Freo's View

NATURE’S BEAUTY IN FREMANTLE CITY CENTRE

Posted in arthur head, bathers beach, city of fremantle, Uncategorized by freoview on December 15, 2017

 

Bathers Bay

Arthur Head 1

 

I was early for my shift as volunteer tourguide at the Roundhouse, so had the time to walk around Arthur Head a bit.

I took the photos of the little cave and wildflowers in the cliff face, near the entrance to the so-called secret tunnel, that leads from the Gunners Cottage into the Whalers Tunnel, and also two people and their dog enjoying the Indian Ocean at Bathers Bay.

And we have got all this beauty in the centre of Fremantle. How amazing hey!

Roel Loopers

J SHED DEBACLE ON COUNCIL AGENDA

Posted in architecture, arthur head, bathers beach, city of fremantle, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on December 13, 2017

 

hero

 

There were indications at last week’s Fremantle Planning Committee that Mayor Brad Pettitt might try to defer the decision at tonight’s Ordinary Council meeting on the proposed tavern at J Shed for 2-3 months to get Sunset Events to make more changes.

This would be contrary to what the Fremantle community wants, as it has expressed very clearly and loudly for four years.

The Wadjuk Noongar people, inner city residents, Fremantle Ports, Fremantle Society, Fremantle History Society, Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides and the J Shed artists have all very clearly said no to a tavern at Arthur Head, and so has the WA Planning Committee.

We have heard the excuses and semantics in the past that somehow that specific part of Arthur Head has less historic significance than the rest of the historic area, but that is baseless rubbish.

Fact is that Arthur Head in its entirety is heritage listed. Fact is that the proposed site for the tavern is only metres away from where the Whaling Station used to be. It is 30 metres from the Whalers Tunnel, and it is just below the Gunners Cottage and WA’s oldest public building the Roundhouse gaol.

Bathers Bay is where British settlement started in ernest and where the first port was, in the form of a one-kilometre-long jetty. It is also where Aboriginal men and boys were put on boats to be transported to the inhumane Quod prison on Rottnest Island. The Arthur Head area is the foundation of Western Australia’s British settlement.

Another reason why the item should not be deferred by Fremantle Council is a point made by Councillor Rachel Pemberton when Council discussed another planning proposal a few weeks ago.

Pemberton stated that the Elected Members had agreed that they would no longer indefinitely defer planning proposals if these proposals required substantial changes, instead of minor tweaking. That is the case with the Sunset Events proposal for J Shed. It requires substantial changes, not just minor adjustments, and for that reason alone refusal of the proposal should be the only outcome of the Ordinary Council meeting tonight.

Sunset Events wants a tavern on the A Class reserve, that the community does not want, and WAPC has made it clear in its past ruling that is inappropriate use of the reserve. WAPC did not rule on the number of patrons, but about inappropriate use of a public space. That will not change.

It is also highly unlikely that Sunset Events would be willing to reduce the number of patrons yet again, because they already deleted the 1,500 patron outdoor music venue and halved the number of tavern patrons. There is little left of their initial plans.

The sad fact for Sunset Events is that they have been had by Fremantle Council. What is happening with the tavern proposal is akin to the City of Fremantle signing a lease for a funeral parlour, but when it comes to planning approval they suddenly decide that they don’t want dead bodies in the building and no hearses in the street. It’s outrageously bad governance!

The J Shed saga is an unmitigated debacle that Fremantle Councillors should be ashamed about, and it needs to stop now!

Roel Loopers

FRESH IDEAS NEEDED FOR ARTHUR HEAD

Posted in art, arthur head, bathers beach, city of fremantle, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on December 8, 2017

 

The desire of Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt and Councillor Hannah Fitzhardinge to extend the decision period on the proposed tavern at J Shed by Sunset Events comes in my opinion far too late. What could possibly be achieved in 2-3 months of talking that could not have been achieved in the last four years?

Fremantle Council did have many opportunities to listen to the community but instead created a divide that has now become too polarised to be resolved and end in a good outcome for the proponents and opponents.

Sunset Events has in desperation asked Freo Massive readers what they believe is acceptable for the J Shed studio at Bathers Beach, as director David Chitty also did at the Council meeting on Wednesday. The community already told you that, David, so why engage social media when there has been community consultation, meetings, information sessions, a special electors meeting, written and verbal submissions, etc?

The dilemma is that the two sides are too far apart to find a compromise, and there appears to be a bit of stubbornness on both sides as well. The stuff them attitude is not going to help anyone!

Would Sunset Events be happy to just run a day-time cafe and small bar with a nice deck to watch Bathers Bay and the sunset? I doubt it, as they want big numbers of patrons to make their investment worthwhile, and that is fair enough from a business perspective.

The J Shed artists appear to not want anything but another art studio in that location, so they will probably also object to a small bar at the No 1 studio.

Community groups might well be happy with a 150-patron small bar there, as I would be, but I don’t think Sunset Events will want to scale down its proposal that far.

Fact is that the City of Fremantle should not have wandered off so far from the initial Expression of Interest and CoF should not have signed a 21-year lease for a tavern and outdoor music venue.

Councillors and the administration have to accept all the blame for this fiasco and they now will have to do their utmost best to get Sunset Events to relinquish the lease and start from scratch.

It is however also important for the J Shed artists to show more willingness to compromise as they should not dictate who their next door businesses can be. A small bar and cafe is totally acceptable for the venue and would become a good attraction for tourists and local residents.

The A Class reserve is very suitable to support the artists and create a sculpture park, with the addition of some shade structures and more seating. That would also support a new cafe/bar at J Shed. And a small playground for the kids would also be a nice addition for the area.

The Bathers Beach Art Precinct should go back to the drawing board as it is not working. The Pilot’s Cottages at Captain’s Lane are closed too many days of the week and do very little to help activate the area. The only exemptions up there are the Glen Cowans photo gallery and the very popular Roundhouse which attract a lot of visitors, and so did the High Tide biennale by the way.

I still wonder if the Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre would not have been far more successful at the J Shed No 1 unit and complement the existing art businesses there better.

Fremantle Council need to acknowledge they got it wrong as far as the activation of Arthur Head is concerned and should start all over again with an open mind. This might well be the opportune time to engage an outside consultant to get some new and fresh ideas.

In the meantime the Roundhouse volunteer guides want to put new displays inside the popular tourist attraction, and they need big money to do that. Time for Fremantle Council to engage with them and collaborate and also to give them some assistance!

 

Roel Loopers

 

 

COUNCIL INCOMPETENCE IN J SHED FARCE

Posted in arthur head, city of fremantle, heritage, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on December 7, 2017

 

The highly farcical tavern proposal at J Shed on Bathers Beach saga continued last night when the Planning Committee of Fremantle Council refused again the proposal by Sunset Events for a 400-patron tavern at the number one studio on the A Class reserve.

In its utter incompetence in this matter Fremantle Council has managed to make victims of both the proponents and opponents of the development at historic Arthur Head. That is a remarkable feat!

Some four years ago Council supported the applicant driven proposal for a 1,500 patron outdoor music venue and 850-patron tavern and signed a 21 year lease with Sunset Events.

This was against strong opposition of West End residents, J Shed artists, FICRA, Aboriginal and  heritage groups and Fremantle Ports, but our Councillors had their rose-coloured ACTIVATION glasses on and suddenly wanted something much bigger than a cafe, restaurant or small bar, as was invited for in the Expressions of Interest document.

All public submissions were ignored and even the packed full Townhall special electors meeting was dismissed because our elected members knew best what is good for us.

In good faith and with the justifiable assumption that Council would approve the tavern and music venue Sunset Events signed a 21-year lease, but now their scaled-down proposals keep getting rejected and that is extremely unfair to them.

I agree with last night’s refusal and the refusals before that because a large tavern is not acceptable for one of our state’s most significant historic areas, but to leave the proponents in limbo with no room to move shows arrogance, naivety and incompetence by those Councillors who voted for the 21-year lease.

J Shed artists have had their nerves stretched to the limit as their livelihood is at stake, and Sunset Events rightly insists that the project has to be financially viable for them before they invest millions in sewerage, toilets, a commercial kitchen, etc.

The way Fremantle Council has handled the J Shed proposal is so absurd and incompetent that it might well have been an episode of the satirical TV series Utopia.

Sunset Events has every right to being frustrated and should take legal action against Fremantle Council for wasting their time and money, because reducing the scale of the tavern even more would not make financial sense for them.

One has to seriously wonder why it is that only after four years officers and Councillors now decide that a tavern is inappropriate for the A Class reserve, the heritage area and the Bathers Beach Art Precinct, although they signed a lease for it. That, as Planning Committee chair Jon Strachan pointed out, will make any size tavern un-approvable in the future and leaves Sunset Events in limbo.

It is an absolute disgrace and those Councillors who voted for the long-term lease should kick themselves in the backside really hard and get an injection of a dose of reality.

Roel Loopers

NEW LAWN AT BATHERS BEACH

Posted in art, arthur head, bathers beach, city of fremantle, Uncategorized by freoview on December 5, 2017

 

Kidogo lawn

 

It took many years of complaints from Kidogo Arthouse owner Joanna Robinson and local residents about the dust bowl at Bathers Beach before the City of Fremantle saw reason.

Initially the complaints were dismissed because of the heritage interpretation of the project and Fremantle Council and its officers refused to acknowledge that the soft surface simply was not practical and created dust and dirt problems in the art galleries.

Expensive dust suppression material was sprayed onto the surface, but it made little difference, so now finally new turf is being laid at the popular West End beach, to the delight of the Kidogo owner and local community.

Roel Loopers

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SUNSET J SHED TAVERN ON PLANNING AGENDA

Posted in arthur head, bathers beach, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on December 2, 2017

 

J Shed plans 3

J Shed plans 2

 

The controversial proposal by Sunset Events for a 400-patron tavern and micro-brewery in J Shed at Fremantle’s historic Bathers Beach is on the agenda again at this Wednesday’s Fremantle Council Planning Committee.

The deciding authority is the WA Planning Commission, but the CoF officers recommend that the City’s planning committee refuse the application for following reasons:

OFFICER’S RECOMMENDATION
Planning committee acting under delegation 2.1:

Refer to the Western Australian Planning Commission with a recommendation for REFUSAL under the Metropolitan Region Scheme, the proposed partial change of use to Tavern, and additions and alterations to an existing building at No. 1 (Lot 2051) Fleet Street, Fremantle, as detailed on plans dated 1 November 2017, for the following reasons:

  1. The proposal is inappropriate having regard to the purposes for which the land is reserved under the Metropolitan Region Scheme.
  2. The proposal is inconsistent with objectives 3.1 and 3.2 of the City of Fremantle’s Local Planning Policy DGF5 – Arthur Head Reserve Strategy Plan.
  3. The proposal is inconsistent with Policy 3 of the City of Fremantle’s Local Planning Policy DGF6 – Arthur Head – (West End of High Street, Fremantle).
  4. The proposal is inconsistent with clause 3.4 of the City of Fremantle’s Local Planning Policy DGF26 – Planning Policy for the West End of Victoria Quay.
  5. The proposal is inconsistent with clause 1.1 of the City of Fremantle’s Local Planning Policy DBU6 – Late Night Entertainment Venues Serving Alcohol.
  6. The proposal is inconsistent with clause 4.1.2(b) of the City of Fremantle’s Local Planning Policy DGF14 – Fremantle West End Conservation Area Policy.

 

The whole tavern idea has become a real farce because initially Fremantle Council approved a 19-year lease for a large tavern and outdoor music area, but now they are scrambling to get out of their ridiculous decision after community outrage. That is unfair to Sunset Events which signed the lease in good faith that they could open a tavern at J Shed.

It was preposterous to believe a tavern would be suitable for the Bathers Beach Art Precinct and historically very significant Arthur Head, so why sign a long-term lease with SE in the first place?!

But now after Fremantle Council approved a lease, they suddenly discover a tavern is not suitable for Arthur Head and want to refuse it. That’s shambolic!

The new proposal cuts off the connectivity between Victoria Quay and the Fishing Boat Harbour and would have a negative impact on the gallery business of the adjoining art studios of Greg James, Janet Nixon, Jina Lee, Lesley Barrett, Jenny Dawson, Ross Potter and Ellen McCarthy, as people would have to walk around the tavern boundaries, when coming from the south, to get to the galleries. That is not acceptable!

Imagine though a beach restaurant in the style of the Swanbourne beach cafe Shorehouse,  Port Beach Coast, or Beaches cafe, Cottesloe, instead of a tavern and brewery. A lovely cafe/restaurant with a big deck to watch the sunset, have breakfast and chill out. Now that would be a good way of activating that part of Bathers Beach.

The item is on the agenda of the Planning Committee this Wednesday December 6 at 6pm.

Roel Loopers

TREE ART AT HISTORIC ARTHUR HEAD

Posted in art, arthur head, city of fremantle, Uncategorized by freoview on November 19, 2017

 

tree art

 

Some lovely tree art up on Arthur Head at Mrs Trivett Lane, just below the Roundhouse.

Fremantle has so many hidden treasures that are waiting to be discovered, so wander around our beautiful city and connect with your community.

Roel Loopers

 

PURPOSE BUILT FREO INDIGENOUS CENTRE FEASIBILITY STUDY

Posted in aboriginal, arthur head, city of fremantle, Uncategorized by freoview on November 7, 2017

 

The FPOL Committee of the City of Fremantle will deliberate on Wednesday to approve a feasibility study for a purpose built indigenous centre in central Fremantle or on Victoria Quay.

After consultation with the local Wajuk Noongar community over the last few months it was decided that the indigenous people in Fremantle preferred a purpose built cultural centre.

The Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Captain’s Lane on Arthur’s Head did not really go off. It was always going to be an uphill battle there, as the location and the small Pilot’s Cottage were inappropriate and too small for a cultural centre.

Roel Loopers

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A WHALE OF A FREO FESTIVAL

Posted in art, arthur head, city of fremantle, fremantle festival, Uncategorized by freoview on October 26, 2017

 

art 1

art 2

 

I believe that this year’s Fremantle Festival, which starts tomorrow with the Wardarnji Aboriginal Festival at the Fremantle Arts Centre, will be one of the best ever.

The addition of the two-yearly High Tide adds another international dimension to our port town festival and that is lifting the quality.

While Swiss artist Felice Varini has finished his epic Arcs D’Ellipses yellow artwork along High Street, down at the J Shed No 4 studio Ross Potter was still patiently drawing a life-size humpback whale that will be on display at the Maritime Museum from tomorrow till mid November.

Up on Arthur Head next to the Roundhouse they are building a lovely festival hub meeting place, and there will be shows in the Roundhouse and Whalers Tunnel.

Take part in the festival as it is all about community!

 

Roel Loopers

NO SHADE AT ARTHUR HEAD

Posted in arthur head, city of fremantle, roundhouse, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on October 19, 2017

 

roundhouse rest

 

I spotted this man having a rest on a bench next to the Fremantle Roundhouse in front of the Glen Cowans underwater photography gallery, so had to take a photo of course.

While admiring the Felice Varine artwork along High Street from there Glen Cowans and I were talking about why there are no shade structures for visitors to Arthur Head on the lawn next to the Roundhouse.

Some 140,000 visitors enter the Roundhouse yearly and many of them are seniors who need a rest after walking up the steps, but there are only two benches outside WA’s oldest building, and neither of them are in the shade. The bench at the gallery is in shade only late afternoon.

Trees would be nice, but probably not possible because of the Whalers Tunnel below, but a couple of nice shade structures would be good and also assist to give shade to wedding guests up there.

 

Roel Loopers

Roel for City Ward!

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