Some say there there is reason in all madness, so there might well be a very good explanation for what has been going on in Fremantle‘s High Street. I am not a city planner and I know nothing at all about the prime locations for bike racks in the inner city, but why does the City need to put a parklet in a parking bay in front of New Edition to put bicycle racks on, straight opposite where there are already facilities for bikes on the other side of the street. These are going to be removed I have been told.
From memory the bike racks next to Breaks Cafe where only put there earlier this year, so have the experts now discovered they are on the wrong side of the street, or whatever the reason might be? It would be interesting to know also what this relocation does cost.
When I first saw the work going on I believed we would have another alfresco cafe area similar to that at the Moore&Moore Cafe in Henry Street, but the Grumpy Sailor Cafe people tell me that is not the case.
Oooooooooooh the mysteries of planning in Fremantle.
The Fremantle Society AGM will be held today December 10 at the Fremantle Workers Club, 9 Henry Street. 6pm for pre-drinks for a 6.45 start of proceedings.
Members of the public are welcome to attend as observers.
While I always try to be positive and look for common ground it is often difficult not to smirk about the City of Fremantle’s Fawlty Towers like performance where it appears common to put the cart before the horse and do things the wrong way around. Some City officers call it planning I understand.
Let us scrutinise recent hiccups and money wasting lack of coordination and planning.
We have been watching the far from perfect Old Port Project at Bathers Beach affecting the commercial viability of Kidogo Art House because of a dustbowl in front of the gallery. It looks like the gallery will close until a solution has been found and a new surface put down, ideally grass, but paving will do as well. New lights on the boardwalk and around the area are still not working, while the heavy wooden sun lounges created a public hazard, the wrong kind of rubbish bins were installed, etc.
At Arthur Head maintenance of the historic buildings has been a shambles for years and can be called pure neglect, to the point that sculptor Greg James initiated a community project of getting Colourific to paint the J Shed for free, worth an estimated $ 25,000.
The blanket approach by council to make an art hub out of Arthur Head met with huge resistants from existing tenants worried about eviction from the run down buildings and it now appears after trying to find a management team for the project it will be watered down and be managed internally by the City. If the project goes ahead as planned it will make a night time ghost town out of Arthur Head, which will see a rise in vandalism and anti-social behaviour on the hill.
The art hub idea finally forced council to get the heritage architect to have a look at the historic buildings and hey guess what, the City has now appointed a very expensive consultant to check out all the buildings and advise the city on what maintenance and renovations need to be done before they can go ahead with the art hub. Why can’t the heritage department do that? An expert told me the renovations are going to be in the millions, money that has not been budgeted for or allocated to the area. This is again a cart before the horse approach by Fremantle council.
Still at Arthur Head. Seating has been promised for the Round House area for a long time now, but nothing happened, so Glen Cowans took the initiative and put colourful tables and chairs next to his photography gallery where grateful tourists make eager use of them. Where are the ones the City promised?
Resurfacing of the Cappuccino Strip was a farce with pavers ripped out, to be replaced for only three days with bitumen, that was then ripped out to be replaces with pavers again. What a waste of money. Is that what Freo’s Basil Fawlty calls planning?
Every two years the City signs a Memorandum of Understanding with Notre Dame University but it does not see much action. Badly needed street activation is now going to a two year consideration period, so nothing will happen there for a years to come. Why have an MOU if it doesn’t achieve anything?
Planning Scheme Amendment 49 lacks vision and real planning with no traffic studies, no allocation of public open spaces, unrealistic plans for residential dwellings without car bays, and the also unrealistic dream that Freo will have lightrail in the foreseeable future. The latter won’t happen for another 20 years unless the City gets a private operator for it, which is highly unlikely for such a costly project.
While the city talks about the very good idea of reducing cars in the inner city, it is unwilling to close the Cappuccino Strip on weekends, or make it one way only to accommodate safer bike paths and better amenity for those using the alfresco areas of cafes along the strip.
Framing Freo artworks were removed from Kings Square after ten days because of safety and liability issues. Why wasn’t due diligence done before the project with the responsible officers checking if the works were suitable for the location? Why waste people’s time on a David Engwicht inspired project?
I could go on, as there are many more examples of mediocrity at the City’s administration, but unless the elected members bite the bullet and are brave enough to get rid of Basil, we will have to endure more bad and unacceptable Fawlty Towers kind of work from the city.
Maybe our only hope is that council amalgamations next year will improve the performance of the City of Fremantle. But voting Liberal to achieve that is not something I support.
If you want to hear from the horse’s mouth (sorry Brad) what is going on in Fremantle, what the plans for the future are, get an update on strategic planning, economic development, etc. come to the Fremantle Esplanade at 12 this Friday the 19th of October for the bi-monthly Leaders Luncheon where Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt will give his annual State of the City address.
The lunch costs $ 50.00 and you’ll need to RSVP by end of business on Tuesday here: https://www.fremantle.wa.gov.au/EventRSVP?rsvpid=cf03161a-47e9-4ed9-948c-a0cc010250c2
Besides a full belly and a brain full of information you will also get to take a glossy brochure with more info home. You’ll also have the opportunity to meet Freo’s finest business, political and community leaders. I’ll be there as well but don’t let that put you off. ; >)
Congratulations to the very likable an capable Philip St John, the City of Fremantle Director of Planning and Development, for being awarded the Professional Planner of the Year 2012 by the Local Government Planners Association.
The award was given to St John for the development of the innovative Fremantle Small Secondary Dwellings Scheme.
Check out the City’s website to find out more on how easy it is to erect a small granny flat on your property.
The Fremantle Planning Scheme Amendment 49 development compromise suggested to Minister John Day by Fremantle independent MLA Adele Carles, as reported in the Fremantle Herald today, is a common sense approach, which Fremantle council should embrace.
To start with the Woolstores, Target, Gas&Coke and Point Street sites first, and see after they have been developed how much more Fremantle needs and if the community likes the large scale high- rise buildings, is good place making. Doing things step by step rather than a blanket approach for the inner city is much better than the huge footprint PSA 49 would be.
The Fremantle Society and the majority of residents would like the heights of buildings to come down as well of course, but reducing the number of development sites under PSA 49 would be a sensible compromise. I believe the City should adopt Adele Carles’ ideas and go with them. It would show there is no stubborn development at all cost philosophy at council but a willingness to listen to the community and alter plans to make them better and more acceptable.
Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt is quoted in the Fremantle Herald that he has not much to say about Carles’ proposal and that “council made a unanimous decision based on community consultation.” If council had listened to community consultation nothing higher than eight storeys should have been approved as the majority of people surveyed by council were against heights above that limit.
The changes suggested by Carles to PSA 49 would have no impact on the Sirona Capital development of the Myer and Queensgate buildings, or the Kings Square development.
Council should also be aware of the risk of over development with the masterplan for Victoria Quay just been released, so substantial development will happen there as well, as is already happening at Leighton, South Beach and Coogee.
There will also be large development at Knutsford Street, where the Landcorp signs just have gone up, plus the development at Queen Victoria Street, so the risk of developing too much too fast is high and Fremantle could end up with lots of empty buildings.
Common sense should prevail and the City of Fremantle and Minister John Day should implement Adele Carles’ alternative ideas. They are better for Fremantle than PSA 49.
Fremantle councillor Dave Coggin‘s remark at the Strategic& General Services Committee, that there had been a personal attack on the officer who wrote the Draft Management Criteria for Arthur Head Policy, made me contemplate a few things. First of all my attack on the mediocre and unimaginative document were not a personal attack on City officer Marisa Spaziana, who wrote it, but simply on the less than visionary thinking behind the proposal.
This then also made me think of the similarities in mediocrity between the Arthur Head arts hub proposal and Planning Scheme Amendment 49. Both have the philosophy that sticking people in boxes will somehow create vibrancy for the city, and economic recovery for the struggling retail sector. Neither of the plans have system, big picture, thinking in them, and there is no master or grand plan, but only hope and wishful thinking, and that is simply not good enough. It is a very lazy, non visionary, approach to town planning.
My criticism of these two plans is not directed at individual officers or departments, or councillors, but at the lack of greatness, clarity and creativity from the City of Fremantle.
The Mayor and councillors dream of light rail, but we all know this will not happen here for at least twenty years, so where are the plans on how the city will cope with thousands more people, how will we address traffic congestion, lack of sufficient public transport, etc? Where are the plans for the period where Fremantle will have to cope without light rail?
Fremantle addresses planning like stacking containers on top of each other and then claiming one has erected a building. The city that was once known for it’s free range attitude will become the capital for battery hen living. Lots of boxes, lots of people, no vision! That is a serious waste of the considerable talent we have on council. They can, and should, do better!
It appears the Fremantle Design Advisory Committee‘s powers are already being challenged, and this will set the tone for future development applications in our city. From what I understand the proponents who want to build a multi-storey apartment building at 11 Queen Victoria Street in the east of the city, have expressed they will go ahead with the initial application and not make the changes suggested by the DAC.
I had a look at the plans some weeks ago and find the proposed building just another boring bland box that has no great visual appeal. Street level office space especially is totally uninspiring and should not go ahead as designed. Fremantle does not need buildings they built everywhere but belong nowhere. We need buildings of excellence, not just an assembly of functional cubicles.
If the DAC proves to be a lame duck, and developers ignore what the DAC wants, we have a serious problem on our hands, and only a strong and determined planning department and council could stop mediocre buildings from being erected in our inner city. It is important the City of Fremantle does not give in to developers who are displaying the take it or leave it attitude!