I might be considered an obnoxious weed by those I dare to criticise, but I am trying to be fair, so here a plug for the good editorial by Fremantle Gazette editor Rachel Watts, who rightly is confused why Fremantle Council passed the J Shed pub proposal. Read it in the Gazette out today!
Like Councillor Dave Coggin at last Wednesday’s full Fremantle council meeting, Sunset Events director David Chitty makes similar claims about the historic insignificance of J Shed in today’s Fremantle Gazette. Both gentlemen decided to ignore the opinion of historian Professor Bob Reece and the concerns of Aboriginal Elder Richard Wilkes, instead claiming they have even more knowledge of the area’s history than the WA History Society, the Fremantle Society and other experts.
What people like Chitty and Coggin do not want to accept is the historic significance of place of the entire Bathers Bay/Arthur Head area. It’s not about 50 metres to the left or north being less or more significant, the whole area is of extreme historic importance to Westerns Australia and Australia in the context of white settlement in this country, and it also is of great importance to the local Nyoongar people, who suffered at the Round House and who were shipped from Bathers Bay to the dreadful Quod indigenous prison on Rottnest Island where hundreds of them died.
I dislike using the F word, but let’s call it what it is, Fremantle council has buggered democracy and buggered its own community by self-righteously ignoring the wishes of the majority of the people, ignoring the historic significance of place, and handing over an A Class Reserve intended for public recreation to a private operator whose aim it is to make big profits out of the sale of alcohol and using live concerts as seduction to do so.
The Minister for Lands and the Liquor Licensing Board need to step in and stop the development, because it’s wrong for the location, out of scale for the location, and disrespectful to the location.
As for Fremantle council; three strikes and you’ve lost credibility and the community’s confidence in you. You ignored the majority on Planning Scheme Amendment 49, you ignored our wishes to extend the Esplanade by adding the skate park to it and build it on the parking space to the south of the reserve, and you have ignored us again on J Shed. The loss of confidence in your ability to listen and to represent those who voted for you will be extremely hard to regain, and community cynicism about Council’s intent will grow. That is an enormous shame after the highly successful Fremantle Forever campaign, where it was shown that when Council and the community work shoulder to shoulder good things can be achieved together. Sadly some Elected Members will see the three issues as a personal win and this way: Council 3- Community 0.
The ikonic Fremantle Ports building at Victoria Quay will be 50 years old tomorrow. Designed by local architects Hobbs, Winning and Leighton, it was officially opened on March 5, 1964 and lauded for its modern design and the folded ground floor roof, which was a first in Australia.
The 11 storey building has an artwork in the foyer by famous Western Australian artists Howard Taylor. The mural depicts Roman god Portunus riding a dolphin to guide ships safely into the harbour.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary there will be a historic photo display in the foyer from March 7.
Is it a wonder people are cynical about all levels of government when our politicians have double-standards, break promises, and often show total disregard for the wishes of the community? Today’s report in the West Australian that Planning Minister John Day wants the State Government to buy the neglected Guildford Hotel is one such case. Have a read what the Minister’s arguments are and keep them in context to the extremely neglected Fremantle Warders Cottages in Henderson Street, which are in the care of the Department of Housing.
John Day said about the Guildford Hotel that the Government should “take effective action, ……, to ensure an important building was protected.” “What is there is becoming an eyesore and it’s unacceptable.” The Minister also said the State should ensure the public interest in an important heritage location was protected.
Could someone invite the Minister to visit Fremantle and see what his own government has done to the Warders Cottages, which have been a total disgrace and eyesore for years in the centre of Fremantle next to the Fremantle Markets. The Department of Housing vacated all the tenants and since then allowed the heritage cottages to rot away despite continuous protests, and attempts by the City of Fremantle to get something done there urgently.
Now a State Minister wants to spend money to buy a hotel in Guildford when priority money should be allocated to repair and renovate the Henderson Street cottages in our city.
SIGN SIMONE MCGURK’S PETITION TO DEMAND STATE GOVERNMENT LOOKS AFTER THE FREO COTTAGES!
The controversial pub proposal for J Shed was not the only one which passed at Fremantle full council on Wednesday, there was also another important item that passed to support retail in the city. Here is the crux of it:
1. The City may provide a one–off rate discount of up to 33% of annual rates to property owners who lease property at ground level to eligible businesses that add value (and diversity) to the overall Fremantle offering. Rate discounts must be passed onto the new tenant in a direct financial manner such as (but not limited to) a rent–free period, reduced rent or reduced outgoings.
2. The City may provide a one–off cash incentive of up to a maximum of $10,000 to eligible businesses which meet this policy’s criteria and are committed by a signed commercial lease agreement within a property in the City’s local government area.
3. Vacant council–owned properties may be offered to eligible businesses at a discounted lease of up to $10,000 below market rates for one year.
Eligible businesses cannot receive more than one of the items. Eligible businesses are defined as those that add value to the Fremantle’s overall offering by bringing something unique to the city that will attract more people to Fremantle.
I think this is a good idea if the implementation of it id done correctly. How one values a business as being of the diversity Fremantle needs, I don’t know. Bread in Common on paper would probably just have been judged as a bar/cafe/restaurant not eligible for such discouncts, but it is in reality much more than that and a real asset to Freo. There is no mention of location, so I assume this only applies to the CBD as for exa,ple a few more cafes in White Gum Valley, Hilton, etc. could be seen as adding value and diversity. But we have to start somewhere, so this is not a bad start.
Plans are well under way for a 52 patron micro brewery Blacksall Cellar Door at the Fremantle Markets. The proposal comes from hotel operators Patrick Prendiville and Craig and Ian Hutchinson.
The proposal is to brew beer on the premises and sell it there, as an off spin of the already operating Blacksall micro brewery at Salt on Port Beach.
One of the best finds for Fremantle in recent years is the always smiling and positive CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, Tim Milsom. He sent me a recently published article from The New York Times by Baz Dreisingen and I want to share some excerpts relevant to Fremantle from it with you. Thanks Baz for loving our patch of the world!
“Conjure up a city embodying all things right about cities. Assuming you lean toward the progressive, I’ll wager your rendering includes the following: multiple parks and waterfronts; spotless subways and free public buses; restaurant menus with organic, locally sourced food and wine; cool bars in heritage buildings; and pop-up everything, from farmers’ markets to cinema and yoga.
Welcome to Perth.
The capital of Western Australia, where some 1.8 of the state’s two million residents live, left this New Yorker mesmerized: Could a city really be so easy, breezy, green and pristine — so positively livable? I’d thought Williamsburg was hipster heaven; it pales beside Perth.
The nearby town of Fremantle, meanwhile, felt like an Australian version of South Street Seaport. It is packed with 19th-century buildings, organic restaurants and coffee shops. At the Fremantle Prison, built in the 1850s and now a fascinating museum, I was stunned by the Aboriginal art gallery, with its vibrant paintings and murals, many depicting the racist legacy of Australia’s criminal justice system. Later I watched the sun set while listening to a jazz trio at Little Creatures, a warehouse of a microbrewery where, amid the nooks and crannies, there’s a sandy beer garden and magnificent outdoor terrace.”
It is really important for us very parochial people to not lose sight of the bigger picture and to not forget that we live in a splendid and peaceful part of the world, and in a beautiful historic city on the brink of becoming a modern gem as well. I have yet to speak to a tourist who does not like Fremantle and who does not envy our lifestyle.
When I use the words, spin, BS, dishonesty and alike, City of Fremantle Elected Members and officers get upset and claim I treat them unfairly.
Up till yesterday’s Council vote on the J Shed pub proposal by Sunset Events, we were told the spin that we would be getting an arts centre, and a family friendly pub that respected the heritage significance of the area and the arts precinct, where people could relax and enjoy the ambience of Bathers Beach. But what a difference a day makes. Here an important statement within the City’s media release:
“The centrepiece of the lease agreement is a boutique craft brewing and food operation with a strong emphasis on live music and other creative industries.“
So now we suddenly have a strong emphasis on live music. Only 15 ticketed concerts a year could not be considered a strong emphasis on live music, so all it can mean is that the proponents plan to have very regular-non ticketed- outdoor concerts at historic Arthur Head. The other creative industries probably mean mediocre exhibitions by amateurs, as we often see at Little Creatures.
Is anyone surprised the community is getting more and more cynical about Fremantle Council?
It is important to always find positive aspects of life, otherwise we’d go mad from disappointment, so let’s celebrate the great community work of Fremantle Forever. Check out the new advertisement in the Fremantle Herald tomorrow that celebrates the group’s W.A. Premier’s Award.
Fremantle Forever was the driving force in the local council amalgamation debate and all indications are that the Minister will support the alternative boundaries the City of Fremantle proposed.
Like most people who left Fremantle council chambers last eve I felt disappointed and flat, because yet again I felt that the community had been ignored by many of our Elected Members. I was impressed with Councillor Rachel Pemberton who voted against the Sunset Events proposal for a pub and live music venue at J Shed because community feedback she had got was one of unease with the proposal, an unease she also felt herself.
Compare that with the grand-standing self importance of Councillor Andrew Sullivan who fought like a tiger to get the project approved. Sunset should employ him as their PR person, because that is how he acted last eve. A very disappointing and not very impartial and community minded performance Andrew!
Long-term Councillor David Coggin still does not know he is there to represent the community. His cry “I want activation there” should have been “The community does not want an outdoor music venue there but is happy with a small pub to activate the area” Coggin wants his activation disregarding what the community wants
My deep feeling is that the approval for a J Shed lease shows a serious lack of leadership at Fremantle Council. In a time where we should be healing the wounds of the Esplanade skatepark controversy, the majority of Councillors decided to rub salt in the wounds and again go against the majority who don’t want a live music venue at Arthur Head. This comes on top of ignoring the community on Planning Scheme Amendment 49.
Why were there no suggestions to separate the two; a great pub at J Shed and a great music venue at a more appropriate location?
Why was it ignored there is already a great summer activator at Bathers Beach in the Saturday markets, and why was it ignored that a family friendly arts related pub should not have 18+ concerts that excludes families.
I was also disappointed that the Mayor who chaired the meeting allowed councillors to ramble on as if there is no tomorrow. Sullivan was awful last night in his desire to support Sunset, and I don’t know why it had to take a 15 minute speech by Councillor Wainwright to say he was not happy with a 21 year lease. Being concise and to the point should be a requirement, as should be speaking up, so the public gallery can actually hear all words spoken. It’s the Chair’s duty to implement that.
It will now become ugly with FICRA spokesman Dick Baynham indicating on ABC radio today that they will go to the Minister(s) and will start legal action to protect the A Class Reserve at Arthur Head. This could all have been avoided with a real compromise of allowing a small pub only and to help find an alternative and more appropriate location for the live concerts.
What Fremantle will not be getting is an arts venue with some bars, but a pub that will have weekday concerts and large ticketed concerts during the summer months.
The lack of respect for the historic significance of place is unbelievable. To say that that part of Arthur Head is not significant because it has no heritage listed buildings on it is like saying Gallipoli and the French Normandy coast are not historically significant because there are no longer dead bodies visible from the wars.