Freo's View

THE OX IS SLOW BUT FREMANTLE IS PATIENT

Posted in city of fremantle by freoview on September 3, 2014

building 1 building 2

The ox is slow but the earth is patient, the saying goes. We can truly say that the Fremantle community, especially the business community, has been very patient and that we have been waiting for change, progress, new buildings and new businesses for a very long time.

The ox is moving, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and sun on the horizon, so don’t despair and just hang in there!

The demolition of the buildings at Adelaide and Point streets has started to make way for the new Hilton Hotel at Princess May Park, and in the west end of town ground work has begun on the new Mediterranean Shipping Company office building at Cliff Street.

I anticipate that we can also soon expect an announcement that a state government department will move into the former MYER building, which would be the start of the essential Kings Square revitalisation.

The final draft plan for Victoria Quay should also be made public soon, after a few details have been ironed out with the Public Transport Authority.

Roel Loopers

FREO’S CLANCYS RE-OPENS FRIDAY!

Posted in fremantle by freoview on August 6, 2014

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It was organised chaos at Fremantle’s Clancys today, as staff were in a rush to get the place ready for the “very sssssoft opening” on Friday, where any glitches can be ironed out.

I like the vibrant colours and new feel of the place, which is still very much our own Clancys. Booths have been installed inside and the alfresco area at Princess May Park has substantially grown. The new inside toilets have a bit of class, there is airconditioning and also heating outside, and music will be piped everywhere, including the kitchen.

The menu will remain very much like the old one, but the new relocated kitchen looks stunning as well,with a few more state of the art deep fryers and other gadgets, so go and check out Clancys this weekend!

Roel Loopers

CLANCYS (slightly) BIGGER AND BETTER

Posted in fremantle by freoview on July 4, 2014

Clancys 1 Clancys 2

 

Justin Rogan, the manager of CLANCY’S in Fremantle, showed me around today to point out the improvements they are making to the building. It looks promising!

They are building a whole new kitchen, cool, store, and staff room on the south-western corner, while the old toilet block has been demolished and the toilets are relocated to the former kitchen area.

The alfresco areas on both sides of the building are extended and will be under cover, with heating in winter and cooling in summer.

Clancys is going back to the 80s with booths installed in the room where the stage is, but the interior design will all be in the same Clancy’s style as City Beach, Dunsborough and Canning Bridge. The estimated re-opening time is mid to late August, so not far away at all. If you can’t wait that long, hop on the bus to Canning Bridge or spend a long weekend in Dunsborough.

The whole area at Princess May Park will transform even more with renovations of the former Boys School-FTI building, and the building of the Hilton Hotel on the Point Street carpark site. Good things are happening in Freo, just a bit of patience needed!

Roel Loopers

FREO’S CLANCYS GETTING BIGGER

Posted in fremantle by freoview on June 28, 2014

The renovations at Fremantle Clancy’s Fishpub are progressing well, and by the look of it there will be a larger alfresco area at the back of the pub at Princess May Park. That will give more parents the opportunity to sit outside and watch over their children, who can safely play in the park away from traffic.

Clancys will open again in mid August, so stay tuned. I’ll keep you up to date.

Roel Loopers

FINALLY FREMANTLE BOYS SCHOOL RESTORATION

Posted in fremantle by freoview on October 16, 2013

It has been a long time coming, but finally one of Fremantle’s oldest heritage buildings, the Fremantle Boys School Building occupied by the Film and Television Institute (FTI), has received $850k funding from the City for the first stage of its restoration.
Built in 1854 and located at 92 Adelaide Street Fremantle, the building is highly valued for its heritage connections, but given its age, requires significant restoration work to ensure its structural integrity for the benefit of future generations. The first stage of restorative works will include asbestos management planning, chemical analysis of mortar mix to ensure compatibility, stonemason repairs to chimneys and parapets, new gutters, storm water management and the replacement of a portion of its roof shingles. All works will be done in full consultation and collaboration with the City’s Heritage Coordinator.
“The City places great importance on its heritage stock and as one Fremantle’s oldest heritage buildings and given its visible location and usage, the restoration of the FTI-occupied building has been one of our highest priorities,” said City of Fremantle Technical Services Director, Peter Pikor. “Certain aspects of the building have deteriorated over a number of years and following a thorough investigation, it was decided that the best resolution was to use a staged approach to restore the building. This approach will allow a detailed analysis to be undertaken at the completion of each stage to address risk issues and clarify the scope of following stages,” Mr Pikor said.
Stage one restoration works are expected to commence in the second quarter of 2014 with additional stages subject to council funding approval.

The Fremantle Television Institute, FTO, in the former boys school at Princess May park.

The Fremantle Television Institute, FTI, in the former boys school at Princess May park.

FREMANTLE CITY NEGLECTS HERITAGE

Posted in fremantle by freoview on June 14, 2013

FICRA John Dowson‘s complaint in the Fremantle Herald today about the Fremantle Markets’ condition and questioning what the City of Fremantle is doing with the money they receive from the market operators made me wonder if the City has got management systems in place to make sure that money that has to be vested into certain areas is actually spend on it. Clancys has been paying nearly $ 76,000 a year for the last ten years but not much has been done at all at Princess May Park, with director Peter Pikor stating on Wednesday that money allocated 3 years ago to replace the roof of the FTI building is now no longer enough to get the work done. What has been done with the $ 760,000 Clancys paid over ten years?

The same question applies to Arthur Head where the city has been collecting rent for at least 20 years without doing much to maintain the crumbling buildings, walls, fences, etc. Where did the money go to, is it in an Arthur Head account?

The City of Fremantle does not have a good track record looking after the heritage buildings in its care, the Town Hall is a sad example of that, so why is council contemplating taking on the Warders Cottages in Henderson Street while it is neglecting one of the most historically significant areas of our state in Arthur Head. Walk around and see walls falling to pieces, fences pushed over, not repaired, unpainted, while money suddenly is being spend on two Pilot’s cottages because new art related tenantst are encouraged to move in. The interior walls of the Round House are already losing the new mortar, put in there last year, at an alarming rate, the wall in front of the historic prison in falling down the stairs and onto the carpark below, paths are not maintained, signage is inadequate or non existing, I could go on. Where are the management plans!

Roel Loopers

P.S. Rumours abound about Freo architects wanting to build an 11 storey hotel at Bathers Beach near the Round House. In your dreams!

BATHERS BEACH MESS WILL CONTINUE ON

Posted in fremantle by freoview on June 12, 2013

It was an interesting Fremantle Strategic and General Services Committee meeting at council chambers this evening, with big items on the agenda. The Bathers Beach improvements recommended by the officers and the working group were largely not accepted so that saga will continue. Councillor Jon Strachan said he could not support more grass in a drying climate. That was supported by Councillor Doug Thompson. To plant two more Norfolk trees was considered the wrong species, although the area already has several of them.

Councillor Doug Thomson said there is no justification for more grass and asked why it was recommended. Councillors Sam Wainwright and Dave Coggin expressed frustration that the master plan for the area had not been considered. A heritage assessment will now be done before full council meeting in two weeks and back to the drawing board.

I was part of the stakeholders group of professional business men and feel we all wasted our time on trying to do the right thing for the Bathers Beach area. Our group was never asked to consider the master plan or look at improvements on the east side of the railway line. Semantics took over tonight and the necessary changes will not be made. That is highly frustrating and a waste of community input and time. Five of us gave up 12 hours of our time for no return. That is not acceptable.

The other big issue was if council should create a business plan to look at the viability of taking over the Warders Cottages from State Government. FICRA spokes person John Dowson questioned if it would be better for Fremantle Prison to manage them and asked if renovation work would be done to heritage values. Councillor Cogging asked whose job was it to protect the cottages; state government, and that council would need to see strong support from the community before embarking on a 6 million dollar renovation project. Councillor Andrew Sullivan said he agreed with FICRA and that the cottages should not become a financial burden for the City of Fremantle and it should be asking for the money from state government.

I believe a no interest loan from State Government or a guaranteed grant from Lotterywest should be negotiated before the C0F commits to taking on this big and expensive project.

The proposal to turn the Esplanade into an A Grade Reserve was not supported and not seen as a priority. FICRA’s John Dowson said the skate plaza had been one of the most upsetting issues of the last 20 years for him and asked when council will be reviewing the Esplanade master plan. The CEO announced that the special Electors Meeting demanded by FICRA will be held on July 2 at the Town Hall.

It was interesting to hear that the Film and Television Institute and the Fremantle Education Center have only been paying peppercorn rent over the last 10 years while other non for profit community groups like Kulcha are being charged rent by the City. Councillor Jon Strachan rightly pointed out this was an equity issue. Councillor Doug Thomson wanted a more strategic use for the buildings, while FICRA’s John Dowson asked if there is actually a management plan for Princes May Park because nothing had been done there for yonkers.

All in all yet another interesting inside on how local government works. It is bloody frustrating and annoying at times!

Roel Loopers

 

FREMANTLE REACHING THE POINT

Posted in fremantle by freoview on November 30, 2012

News that the tender for the redevelopment of the City of Fremantle Point Street car park will be signed next week, open up very good opportunities for the City to insist on outstanding architectural design and building quality, not just complying with a five star green rating. If council allows a mediocre building to be erected on the site adjacent to historic Princess May Park for the sake to get quick development done, it will lose all credibility. I for one look forward to getting rid of the ugly car park and revitalisation of Princess May Park.

Harbour Theatre have been told they still got another year at the former cinema building and that is probably a realistic time to draw up plans for the area.

Roel Loopers

FREO’S EAST AND WEST HERITAGE MESS

Posted in fremantle by freoview on October 31, 2012

Princess May Park in the east of the Fremantle CBD is causing headaches on two fronts. Anti-social behaviour by drunks who use the park daily is upsetting businesses in the area. Last week a fight there lasted for over two hours and calls to the police resulted in no action for far too long, while Fremantle’s own security staff was powerless to stop the brawl.

A CCTV camera finally installed there has been put smack bang in the centre of the park. The location was probably selected by the same insensitive person who put one smack bang in front of the Round House earlier this year. It was removed after the outcry of residents and heritage groups.

Former Councillor John Dowson is also rightly asking what has happened to the $ 600,000 allocated for improvements on the 1854 Boy’s School at the park, and why council allowed several airconditioners to be installed at the northern face of the building and more around the corner.

John also wants a heritage interpretation of Princess May Park to be done and in light of the council wanting to develop the Point Street carpark site this should be done as a priority.

The east end of town is a mirror image of the west of the city where the neglected heritage buildings at Arthur Head also need urgent attention. Verandas and picket fences are rotting away, exteriors need to be painted, better signage needs to be installed, road surfaces need to be made safe for pedestrians, landscaping in front of J Shed needs to be done, the mess at the Old Port Project at Bathers Beach needs to be sorted before summer starts, etc.

It must be a good feeling at Fremantle council to live the sustainable new green buildings dream, but this can’t be done at the cost of our significant heritage sites and buildings. They need to remain a priority and should be looked after better.

Drunks are not only a problem in the east of town. Arthur Head is also a favourite party destination for backpackers at night and they often leave a mess of broken bottles all over the place. This is another area ignored by our police. It must be too hard to get out of the patrol vehicles during the evening to check on the international  revelers who use the cannon deck and grassed area next to the Round House as a dump.

Progress is great and so is planning a modern future for our city, but looking after what we’ve already got is essential. We need better policing of buildings and of people.

Roel Loopers

DRUNKS IN PRINCESS MAY PARK A PROBLEM

Posted in fremantle by freoview on October 24, 2012

Anti social behaviour at Fremantle’s Princess May Park is of concern to retailers and residents in the east of the city with some suggesting the corner next to the former Port Cineaste building, where the people sit and drink alcohol should be opened up to Adelaide Street by removing some of the fences that line the park. I don’t believe this is the solution, and removing fences of a heritage listed site might be difficult anyway.

Twenty or so years ago people would sleep under a tree on a church property along St Georges Terrace in Perth. The tree was removed. Did it solve the problem of homeless people needing a place to rest? Of course not! Removing fences at Princess May Park won’t solve the problem either. They’ll move to the other side of the FTI behind the walls there. Remove those as well?

It is up to the W.A. Police to enforce the law. Princess May Park is a known hang out for drunks and that needs to be addressed. A beer bottle was thrown at me from there earlier this year. The shards just missed my legs and I could have been hurt badly. A CCTV camera in that location would alert City officers when the first drinking starts and police will have to attend swiftly to stop it from escalating in fighting and abusive language. Removing fences, walls or trees is only putting a band-aid on the problem.

Roel Loopers

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