There will be a SPECIAL ELECTORS MEETING about the pub proposal for J Shed at the Fremantle Town Hall today. Arrive 6.30 for a 7 pm start and bring an ID!
Here my open letter to the City of Fremantle Mayor and Councillors:
Dear Elected Members of the City of Fremantle.
On Wednesday you are asked to approve the proposal by Sunset Events for a micro brewery and outdoor music venue at J Shed. No matter how the supporters of the proposal like to sell it, you are not asked to approve an arts centre with a bar, like Kulcha, or a music venue with a bar, like Fly by Night. You are asked to sign off on a pub with a capacity of initially 500 patrons, growing into 850 patrons, and a live music venue that will have ticketed concerts at least 12 times a year for up to 1500 patrons.
The pub will not just be restricted to the J Shed but would take over a substantial area of the A Class Reserve there, plus an additional area to allow a stage to be built for the outdoor concerts.
There is no guarantee that no other, non ticketed, concerts will be held in the outdoor area, creating substantial noise issues for residents in the West End of Fremantle and, depending on the wind, for residents to the North and South of Arthur Head as well.
A pub with an art theme does not make it an arts venue, even if there is a gallery space, as Little Creatures has. Sunset Events proposes a pub to sell their new beer brand, plus an outdoor music venue. There is no more to it, no matter if they assign artisans to design their furniture, crockery, cutlery, toilets, or whatever.
It is unlikely Sunset Events would remove and re-erect the outdoor stage after each event, which would mean a permanent large structure on the A Class Reserve during the summer months.
To accommodate the outdoor pub and stage, trees and bushes planted by local school children will have to be removed, thus wasting their dedicated efforts to beautify the area.
Sea containers food outlets are proposed for the outdoor area and one has to assume they will be permanent, thus obstructing ocean views from J Shed, and impacting on the historic significance of place there.
The very strong sea breeze at Bathers Beach will mean that windbreaks will have to be erected for more comfort for patrons in the alfresco and concert areas. This will substantially change the historic ambience of the area.
There will be traffic and parking issues and one cannot ignore that there are also development plans for Victoria Quay by Fremantle Ports that will mean the removal of many parking bays there, while Fremantle Ports also has future plans for the TAFE site that Sunset Events has earmarked for weekend parking for their patrons.
The proposal by Sunset Events for J Shed is out of scale and not acceptable for the significant historic area. It is not your duty as Elected Members to tweak the proposal and to make it work for the proponents. The City is not a commercial partner in this Sunset Events enterprise, so you should reject it because it is not what the community wants and not what tourists to historic Arthur Head come for.
If the proponents believe it is not financially viable to have a small pub without the outdoor music area, they should withdraw the proposal and the City of Fremantle should issue a new Expressions of Interest for studio 1 at J Shed.
The smoke screen that the proposal is somehow about an arts venue that sells alcohol is nonsense and needs to be dismissed as such and ignored.
On Monday a Special Electors Meeting about the Sunset Events proposal for J Shed will be held at the Fremantle Town Hall, and it is essential that the City of Fremantle does that much better than last year’s Skatepark one, as that left a sour taste with many who attended.
It is imperative that only people are allowed to attend who are on the Fremantle Electoral Roll, and IDs need to be shown and properly checked by City officers, because not enough care was taken with that at the last SEM when people just walked in without showing ID. To avoid unnecessary concern FICRA should have scrutineers with the City officers who check the IDs at the door.
The integrity of Council and staff is at stake here, so the meeting needs to be conducted with utmost professionalism and accountability, so that criticism of an alleged rigged meeting will be avoided. It is disappointing the community has lost trust in the way the City conducts itself, so it is in everyone’s interest to do it all by the book, so that any motion that might come out of the meeting will be accepted by all as a fair indication of what the community wants.
The Special Electors Meeting is on Monday February 24 at 7pm at the Town Hall.
Common sense prevailed finally and the City of Fremantle has extended the coastal path that connects the northern end of Bathers Beach with the southern end. When they put the path down last year it suddenly stopped at a dirt ditch where wheelchairs, gophers, prams and bikes were in trouble, and while it still is a path to nowhere at the northern end near J Shed, it is a slight improvement. The path should also have been extended all the way to the South Mole, and the City has indicated that will happen. Why it has to be done in three parts and could not all have been done at once, I don’t know, as there should be money available that is left from the $ 300,000 that was supposed to be spent in 2013.
While there, I was made aware of a badly leaning fence that could create havoc and injuries. The fence on top of Arthurs Head along Mrs. Trivett Lane is rotten and falling to bits. I blogged about that two years ago. Urgent repair is needed if we don’t want to see an avalanche of international tourists falling down in to the carpark below one day.
Building height is probably going to be controversial in Fremantle till well after I am gone, but it is important for the community to have a think about it, as it will come up time and time again in a fast-growing city keen on progress and revitalisation.
I am not one who out of hand rejects higher buildings in our city. For me it depends on the location of the site and the reasons for wanting more height. If there are real architectural design merits in wanting extra height, I can see the possible benefit to the streetscape and city, and depending on the location and adjoining buildings I could be in favour of granted more height.
But there is something that worries me, and it came up when Mayor Brad Pettitt mentioned that he might consider supporting additional height, from the allowable 4 storeys to an extra one, to five storeys, in Pakenham Street in the historic West End Conservation Area. I have two problems with that. For me the West End should be sacred and additional height above the allowable 4 storeys should not be considered. We were promised when the Planning Scheme Amendment 49 debate went on that the West End would be safe and not touched, but that is apparently not set in concrete. The argument for maybe allowing five storeys in Pakenham Street is that the initial building design was unacceptable. It was a very ugly and uninspiring box that would be a disgrace opposite some of the stunning heritage buildings in that street. Even the Mayor stated it was unacceptable and good on him for that.
What appears to be happening though, and that worries me greatly, is that developers will put pressure on council by offering mediocre design unless exceptional height is being granted. But where will it stop? Today it is only a request for an additional storey, but tomorrow it could be for two, three, or more, with the promise of getting architectural greatness instead of blandness. This could spiral out of hand because once the City sets precedents for extra height, not allowing it for future development could be brushed aside by the State Government’s DAP.
I have argued the case for the Spicer site development, where additional height is sought for an architectural feature only, not to add more floorspace and reap commercial benefit from it, but that does not apply to Pakenham Street where ‘beauty’ is only added because it will give the developers more floorspace to lease.
My concerns are not about height, but about the process of getting additional height, and even more so that we would even consider thinking about it for the historically significant West End Conservation Area. Elected Members and officers of the City of Fremantle should very carefully think about possible ramifications if we allow just the one building, and just that one extra floor, because it might become something that will snowball in the future and can’t be stopped by our local government.
There will be another information session at the City of Fremantle about the Sunset Events proposal to turn the most southern studio of J Shed into a micro brewery and change parts of the A Class Reserve into an outdoor music venue. It will be on Tuesday January 14 at 5.30 at the Meeting Room of the City. Entry from the back steps.
A few points I picked up:
* The proposal wants to make use of public transport and local parking. That is ridiculous for a venue that wants live concerts for 1,500 people. One would think they’d try to have an arrangement with TAFE to get permission to use at least all those empty parking spaces near the South Mole that are not being used on weekends.
* Proceeds are being received into general revenue, with only the intention to use it for Arthur Head maintenance and improvements. But money derived from the lease of Arthur Head property has to be vested in Arthur Head, according to the City’s own policies.
Arthur Head is the Bathers Beach Art Precinct and the State’s most significant and oldest site with the Round House the oldest public building in Western Australia. The Sunset Events proposal is not as claimed by some proponents just like the Moores Building or Fremantle Arts Centre. Its main aim is the sale of alcohol to patrons and for take-away, and to have at least 12 outdoor concerts for 1,500 people over the summer period. That makes the proposal unacceptable under the City’s own just implemented Alcohol Management Policy.
What the City of Fremantle should be doing is installing proper wayfinding signage and promote the Art Precinct in the media, not change it all around again, ignore their own policies and plans, and put a large pub where a cute art gallery and wine bar/restaurant would just do the trick nicely. The Expression of Interest the City put out was for a cafe/bar/function centre/gallery, not a huge micro brewery and live outdoor concert venue!
I know the Victoria Quay development plans are still in their early days and that many changes will be made, but one of the proposals worries me, and that is building on Pioneer Park. There is heritage significance with the remnants of a cottage built there by the early settlers, and Fremantle really cannot afford to lose more green open space. The high number of inner city residential, retail and office buildings planned for the CBD means we need more public open spaces for people to relax in.
We often hear arguments that buildings help wayfinding, and with the proposal of a railway crossing to VQ at Pakenham Street, the argument was put forward that the corner of Pakenham and Phillimore Street needs to be defined better by building on Pioneer Park there. Maybe I am naive, and I am definitely not a city planner, but could that corner not be made more prominent, for wayfinding purposes, by planting a whole row of beautiful trees, landscape Pioneer Park so it becomes a real inner city feature and lingering node, where people want to spend time, meet people arriving by train, and where children can play. A small playground there would be nice and maybe the City could erect a shade structure that tells the story of the historic cottage that was once in that location.
The argument that Pioneer Park is not popular is a cop-out. The park is not attracting many people because it is an unattractive area that needs good landscaping, so people will enjoy being there. It’s that chicken and the egg thing. People will come and use Pioneer Park more frequently once the area has been made attractive.
Wayfinding often appears to be just an excuse to build significant buildings, when better and more creative solutions should be considered first by using that other buzzword placemaking.
Welcome back to KELP, the cute little beach bar of Kidogo Arthouse at Fremantle‘s Bathers Beach. It’s offically open from tomorrow, but today was a get together for friends of Kelp and I quickly popped in to take a few photos.
There is no doubt in my mind that the bar, that reminds me so much of those special places on the coast of Croatia, Italy and France, would be a great asset to Fremantle as a permanent feature, but sadly our councillors are playing politics and are not as supportive of the bar as they claim to be.
I can understand that Kidogo owner Joanna Robertson’s forthright and demanding nature, and her complaints about the dustbowl and council inaction, might have upset a few egos at the City of Fremantle, but Freo needs people who get things done, even if they sometimes appear to be a bit selfish and a plain pain in the …. Joanna is willing to put her money where her mouth is and walk the talk, so it’s time for council to start catching up as it has been an epic and rather unsatisfactory marathon.
The proposal for a 200 beds and other facilities backpackers at the World Heritage listed FREMANTLE PRISON is on again with an information sessions at 5.30 today at the meeting room of the City of Fremantle. From memory the initial proposal included a bar and swimming pool, and I am not sure how that is respectful to the heritage of the building and the historic significance of it. Many people were hanged at Fremantle prison and the tiny cells were pretty inhumane and caused a lot of suffering, so why anyone would want to spend a holiday in such environment is beyond me.
It is puzzling that the info session overlaps the one about the equally important Kings Square development that starts at 5 pm, while the prison one starts at 5.30. I would like to attend both but that is not possible. Is anyone coordinating these info sessions at the City of Fremantle or is there a communication ban among staff?
Confidence in Fremantle‘s future is growing with KAKULAS SISTER purchasing the Princess Theatre building on Market Street they have been operating from for years. It is nice to see that kind of long-term commitment to Fremantle and retail in our city.
Kakulas Sister is one of my personal favourite shopping destinations. The stuff they sell is great, the ambience is cosy, and there is genuine service with a smile. They have a very good cheese selection and European food as well.
As promised here more photos of the great ambience of the Fremantle Bathers Beach Sunset Food Markets. If you missed it, it’s on again coming Saturday from 5-9 pm, with plenty of FREE PARKING at TAFE at Fleet Street, at the start of the South Mole.
A big thank you also to the very helpful Fremantle Ranger who gave exceptional customer service yesterday. When the inconsiderate private security person had locked the Whalers Tunnel gates before we had dismantled the blazing lights inside of it, the ranger offered to go back to Town Hall to see if he could find the keys. He returned 45 minutes later, unlocked the gates so that I could take out the lights and big power distribution box. That is really great service City of Fremantle! As for the security guy……