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!
It did not take long for the demolition team to start dismantling the MYER signs at Kings Square in Fremantle, so depending on planning approval we’ll see some work on the building there later this year.
I am personally not sad to see Myer go as the department store was operating well below standard, so I obviously disagree with the person who claims in the Sunday Times that the end of Myer is the end of Fremantle. I believe the Kings Square redevelopment is a great opportunity for Fremantle and we just need to make sure it is not messed up because of egos and council not listening to the people of the City. If Kings Square is done well it will be another asset for our city, if it is done badly and on the cheap it will be a disaster.
I am pretty disappointed that the member for Fremantle Adele Carles got herself involved in yet another media attack on Minister Troy Buswell. There was absolutely no reason for it and it is very poor judgment by Adele. All she needed to say to the Sunday Times was “No Comment” but instead she lets herself being sucked in to respond.
I like Adele, and it is well-known Troy Buswell often lacks proper judgment, but why on earth be part of this media rubbish that could only get worse and is a no win for all. It taints Carles and Buswell and it is her word against those of others.
Will we ever know the truth, or more precisely, do we really care? A private party, a disagreement between two lovers, a relationship split up, does he drink too much, etc. It should all have stayed at home and in private as there really is no public interest in this. Only the tabloid media benefits from this sort of rubbish.
Adele should have been wiser and should have consulted with other people before giving a statement to the Sunday Times. To say she did not start it but only responded to a media inquiry is naive. She added the fuel that made the article the front page news it became. Without her statement there was not much else to report on than rumour and innuendo.
Now let’s see some Christmas spirit and maturity and let all parties stop making public statements about this.
Online voting for the new board of the Fremantle Dockers club starts today and closes on November 26, so all Dockers fans out there who want to keep the Dockers in Fremantle and not move to Cockburn better vote for Chris Lewis one of the founders of the Keep Freo in Freo action group.
Chris is a well known and well liked Fremantle identity and highly respected in the public relations industry.
Chris said in an interview with the Sunday Times that the Dockers are a wonderful organisation, club and business, but that it was important that the club remained in Fremantle because it gives the club an important geographic and historic link.
If the Dockers stay in town it will mean the redevelopment of the Stan Reilly site next to Fremantle Hospital and an upgrade of Fremantle Oval, which would link the Cappuccino Strip all the way to Wray Avenue.
VOTE CHRIS LEWIS!
The Sunday Times today reports on action local councils like Fremantle and Subiaco are taking to make sure they’ll fight the expected downturn in visitors and shoppers once the new Sunday trading hours are implemented.
Both Subi and Freo talk about free parking, but it is likely more is needed. Fremantle is very much a fun destination on weekends with markets, buskers and often events on the Esplanade. The Winter Festival ice rink is attracting large crowds. The, very soft, ice was absolutely packed with people at midday and I was told it was even busier in the morning.
The lesson in this is that the City of Fremantle needs to start thinking about a Sunday Festival. An event on each Sunday of the year that will make us stand out from shopping centres and other cities like Midland, Subiaco, Morley, etc. We have got the great Circus School, so maybe a good start to get them to do free performances on the Esplanade or Princess May Park.
Traders should also do things differently. It was good to see Gurps at the Maya Indian Restaurant in Market Street today having a barbeque on the street and offering free samples of Chicken Tikka. Attracting new business, and keeping existing clients, is all about delivering quality and service in new and creative ways.
What about reimbursing public transport fees on Sundays at the Visitors Centre, Freo?