Freo's View

PROMISING VICTORIA QUAY DEVELOPMENT PLANS

Posted in aboriginal, fremantle, fremantle ports, victoria quay by freoview on October 9, 2014

The City of Fremantle Special Projects Committee had a first discussion about the just released plans for Victoria Quay by Fremantle Ports. My first impression is that the Ports have listened and taken all the community workshops input into account and the plans are so much better than the two ugly ING boxes proposed years ago that were abandoned due to public pressure.

What we now see is a series of low 4-5 storey buildings with just one higher 10-12 storey building east of Queens Street.

This is an integrated plan and a lot about connectivity between the CBD and the waterfront, with a shift of the busport to the east and a new entry from Queens Street.

There would also be a new railway crossing at Pakenham Street, and Peter Huges Drive in the Port, north of the railway line, would be extended all the way to Cliff Street, which would be an alternative east-west connection to Phillimore Street.

I think these are sensible and acceptable plans that  still require detailed fine-tuning and consideration, but as an overall concept they are positive for Fremantle and to activate Victoria Quay, so well done to Fremantle Ports and consultants CODA for listening so well to the community and all the stakeholders.

On behalf of the Fremantle Society I spoke yesterday against the proposal for a substantial building on Pioneer Park along Short and Pakenham streets and warned that we can not afford to lose more green open space in the inner city, even more so because new development will see many more people using the CBD and they will need green lingering nodes and places for people to relax and children to play.

I pointed out that the City’s desire to activate the reserve was partly to blame on them because they have done little to make the park attractive. For example why is there not a playground near the Spare Parts Puppet Theatre that attracts a lot of kids?

But thinking about it this morning I thought I could envisage a row of 2-3 storey residential townhouses along Short Street being quite attractive and taking up only a small percentage of the green space.

I believe that the City of Fremantle in general needs to better plan public and green spaces, as they do at Subi Centro in Subiaco where the Carter Lane precinct is being promoted as “Green Spaces Galore” and being a “distinctive feature of the precinct.”

There is a bit of ambiguity in the statement that Victoria Quay would have retail that does not undermine retail in the CBD. How is that going to work? The area is designed as a commercial/retail/tourism precinct so that would have cafes, bars and restaurants which would no doubt compete with those along the Cappuccino Strip and elsewhere in the inner city. It’s a silly notion really to believe a new waterfront destination will not attract people away from the CBD. Of course it will, but that is just the way the world works and CBD traders will have to counter act that.

Concerns were raised that there is the opportunity for building heights to go up if they have excellence in design, but that no limit has been set on the additional discretionary height. That is not acceptable and needs to be addressed, and there needs to be a Design Advisory Committee appointed for that and not been left to the discretion of Fremantle Ports.

The idea raised by some Councillors that there could be a “development authority’ for implementing the VQ development is not a bad one as it would bring cohesion to it and deal easier with stakeholders like the Public Transport Authority. This would also take care about a possibility that only the commercially most viable buildings would be built but the public realm neglected.

I am not sure why there would be the need for weather proof access to the train station from the Post Office in Market Street, as Councillor Sullivan keeps talking about. It sounds a bit too much to me as those ugly passage ways they build between school buildings and I can’t see any need for that in a city environment. All over the world one crosses station forecourt squares without being protected from the rain or sun, so why Fremantle needs to have something like it, that will be a visual barrier at Market Street, and needs to be high enough to accommodate buses and trucks, is not something I support. It is a walk that takes two minutes so why we would need protection from the rain and sun I do not understand.

The timeframe and implementation of the plans are crucial I believe. Ideally we would not want VQ commercial office space to compete with that being built at Kings Square, so hopefully Sirona Capital will get a head start and pre-lease the Myer and Queensgate buildings soon and can get started on the development there that is most essential for the re-activation of the inner city.

I am worried about Freo’s short-term future but excited about the long-term one. The modernisation and revitalisation of our city is essential to retain the State’s second city status and it is crucial for our local economy and traders. The entire development of Fremantle though needs to be handled sensitively and the authorities need to insist on high quality and well designed new buildings. Boring bland concret boxes will not do and have to be rejected vehemently.

Roel Loopers

10 Responses

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  1. freoview said, on October 12, 2014 at 9:00 am

    and every time we ask for more things to do for tourists, another museum, etc. Council ignores that as well. They actually don’t even bother to respond. For example when the museum at the Arts Cetre closed, why did the City not offer one of their cbd properties to relocate it there?

    Roel

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  2. john Dowson said, on October 11, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    And of course Council blithley forgets that it invested a great deal of time and money getting Pioneer Park ready to have an archaeological centre, which woud be a great drawcard sitting right opposite the railway station. Develop the plans already agreed on and leave the rest as parkland.

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  3. Suzanne said, on October 10, 2014 at 11:01 pm

    What a shambles.
    What a sellout.
    One of Cr. Sullivan’s reasons to hand over Pioneer Park is because its unsafe at night. The whole of Fremantle is unsafe after dark Councillor, are you going to flog it all off. Oh thats right, you are heading that way.
    As for your comments on the Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, the real puppets are the number of Councillors, dancing to the tune of the developers, in the rush to destroy unique Fremantle and create a boring concrete suburb.

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  4. Andrew Sullivan said, on October 9, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    Just to clarify Roel, I have not suggested we try to create an all weather pedestrian route along the Market Street alignment to the rail station – I agree that would be a very clumsy solution. However, I have always said we should endeavour to develop an all weather pedestrian route along the Queen Street route given that we intend for this axis to become as important a connection as Market Street is today.

    In essence, the Market Street axis effectively splits straight through the middle of the station forecourt and so having a covered walkway, not matter how creatively its designed, would not be acceptable. The Queen Street axis on the other hand effectively forms the eastern edge of the station forecourt and so there is every opportunity to afford public transport patrons with good protection from the elements along that new route.

    I also indicated last night that I had not made any determination on the merit or otherwise of allowing any development in Pioneer Park. However, I did suggest we needed to invest more time to discuss in detail how Pioneer Park should be used in the future as it becomes the key linkage space between the city centre and the waterfront as well as a part of the gateway to the city from the station.

    There are many inherent physical problems with how the park currently functions. I noted the almost complete lack of interaction between the building in the centre and the surrounding spaces. I also noted that the critical surrounding edges of the space had few “front doors” meaning there is currently little or no interactive usage around the edge of the open space and very little opportunity to create it given most of the surrounding facades are heritage listed and unchangeable. This lack of activation results in low usage and in certain parts, a sense that the park is unsafe especially after hours.

    In this context, I suggested it was worth exploring whether the inside edge of the park (i.e. running along the park side of Short Street and Pakenham Street) could include some new structure(s) that could accommodate interactive activity that enhanced park usage (like Clancy’s does in Princess May Park and the Carriage does in the Esplanade). I suggested we should list the types of improvements and activities that may help lift usage, vibrancy and safety in the park. As a suggestion only, I mentioned the possibility of an ‘outdoor room’ space associated with the Spare Parts Puppet theatre to enable performance to spill out into the park – this just being one of many ideas that could be flung into the melting pot if we wanted to get our creative skates on.

    I also suggested that around this edge of the park it MAY be possible to develop a second all weather pedestrian route leading from the Post Office, down Short Street and Pakenham Street to deliver pedestrians to the new crossing into the waterfront. Beyond this point the plans already show such protection.

    Finally, there will no doubt be many wonderful ideas for Pioneer Park as there are for the station forecourt, for Queen Street, for Kings Square etc. etc. If anyone thinks the State is going to write a cheque for those projects like they have for Elizabeth Quay and the other huge developments in that other place, think again. While I don’t want to see any of the footprint of Pioneer Park simply sold as a commercial development site, I am happy to explore development forms that may be capable of generating some of the funds needed to carry out the massive infrastructure improvements needed just in that area alone.

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  5. Mark. said, on October 9, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Roel it was good to see a few councillors back off on putting more concrete over our park spaces.
    Its a bit worrying that some consider these open green public spaces as just public space, a concrete footpath is public space.

    Again the anti grass sediment is seen rising up.
    There are plenty of locations in fremantle to build more accommodation, parks are the absolutely the last place to start.
    Its quite clear that green space works in many beneficial way for our community, it looks nice, its a place to quietly sit, it has a oxygenation effect, it doesn’t add heat to the city, there are many studies now stating the physical, mental health benefits of parks and green canopy also controls energy consumption for heating and cooling.

    healthyurbanhabitat.com.au/what-are-the-benefits-of-increasing-tree-canopy-cover-and-vegetation-in-the-west/

    The plans look good for the quay will be nice to see more detailed plans.
    Car unloading area there is no reason the area could not be covered with public car parks above, cruise terminal above or below , shops cafes, office space, even a public park sitting on top, or sporting field.
    HONG KONG, ferry passenger terminals is a good example, fantastic shops, offices, food & beverage outlets, 5star hotel, multi story car park, PT over multiple levels, customs, baggage handling, coach bus bays.
    On top of the hotel restaurant entrance and car park is possibly the best Oktoberfest in south east Asia.
    I have seen down a few wiesn-mass there while over looking the harbour.

    Another attack on cars last nights with the development showing almost no street parking area, and the plans showing building on train station car parks.
    This will have a 2 fold effect, another reason for people not to come to Fremantle, and more cars on the road as commuters decide its easier to just drive to work.
    I noted councillors making references to other Australian & International train station and noting the high rises built around train stations , i see that they forgot to mention that all those stations have huge car parking facilities in onsite or in close proximity.

    Again the council has plans to block business use of Hampton Rd, by making it difficult for container truck use on Hampton Rd, even better last PSC they approved a restaurant complex to be build just off Hampton Rd, built out of container modules, so one meeting they approve containers to be used, the next meeting 7 days later they are planning to ban the container vehicle’s driving on the road that leads to the approve restaurant site?
    They better look at delivery truck sizes many are the size of a container truck.
    I’m sure coca cola will change their delivery system to suit COF, not.

    Confused, I’m not surprised, at least one councillor had a one voice of common sense, councillor Massie spoke up for carparking and assisting business by making freo easier to access not more difficult, using PT to bring visitors into the business areas of freo and for the protection of Pioneer Park. Well done Bill.

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  6. dickbaynham said, on October 9, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    How can anyone believe Fremantle Council’s supposed green credentials when they want to give away Pioneer Park for development – the words ‘shallow’ and ‘hypocritical’ come to mind.

    I am continually surprised at the gall of the Mayor and Cr Sullivan. Any trust they may have once enjoyed has long since disappeared and the electorate needs to get rid of them both at the earliest opportunity – along with any other Councillors who allow themselves to be sucked into supporting them.

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  7. freoview said, on October 9, 2014 at 9:23 am

    available on line COF website or ask Fremantle Ports.

    Roel

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  8. Jayne said, on October 9, 2014 at 7:22 am

    Roel thanks for this information. Where can we view these new plans?

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  9. freoview said, on October 9, 2014 at 6:54 am

    Second best? ; >)

    If the amalgamation goes well we should more than double the residents of Freo and of course substantial development at South and Coogee beaches, the CBD and the Knutsford precinct should see a few thousand more being added to the old port city in the next 5 or so years.

    Roel

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  10. Diana Ryan said, on October 9, 2014 at 6:47 am

    What exactly is meant by the desire to be known as Freo’s “second city”?

    The more I hear it (here, from the Mayor, the Committee for Perth now) the more I think it doesn’t have any real relevance to it.

    Our planning authorities redesignated whom the primaries would be, in the hierarchical system of our activity centres, and I think it was taken rather personally but Fremantle does have its limits on what it can accommodate so….

    City of Stirling is viewed as the most likely to be Perth’s “second CBD”, with the growth anticipated for the northern corridor.

    Although Freo will eventually have more commercial/retail/residential spaces activated, it won’t be a powerhouse commercial centre, and although we hear that 10,000 new people will be moving in to the south that isn’t a lot overall.

    So not sure what the designation “second city” means (other than from an historical point of view that doesn’t serve much purpose today?), what Freo believes it will say about it to be known as that?

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