Freo's View


Posted in fremantle by freoview on November 29, 2010

For the first time in the history of the FREMANTLE SOCIETY, there will be a vote for the presidency as two people have nominated for the position. FREO’S VIEW believes we need to know a bit more about the candidates, so asked them for a short CV and to answer three questions; what are the major challenges for Freo, what are the best, and what the worst things in our city.


I’ m a West Australian and Fremantle-ite by choice not birth and since my
arrival have embedded myself into the special community that is this place.
I possess a broad suite of skills from engineering to events management and
graduate this year with a Grad Dip in Sustainability from the Pakenham St
campus of Curtin University. I believe we can work toward win-win solutions
especially here in Fremantle through a matrix of sustainable heritage work.

For over a decade I’ve been a proactive member of the Society involved with
publication and editing of articles in the Newsletter, lobbying at all
levels on behalf of the Society, assisting with the organizing of Society
events and functions and importantly supporting my partner Cathy Hall when
she took on the Presidency in 2005.  Thus I have a thorough understanding of
the Society’s operations and how it got to where it is now.  I understand
the Society’s DNA and will therefore be able to move forward positively for
the future of the Society.  I work as an enabling leader and will continue
to build on the strong committee structure set up under Ian’s Presidency.

In addition to pursuing Fremantle Society specific objectives, I bring to
the job of President active participation in our community.  Some of our
special community institutions I am privileged to support include South
Fremantle Precinct Committee, Fremantle History Society, Freo Men’s Shed,
FERN and both Deckchair and Harbour Theatres.  I am a founding member South
Fremantle SHS’s Carbon Neutral Committee, Vice President of Kulcha Board,
Convenor fo South Freo Tip Action Group and now a founding member of Freo
Farm project for that site.  The strength of networking across such groups
was demonstrated for me when I led the team that organised the Concert For
Pakistan and was able to mobilise volunteers who hadn’t been involved in an
Oxfam fundraiser previously.

Over 41/2 years on Fremantle Council I have gained firsthand experience
fighting for Fremantle cultural/built Heritage and take great pride in this
work.  I have a proven record working to oppose inappropriate development in
Fremantle such as the ING proposal on Victoria Quay, Sealanes development on
the foreshore in South Fremantle, dig and develop on South Fremantle tip
and was an active member of the Save South Beach campaign.  In council I
have supported good initiatives like the redevelopment of the ‘Fort Knox’
Woolstores.  I worked on World Heritage listing for Fremantle Prison,
National Heritage Listing for Fremantle Arts Centre and the National
Heritage Nomination for Fremantle Port.   My experience in Heritage, Town
Planning, Urban Planning and the workings of Fremantle Council has honed the
essential skills for ensuring the Society’s work gets traction where it is

# What do you believe are the three major challenges for Fremantle in the
next 3 years?

1.    Stopping demolition by neglect, like a virus spreading across
Fremantle it’s the new wrecking ball spreading the pain over years.  It
breaks my heart to see buildings like the Cantonment Street Woolstores, the
Old George Hotel and Synagogue being allowed to fall apart.  As President I
will ensure the Society has meaningful engagement with owners towards
brokering win-win solutions.
2.    Fostering vibrancy and renewal for Fremantle CBD.  Appropriate reuse
of upper storey’s of West End buildings and renewal of empty/neglected sites
are essential for future Fremantle.  A vibrant CBD is the best defense
against proposals like Victoria Quay based ING being foisted upon us.
3.    Maintaining a Fremantle wide sense of community in an intensified
shifting population demographic.  Fremantle needs to embrace new residents
into this special place and the Society can do this by promoting Society
membership for new arrivals.

# What are the three best things about Fremantle?
1.    The incredible colonial settlement story is unique and defines
Fremantle.  So much of the activity crammed into this place during that 180
years remains to tell those stories as one walks her streets.  This should
never be sacrificed.
2.    The 50,000 year Noongar story.  It is both humbling and inspiring to
live in a that a society has flourished in for so long.  Ironically it is
colonial settlement that adversely impacts still on that story, which is why
I am committed to the ongoing reconciliation process.
3.    Fremantle’s three dimensions of Port, Beaches and Heritage with the
overlay of an incredible matrix of community capital.

# What are the three worst things about Fremantle?

1.    The majestic view from Monument Hill and the ridge blighted by the
development mistakes of the past with buildings of inappropriate bulk and
2.    The dismal entry statements from the north along Queen Victoria
Street and the south along  Cockburn Road.   These areas need high quality
redevelopment to inform people they are arriving somewhere special.
3.    A certain hesitancy of confidence in what we in Fremantle can
achieve when we put our minds to it.  Our history and our new manifesto both
proclaim the Fremantle Society’s legitimacy in our leadership role.

I grew up south of the river.  I have a Physics degree, a Masters in Physics
from Curtin University and a PhD in Civil Engineering from Monash University
I worked in Melbourne for 11 years, and then moved back to Fremantle about
10 years ago.  My wife and I have three young daughters, who go to Fremantle
Primary School.

By day, I work as a senior government scientist for the Defence Science and
Technology Organisation (part of the Department of Defence) at Garden
Island.   Most of my work is in support of the Navy’s fleet of ships and
submarines.  If I had my way, Garden Island would become another Rottnest
and the naval base could be moved to Naval Base or Henderson.

Most of my activity on Fremantle issues has been out of the public eye,
although I do write the occasional letter and article.  In recent years, I
have worked closely with concerned residents and councillors in an attempt
to reverse or remedy the City of Fremantle’s decision to give the lease of
the Fremantle Markets to the Murdoch’s.  This is largely how I became
actively involved in local issues.  However, some years ago, I joined a
group of residents in making submissions to SAT to successfully oppose the
proposed Mustang Bar development on the old Miss Maude’s site.  I have also
assisted in campaigns to support councillors who I believe best represent
the intentions of the Fremantle Society.  I have joined with others in the
“Save Freo Beaches” campaign and I’m a member of “Keep Cott Low”.

# What do you believe are the three major challenges for Fremantle in the
next 3 years?

In terms of issues relevant to the Fremantle Society, three major challenges for Fremantle in the next three years are:

1.     To reinvigorate Fremantle: by encouraging a diversity of interesting
small businesses;  including quality dining, wining, music and theatre, that
build on Fremantle’s reputation as a highly desirable destination for
residents and tourists alike.  Fremantle, to many, is a one street town.  We
need workable strategies to encourage development of the neglected parts of
our city, e.g. Westgate Mall area.   If Fremantle’s small business community
fails, the heritage that is Fremantle will be devalued and fall into

2.     To keep opportunistic developers at bay:  A major challenge for
Fremantle is the complacency from many of its residents who believe that our
city’s heritage is now safe.  The game may have changed but the threat still
exists.  It is perhaps ironic that once unappreciated assets are now
indisputably Fremantle’s economic lifeblood and a magnet to a new wave of
opportunistic developers.  Many may see dollar signs, but it would
ultimately be the ruination of the unique character of Fremantle.

3.     To ensure the future of Fremantle Markets:  Even though the lease of
the markets has been decided, much work is required to ensure the long term
viability of the Markets; that is, not just in terms of its heritage
building, but just as importantly, its ability to operate as a low cost
markets, offering local produce from both food producers and artisans alike,
that meets the needs of our local community.

# What are the three best things about Fremantle?

The three best things about Fremantle are:

1.     The wonderful relaxed ambience of a low-rise, heritage town.

2.     The relatively unmaterialistic society and the engaging, friendly

3.     It is definitely the best example of a working Victorian port city
anywhere that I know of.

# What are the three worst things about Fremantle?

The three worst things about Fremantle are:

1.     The live sheep trade and the associated smell.

2.     The constant threat of ridiculous, super high rise development

3.     Allowing Western Suburbs interlopers driving into our suburbs
displaying “Eagles” bumper stickers.  OK.  I had trouble of thinking of more
than two.


Posted in australia by freoview on November 28, 2010

The PROTECT THE KIMBERLEY rally at the Cottesloe Civic Centre attracted around a thousand people, including Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt, on this stunning Sunday morning.

Speakers stressed the importance of the Kimberley as a unique heritage listed wildlife sanctuary that should not be destroyed by greedy multinational companies. Questions were raised as to why Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett is so desperately trying to get a huge industrial plant approved in such pristine location.

While participants in the rally were told not to sit on the heritage listed walls of the civic centre, a ranger could not be bothered to open the public toilets before the event, but had enough time to give tickets to cars parked on the verges. Very poor form Cottesloe! And, Mr Ranger, if you want to make a political point, go protest, write letters to newspapers, whatever, but don’t hinder those who have a democratic right to a peaceful rally and had permission to do so.

Roel Loopers

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Posted in fremantle by freoview on November 26, 2010

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.

Roel Loopers

WOONERF. Woon means living in the Dutch language, and erf is traditionally a forecourt where the family gathers on a farm (boerderij).




Posted in fremantle, perth by freoview on November 26, 2010

Just a reminder about the SAVE THE KIMBERLEY RALLY on SUNDAY from 11-12 at the Cottesloe Civic Centre.



Posted in fremantle by freoview on November 25, 2010

With the installation of the beautiful photo windows in the new cafe at the new ferry terminal in B Shed on Victoria Quay, Fremantle Ports have reached another small milestone in the completion of what will be an exciting new tourist attraction for Fremantle.

Situated only a few steps from the water, the cafe will be managed by the jovial and hospitable Dennis and Ray, who also own the very popular Tasty Express in South Fremantle. I have no doubt that this will become one of the favourite locations for Fremantle’s soy latte sippers

Here a quick preview of the new photo windows, which I had to shoot through the fence.



Posted in fremantle, tourism by freoview on November 24, 2010

After all the positive hype about the outstanding Fremantle Festival, plus the fact that some buildings in the West End have been getting a new coat of paint, we also need to be aware of the ugly reality of Fremantle that most tourists will be seeing.

Imagine arriving on a cruise ship here and the first things you see going on land is the uncared for International Backpackers and the disgraceful Woolstores buildings. Then they follow the tourism map and will be seeing all the ‘great’ sites: the run down looking Town Hall, the empty former, all boarded up, synagogue just opposite the Fremantle Markets, the dilapidated buildings in Henry Street on the corner of High Street in our heritage West End, the empty former Wagamama, Dome and McDonalds restaurants on Bathers Beach in the Fishing Boat Harbour tourist attraction, etc.

It is time the people of Fremantle stopped believing the urban myth of its own greatness, and seriously started doing something about this decaying city. Wake up Freo!!

Roel Loopers

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Posted in fremantle by freoview on November 23, 2010

To put a bit of colour back into life after commuting to the District Court in Perth the last two days, here some still life photos of the port. I am always happy when the train crosses the river and I am back in good old lovely Freo.

Roel Loopers

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Posted in politics by freoview on November 22, 2010

Melissa Parke MP, member for Fremantle, has spoken out in favour of legalising gay and lesbian marriages.

Some people might feel offended by, or uncomfortable with, gay and lesbian people, and the fact they would like to get married, but who are we to judge? Surely two people who love each other should have the right to make that relationship recognised in matrimony of some kind.

If certain religions don’t want to allow church ceremonies for same sex marriages, that is their decision. There are still religions who will not marry people either who were married before and have divorced.

Love creates a special bond between two people, no matter what their sex is. Society should support them when they want to show commitment to their partners, not punish them for being different, and open about it.

It is rather disappointing that in the year 2010 we still need to have a political debate about it. One would have thought we’d grown up by now.

Roel Loopers



Posted in fremantle by freoview on November 22, 2010

Freo, the city of many rumours, has got another one. Supposedly the Fremantle Festival next year will be planned to coincide with the ISAF Perth 2011 World Sailing Championships, which are from December 3-18. Not a bad idea in principle, but that period is also the start of some serious Christmas shopping by a lot of people, hotter weather, etc. and that could all mean diminishing crowds.

I am not sure what the organisers of Perth2011 estimate the figures of participants and spectators to be, but the “crowds” were very small this weekend during the Perth International Regatta, just off Bathers Beach. There might have been 30 people on the South Mole and another 50 near Bathers Beach, but there were not hundreds of people watching the sailing.

I prefer to let the festival stand on its own,  and let Perth2011 create their own energy and creativity.

Roel Loopers



Posted in fremantle, perth by freoview on November 21, 2010

Here a few photos I took today of the PERTH INTERNATIONAL REGATTA as part of the 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships trials just off Bathers Beach and the North Mole. It will be held here next year from 3-18 December.


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