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.
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!
P.S. Rumours abound about Freo architects wanting to build an 11 storey hotel at Bathers Beach near the Round House. In your dreams!
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!
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.
With the City of Fremantle considering turning the heritage Pilot’s Cottages at Arthur Head into Aboriginal art studios, I have been contemplating if there are not better solutions than the tokenism of handing over four small houses to our Noongar friends, that are not suited to be substantial art spaces, so here my suggestions to the city.
The former Port Cineaste building on Adelaide Street offers the opportunity to create a real art centre, similar to Mangkaja in Fitzroy Crossing, Mowanjum near Derby and the art centre at Warmun. A community centre that offers artist studios and a well managed retail outlet that would create income for the artists.
The site at Princess May Park is popular with Aboriginals, who frequent it daily. The building is substantial and offers the opportunity to open it up to the park with an al fresco cafe and would even allow for a small amphitheatre in the park for story telling and music performances.
With the Film and Television Institute and Clancys already there this could become a great art hub for the city. The potential is huge with the expected massive developments on Queen Victoria Street just East of it, which would mean a steady flow of pedestrians going past the art centre. Adelaide Street already is one of the major thoroughfares for people coming from the Northern and Eastern suburbs.
The site I propose is opposite the Adelaide Plaza shopping centre and the Basilica, and has plenty of parking with many car bays in Cantonment Street and Beach Street, and also in the Point Street car park, until that is being developed.
It might well be that the State Government could financially support such proposal.
P.S. While I presently occupy one of the Pilot’s Cottages as caretaker for the Fremantle Society, I expressed in an email to the Mayor and councilors last week that I can see a bigger picture for Arthur Head and would never stand in the way of it for selfish reasons.
I knew one day my double Dutch writing to newspapers would wake up people, so I am delighted to read in the Fremantle Herald that the Woonerf concept is going to be tried in Fremantle. The idea is to set up virtual living areas, like sofas, chairs, tables, etc. in the middle of the cappuccino strip, that will automatically slow traffic down and creates a better quality of sharing the street between pedestrians and cars. Trials have been very successful in Holland, Germany, Canada, the UK and also in Victoria.
# More good news comes today that the Pricess May Park will be handed over to the City of Fremantle. This will hopefully also mean a new long lease for the very family friendly Clancys Fish Pub.
# Proposed new development at the back of the old synagogue near the markets need to be scrutinised in detail though, so show us the plans please!
# I was told a worrying development yesterday, about regular break-ins at the Royal George hotel, where thieves steal the copper piping, including gas pipes, which poses a real fire threat to the old building and historic archives stored there.
WOONERF. Woon means living in the Dutch language, and erf is traditionally a forecourt where the family gathers on a farm (boerderij).