Freo's View

SOS-FREMANTLE SOCIETY DROWNING IN NONSENSE

 

fs

 

One has to wonder what is going on at the Fremantle Society when one reads today’s tabloid-style advertisement in the Fremantle Herald.

SOS-Save Our Square it yells, insinuating that if the new Civic Centre is built by the City of Fremantle Kings Square will be lost, which is utter nonsense.

Kings Square has been two triangles, separated by the High Street road reserve, for decades, so what is all the Fremantle Society grand-standing about?

The northern triangle is the property of the St John’s church and the southern triangle belongs to the City. That will remain so.

Do the members of FS really expect that Fremantle Council will change the decision they made years ago, when they agreed on the Kings Square Redevelopment Project with Sirona Capital? Surely FS knows the horse has bolted and the start of the construction of the new Civic Centre is only a month or two away.

The Society calls for the square to be reinstated, so they want that big empty space that was created by the demolition of the former Civic Centre just to remain that? And they are happy for the City to have wasted many thousands of dollars on architects and consultants, which would have to start all over again if we were to build a civic centre elsewhere in Fremantle?

How on the ball about Fremantle issues is the Frematle Society when one of their committee members lives in Nannup, another one travels the world, and its president also spent at least a third of last year overseas? Not much up to date local knowledge at FS committee meetings one might suggest.

The Kings Square Redevelopment Project is good for Fremantle, and so are the many other developments in our city. It is time for the Fremantle Society to start accepting that the world changes constantly and Freo will do the same. That is a good thing!

Roel Loopers

28 Responses

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  1. freoview said, on January 24, 2019 at 7:10 am

    The couple told me that on their way to church, so why would they lie about it? It is clearly not something I initiated because I had no knowledge of their cruise, or you being on board, etc.

    The City of Fremantle also use experts views from city planning experts, not just developers, John Dowson, but you always claim that your ‘experts’ are better than the ones the City of Fremantle engages.

    Roel

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  2. john dowson said, on January 23, 2019 at 11:03 pm

    Ah, Mr Loopers, you now expand on your personal attack by giving detail about the couple who supposedly ‘walked out in disgust’ from my lecture. As a regular blogger perhaps you should have, like any journalist, sought comment from me before you posted. I would have told you that in fact I had dinner several times on board with the couple you mention and that my recollection is that they stayed till the end of my lecture, as I even mentioned them at the end of the lecture. That doesn’t mean we are close friends, as we have been adversaries in the past. I lecture in London, here, and aboard ships promoting Western Australia, and have been doing so for more than 11 years. The talk I give about Fremantle heritage is my personal expert view about the heritage assets of Fremantle and how, in my opinion, its heritage is not being carefully managed. I make it clear that I am giving a passionate personal overview. I spend my life promoting Fremantle, as my four books on Fremantle attest.

    As for your dismissive negative comments about a true King’s Square, the Fremantle Society has been campaigning on this for years using expert views, not developer views, and will keep discussing the issue, as many people are only now waking up to the fact that council is spending $44 million of their money on a new admin building. At the very least FS believe the building should wait till council sees if in fact Myer and Queensgate are filled.

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  3. freoview said, on January 23, 2019 at 2:01 pm

    I have no idea either why there is a debate this now in 2019, Alan. The horse has well and truly bolted and Fremantle Council made a decision about this very many years ago, so let’s move on and don’t waste our time.

    Roel

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  4. Alan Pearce said, on January 23, 2019 at 12:25 pm

    Why is there even this debate happening now? Does anyone here actually think the council will reneg on its contracts and go back to the drawing board on something that has literally been 10 years in the making and is a year or so away from being complete?

    Are you all mad?

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  5. freoview said, on January 22, 2019 at 5:41 am

    I did not receive any comment from you about “your nastiness and criticism of my professional work: John Dowson, so check if you actually sent that comment before accusing me of not posting your comment.

    Whenever I criticise you you accuse me of nastiness, while all your nasty criticism of everyone else is supposedly above board. And for the record I did not defame you but stated a fact told to me by two Fremantle residents who were aboard a cruiseship where you lectured about Fremantle and where according to them you made nasty comments about Fremantle Council and development in Fremantle. They told me they had left in disgust. This senior couple from Henry Street are active in the Freo community and not at all happy with Fremantle Council and were supporting Claudia Green and Ra Stewart at the last election, but they still believed that your negative comments about Fremantle were inappropriate on a cruiseliner on her way to our city. It is not defamatory to mention this.

    Roel

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  6. John Dowson said, on January 22, 2019 at 12:27 am

    Roel Loopers- you did not post my comments about your nastiness and criticism of my professional work. Your comments I consider defamatory and I suggest you remove them and apologise for them.

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  7. freoview said, on January 20, 2019 at 3:35 pm

    Yes I agree with that, Shane. Also interesting to note that many more people are using Bathers Beach since the boardwalk and the Bathers Beach House, so now hopeing Arthur’s Head will get financial support from the City and State Government to enhance it further and make better connectivity between the Fishing Boat Harbour and Maritime Museum/Victoria Quay.

    Roel

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  8. w3st3ndr3sid3nt said, on January 20, 2019 at 1:39 pm

    Peter Scott

    You are confusing two different issues – you are correct that Perth CBD became a monoculture for many years – Robert Moses attempted the same in New York City. We in Fremantle have to work hard to get more residents back here in the CBD.

    But that urban community relies on a population density we don’t have and making empty spaces will just lead to more dangerous, under-populated spaces – just like the High Street Mall.

    Rolel is correct – the more varied uses we have in the city, the more people 24/7, the more safe it is.

    The social space of Fremantle moved to the Esplanade many years ago. We also have the Bathers Beach precinct now – the beach is the ultimate Aussie social space. If you want more parks move to the suburbs.

    Now FOMO is bad urban design (but that’s another story.)

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  9. freoview said, on January 20, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    and that is what will be happening in Fremantle when more people live in the CBD and more hotels provide accommodation so visitors stay in Freo and don’t have to go back to Perth to the hotels there.

    A more vibrant and hopefully seven day daytime city and a more activated city in the evenings, which will help to create a much better sense of safety when there are more people wandering around after dark.

    Roel

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  10. Peter Scott said, on January 20, 2019 at 12:39 pm

    May I jog your memories for a moment…?
    Remember the days when the Perth City planners, in the name of “a better planning outcome”, decided that the City of Perth should only be for offices & banks, light industry confined to its own outer City space & all residents sent to the suburbs…?
    Then what happened…?
    After 5pm each weekday & on weekends when the office & banks were closed, the City died…was dead…!….only after the tourists complained….the City planners changed their minds….allowed the people back to live in the City, closed off a couple of streets…Murray & Hay street malls & opened the squares…Forrest Chase & Hagan Square….!

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  11. freoview said, on January 20, 2019 at 10:43 am

    The Fremantle Oval development is going to be a long-term process and the civic centre at Kings Square has been agreed on by Council, so that won’t change.

    Roel

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  12. Peter said, on January 20, 2019 at 9:29 am

    It’s a no-brainer for me … give Kings Square back to the people … It will be bloody wonderful !
    New Council offices could be built at Fremantle Oval where they are right now !
    The Fremantle Oval area is a bit of a white elephant so let’s make practical use of some of the space ??

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  13. freoview said, on January 20, 2019 at 6:34 am

    Yes, in appropriate locations higher buildings and higher density should be acceptable in Fremantle. PSA 49 specifically was signed off on by Council to create more density in the CBD, but that requires developers to build excellent buildings and unfortunately the proposed Woolstores development that wanted discretionary extra height was just not good enough.

    Roel

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  14. w3st3ndr3sid3nt said, on January 19, 2019 at 10:54 pm

    Cities are about density – Fremantle needs to stop acting like a town. Cutting holes in the urban fabric is not going to solve Fremantle’s woes – in fact it will exacerbate them. We have an empty space in the West End where the street fabric should have continued with the Nursing School. We had the chance to get some density at the Woolstores instead of the crappy suburban shopping centre that exists now. Fremantle can only survive with a density of population that it is lacking. More holes in the city – I’m sure that the people of Detroit would love to fill in a few empty lots – https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decline_of_Detroit

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  15. Gnangarra Lake said, on January 19, 2019 at 4:24 pm

    We can rest assured regardless of the issue the FS will oppose any and all changes, if the area was to be left vacant where will the city offices be relocated to, how much will it cost, and what impact will it have.
    Maybe the City offices can move out to Cockburn with the Dockers

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  16. freoview said, on January 19, 2019 at 11:09 am

    We agree to disagree on this one, Sue.

    Roel

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  17. Suzannej said, on January 19, 2019 at 9:33 am

    Town Sqares historically usually had a cathedral/church and a town hall. The steeple of one and the tower of the other to be focal points thro’out the city or village. Kings Square does this, moreso with the removal of the previous ugly buildings. To have a central area, like Federation Squard Melbourne, Martin Place Sydney, Yagan Square Perth is a wonderful gathering place.
    Roel, certainly we vote Councillors in to represent us but these people, as competent as they may be in their diverse employment, are really not fiscally experienced to chuck that huge amount of money into creating their own palace. Sorry. Not good enough. It’s you, me and the rest of the rate payers funding this egotistical extravagance. The Square as it was originally designed should go back to being just that.

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  18. freoview said, on January 19, 2019 at 6:14 am

    I don’t disagree that the open space looks good, Nicola, but I am a pragmatic person also and don’t have the slightest doubt that all is set for the construction of the new Civic Centre there, and that will also be an enhancement of Kings Square. It is easy to say in hindsight that we could have done something else with a space, but this is all part of the entire redevelopment project Council will not suddenly stop it and change their mind and build a fountain instead.

    The question is also what one does with a very big open space as it would require substantial investment with trees, shade structures, seats,cctv, etc.

    Roel

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  19. Nicola said, on January 19, 2019 at 5:51 am

    Peter you make some great points. Roel I normally agree with you, but since the demolition, of COF, i can’t believe how good the open space looks. It just opens everything up.

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  20. freoview said, on January 18, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    It is all on record on this blog and elsewhere what I believe is good about some of the development and what I believe is bad about some of the development in Fremantle, Peter, and if you continue to read this blog you will no doubt see more of my comments about bad, boring, mediocre architecture and about other development i like.

    In general though, I believe more people living and working in the CBD is a good thing and also more hotel accommodation is desirable. If we can please get that with excellent architecture than I’ll die a happy man.

    Roel

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  21. Peter Scott said, on January 18, 2019 at 8:03 pm

    …..and tell me please, how is the redevelopment ( a building infill) of Kings Square good for Fremantle….? and these many other developments you make slight mention of….which ones are they and how have they been good for Fremantle….?
    ….. and of course we all accept change finally, but change for the good of the City and its dwellers, or change for the sake of change….do we all accept change to look the same and be the same….take a quick look back at Perth on how it was and how it is today….are you completely happy with its change…?
    …..and how many historical, commendable cities, towns and villages around the world would you suggest we change for the “good”….?..

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  22. Peter Scott said, on January 18, 2019 at 6:35 pm

    I really can’t believe some of the comments being made against the idea of a town square being without buildings in them….tell me where in the world is a celebrated town square with buildings occupying more than 50% of its area…?….have we not heard of fountains and statues and places to sit and contemplate and people to meet and congregate….?…and before the Council offices & library were demolished, how well was the “square” frequented then; how well did the commercial fringe like Myers fare, how was the “square” utilised by the Freo dwellers once the offices and library were closed after working hours…? merely a space come corridor to walk through on the way to the “strip”…?…and to attack the “man” rather than the “argument” I ask you?….and to suggest our Council spends millions on cleaning and repairs after public events…ever heard of bins and our friendly volunteers…?…and what’s so gross about closing streets to the ever intrusive motor car…ever tried walking more than 100 metres….? …so please… take a little time to look at the many wonderful “squares” around the world where tourists flock to each year just to catch a glimpse and capture the grandeur the “square” offers, and that profound human feeling of connection to the living city and all that radiates from its centre…..

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  23. freoview said, on January 18, 2019 at 5:09 pm

    Marine House was on the market last year, so presumably now sold, so let’s see what happens with that. It is nothing new that staff from Marine&Harbours were to move to Kings Square, together with Housing staff from Perth and Fremantle.

    The point about democracy is that we vote people on Council to make decisions for the community and it is unrealistic to believe we should be asked before every decision they make on our behalf. But in a way we were asked at the October election a bit over a year ago where the mayor and most sitting members were re-elected.

    Roel

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  24. Sean Hefferon said, on January 18, 2019 at 4:44 pm

    Roel, John Dowson does make some valid points no? For example, he asserts that “no-one asked the community if they wanted to spend $44 million for new office”. He also asserts that 300 of the proposed workers will relocate from Marine house leaving that building empty. Perhaps those are points that could be pursued? Mind you, I understand that the new building is to appreciate in value – which presumably overturn some general financial principles? But yes the horse has bolted and we are soon to be funding a new admin building – oh happy days indeed! Thanks for your article. Cheers

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  25. freoview said, on January 18, 2019 at 3:37 pm

    I hear that your lectures on cruise ships also contain nasty comments about Fremantle Council, so I am not sure at all that you are promoting Fremantle, John Dowson.

    Roel

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  26. Alan Pearce said, on January 18, 2019 at 3:02 pm

    The FS has been a toothless tiger for years but seems it now also dabbles in comedy. This is bloody hilarious.

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  27. John Dowson said, on January 18, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    King’s Square was always intended to be a square and not a triangle and the Fremantle Society has for years campaigned to support the experts who all recommended that the administration building be removed and the space be left open as part of a true civic square, something that has not been achieved since it was first planned in 1833. That is the change we want, despite your constant nastiness about our not wanting change. There are very few true town squares in WA and now councils are spending millions trying to invent them (eg Yagan Square the square at Claremont Quarter).

    We commissioned a report that agreed with the aim of having a true civic square. No-one asked the community if they wanted to spend $44 million for new offices for the mayor and staff (plus an underground library and a nappy changing room). Because many in the community, even journalists, are not clear about what is going on, The Fremantle Society committee decided to remind people. If nothing else, the admin building should be delayed until it is guaranteed that the Myer and Queesgate sites will get enough workers to fill them. After all, 300 of the proposed workers for that site are not new workers in Fremantle and will come from Marine House on Marine Terrace and then who will fill that empty building? You criticise Fremantle Society committee members for not spending every day in Fremantle. I apologise, and need next week to go overseas to do a series of lectures promoting Fremantle. Can I have your permission to leave town?

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  28. Gnangarra Lake said, on January 18, 2019 at 1:53 pm

    I suppose it could host perpetual markets and festivals, food van, live music, have bars, every weekend. Week days the council can millions cleaning it up repairing the grass, closing streets.

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