It is promising to read in the Sunday Times today that the Western Australian Planning Commission is considering changing the laws on high-density buildings. This is the result of many local governments and communities complaining that out of character dwellings are being erected in older suburbs like Fremantle.
The WAPC considerations would see a minimum number of car bays per home, which is contrary to the no car bays at all at some new residential and commercial buildings and hotels the City of Fremantle wants.
There would also be a limit on the number of units that can be built in high-density buildings if the WAPC changes go ahead.
It sounds like good common sense to me. The unique character of the older suburbs needs to be protected because they are the main reference to our past and part of our history.
Fremantle Mayor Dr Brad Pettitt told the Sunday Times that the Cappuccino Strip could be closed for traffic on weekends and busy week nights, and I believe that would be a very good step to create a true hospitality entertainment lingering space in the CBD.
I disagree with Cappuccino Strip traders spokesman and co-owner of Benny’s Bar&Cafe Ivan Dzeba that Fremantle does not have the population to support the closure. Fremantle does not have the population to support all the cafes and restaurants. They survive because of the mass influx of people out of Fremantle who come on weekends and Friday nights. They wont stay away because they can’t drive through South Terrace, they’ll park at Collie Street, Queensgate, the Esplanade and west end streets, as they do now so nothing will change in that regard.
It is beyond me why a weekend closure of South Terrace can be seen as a threat to cafe operators on the Strip or retailers in the CBD, because there would be no changes to the parking facilities in the area which motorists have to use now as well. All it does is create a cleaner, safer and more attractive environment for people to enjoy a meal and watch buskers and the passing parade of pedestrians, instead of unhealthy, pollution spewing busses and cars. Wouldn’t it be nice if children could safely play while their parents have a coffee on the Strip!
The Sunday Times reports today that the Fremantle Fly by Night Club might be leaving Freo after being forced out of the Artillery Drill Hall by the National Trust.
The newspapers quotes the Fly president that they are talking to the City of Swan, but are also considering the option of the Old Swan Barracks in Francis Street, Perth.
The ‘City of Arts’ really cannot afford to lose another entertainment operator after the loss of Deckchair Theatre, Kulcha and Harbour Theatre. Fremantle should also be careful to not put all its eggs in one basket and hand over the City to Sunset Events for live music events.
The media is always keen to claim exclusivity but today’s article about the planned Roe Highway extension in the West Australian is far from exclusive. It was reported last Sunday by the Sunday Times, so maybe due diligence and reading what the competition publishes would be a good idea for journalists of the West. It’s rather embarrassing to claim exclusivity about a toll road when it’s old news.
Time to man the barricades though as the ludicrous idea to make life easier for more trucks through Fremantle and adjoining areas like the North Lake wetlands is not the solution. What is needed is a dedicated Fremantle port freight rail link that takes container movement off the roads.
If the Sunday Times is correct we’ll have a fight on our hands in Fremantle and beyond with claims that the Colin Barnett W.A. State and Tony Abbott Federal governments are working together on the Roe 8 extension of the Roe Highway through the wetlands.
According to the newspaper the $ 600 million extension would be funded by making it into a toll road for commercial heavy vehicles.
The local communities around North Lake have been protesting against the Roe 8 extension for many years, so no doubt the fight will continue. One can only hope that the constant bleating about lack of money by Abbott and Barnett, and the announcements of budget cuts will mean that the development will not go ahead after all.
I am delighted to read in the Sunday Times today that Sirona Capital wants to become an even bigger player in Fremantle. Sirona is already committed to the Kings Square development of the former Myer and Queensgate buildings and according to the Sunday Times, Sirona’s managing director Matthew McNeilly revealed the company will fund the proposed hotel development on the corner of Pakenham and Short streets in the heritage west end of our city. Unfortunately the building design is far from appropriate for the historic west end, so that even Freo Mayor Brad Pettitt has been quoted as saying the proposal is unacceptable in its present form. I hear the Westbridge Property Group owned by Luke Saraceni is not keen to implement the changes suggested by Freo’s Design Advisory Committee, so that might become a problem to get a great short-stay building in the inner city.
The Sunday Times also reports Matthew McNeilly has said that Sirona is very close to signing off on an apartment project in the CBD.
I have met several of Sirona’s directors and I am confident this is a company that is very serious when it comes to revitalising Fremantle’s inner city. From my talks with them they are the kind of level-headed, professional and committed people Fremantle needs to progress and grow.
On the Spacemarket project in the Myer building comes the info that ground level will be divided into 30 spaces and retailers will move in there by October at a subsidised rent.
It is good to see things happening in Freo with a proposed new building at 11 Cliff Street that together with the heritage building next to it will house 150 staff of the Mediterranean Shipping Company(MSC). That will be a welcome boost for west end traders.
Tom Griffiths the new City of Fremantle Manager of Economic Development and Marketing received a big hello in the Sunday Times today, so welcome from me too Tom!
I am more than delighted that Tom told the Sunday Times that big projects and tall buildings is not what Fremantle needs, but it needs fine grain detail to ground level, pop-up shops, shared spaces for entrepreneurs with big ideas and small budgets, and retail to fit in with the unique Fremantle character. I reckon he is pretty spot on there because if we make another Joondalup out of our city it will lose its appeal to shoppers and tourists. We as a progressive, creative, pro-development community should not allow out of scale buildings to happen and need to stop Freo’s concrete cowboys before it is too late for our city.
On that note it is worth pointing out that developer Bruce Moriarty has bought the State Energy Museum site opposite Princess May Park that he intends to develop into many small apartments. Nothing wrong with that, but Bruce said his development won’t please the purists, and since he is responsible for the awful Rose Hotel development in North Fremantle that should never have been build, this is a worrying statement. The Rose development totally disrespected the heritage aspects of the old hotel. You have to do better than that Bruce!
The Sunday Times writes that a new report on urban development by the Greens and the Property Council of WA has been applauded by the Australian Urban Design Research Centre who say that better urban design and integrated public transport is essential to making Perth a livable city. The Transforming Perth report states that car-dominated roads should be made into attractive community hubs, serviced by light rail, street level retail and above that medium density terrace houses.
Transforming Perth found that terrace housing along tram (light rail) lines could create 150,00 new, medium-density, homes. That is more than the Western Australian government’s infill housing target for 2031. Vibrant communities along tram lines will bring jobs and opportunities out to the suburbs according to Greens senator Scott Ludlam.
Let’s hope the City of Fremantle is taking note of the report because terrace housing would suit Fremantle very well while high-rise will destroy our city. High density also means high traffic volumes and congestion while more people friendly human scale buildings will avoid that.
I believe the city needs to be a place for people and that requires strategic, smarter and more creative thinking, not mega dollars and high-rise.
The Sunday Times today reports that the independent Member for Fremantle Adele Carles has announced she will contest the March 9 election. It will be a pretty hard fight and it seems unlikely she can win the seat even with the preferences from the Greens and Liberal parties. They have not decided who they’ll give their preferences to, but I doubt the Greens will give them to Carles, while the Liberals just might because it could affect the Labor numbers.
There is no doubt that Adele Carles has worked very hard as the Member for Fremantle and she should be thanked for that. It must be a pretty hard task to make a difference as an independent, but she worked tirelessly for her constituants.
Good luck with your campaign Adele!