries. If that is the case, why does the City dare to ask business people to give up their valuable time and be part of stakeholder groups, when our recommendations are going to be ignored.
Does anyone really wonder why many in Fremantle use the words incompetence and arrogance when talking about the City Of Fremantle’s governance?