Freo's View


Posted in fremantle by freoview on August 31, 2014

Wasn’t it great to see so many families and tiny kids sharing the Fremantle Youth Plaza skatepark with the older kids and all having a lot of fun. Competitions like these attract a lot of people, so a few food stalls and a coffee van would have been nice to add to the atmosphere.

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle by freoview on August 31, 2014

It is disappointing to read that Mount Lawley will be having the Beaufort Street Art Market the first Sunday of each month. I suggested an art market at Arthur Head about four years ago but received little support from the City of Fremantle.

A weekly art market would put the struggling Bathers Beach Art Precinct on the map, but I think that would only happen if there was private initiative for it.

By the way, COF, on the new Visit Fremantle website the BBAP is suddenly referred to as the Arthur Head Art Precinct. The last thing the artists up there need is confusing branding, so can we please stick with the right name Bathers Beach Art Precint.

Roel Loopers



Posted in fremantle by freoview on August 30, 2014

Not sure what to do with your day this Sunday? Fremantle has plenty to offer for young and old with three very Freo community events.

Start your day early at the Growers Green Market, open from 8 am to noon, move from there to McAtee Court for the HUGE GARAGE SALE from 9 am to 1 pm, and after that have fun with the kids at the skaters competitions at the Esplanade Youth Plaza from 10.30 on.

Freo is fun. Be part of it!

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle by freoview on August 30, 2014

There has been an interesting discussion going on on Freo’s View about development in Fremantle, with Mayor Brad Pettitt engaging, but also architect Murray Slavin and former COF Manager Economic Affairs and Marketing Andrew Eastick.

I expressed my concerns after Wednesday’s full Council meeting that the Mayor was too eager to compromise on the proposed Atwell Arcade development just to get some momentum going in the inner city. While even staunch development advocate Councillor Bill Massie said the proposal was unacceptable, Brad Pettitt, who has just been appointed to the board of the State’s Heritage Council, was quite happy to get minor adjustments made and let the decision rest with the CEO. However Councillor Andrew Sullivan said significant changes were required before the development should be passed. The Mayor did at the end vote with the rest to defer the application back to the Design Advisory Committee and a full Council decision.

In comments to this blog the Mayor wrote that the often advocated approach to saying no and/or less has put Fremantle in the economic situation it is in and that the Point Street Hilton Hotel development will be much better than what is there now.

Let me make these points, that there is nothing wrong with demanding the best and that accepting mediocre buildings will harm Fremantle in the long run. The argument that anything is better than the status quo is saying a shed is better than a ruin, so as long as there is progress it is good. That to me is the wrong attitude for a local council to have. As North Fremantle architect Murray Slavin wrote, if we expect mediocrity we will get less than mediocre.

I understand the Mayor is in a bit of panic mode. The delay of the Kings Square development is a real worry for Fremantle, so to get any new buildings up fast is being seen as positive, but I warn against that because that will give power to developers who will realise this council will do just about anything to get Fremantle moving, so they will try to get away with higher, uglier and cheaper buildings. Fremantle deserves, and should demand, much better than that!

My personal belief is that this Council is on the right track. Economic development is essential for our city, as is having more people living in the CBD. It is imperative that retail gets a boost with more variety shops, big-name players, franchises, etc. But we need to remain realistic. We can build as much office space as possible but who is going to move to Fremantle. BHP and Woodside are unlikely to come here, and the large law firms like to be near the courts, mining companies are downsizing and there are hundreds of thousands of square metres of vacant office space in Perth and West Pert, all up for grabs at substantially reduced rent, so what is the special attraction to move into Fremantle?

What Freo should not ignore is trying to get more attractions for tourists. 120,000 visit the Visitor Centre each year. Many ask what else there is to do after the museums, Round House and Fishing Boat Harbour, and the answer is not much else really but a trip to Rottnest, the Arts Centre and the beaches.

This is not an attempt at ‘Brad bashing’. I actually like our Mayor and don’t believe he is the big bad wolf who is out to destroy our city, but I feel he is so desperate to see Fremantle grow that he sometimes loses perspective on how to achieve that better. Accepting bad because it is better than what is there at the moment, is not a professional way of governance. Accepting buildings that are visually unattractive and have no aesthetic appeal should be a big nono for Fremantle, a unique city with great character, lauded by visitors for its outstanding heritage buildings. Five star green rating does not compensate for ugliness.

Let’s not panic, Rome was not built in a day and we do need to take the time to get it right. We owe that to future generations. And let’s hope that a large government department or multinational will sign a lease for the former Myer building soon, so that the essential Kings Square development can get started asap.

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle by freoview on August 29, 2014

It’s easy to spend a lot of money when it’s not one’s own, as Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett proves. He managed to get the state into hundreds of millions of dollars in debt and lose the triple A rating, and this morning he told 6 PR radio that the Roe Highway extension would approximately cost $ 800-900 million.

The only good bit about it is that the Premier also said it was still years away, so hopefully we’ll boot him and his big spenders out and get a government that is more frugal with taxpayers money, before they embark on the outrageous Roe extension.

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle, fremantle ports by freoview on August 29, 2014

storm 2storm 1


It’s all quiet at the western front but the weather bureau is still warning for a storm, heavy rain and flash flooding, so stay safe.

It was quite windy at Fremantle port around 6.30 this morning with heavy clouds moving in from the north. The live sheep vessel Awassi Express had difficulties berthing at North Quay and left the harbour again to return half an hour later.



Posted in fremantle by freoview on August 29, 2014

My call in the article below for our governments to start dealing with reality is supported by a report in the West Australian newspaper today, that the patronage of public transport in Perth fell by over two million people during 2013/14.

Of course the Public Transport Authority blames everything else but overcrowding and unreliable services. How many people in Fremantle will be fed up with trains not running, or only running part of the distance, and how many commuters are no longer willing to put up with over-crowded trains, and missing trains because of it, during peak hours?

The sale of Family Riders and Day Riders passes is also down, which a PTA spokesman blames on the economy. Not being able to get into Fremantle by train on weekends or out of Freo to go to Perth and beyond could also be another reason why families use trains less.

Lack of reliable bus services on weekends must also be an issue.

Spending billions of dollars on toll roads for trucks and lightrail to the airport ignores the daily urgent need for better public transport to the outer suburbs.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle by freoview on August 29, 2014

It is interesting to observe that rationale disappears and promises are broken when elected members are desperately trying to prove that their ideas are right and policy and good strategic planning are replaced by mantra and an almost religious belief in development and high density at any cost.

The promised heritage of the future is replaced by boring mediocrity, because developers put pressure on local and state governments to accept the banal or they’ll walk away and go somewhere else. Promise the Fremantle Mayor a national retailer and 300 office staff in the High Street Mall, and his resolve and promise that he would only support outstanding buildings crumbles and he is all too willing to compromise on designs that are lacking in quality, after all, he has to prove that his ‘vision’ for Fremantle is right.

It does not help either that the State Advisory Tribunal and Design Advisory Panel are behaving like giants in Gulliver’s Travels, who wander around the Perth metropolitan area and randomly step on suburbs and destroy them; Cottesloe, Subiaco, Vincent, Leederville, Fremantle crumble under Colin’s giants’ indiscriminate feet and all that in the name of progress.

 Dreamworld is no longer only a fun park on the Goldcoast but is now also the way Western Australia plans its future. Elected Members dream of lightrail and ignore the reality of traffic issues that require immediate attention. They want to spend millions on bike infrastructure ignoring the reality of a very fast ageing population where soon over 50 percent of the population will be over 55 years of age, so a very large group that is unlikely to embrace bike policies and change from car to bicycle, basically because older people don’t feel safe to share the roads with inconsiderate W.A. motorists.

The Freo Mayor dismisses my concerns, commenting on this blog that one can walk and chew at the same time. I believe there is far too much chewing(dreaming) going on in our city and not enough walking(dealing with reality). Advertising the great progress of Fremantle and telling us how many millions worth of development has been approved, is not dealing with the reality that for example Sirona Capital can’t find major tenants for Kings Square and that project appears to be more and more dependent on State Government moving the Housing Department here. With financial ratings for the State falling left right and centre, it is unlikely the Treasurer will be keen on departments relocating at considerable costs, so that leaves Freo’s major development and economic revitalisation project in limbo. There are only four months left in 2014 and still no signs that the promised development of the former Myer building will start this year.

I long for the revitalisation of Fremantle, I would love to see outstanding new buildings in our city, I am keen to see the invigoration of retail, I am looking forward to thousands of new CBD residents and office workers, and hundreds of hotel guests staying here overnight, but like an under-performing football team Freo needs to get the basics rights, it needs to focus on the small things and do them well, because at the moment Premier Barnett’s pipeline idea to pump water from the Kimberley to Perth seems more realistic than a great rebirth of our inner city.

There is nothing wrong with having big plans, but they need to be built on the solid foundations of reality, great architecture, and thorough and strategic planning, and that is where Fremantle and the Western Australian State Government are lacking.

Roel Loopers




Posted in fremantle, notre dame university, photography by freoview on August 28, 2014

There is an interesting article on Photoshop manipulation in regard to eating disorders of women, by Fremantle Notre Dame University School of Law lecturer Marilyn Krawitz in In Principo, the University’s magazine.

Ms Krawitz reports on the Photoshop Law in Israel that requires female models to have a minimum BMI of 18.5, and when photographers or magazines manipulate photos to make models look thinner, they have to include a warning that covers at least seven percent of the photo.

I quite agree that excessive photo manipulation needs to be recorded  somehow, as many photos are drastically changed in PS and other software, and that alters the reality of photos that will be seen as historic documentation by future generations.  The Photoshop ‘reality’ is in fact fake reality because things that were in the original photos might have been taken out, or things could have been added.

There is another issue for me. While eating disorder in young women is serious, the manipulation of innocent children under 15 in fashion photography is equally disturbing to me. Girls are made up and dressed up to look sexy,and are photographed in seductive poses and plastered on magazine covers as some kind of sex bombs, and that is absolutely unacceptable.

Every photo we take is the recording of our history and we need to be aware of that at all times. The overuse of Photoshop and other similar software often is a tool to hide bad and mediocre photography.

Roel Loopers



Posted in fremantle by freoview on August 28, 2014

Nicholas Takacs


It is good to see a Fremantle based business getting national acclaim in the West Australian newspaper today.

Nicholas Takacs of ABEAUTIFULCITY is a former retail leasing agent and was also an economic advisor at the City of Fremantle. Since leaving COF Takacs has been advising the councils of Joondalup, Nedlands, Victoria Park, Claremont, Fremantle BID, and shopping centres, through the installation of people counters.

Well done Nic. Good branding for your relatively new business!

Roel Loopers

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