Freo's View

FREMANTLE HERITAGE HOTEL NOT A PIPE DREAM

Posted in accommodation, architecture, city of fremantle, development, heritage, hotel, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on January 24, 2020

 

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Although there are a lot of pipes sticking out of the ground the Fremantle Warders Cottages heritage boutique hotel and tavern is not a pipe dream, as this photo I took of the development yesterday afternoon shows.

The hotel will only have a few tiny rooms in the cottages, but a substantial tavern between the old cottages and Fremantle Markets.

Roel Loopers

WE DON’T BUILD COMMUNITIES. WE BUILD PLACES OF ISOLATION

 

There was an interesting panel discussion NO FIXED ADDRESS, to discuss the importance of social housing and building diversity in our urban centres, in the lovely courtyard of DADAA in Fremantle’s Princes May Park, last night with Dr. Mariana Atkins, Research Associate Professor, The Centre for Social Impact, University of Western Australia and the UWA Living Lab, Dr Holly Farley, Research Fellow, Fremantle School of Architecture, The University of Notre Dame Australia, Dr. Shane Greive, Urban and Regional Planning, School of Design and Built Environment, Curtin University, Michael Piu (CEO, St Patrick’s Community Support Centre), and  Heather Thompson (Senior Assertive Outreach Worker, 20 Lives 20 Homes Program, St Patrick’s Community Support Centre).  It was facilitated by Lisette Kaleveld, Senior Consultant, The Centre for Social Impact, University of Western Australia.

Changing cityscapes are inevitable with urban infill making places such as Fremantle desirable, especially since most of the services are provided in town, and that attracts a diversity of people, including homeless ones, and those who require social and affordable housing, but we are not designing and building for that diversity and the needs of individuals. Not many local governments have the capacity and desire to change with the times, so how do you design a city for all?

People want to be connected, be in contact with nature and there is a real disconnect there, so we need to bring the community on board because it is about the collective, not individuals. To do that we need to start understanding the history of Australia and the values, and where we want to go. We need to understand the diverse perspective, and need to learn to understand the different realities. Design should not be about excluding people!

Homelessness is nothing new and has been around for decades, so the whole community needs to own the issues and solutions, but there is a lack of value judgement. It is a fallacy that homeless people are in control of their own future! We all are only a few steps away from homelessness and if we come together the solutions are in our own hands. Start a conversation and humanise the issue!

A social worker said she had met some of the most amazing, caring and resilient people one would like to meet.

Architects and developers need to start actively listen to everybody’s stories from a design perspective. Bring the focus of development back to the people! We need a change of mindset there, as the next generation of home buyers can’t afford to buy the homes of the present generation. Inter-generational housing is not available, the housing options are not there.

There is huge value in diversity in a community, and we don’t want people with similar social/financial issues all living together, there needs to be a mix and we need to understand what home means for different people. Public housing often results in people failing because of the wrong set up and location and the lack of support. For some community housing or a boarding house is better because they don’t have to look after paying bills and connect with others. Community housing is more flexible.

There is also an interesting small exhibition in the DADAA gallery, so go and have a look at it!

COMMENT:

We don’t build communities, we build spaces where people are alone, spaces of loneliness, because at the lower end of the apartment market there are no community spaces where people can connect. There are no swimming pools, gyms, roof gardens, etc. We build highrise along transit corridors, instead of building them around green open spaces where people can meet and play.

There are tens of thousands of single middle aged and older women and men who have no social life because they can no longer afford to go to pubs, concerts, festivals, theatres, etc. where they used to connect with friends and meet new people. They don’t meet anyone and get isolated. High density living does not cater for that by providing community spaces. Many single people live in a small box with no communical spaces where they can meet their neighbours and make new friends that way.

Roel Loopers

FREO A CITY ON THE MOVE

 

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One can get a good impression of what the paving at Newman Court, in front of the Fremantle Kings Square FOMO retail and hospitality centre, will look like, with large two-coloured slabs of concrete already down. It looks like there will be cobblestone in the gaps in between.

Through the windows at the levels above one can see the office furniture and computers being installed for the state government department staff, while the huge steel beam structure of the new Civic Centre clearly starts showing what the building will look like.

Roel Loopers

HOUSING DIVERSITY PANEL AT DADAA

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, homelessness, housing, lifestyle, living, Uncategorized by freoview on January 15, 2020

 

As the built landscape of Fremantle’s East End begins to change, a public panel will bring together not-for-profit organisations, urban planning experts, the St Pat’s community and artists to discuss the importance of social housing and building diversity in our urban centres.

It is on Thursday, January 23 from 6-8pm at DADAA in the former Boys School building at Princess May Park.

This public panel is presented as a part of DADAA’s No Fixed Address program, a collaborative project between Perth contemporary artists, filmmakers and the St Pat’s community, based in Fremantle’s East End. Exploring themes of resilience, adaptation and displacement, No Fixed Address responds to the social and built environments of this radically changing part of the city and the significant role St Pat’s holds within our community.

FREE | RSVP essential

The No Fixed Address exhibition will be open from 5pm.

PANEL SPEAKERS:
Dr. Mariana Atkins, Research Associate Professor, The Centre for Social Impact, University of Western Australia and the UWA Living Lab.

Dr. Shane Greive, Urban and Regional Planning, School of Design and Built Environment, Curtin University.

Michael Piu, CEO, St Patrick’s Community Support Centre.

Heather Thompson, Senior Assertive Outreach Worker, 20 Lives 20 Homes Program.

Facilitated by Lisette Kaleveld, Senior Consultant, The Centre for Social Impact, University of Western Australia.

More information: https://www.dadaa.org.au/gallery/nofixedaddress/

 

Roel Loopers

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THE LATEST FROM FREO’S KINGS SQUARE

 

Civic Centre 1

Civic Centre 2

 

This is how the construction of the City of Fremantle’s new Civic Centre at Kings Square looked on Saturday.

The FOMO retail and hospitality component at our city square is due to open in April, and the paving work at Newman Court is under way. Department of Housing staff will start moving in around February/March, so good things will be happening soon.

The Civic Centre is due for completion in November, and council staff will be moving back in by the end of the year.

Roel Loopers

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CITY PLANNING NEEDS TO PROTECT UNIQUENESS

 

There is a very good opinion piece about city planning by Tanya Steinbeck in the West Australian today, that everyone should read.

Tanya Steinbeck is the chief executive of the Urban Planning Institute of Australia(WA), and her article makes a lot of sense to me, because it talks about the challenges of protecting the uniqueness of our cities, while supporting development. This is a challenge Fremantle is experiencing currently, with unprecedented and major development happening now, and in the pipeline for the next years.

Steinbeck writes that it is about authenticity, and that the planning experts believe we need a vision that articulates who we are and what we have to offer. It is important, she writes, not to lose ourselves as we grow, and that is a debate we are having in Fremantle at present. How do we retain and protect our unique heritage city, while encouraging new modern development? What is the Freo context? What is good and specific architecture for our city? I would love to have a public forum about that!

Tanya Steinbeck writes that identity is a complex concept, that always evolves because we evolve as people. Indeed, change is happening every day, everywhere, and is inevitable, but how do we manage change so that it does not destroy the uniqueness of our historic city? That is an issue not unique to Fremantle, but applies to many older suburbs.

I absolutely agree with Steinbeck when she says that we need to avoid homogenisation and that the planning system needs to lead there, so that we don’t get sameness when developing our cities. As she writes, it needs to be planning by people, for the people, and she points to the Town Team Movement, that is all about community-driven planning and is taking placemaking to a new level.

The article is on page 20 of today’s West Australian newspaper, so anyone interested in city planning and community, go and grab a paper from a newsagent.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE NEEDS MORE CREATIVE ARCHITECTURE

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, city planning, development, Uncategorized by freoview on December 30, 2019

 

 

I am a rather simple and modest kind of old fella who does not have too many wishes for the New Year. A bit more money would be good, and having a lot of very gorgeous women throwing themselves at me would be nice too, but I know that won’t happen, so I’ll just keep living within the limitations of reality. What could improve though is what we build in our cities.

I would love to see a lot more creative architecture in Fremantle and the entire Perth metropolitan area, because the blandness and mediocrity of most of the new modern buildings we are getting is very disappointing, hence these inspiring photos from around the world, and I am sure there are many more examples of what great architecture could look like.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE NEEDS TO GROW TO PROSPER

 

Now that we are nearing the end of the year, and the end of the decade, it is good to reflect on Fremantle’s progress and opportunities.

While other councils refused to accept the State Government’s direction of higher density infill Fremantle Council was more realistic about the fact that urban infill is necessary because the urban sprawl won’t be sustainable.

Fremantle introduced new planning schemes that encouraged developers to invest in Freo, especially the CBD, and it worked with Sirona Capital on the much-needed modernisation of Kings Square that will see many more people working in the city centre from early next year.

It took a while until developers saw the unique opportunities to build in Fremantle, but they came and we saw the Heirloom and LIV residential apartments being built, plans approved for the Little Lane residential development on the former Spotlight site, redevelopment of the Manning building and the Atwell Arcade office building, plans approved for the development and hotel on the former Police&Justice complex in Henderson Street, the start of the Warders Cottages hotel and tavern development, and new hotel plans will soon be approved for the Woolstores shopping centre site.

Plans have also been approved for a wood frame commercial development in High Street, just east of Kings Square, and we are still waiting for the Match group to start on the development of the former Energy Museum, and for the SKS Group to finally commence the Hilton Doubletree hotel building in Point Street.

The residential development of the former Workers Club in Henry Street is nearing completion, there is substantial development in the Knutsford Street area, and there is development in South Fremantle.

Top that with the Freo Social and Old Synagogue attractions and big plans for the Fishing Boat Harbour and no one can argue that Fremantle has not positioned itself very well for an exciting future that embraces old and new, and low and medium high buildings.

Already the second part of this year Fremantle has seen an increase in visitors and there is little doubt that the new FOMO retail and hospitality precinct, with supermarket, at Kings Square will become an attraction, and the four new hotels will create the 24/7 activation of the CBD that is badly needed.

When one compares Fremantle with Subiaco, where council has been reluctant to embrace urban infill, and have now been told by Planning Minister Rita Safiotti that they will have to approve buildings of up to 20 storeys near the train station, one has to be grateful that Fremantle Council took our city’s destiny in their own hands and kept building heights to a more Freo-friendly level. Future Fremantle Councils will need to start planning for a port city without a container port, as there is little doubt that the Westport Taskforce will recommend to the State Government a relocation of the port to Kwinana.

There is sometimes fair criticism about the architectural quality of buildings, but that is an issue that needs to be addressed at State level, and I am not alone to wish for a bit more colour in our city, instead of the drab colours we have been getting.

I honestly believe that Freo’s future is great and that we all have a lot to look forward to. Anti development sentiments constantly expressed by a few people who are disgruntled with Fremantle Council are not very helpful. Fremantle needs to grow to prosper!

Happy New Year!

 

Roel Loopers

PS and former North Fremantle Councillor Rob Fittock chastised me rightly for not mentioning the Leighton Beach and other development in North Freo. Mea Culpa!

NARROW-MINDED PERSPECTIVE OF FREMANTLE’S HERITAGE

 

Fremantle Society president John Dowson is losing all his credibility when he sends these kind of nonsense messages and photos to FS members:

JD perspective

Australia Day Gone – Now Fremantle

Australia Day was cancelled without consultation.

Now, without consultation, the name Fremantle has been supplanted by Wanju Nidja Walyalup Whadjuk Boodja.

The sign above blocking the view of one of Australia’s most important heritage streets, High Street Fremantle, mentions Fremantle as an afterthought.

Mayor Brad Pettitt has been paid over $1 million already to be mayor of Fremantle, not another name that has not been discussed with the community.

 

Let us look at a more objective perspective, because the reality is that any face-level sign will block the view when one is very close to it, so below the photo I took of the same sign this Christmas morning.

A more objective perspective than John Dowson’s photo.

 

It is also remarkable that John Dowson must have discovered the Fremantle way-finding signs just now at the end of December 2019 when they were installed in June 2016, so three and a half years ago.

Dowson appears to have an issue with the Noongar message on the signs, and that is astounding for someone who has made his reputation on the protection of heritage. Would Dowson want the City of Fremantle to simply ignore the 40,000+ years of Whadjuk Noongar heritage and pretend it all just started in 1829 when European settlement started?

Roel Loopers

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FREO CITY LOSES ONE OF ITS FINEST

 

The news that the City of Fremantle heritage coordinator architect Alan Kelsall has left the City at the end of this year is a loss to our city.

Alan, who looks 15 years younger than I but is the same age, won’t be retiring any time soon I hope, but wanted to move on.

I have real respect and liking for the gentle but assertive gentleman Kelsall is. We have had some very good talks about heritage, architecture, Freo’s progress and the significant change containerisation brought to Fremantle.

While Alan Kelsall was a staunch protector of Fremantle’s heritage, he was also pragmatic that progress is inevitable, and trying to accommodate the changes and modernisation of our port city.

Kelsall was often unjustly criticised and had to endure nasty personal and insulting attacks, but he remained the professional he always has been and fought for the best outcomes for our city when planning applications were debated.

The City is losing one of its finest, who will be hard to replace.  I like to thank Alan Kelsall for his dedication to Fremantle and his love for our heritage.

Roel Loopers

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