Freo's View

FREMANTLE COUNCIL’S MOMENT OF INSANITY

 

J Shed

 

Predictably Fremantle Council last night voted to recommend for approval by the WA Planning Commission a 300 patron tavern at J Shed on Arthur’s Head, against the express wishes of the local community, Noongar people, artists and heritage groups.

But the battle was lost long before last night when over four years ago Council in a moment of collective insanity decided that the best applicant for the Expressions of Interest process for a bar/cafe/gallery was the proposal for a 1,500 patron live outdoor music venue and an 850 patron tavern, and signed a 21-year lease with Sunset Events.

Since then the live music aspect was taken away as the Council back tracked more and more because of public outrage, so at the end they believed everyone had compromised enough and 300 patrons was just a bit more than a small bar, and a tavern would activate Arthur’s Head.

The public gallery was jam packed full, and more than 30 people spoke for an hour and a half, with 80 per cent of them being against the tavern.

There were many new faces and young artists and valid arguments were made that a good arts venture would help activate J Shed and the historic area, while a very eloquent young psychologist warned about the dangers of alcohol and public health, but it was all to no avail and only four of the nine Councillors present voted against the proposal.

It was very disappointing that the elected members were abused by some people in the public gallery as that is totally inappropriate. The planning approval went through proper process and the community has elected Councillors to make decisions, and as with all decisions governments make half of the people won’t agree with them. For the record. I don’t agree with this one either.

The deciding authority is the WAPC and even if they approve Sunset Events’ application they will still need to convince the liquor licensing authority that a tavern at Bathers Beach with only portaloos is a good idea.

I am very disappointed with Fremantle Council about this issue. They did not have the backbone to admit the 21-year lease for a tavern was wrong, so they had to back their wrong decision all the way. That is not good governance.

Roel Loopers

 

MORE CREATIVE WAYS TO ACTIVATE ARTHUR’S HEAD

 

In context to the controversial tavern proposal for Fremantle’s J Shed there is a timely article in today’s property pages of the WEST AUSTRALIAN by Brett Mitchell, who is a lecturer at Curtin University at the School of Design and Built Environment.

The article Past, present populate our cityscape argues that we can no longer treat development sites as terra nullius.

Brett Mitchell writes “Our past history and future aspirations should be entwined as creative starting points for making meaningful places.”

He writes that before moving forward we have to look back first. Mitchell uses the heritage-listed cemetery in East Perth as an example where development dictated the shifting boundaries, and that once important meeting places for Whadjuk Noongar people became surrounded and claimed for expansion.

“With an awareness and retelling of our embedded stories the built environment also offers us a chance to reveal the past within the present” writes Brett Mitchell.

These are the things Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt clearly did not consider when he wrote his block post about the, in his opinion, historic irrelevance of the A Class Reserve at Arthur’s Head that is home to J Shed.

The cliff that was once there was the point of the first lighthouse in Fremantle, probably just about where J Shed now is.

We should never ever try to rewrite history to make political points, because it is flawed and very wrong. Arthur’s Head is arguably the most significant historic site in Western Australia and any development there needs to be done with respect for the past.

The desired activation of  Arthur’s Head can be achieved in better and more creative ways than building a tavern there. It is only Council’s shortsightedness and stubbornness that has prevented better outcomes.

 

Roel Loopers

 

 

FREO MAYOR’S BAD ARTHUR’S HEAD HERITAGE CALL

Posted in aboriginal, arthur head, city of fremantle, j shed, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on May 22, 2018

 

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt’s latest blogpost about the changing face of Arthur’s Head: https://cofremantle.wordpress.com is an attempt at trying to justify his support for the Sunset Events tavern proposal at J Shed. This is no doubt in response to the smoking ceremony held at Bathers Beach on Saturday in protest to the tavern proposal.

I am grateful for the historic facts and the fantastic historic photos the Mayor published, but I believe Brad Pettitt is missing the point. His argument that because Arthur’s Head changed so much and the J Shed building was added later, it is less significant than other parts of the area above it is flawed.

It is like arguing that land significant to Aboriginal people is no longer significant because mining and development have changed the area.

Just a few metres south of the proposed tavern was the Whaling Station, and Bathers Bay was where the Swan River Colony started, and sadly also the transport of Aboriginal men and boys to the inhumane Rottnest Island Aboriginal Quod prison.

As a board member of the Heritage Council Mayor Brad Pettitt should be well aware that there is tangible and intangible history. Even the beaches and slaughter fields of all the wars have changed over time, but have never become less significant because changes to the areas were made.

Historic significance of place is not measured in metres or what has been taken away or been added! There is very little tangible evidence left of the WWII bombing of Rotterdam, Leipzig, Nuremberg, Berlin, etc.

The Roundhouse is no longer the same as it was when it was built, so does that make the oldest public building in Western Australia less significant?

I have no issue with the Freo Mayor being a big fan of the tavern at J Shed, but I would expect a more intelligent debate from him to support his position than to try to discredit the heritage significance of parts of Arthur’s Head.

Bad call, Brad!

Roel Loopers

ROCK FALL AT ARTHUR’S HEAD

Posted in arthur head, city of fremantle, health&safety, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on May 20, 2018

 

 

The ‘shaving’ of the limestone cliff face at Fremantle’s Arthur’s Head is finished but it appears it has not been done properly as yesterday at lunchtime a 30 centimetre rock and other smaller ones fell down onto the bush path near the dual bike/walk way.

A local Little High street resident and I decided to re-erect two of the discarded signs to stop people from walking along there as it clearly is a public safety hazard.

Can someone at the City of Fremantle please urgently attend to this matter as the officer in charge is on a five week holiday!

Roel Loopers

UPDATE! Just received a text message at 4.15pm from City of Fremantle CEO Phil St John that they are checking the cliff face this afternoon. Good work CoF!

TIME TO HAVE A SUNSET ON TAVERN PROPOSAL

 

 

The Sunset Events proposal for a tavern at J Shed on Bathers Beach will go to Ordinary Council-hopefully for the very last time!-this Wednesday and it could be a close call.

Deputy Mayor Ingrid Waltham, who is against the tavern, is on holiday and Councillors Rachel Pemberton and Sam Wainwright will declare a conflict of interest, so these three won’t be voting.

If there are no other apologies there will be ten elected members who will vote on the item.

It is likely that Mayor Brad Pettitt and Councillors Dave Hume, Adin Lang, Andrew Sullivan and Hannah Fitzhardinge will vote for the tavern, while Councillors Jeff McDonald, Bryn Jones and Jenny Archibald will probably vote against it. How Jon Strachan and Doug Thompson will vote would be a guess, but if they vote against the proposal the casting vote of the Mayor would get it over the line for recommending it for approval by the WAPC.

But the deciding authority is the WA Planning Committee, which rejected the previous proposal because a tavern was inappropriate use of the A Class reserve at historic Arthur’s Head. Will they change their opinion just because the number of patrons and the outdoor footprint has been reduced?

Whatever the outcome it is time to move on and have a long term Masterplan for the area.

Roel Loopers

UPDATE! I have been advised that Councillor Jon Strachan is also an apology so that will make the voting by only 9 elected members very interesting.

HAVE A FREO WHALE OF A TIME!

 

wt 4

wt 3

 

The Fremantle Whalers Tunnel below the historic Roundhouse has reopened and so has the dual pedestrian/bicycle path.

The protective walkway on the beach side is not a pretty sight but a necessity to protect people from potential rock fall.

It is now easier again to get to the art studios at J Shed and to Bathers Beach from High Street.

Roel Loopers

ARTHUR’S HEAD CLIFF FACE UPDATE

Posted in arthur head, city of fremantle, health&safety, heritage, historic, Uncategorized by freoview on May 10, 2018

 

 

The shaving of the Arthur’s Head cliff face started today while the erection of the protective walk way at the Whalers Tunnel continued.

The City of Fremantle had received expert advise that there was danger of rock fall and closed the tunnel and the dual use path, but all should be back to normal by tomorrow.

The pedestrian/cycle path will reopen late afternoon on Friday and the tunnel will reopen on Saturday morning.

Roel Loopers

WHALERS TUNNEL ROCKFALL PROTECTION

 

Whalers Tunnel

 

Work is under way at the historic Fremantle Whalers Tunnel to provide safe passage for visitors to Arthur’s Head.

The danger of rock fall forced the City of Fremantle to close the tunnel three weeks ago but it will reopen again this week.

The rock face on the east end will be shaved off and the bicycle/pedestrian path will reopen also this week.

Roel Loopers

FREO WHALERS TUNNEL REOPENS THIS WEEK

 

 

The historic Fremantle Whalers Tunnel below the Roundhouse will reopen late this week. Work on the Arthur’s Head limestone cliff face will be done on Thursday and the foot/cycle path will open later that day.

Temporary scaffolding will extend the tunnel on the beach side to protect people from rock fall, until more permanent work has been done.

Roel Loopers.

Comments Off on FREO WHALERS TUNNEL REOPENS THIS WEEK

FREMANTLE COUNCIL J SHIT GOVERNANCE

 

The Fawlty Towers approach to governance by Fremantle Council on the proposed J Shed tavern development continued at the Planning Committee on Wednesday evening and will be repeated again at full Ordinary Council next week.

The Bathers Beach saga has been going on since November 2012 when the City asked for Expressions Of Interest (EOI) for a bar/cafe/gallery for the No 1 unit at J Shed on historic Arthur’s Head.

With stars in their eyes the naive Council then decided to sign the ‘applicant driven’ 21 year lease for an 850 patron tavern and 1,500 patron outdoor live music venue, against the express and loud wishes of local residents and heritage groups, Fremantle Ports and neighbouring J Shed artists, as well as Noongar representatives.

But when Sunset Events finally put their planning proposal in Councillors got cold feet and rejected the application, which subsequently was also rejected by the WA Planning Commission, which is the deciding authority.

Since then the proposal has been watered down a few times and is now only for a 300 patron tavern on a reduced parcel of the A Class Reserve and no outdoor live music events. If that is actually financially viable for the proponent is very questionable, and according to a CoF director I spoke to this afternoon Sunset Events will need to find a financial partner for the around $ 1 million development to be able to realise it.

The WAPC rejected the proposal because it was inappropriate in use, bulk and scale for the area and Councillor Jeff McDonald passionately reminded his fellow Councillors of that.

McDonald said that the land is of regional significance, the parking requirements are not addressed, that it is not a low profile development, and it is not at all similar to Rottnest Island!

Mayor Brad Pettitt however believed that the proposal for a tavern is a real opportunity to activate the West End and Arthur’s Head and that the plans were now close to where the Council initially wanted to go. One has to wonder then why Council signed a 21 year lease for an large 850 patron tavern and an even bigger 1,500 patron music venue in the first place, when all they wanted was a small bar. Yes Minister!

The process has been unfair to everyone! Sunset Events had every reason to believe in good faith that Council would support the tavern and music venue when they signed the long lease, but the same elected members who approved the lease keep stuffing the proponents around until the proposal is close to no longer being viable.

The J Shed artists had to live with the anxiety of not knowing what is going to happen with their work spaces, studios and galleries and if the impact of the proposal might mean they will have to move elsewhere.

The heritage groups are of course concerned about the negative impact on one of the most significant historic areas in Western Australia and how that might impact also on tourism.

The inner city residents are rightly concerned about drunks, anti social behaviour, littering of Bathers Beach and parking issues. One can just imagine that at night time clever motorists will find that Mrs Trivett and Captain’s Lane, as well as Fleet Street are just fine for illegal parking and maybe having a quick wee in the dark. With the Whalers Tunnel closed at night it is a long walk around Arthur’s Head in the dark to the Little High Street and Victoria Quay carparks.

The fact that there are no plans for building a proper toilet block should also be a concern as portaloos are unsightly and smelly.

Councillor Jenny Archibald summed up pretty well what I have been saying for years. Arthur’s Head and the Bathers Beach Arts Precinct need a more cohesive approach from Council. She said it was disappointing Council is willing to compromise so much and that the original EOI was interesting. May I remind the Mayor that he agreed before the October election at an event in the National Hotel that the Bathers Beach Art Precinct needed to be revisited by Council because it was not working!

Councillor Adin Lang said it was unlikely a cafe could afford to spend $ 1 million on infrastructure.

Don’t waste your time folks watching a satirical program on TV, come attend Fremantle Council instead when they debate the J Shed proposal and you’ll get a mix of Yes Minister and Fawlty Towers all on the same night and free to hot air. If it wasn’t so sad to watch the incompetence it would be a good laugh.

Roel Loopers

%d bloggers like this: