Freo's View

THE LAST DAY OF THE YEAR

Posted in city of fremantle, community, fremantle, local government by freoview on December 31, 2015

It is the last day of the year, one which I will spend as volunteer tourist guide at the Roundhouse and moving home yet again. It has been a roller coaster year of very deep and worrying lows but ending on a high for me personally so I suppose that makes it a good year.

It has been a roller coaster for Fremantle and Western Australia as well. It hasn’t been a good year for the Barnett government with the announcement of a huge budget deficit and the Supreme Court ruling that the EPA and the Minister’s approval for the Roe 8 highway was invalid.

The gap between Fremantle Council and the community has widened again with many believing our elected members no longer listen to us. The J Shed music venue was as controversial at the Esplanade skatepark but Council was unwilling to show solidarity with those in the community who fear that live music concerts at historic Arthur Head will substantially increase anti social behaviour in the area.

It has not been a great year for Freo with the economic recovery basically only being a building boom, but retail is still struggling. There are some positive signs though with the city being packed with people on Sunday and even yesterday on a Wednesday. Visitors’ numbers from the eastern states to Fremantle have also significantly improved.

The Kings Square project and major catalyst for Fremantle’s recovery is still in limbo and that is very worrying as major development in the east of town could well pull businesses and people away from city square and make the square even less attractive and lively.

The overdue upgrade of the High Street mall is in process and with the new Atwell Arcade building opening in the first quarter of the new year this could be the start of the revitalisation of that area.

It is a shame the start of the Hilton Hotel at Princess May Park has been delayed as new tourist accommodation is in my opinion essential for the economic recovery of Fremantle.

It will be good to have a new broom sweep through the City of Fremantle administration with the appointment of a new CEO, so we can only hope that the selection panel will look for more that just green credentials.

Fremantle Council need to do more and better to communicate with the community and should stop clever spin and instead be honest and transparent. Council also needs to go back to what Councils are elected to do and that is local government for local people. It is time to concentrate more on the daily grind maintenance and progress of our city and less trying to be a pseudo state government. We need hands-on governance and administration so that our city looks cared for and clean and tidy and safe. The Council election in May showed that most Freo people no longer care who is representing them with more that 70 per cent of voters not bothering to send in their ballot papers. That to me is a sure sign of a Council that no longer has the confidence and support of the community who are so disillusioned that they believe no one listens to them any way and that community consultation in Fremantle has just become tokenism of ticking a required box to satisfy the Minister for Local Government.

My wish for Freo for the New Year is more collaboration and respect and less the terribly negative us and them attitude where the Council and administration are seen as the enemy of the community. That is not a healthy relationship between the people and government. I sincerely hope the new Fremantle Society committee will not simply become another community group interested mainly in Council bashing and negativity but that they will make a positive difference and be part of the solutions and help Fremantle to modernise, revive and change.

Fremantle is blessed with many passionate, committed and creative people who have many ideas on how we can improve our city. It is essential that Council listens to them and not take them for granted. It is imperative that Council does not believe it has all the answers and solutions and that it can ignore community input. And it is essential to run a local government that deals with reality and the day to day needs of this community, a Council that stops looking for green credentials worldwide while neglecting the basics that local government are elected to look after.

There is huge scope for improvement at all levels in Fremantle, at Council, the administration and community groups, so I sincerely hope real genuine effort will be made by all to work together for the benefit of our very special and unique city that we all love.

HAVE A VERY HAPPY AND HEALTHY NEW YEAR!

Roel Loopers

 

PERTH FREIGHT LINK NEW YEAR SOLUTIONS?

Posted in city of fremantle, perth freight link by freoview on December 30, 2015

pfl

 

Fremantle Mayor Dr Brad Pettitt is on the job 24/7, even when on holiday in Esperance with his beautiful partner Emma, as today’s opinion piece in the West Australian newspaper shows.

Brad argues that the twin crisis of the WA State’s $ 3,1 billion budget deficit and the Supreme Court ruling about the invalidity of the Roe 8 highway gives the Barnett government the opportunity to reconsider its priorities and that the Property Council, Regional Development Australia, the Kwinana Industries Council and local councils Fremantle, East Fremantle, Kwinana, Cockburn and Armadale all want the Outer Harbour at Kwinana built as a priority.

Brad Pettitt writes the outer harbour has wide environmental and community support and that there would be direct and indirect employment for 75,000 people working on the project, which the government estimates would take up to 20 years to complete.

A very valid point the Freo Mayor makes is the excessive cost of the planned Perth Freight Link at an estimated cost for the tunnelled section of $ 4 million per 10 metres of road constructed. The entire 5.5 kilometre long PFL is estimated to cost between 400-500 million.

I think all points the Mayor raises are valid but we do know that the start of the outer harbour would not mean the end of Fremantle Port activity as the Kwinana port would only be an overflow port, so how would we deal with increased truck traffic to the inner city port without better road connectivity to it?

While everyone would like to see an increase on freight by rail the possible capacity for it is estimated to be only 30 per cent, which means more than 70 per cent of freight to Freo port would come by road.

The second point I want to make is the severe environmental impact on Cockburn Sound if an outer harbour is built and I doubt the environmental groups who oppose the Perth Freight Link would just sit back and let the Sound being negatively affected without protest.

It appears there are no solutions that will not have negative impacts on the environment and on affected communities and while Professor Peter Newman’s suggestion of putting it all on conveyor belts and underground might sound so simple one would have to ask what additional cost there would be for double handling of containers and if we would be prepared to pay more for imported goods to help protect the environment and our lifestyle.

There is no doubt the outer harbour will be needed in the not too distant future and that the Perth Freight Link planning has been an utter mess of incompetence, but there is the need to stop traffic chaos in North Fremantle and elsewhere in the immediate future.

While the concept of the PFL might be a federal government idea it will be counter productive to make it simply a political football where Labor, the Greens and environmental groups bash the Liberal Federal and State governments. It would be much better if they all connected in a think tank and try to find practical solutions instead of political grandstanding.

Roel Loopers

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BLOGGER’S COMMITMENT TO FREMANTLE

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle by freoview on December 30, 2015

According to WordPress statistics I have been beavering away and worked hard in 2015 to keep this Freo’s View blog relevant and interesting for the Fremantle community. I have published 1054 articles so far this year. This one is 1055.

The importance of the blog to Fremantle and as a promotion for our city is also relevant with the WP figures showing that most readers come from Australia, but are closely followed by readers from the United States and UK. Readers in 132 countries clicked on my blog this year to find out what is going on in good old Freo!

Writing this blog is a commitment and dedication to the Freo community as it has become a platform for people and politicians to voice their opinion.

I will keep plugging away to keep Freo’s View interesting and up to date with information about events, art exhibitions and also to scrutinise Fremantle Council. I can only do that if you all participate by sending me information about what great things are planned for Freo, what new development is around the corner, when new shops open around town, or when you see or hear something that is worth writing about.

Roel Loopers

FREO’S VELVET SUSHI DESIGNS MELISSA PARKE’S WEDDING DRESS

Posted in fremantle, melissa parke, politicians by freoview on December 30, 2015

Nice to hear that our delightful Fremantle federal MP Melissa Parke shops locally. She has commissioned Freo designer Deborah McKendrick of VELVET SUSHI to design her wedding dress and that of her mother and also for the bridesmaids.

Melissa will get married to Perth business man and arts patron Warwick Hemsley in 2016.

Roel Loopers

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BARNETT CLAIMS SILENT MAJORITY WANT ROE 8

Posted in fremantle, perth freight linl, state government, western australia by freoview on December 28, 2015

There is no doubt for me that one of the greatest inventions of spin ever made is the ‘Silent Majority’ claim. Politicians use it more and more to argue they do have strong community support from those who don’t speak out for controversial decisions and policies, and WA Premier Colin Barnett decided to finish the year with it.

In the West Australian newspaper today Barnett says that he believes there is strong majority support for building the Roe 8 highway extension and that the protests and the Supreme Court win against it won’t harm his party’s chances of winning the next state election. If the Premier is so sure about it why not wait then with signing off on Roe 8 and the Perth Freight Link till after the election, so voters can show him if they support the controversial highway to Fremantle Port. That way the ‘silent majority’ will have a say and are no longer the hidden voiceless, faceless people in the burbs who always support government decisions.

The other great spin invention to hide behind and to stop scrutiny and transparency is the claim that there is ‘Commercial Confidentiality’ that can’t be made public when the community asks questions, e.g. the new Perth Stadium and here in Freo the Kings Square project financial plans.

One of Premier Barnett’s biggest disappointments was the failure of Local Government reform and should he win the next election he will not doubt try to gain more power over local government and that is a big worry as DAPs and SAT already rubber-stamp unacceptable development against the wishes of local governments and communities.

The silent and vocal majorities want the building of the outer harbour to be prioritised, no matter what happens to the Perth Freight Link, so why not get on with that and show the voters concrete plans and a timeline before the next election, Premier?

Roel Loopers

 

 

MORE MINDLESS VANDALISM AT HISTORIC ARTHUR HEAD

Posted in city of fremantle, crime, vandalism by freoview on December 27, 2015

 

 

Mindless morons did more damage at Fremantle’s historic Arthur Head this weekend with windows at J Shed and the public toilet being damaged and large graffiti painted on the fence at the Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre.

It should be a priority for the City of Fremantle to install CCTV in the area and improve lighting and patrols and it’s time for WA police to ‘discover’ the historic precinct and patrol it at night as the vandalism can’t be allowed to continue.

Roel Loopers

HIRE BIKE STOLEN IN FREO

Posted in bicycles, fremantle by freoview on December 25, 2015

bike stolen

 

I picked up this message on Facebook so thought to share it on my blog as well:

Hi Everyone. We had an Urban Steed hire bike stolen from Lenny the Ox cafe on Wray Avenue in Fremantle today. It is a black step through / mixte frame bike by Vanmoof. They aren’t currently sold in WA so if you see one it’s likely ours. A young guy came inside and grabbed it from the shop as they were closing up. He legged it towards Beaconsfield.

WISHING YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle by freoview on December 24, 2015

high street magic

 

 

I want to wish all the readers of Freo’s View, the entire Fremantle community, and my friends all over the world a VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

It has been an amazing year with the Supreme Court win against the Roe 8 highway extension being a highlight that shows that people power still matters.

Being involved in the local government election was exciting. It was disappointing for me to receive so few votes but far more disappointing was the overall lack of voter participation. Around 25 per cent is not acceptable and it should become compulsory to vote for local councils.

It is a worrying trend to see the State Government wanting to diminish the power of local councils and the State’s Development Assessment Panels and State Administration Tribunal basically rubber stamping development applications against the wishes of local councils and communities. We need to fight that with all our might because the unique character of communities is being destroyed by uncaring bureaucrats.

There is a real feeling that Freo’s fortunes are turning with a lot of development all over the CBD. In five years from now many more people will live and work in the inner city and that is very positive. It is also positive that we are building more tourist accommodation, so that visitors can stay in Fremantle overnight and spend their money here and not in Perth. There has been a steep increase in tourism to Fremantle from the eastern states and the City of Fremantle should take note of that.

The Freo community likes to have a whinge about all the things that are supposedly wrong here but interstate and overseas visitors love it and rarely have a bad word to say. If at all it is about how expensive Fremantle is, so maybe we can learn from that as well. If one cafe can make an excellent Espresso for just $ 2.50 I don’t know why others charge nearly $ 4.00 for a tiny cup of hot brew.

I love Freo. I always have and I always will. We are a unique and opinionated mob who deeply care, who want to be part of change and solutions and who are willing to give up our own time to help others, to volunteer, to be part of community groups and to fight what we believe is wrong.

While I sometimes despair about the negativity of the comments on Freo’s View I am delighted I have created a public forum where the general community and the decision makers have their say, so keep it coming and keep sending me information about events, exhibitions, development, etc.

Have a relaxed and outstanding Christmas!

Roel Loopers

FREO’S REVOLVING RETAIL DOOR

Posted in fremantle, retail by freoview on December 23, 2015

shop 1 shop 2

 

Fremantle’s revolving retail continues with the well-established Wendy Binks art gallery on the Cappuccino Strip closing. But good news is that a new cafe Salted Board will open just down the road, so one bites the dust because of high rents and another one gives it a try.

Let’s hope they have done their market research and offer something different and better than the mediocre that is the norm at many Freo cafes.

Roel Loopers

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TALLS SHIPS CREATE BUSY FREMANTLE PORT

Posted in Uncategorized by freoview on December 23, 2015

 

There was a lovely busy energy in Fremantle Port this morning with the Ecuadorian three-masted barque tall ship Guayas and the equally impressive tall ship Young Endeavour at Victoria Quay. Add to that the training ship Leeuwin, a fuel supply ship, a scientific vessel, container ships at North Quay and the Rottnest Express and you’ll get the right impression of a bustling port.

Roel Loopers

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