Freo's View

SHARK CUL PROTEST SATURDAY 10 AM COTTESLOE!

Posted in fremantle by freoview on January 31, 2014

There will be another protest at Cottesloe Beach against Premier Cullin Barnett‘s shark killing policy tomorrow at 10 am. The ridiculous paranoia about rogues sharks hunting, and probably making a choice if they want to eat Thai, German, Australian, Japanese, or French, is utter rubbish.

A mere seven people were killed over three years along the massive W.A. coastline. State Government is totally ignoring that our population and tourism visitors have increased substantially and that more people are now using the ocean for recreation. You have more chance to get killed by lightning, a road train, or in a plane crash than being killed by a shark in Western Australia.

It’s time to stop the expensive populist nonsense and spend more money on research.

COME TO COTTESLOE THIS SATURDAY FEBRUARY 1 AT 10 AM AND SAY NO TO SHARK KILLING!

Roel Loopers

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FREO CITY REJECTS DAC INTERFERENCE CLAIMS BY LUTTON

Posted in fremantle by freoview on January 31, 2014

It comes as no surprise that the City of Fremantle rejects the claims made on this Freo’s View blog and in the Fremantle Herald by Urban Planner Linley Lutton. In the interest of fairness and balance I publish the entire media release that came out just minutes ago.

The City of Fremantle would like to respond to a letter written by former City of Fremantle Design Advisory Committee (DAC) member Linley Lutton, which was published on page 5 of the Saturday 1 February edition of the Fremantle Herald under the title ‘I resigned in dismay.’

In his letter to the editor, Mr Lutton cited three major issues as to why he resigned. The City would like to address these issues which are outlined below:

1.  Mr Lutton refers to three occasions where the DAC was advised of the importance of a project to the City or the Elected Members, and on this basis claims this weakened the independence of the DAC.

2.  Mr Lutton refers to being told that at least one councillor edited staff reports and DAC recommendations.

3.  Mr Lutton claims that the DAC reports are ‘moulded’ in between consideration by the City’s Planning Services Committee (PSC) to when the report is tabled at a full meeting of council.

 City of Fremantle response:

1.    The City has stated publicly on numerous occasions that projects such as the Point Street development are of great strategic importance to Fremantle’s revitalisation. As a matter of course, the DAC were also advised of the strategic importance of a particular project (and other background issues such as relevant scheme provisions). This in no way was/is meant to influence the DAC in any way. To suggest these comments were made in an attempt to undermine the DAC’s independence is incorrect.

2.    DAC recommendations are put to committee/council as agreed by the chair of the DAC and there is categorically no case where a councillor has edited staff reports and DAC recommendations.

3.    This point appears to demonstrate a misunderstanding of council processes.  The City’s PSC has a role in determining applications under its delegated authority from council, and in some cases refers a matter on for consideration to a full ordinary meeting of council. In cases where the PSC refers a matter onto full council, the officer report (and DAC comments therein) always remain in full and unedited. A cursory examination of the PSC / council minutes will confirm this. It’s worth noting that the majority of proposals considered by the DAC are not determined by either PSC or council, they are determined by a state government Development Assessment Panel (DAP). PSC and council are only able to make a submission to the DAP.

 “None of these specific allegations in the article were made in Mr Lutton’s resignation letter from the committee in December,” said City of Fremantle Chief Executive Officer, Mr Graeme Mackenzie.

“He did express a concern at what he saw as the inability of the DAC to have any real impact on many projects, while stressing that this was not through any fault of the DAC, its members or council management.

“In actual fact, some of the comments and concerns raised by Mr Lutton within the DAC meetings have led to a review of the terms of reference of the committee, which the City is currently undertaking.  This will be the subject of a report to council in February this year,”

“I have the utmost confidence in the integrity of both the DAC and the PSC and although some minor tweaks are warranted, I believe this process provides council with the best possible information for basing their decisions on,” Mr Mackenzie said.

 ENDS
 
Mr Graeme Mackenzie                                                              
Chief Executive Officer
City of Fremantle

P.S. It is no mistake or typo that the City refers to the Herald published on February 1 when it is January 31 today. For some reason the Herald always comes out on Fridays but with Saturdays date on it.

INDONESIA COMES TO BATHERS MARKETS

Posted in fremantle by freoview on January 31, 2014

The Indonesian Consul will be visiting the Fremantle Bathers Beach Sunset Food Markets tomorrow in the company of Tim Milsom, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce.

It looks like it will be a pleasant day, not too hot and just perfect to eat good international food, listen to local musicians and enjoy Western Australia’s only pop up bar BAR POP, which will be setting up near the boardwalk for a perfect view of the sunset while holding a coldie. Bar Pop pours the beer straight from taps on the back of a vintage Chevy, for those of you who like old cars.

BATHERS is on from 5-9 so tell a few out of towners about it!

Roel Loopers

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NORTH FREO EATEN BY MOSSIE

Posted in fremantle by freoview on January 31, 2014

In a very belated attempt to convince State Government to not create a mega Western suburbs council, Mosman Park will put a submission to the Local Government Advisory Board to amalgamate North Fremantle, Mosman Park, Cottesloe, Pepermint Grove and Claremont.

It is anyone’s guess how they could have missed the deadline, but they will desperately try to get heard although council submissions closed on Wednesday. They only want the residential area of North Freo of course as it is not very classy to include the industrial port parts.

I say KEEP NORTH FREO IN FREO!

Roel Loopers

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FREO COUNCILLORS’ INTERFERENCE MADE LUTTON RESIGN FROM DAC

Posted in fremantle by freoview on January 31, 2014

I emailed Urban Planner Dr. Linley Lutton two days ago and asked him why he had resigned from the City of Fremantle Design Advisory Committee and I just received this from him:

Dear Roel,

My resignation was done privately and quietly. When approached by the press I made no comment. Somehow it has become public and rumours abound so I am prepared to clear the air.
 
I was becoming very concerned about a culture within the City of Fremantle where the desires of a pro-development group were overriding good design and planning principles. I was never concerned about members of the DAC and I have great respect for the council officers I worked with who were always professional and helpful. It was the continued ‘interference’ by elected members on the Planning and Services Committee, who are not experts, which ultimately led to my resignation. Large development projects have many very complex facets all of which impact in the long-term on the area in which they are built and it requires people with considerable experience to assess their strengths and weaknesses. The drive to bring development projects to the centre of Fremantle is based on a desire to enliven the city and this should be applauded – provided the developments are appropriate and a latent demand exists. The city has embarked on a massive, arguably unrealistic redevelopment program, and I witnessed the preparedness on many occasions by certain elected members to override the advice of independent design experts  to ensure this program could at least appear to be proceeding. Point Street is a perfect example. I was by no means quiet and passive about my concerns. To the contrary, I was very vocal, outspoken and complained on many occasions because I took my role very seriously. The interests of the community were at stake and I was attempting to be their voice. The community after all are the majority  owners of the city by far and they deserve to see ‘their’ city properly developed. I tried to get the system  changed (a big ask for one person) but was unable to make any headway at all, leaving resignation the only option.
 
 Regards
 
Dr Linley Lutton
 
  Urbanix Director of Urban Planning
  Adjunct Research Fellow, School of Earth and Environment, UWA
  Unit Coorinator/lecturer, Urban Design for Planners, School of Earth and Environment, UWA
  Chair, City Gatekeepers – Advocates for Better Urban Planning

FREO’S VIEW WAS RIGHT ABOUT DESIGN ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Posted in fremantle by freoview on January 31, 2014

It has become clear today that the concerns expressed by me and others on this blog about the City of Fremantle Design Advisory Committee are true. Urban Planner Linley Lutton, who resigned from the DAC, writes in the Fremantle Herald about his frustrations and why he resigned, confirming that not all is good at the DAC and that there is unacceptable and undue interference from elected members.

Lutton writes that projects were pushed by council which did not have acceptable design standards, but they were pushed by the Planning Committee to suit a pro-development agenda. He says he complained about political interference from the Planning Committee, but that was dismissed by the Elected Members who stated they could override DAC findings.

Linley Lutton also claims in the FREMANTLE HERALD that on occasions the Design Advisory Committee was told  a certain project was important to the city, or that the Mayor wanted a project to proceed. A Senior Officer told Lutton that one Councillor edited staff reports, including comments made about DAC findings.

These are more or less the issues I have been writing about on Freo’s View for some time, to be told by Elected Members I was wrong, but Linley Lutton’s account vindicates my concerns about the process.

The Fremantle community have asked for the DAC minutes to be made public, so we can read their advise and see for ourselves if Council is taking notice of it or ignores it. When I specifically pointed out the DAC had not given the Exceptional Design Quality rating for the Queensgate building I was attacked for it.

My concerns that Fremantle Council, in all its good intentions to implement progress, is pandering to developers, out of fear that if we don’t give them what they want, they’ll walk away from Freo and not build in our city, seems true. The desire to please developers, ignore DAC advise, and just go ahead, no matter how ugly or high, should be an extreme worry to everyone in Fremantle.

No one is against change, progress or development, but we are all very concerned about losing Fremantle’s unique character because our council is paranoid that nothing will happen unless they give in to unacceptable demands by developers.

Having said all that, I am not one of those who believe Fremantle Council is the dark force hell bend on destroying our city. I truly believe that the Elected Members want the best for Fremantle, but some of them want to achieve that the wrong way, and that needs to be stopped. Councillors rewriting experts’ reports is an absolutely no-no and it needs to stop immediately!

GET YOUR COPY OF THE FREMANTLE HERALD AND READ LINLEY LUTTONS ENTIRE ARTICLE!

Roel Loopers

HOW TO BEST MANAGE FREO BUILDING HEIGHT

Posted in fremantle by freoview on January 31, 2014

Building height is probably going to be controversial in Fremantle till well after I am gone, but it is important for the community to have a think about it, as it will come up time and time again in a fast-growing city keen on progress and revitalisation.

I am not one who out of hand rejects higher buildings in our city. For me it depends on the location of the site and the reasons for wanting more height. If there are real architectural design merits in wanting extra height, I can see the possible benefit to the streetscape and city, and depending on the location and adjoining buildings I could be in favour of granted more height.

But there is something that worries me, and it came up when Mayor Brad Pettitt mentioned that he might consider supporting additional height, from the allowable 4 storeys to an extra one, to five storeys, in Pakenham Street in the historic West End Conservation Area. I have two problems with that. For me the West End should be sacred and additional height above the allowable 4 storeys should not be considered. We were promised when the Planning Scheme Amendment 49 debate went on that the West End would be safe and not touched, but that is apparently not set in concrete. The argument for maybe allowing five storeys in Pakenham Street is that the initial building design was unacceptable. It was a very ugly and uninspiring box that would be a disgrace opposite some of the stunning heritage buildings in that street. Even the Mayor stated it was unacceptable and good on him for that.

What appears to be happening though, and that worries me greatly, is that developers will put pressure on council by offering mediocre design unless exceptional height is being granted. But where will it stop? Today it is only a request for an additional storey, but tomorrow it could be for two, three, or more, with the promise of getting architectural greatness instead of blandness. This could spiral out of hand because once the City sets precedents for extra height, not allowing it for future development could be brushed aside by the State Government’s DAP.

I have argued the case for the Spicer site development, where additional height is sought for an architectural feature only, not to add more floorspace and reap commercial benefit from it, but that does not apply to Pakenham Street where ‘beauty’ is only added because it will give the developers more floorspace to lease.

My concerns are not about height, but about the process of getting additional height, and even more so that we would even consider thinking about it for the historically significant West End Conservation Area. Elected Members and officers of the City of Fremantle should very carefully think about possible ramifications if we allow just the one building, and just that one extra floor, because it might become something that will snowball in the future and can’t be stopped by our local government.

Roel Loopers

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INTERNATIONAL ART WEEKEND FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in fremantle by freoview on January 30, 2014

If you are a fan of art and foreign things, or if you want to go to Bali without leaving Fremantle, this Friday is just about perfect. At the Moores Building Art Centre in Henry Street is a big Multicultural Art show with very well known and lesser-known artists, while the Fremantle Arts Centre has the Bali Show. They both open at 6.30 on Friday.

I’ll go and have a look at both exhibitions and might report on them with photos on the weekend.

One never gets bored in Freo!

Roel Loopers

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THE BIG GROWERS GREEN MARKETS ON THIS SUNDAY

Posted in fremantle by freoview on January 30, 2014

This year’s first big Fremantle Growers Green Sunday Market at the South Fremantle Senior High School on Lefroy Street, will be on this Sunday from 8 am till midday. There will be the usual great fresh produce and food stalls, but also art and craft and a whole lot of other interesting and yummie things.

The Growers Green has become a great community tradition on Sundays, where families and friends meet, do their fruit, vegies, eggs and bread shopping, while relaxing over good coffee and a nice breakfast. The GG always has live local music, and there is so much food stuff to choose from.

I go there for fresh eggs, cured smoked salmon, red things that taste like real tomatoes, great bread, and sometimes I indulge in some nice pastry.

GG is the Sunday morning meeting place for many in Fremantle because it has everything we love about Freo.

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE SHAPES AND SIZES

Posted in fremantle by freoview on January 30, 2014

That was a rather cute end to day light at Freo’s lovely city beach today. Just when I arrived at Bathers Beach a group of red-faced, sweaty and puffing young women arrived with their fitness trainers and started doing stretches. I titled the photo Shapes&Sizes.

Roel Loopers

shapes and sizes

 

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