Paddy Troy was a very colourful and powerful person in Fremantle’s history, and the lane named after him has now also received colour with the trees along there painted. I am not sure how painting trees will affect their health but assume it has been done with approval from the City of Fremantle parks department.
It looks like FREMANTLE PORTS is getting everything in shape for the asset fire sale by State Government. Painters are working on the port tower and were busy at the A and B Sheds last week.
Quite surprisingly they have also started on extending Peter Hughes Drive, that was planned to go all the way to Cliff Street as part of the Victoria Quay integrated development with the Phillimore Street and railway station upgrade.
C.Y O’Connor is a very important person to remember on W.A. Day and because the State coffers are empty Premier Colin Barnett has had another pipe dream about how to get drinking water to Perth. This time it’s not going to be a canal from the Kimberley but, to avoid expensive cost for desalination, we will now be pumping water from Kalgoorlie to Perth along the CY O’Connor pipeline. That would have made a good April’s Fool joke and of course I only invented it.
P.S. Why is there no WA DAY event in Fremantle, but for meditation and Tai Chi at the Esplanade tomorrow? Can I suggest that next year we do the biggest ever barbeque, where people bring their own BBQs to the Esplanade, or the lawn at the Round House and we can have a very Freo celebration.
The controversy surrounding Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi’s junket to the Beijing Olympics and not declaring the $ 17,000 gift from BHP, together with the City of Vincent demanding that their Elected Members report all meetings with developers, made me think about accountability and transparency.
I believe it is a very good idea for Councillors to declare the meetings they have with future developers as it will take away the perception that something untoward is happening and that deals are done behind closed doors. Of course one could also question the necessity of Elected Members having to meet in person with developers as that should be the role of planning and development officers, who subsequently brief Councillors on the pros and cons of such development.
There are always unsubstantiated rumours in Fremantle and other Local Governments about improper conduct and the easiest way of getting rid of it is minimising the contact between cash-rich developers and Elected Members, and a good back up is to declare all meetings on a public register.
For transparency reasons it should also be made public which companies tender for jobs, as recent announcements of CUSP doing a study on the Perth Freight Link and Josh Byrne and Co an environmental study for the City of Fremantle have already received negative feedback in the community, because some people believe mate deals were done. These sort of rumours are not fair to the companies who won the tender and the City officers involved, so let’s bring it all out into the open.
As for not declaring very expensive free flights, accommodation, meals and tickets to world events, one can only wonder if someone like the Lord Mayor of Perth should retain her position. The Minister for Local Government should make an urgent ruling on it.
The City of Fremantle should follow the lead of the City of Vincent and make it compulsory for Councillors to report contact with developers, be that face to face, by email, snail mail or phone. It is basically good and transparent practise.
There is exciting gossip from the retailers at the Fremantle Woolstores Shopping Centre site about the imminent development of the place, although it has to go to Council and the State’s Development Assessment Panel, for approval.
I was told yesterday that a multi-storey mixed-use building is planned with the retail section, including Coles, moving to what now is the car park. The present retail area would become a David Jones department store and if that was to be the case that would be a stunning success for Fremantle.
The carpark would be moved to upper levels and commercial floor space would dominate the development with only residential apartments that will have harbour and ocean views planned for the northern side of the building.
The building would also have a walkway over the rail line to Victoria Quay, according to the traders I talked with.
This is a very different proposal than the one the previous owners had for hundreds of apartments, that pushed Council to allow for additional height on the site. I was not told how high the new proposal is.
This would all be very positive for Fremantle if the building has outstanding architectural design and building quality, but it could have negative impact on the Kings Square development that seems years away, because the Woolstores office floor space could be competing with Sirona Capital trying to find major tenants for the former Myer building.
Just over the road at the Point Street carpark site the banners with the Hilton Doubletree signs have been removed and that is a slight worry. I hope there is no delay in that development as it is essential to the revitalisation of the inner East of the Freo CBD.
There are rumours on Facebook that the Shanghai-Up Markets- building next to the Sail&Anchor is going to be demolished and the site developed, but Freo Mayor Brad Pettitt posted on FB that he had not heard about it yet, so time will tell.
I received the email below from my friends Ros and Ian de Souza, so check out the crowd funding site and support them:
For the past 18 months Ian and I have been working with a group of artists from Western Australia developing an arts in health project called DRAWNTOGETHER – the Art of Life.
Our DRAWNTOGETHER team has been invited by UNAIDS to deliver a community arts workshop program in 2015 for people living with HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh.
Please take 3 minutes to view our Pozible campaign on http://www.pozible.com/project/196613 and, if you can, please spread the word to your networks with this link to help us get to Dhaka in July. It will make a real difference where it is most needed.
Thanking you in anticipation.
Ian and Ros de Souza
I love Fremantle’s heritage buildings and can’t get enough of High Street, and all tourists visiting the Roundhouse agree with me on the beauty of the West End of Freo. But I also love modern architecture when it is outstanding, creative, quirky, challenging and even a bit mad.
Sadly we get a lot of bland concrete boxes, like this one on Queen Victoria Street, and do not see a lot of inspiring great architecture in the Perth metropolitan area and I wonder what it would take for a developer to be brave and build something out of the norm, like this building in Prague by architect Frank Gehry.
I went to a CUSP organised One Planet talk at Victoria Hall yesterday that coincided with this morning’s blog on Malmo by Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt, who is on one of those fact finding tours to liveable cities. Brad raves about what the city has done and believes that some of it could be implemented on the Works Depot site at Knutsford/Amherst streets.
At Victoria Hall Dr Vanessa Rauland gave a talk on carbon, and she will do carbon classes in Fremantle schools as well in the future. Also speaking was Katy Anketel from the South Fremantle Senior High School and the City of Fremantle environmental officer whose name I don’t know.
Most of what I heard yesterday, and what Brad Pettitt wrote on his blog, makes sense, but I am skeptical about how we can change the ingrained Australian culture of the Great Australian Dream, and single storey houses with front and backyards, and the car and waste culture we have in our country. Only education will change that so Vanessa Rauland’s school education will be a good start, but it will also mean that probably this is going to be slow change that won’t happen overnight.
There is no doubt for me that we need to learn to embrace higher density in our cities and as long as the buildings are well designed and human scale I have no problem with it. It is essential that high density buildings along traffic corridors are well sound proofed and emphasis should be on human comfort and amenity and public spaces, roof gardens, etc.
We also need to insist that developers design large residential areas so that houses can be built to take advantage of the sun, and I am all for legislating that new dwellings need to have solar power and rainwater tanks, and maybe some form of grey water use. We also need to insist that houses are being built properly with double glazing, and insulation against heat, cold and noise. The way buildings are positioned and designed for our climate will also make a big difference.
Brad Pettitt writes that the former port area in Malmo has been designed to exclude garbage trucks and that waste is sucked to areas outside the suburb where trucks can pick it up. Great idea, but it will add cost to buildings, so maybe government incentives could be introduced here in Western Australia.
There is a lot we can learn from how countries with high population are attacking the carbon and other environmental problems, but we need to stay away from comparing Fremantle with cities that are very different and much much larger. If we remain realistic we can make the changes needed that will have a big impact.
Dr Vanessa Rauland suggested it is better to do things on a smaller scale as we have more control over it and it might become more achievable as well. The solar farm in South Fremantle will be a good example of what a community can do, while a windfarm is probably done better the way they do it in Victoria where councils combine and work together to buy a large area well away from their communities and put a windfarm there.
There are a lot of exiting things we can do to stop the madness of waste and pollution and we need to start with education and communication that is realistic and leave ideology at home. I really enjoyed the talks at Victoria Hall yesterday and was inspired by them.
Fremantle Ports report that they have a record number of cruise ship passenger this financial year that already exceeded 100,000 and will increase. Already 111,555 passengers have been to Fremantle this financial year and 98,000 of them disembarked or started their holiday here.
Over a million Australians had a cruise holiday last year and a total of 43 cruise liners will visit the port of Fremantle this financial year.
The challenge for Fremantle is to keep as many cruise ship passengers in town and not let them hop on busses to the Pinnacles and Swan Valley and that requires the local traders to work together with COF and the Chamber of Commerce to create incentives.
There is huge economic potential for Fremantle in the cruise ship industry but tapping into it is made difficult because the cruise companies want to organise all the tours and bookings to make more money.
Against the wishes of community consultation and the public members of the Cantonment Hill Working Group Fremantle full Council last night approved a 10+10 year lease for two floors of the Signal Station to the Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue group. Councillor Rachel Pemberton’s very sensible motion to make it into a 5+5 year lease so the City of Fremantle would be able to consider other options in ten years did not get the support from the only eight member council.
It was pointed out by members of the public who addressed Council that the Masterplan was all about the interest of the broader community and that community access to the tower was a prime criterium, and that remarks by Councillors that the lease fulfils all the aspirations for the site could not be further from the truth, but to no avail.
I believe it is naive to think the Sea Rescue occupation will create the required activation of Cantonment Hill. I doubt that the shifts will need more than four people to monitor communication, and those who man the rescue boats will no doubt be on those boats or close to them and not on Cantonment Hill from where it could take up to a twenty-minute drive on festival and event weekends to the Fishing Boat Harbour to hop on the boats.
No doubt the FVSR is an essential service that safes lives and that they deserve support from the Fremantle community, but there are other options and it is quite ridiculous to believe they need to be able to see the river and the ocean to do their job properly.
I do agree with Councillors that the building is far from ideal for an interpretive centre the community wanted there. The whole of Cantonment Hill could become an interpretation centre with modern technology allowing for interactive touch screens, phone Apps, motion triggered sound, etc all over the historic signal hill.
What is most disappointing about Council decision is that yet again the community will feel that they were ignored, as was the case with the Youth Plaza, the tavern at J Shed, etc. Council often gets criticised for being inconsistent in its decision-making but it has shown to be quite consistent in ignoring community input. Community cynicism will only grow because of that.