Fremantle on a Sunday sometimes feels as if someone has called for a party and the social media went wild and everyone turned up. Today was such a day. What a buzz there was around town with people everywhere. The Fishing Boat Harbour was packed full with people dancing and singing along with the music outside Cicerello’s, while inside they were lining up to order fish&chips. Little Creatures was packed, as were the B Shed and Fremantle Markets and Cappuccino Strip. I felt like being on holiday.
Is this Fremantle‘s cheapest coffee? The SOHO bar cafe on the Cappuccino Strip, opposite the Dome cafe is offering take-away coffee for only $ 1.50. It’s only for flat white. I know several cafes have been offering cheaper coffees after lunch time and quite a few all day cheap take-away coffees, but I haven’t see one this cheap.
I acknowledge that many retailers in Fremantle are struggling but I do have to question the number of visually polluting signs this newsagency on the Cappuccino Strip puts up each day, even in front of the adjacent restaurant. It is plain ugly and unnecessary and in my opinion counter productive. The more signs retailers put up, the less we will notice them I believe.
That brings me to the question if there is a council by-law about what signs and how many individual retailers can put up near their shops. Quite a few cafes also display too many signs and the streetscape looks all cluttered and untidy because of it.
Nice to see the Fremantle Cappuccino Strip traders putting a purple haze display on the weekend to support the Fremantle Dockers footy club. They won their second game of the season, so that’s a good start.
Those still living in hope the Dockers will remain in Freo need to be aware the deal with Cockburn is 99 per cent and insiders say the Dockers will not stay in the port city.
Today we will have sleepy boring Fremantle back as we are used to. The annoying Street Art Festival with performers who wanted to make us laugh and smile all the time will be gone and the Cappuccino Strip will thankfully be open for traffic again and gorgeous public transport buses will return to deliver diesel fumes to those mad enough to sit at street cafes there.
Further west Bathers Beach will become a pristine beach again and the visual clutter of the sculptures of Sculpture@Bather will be gone, the homeless can return drinking under the boardwalk and the dust bowl in front of Kidogo Arthouse will become that beautiful industrial desert again, the way it was conceived by those who plan things that should not be used by people.
Today we’ll return to red tape, boring bureaucracy and a sense of despair that it is so hard to change Freo and make it a better and more relaxed place. The closing party at Kidogo last night resembled the Kelp Bar during ISAF, but will Kelp ever be resurrected. Not even Easter has given me confidence in that. Fremantle has its own cross to bear because progress is painfully slow while property prices are painfully high, and lack of good leadership at the City sometimes makes me feel like being nailed to the cross looking down at a city that makes it excruciatingly difficult for itself.
Would people buy property in Fremantle if developers build hundreds of apartments or would they rather buy in Highgate and elsewhere where it will costs them substantially less? How can the prices for rental properties come down in Freo so that people on an average or low income can also afford to live in the city they love, and are not forced to move to the burbs. Is the Mayor right Fort Knox apartments are hard to sell, and if so are the skeptics, who claim Fremantle would over develop if PSA 49 became a reality, right. How can we avoid becoming a city of white elephants with massive vacant residential, retail and office space? Do developers actually want to build substantial projects here? Should we have prioritised improvements for tourism instead of wanting to be Western Australia’s second city?
What is going to happen at Kings Square and when will we see the start of it, with yet another advisory committee planned for the area, and the City of Fremantle unable to show they received legal advise on the contested Joint Venture aspect of their deal with Sirona Capital. Who has not done their homework here?
People keep telling me they don’t understand what is going on at the City of Fremantle. Many are keen to make changes at the October election and get people on council who make more sense than some who make flabbergasting decisions now, others hope the State Government will introduce local government amalgamations which would see the election of a whole new council for an enlarged Fremantle. Till then we might just go back to sleep and dream nothing bad will happen in our cute little city.
Phone calls, emails, people stopping me in the street. Brad Pettitt is resigning as Mayor of Fremantle. It was an April Fools joke of course and Brad will remain till the next election.
When the first planter boxes were installed on the Fremantle Cappuccino Strip I quite liked them, but now that there are a total of 14 of them I believe they look boring. There is a bland sameness about their appearance, akin to a shopping arcade of the 1970s. Why not more variety of and more vibrant colours, why not position some of them in a 45 degree angle to take the appearance of sterility away from the strip? Dare to be different and challenging City of Fremantle. This soooooo much looks like a bureaucratic ‘solution’ instead of a creative one. This is the city of arts. We can do much better Freo! This is not place making but place breaking.
Just in time for the goodbye of Andrew Eastick, City of Fremantle Manager Economic Development & Marketing Department, who is leaving on Friday, the new business precinct signs are being erected around Fremantle. Andrew’s department was responsible for implementing them.
Destination signs are good but they need to be clear and they do need to support Freo traders , so it is puzzling to see that some are not logical.
# The sign on the corner of Cliff and High Street indicates that the West End is to the left, which is only the area of Arthur Head, but ignores the fact that High Street to the east of that is also part of the West End. I acknowledge there is no right turn for traffic into High Street there, but signs are read by pedestrians as well.
# At Elder Place opposite the train station the sign is hidden under a tree, but what amazes me most here is that there is no left turn sign to the Cappuccino Strip and West End, which means traffic will go down Phillimore Street and bypass the struggling High Street retailers. Why?
# At Parry Street near the Fremantle Markets the sign does not point right to the Cappuccino Strip but straight ahead. Yes I know, there is no right turn at the lights to the Strip for cars, but….
……….and as Ivan Dzeba from Benny’s points out, according to the signs you can’t get food at the Cappuccino Strip there is only the spoon and fork symbol for the Fishing Boat Harbour.
While I should be giving you the big news regarding an action I took this morning I have decided to leave it to the Fremantle Herald, so go get your paper early on Friday!
Pot plants have little to do with my decision, although they are about place making, so maybe they are a bit relevant after all. They look good and it is nice to finish a day like today with something positive.
I hear that Fremantle’s Gino’s cafe wants to spread and extend from the Cappuccino Strip into the part of Market Street that just had a facelift and now has the naked, or shared, street approach that has become popular around the world. Word is that they will open the wall and install a big door and build an alfresco deck opposite Sandrino’s.
I believe that would be a very good addition to the street. Although the Horatio Birdbath mural painting is always intriguing to look at, that side of the small end of Market Street is pretty unattractive, so to have an alfresco deck there will be so much better.