Freo's View

SHOULD RATEPAYERS PAY FOR DREAMS?

 

Two articles in the Fremantle Herald this weekend should be a little eye-opener for Fremantle Council, and hopefully they have learned some lessons.

The front page is all about the City wanting to support the creative sector more with their interim economic development action plan, while inside the paper former Councillor Tim Grey-Smith is rightly annoyed that City Ward candidates use the demise of his business for political election reasons.

The lesson is that the City of Fremantle should of course support the creative sector, but should be very aware not to support unsustainable small businesses, because the unrecoverable debts the City writes off regularly are of great concern to the ratepayers.

Kulcha, Fly by Night, art studios at Captain’s Lane, the Soup cafe, etc. all cost the City much-needed income, because lack of market research and too much naivety and dreams are not really helpful to make a good business case for new small businesses, and when they flounder the ratepayers pay for the failures.

City properties should create income for the community, and while subsidised leases might well be helpful for start-ups, these cases need to be carefully considered. How many of us can recall the City investing $ 20,000 as part of the One Planet policy to get a business starting to grow mushrooms from coffee waste? It was successful for just over a year and has now disappeared.

We have successful creative businesses such at Greg James, Jenny Dawson and Jina Lee at J Shed, and Kidogo Arthouse, and the Glen Cowans photo gallery at Captain’s Lane who pay full commercial rates, but their future is uncertain because Fremantle Council has failed to appreciate how important these art businesses are for Fremantle, so any new ideas need to first deal with giving these artists the certainty of tenure they deserve, before heading of yet again into dreamworld.

Roel Loopers

GREG JAMES SCULPTURE STOLEN FROM BATHERS BEACH

 

 

There are some effing morons in this world! Last night the lovely Bella sculpture by J Shed artist Greg James was stolen from its bench at Bathers Beach.

The bronze sculpture is one of the most photographed artworks in Fremantle and is worth well over $ 100,000. It probably weights 150kilo, so it would have taken a few people to lift it up on the back of a van.

If you read this post, crooks, let me tell you that people like you disgust me! Greg James puts a huge effort into his artwork. It takes time and dedication and it belongs at Bathers Beach, not in some fool’s backyard. Return it!

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE ART PRECINCT NEEDS SOME PICKLE

 

DSC_5703

 

The report today in the property pages of the West Australian about the new Pickle District art development in the west end of the City of Vincent made me think-again-about how inadequate the City of Fremantle’s concept for the Bathers Beach Art Precinct has been.

While Vincent is encouraging the organic growth of art and culture in the historic warehouses and factories in the Newcastle, Loftus and Charles Street precinct, Fremantle has been disrespectful to the long-established artists at J Shed and have tried to move them on by permitting a tavern and live music venue on the A Class reserve at historic Arthur’s Head. That was only stopped by the WAPC.

The City of Vincent shows that one needs creativity and confidence in artists to just let things happen and grow, with small infrastructure support from the council.

Fremantle Council unfortunately often wants to micro manage development and that has shown to be counter productive at Arthur’s Head because Council lacks good ideas for the area and the unwillingness to invest there.

And while the dedicated artists just want to keep creating Freo City can’t even provide the No 1 studio at J Shed with power, so stone sculptor Jina Lee can’t use power tools and start working on new sculptures. I did not hear that from her by the way as she dedicates all her energy to her art.

It is time for the City to sit down with some really creative people in Fremantle and come up with a good concept for an arts precinct, and ideally that should include lovely Slip Street in Fremantle Port.

Roel Loopers

I AM SHAKING MY ARTHUR’S HEAD

 

When the City of Fremantle many years ago evicted the long-term residents and Port Pilots at Captain’s Lane on Arthur’s Head to create the Bathers Beach Art Precinct I warned they would be creating a ghost town at night that would attracts vagrants, homeless people and anti social behaviour, and I was right.

Fremantle Council is now finally acknowledging that the BBAP does not work in its current conception, so one has to wonder what will be coming next.

The J Shed artists have been stressed for far too long about their future at Arthur’s Head, with having to fight the ridiculous decision by Fremantle Council  to lease the shed for a tavern and outdoor music venue to Sunset Events. That madness was only stopped by the WA Planning Commission after years of protests from residents .

Now the J Shed artists have not got their four-year leases renewed because Council is dreaming about an Aboriginal culture centre there, so what is the future for Greg James, Jenny Dawkins, Janet Nixon, Lesley Barrett, Jina Lee, Peter Zuvela and others?

Fremantle Council has been talking for years about activating Arthur’s Head and the West End of town, but have spent very little money on the area. The tavern nonsense would have given them sewerage and public toilets, paid for by others, and they have neglected one of our state’s and the city’s most significant historic precinct for yonkers.

The City should have built public toilets, a small cafe at J Shed, and extend the boardwalk from the Bathers Beach House to J Shed, but instead they have been living in LaLa land in the hope that commercial investment will do what the city does not want to finance.

Arthur’s Head is falling to bits with rock fall forcing the fencing off of large areas. It looks terrible!

For twenty years Fremantle Council has shown no interest whatsoever in the management and running of the Roundhouse. The oldest public building in Western Australia receives no annual funding from the city, it does not get financial and in kind support for marketing, or uniforms or anything, and it is a struggle for the volunteers to get the smallest repairs done.

The Roundhouse receives around 150.000 visitors a year so it is a significant tourist attraction, but the City says when the volunteers started they wanted to be autonomous, so what?! That does not mean Council should not show a very close interest in how it is working out and if the volunteers might just need a bit of help and TLC now and then. The mainly senior guides definitely deserve it, as they keep the old goal open seven days a week throughout the year. That’s a massive effort!

When the Crookes family, the Fremantle Society and the Port Pilots were still up on Arthur’s Head there was 24/7 activation. The kids brought friends home from Lance Holt school. They played on the grass, had lemonade stands to sell drinks to tourists, the Society held Bocce nights, heritage festival and Australia Day events, etc. And there was a lot of interaction from the verandas with passing visitors, but all that was not good enough for our elected members.

The place has now become an eyesore after many artists failed to succeed in the residential former pilots’ cottages, and even the Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre does not have a big impact there.

Fremantle Council wants more activation, but closes the Whalers Tunnel at 7pm, which is well before sun set in summer. It could have made the pilots’ cottages into B&B to guarantee activation of Captain’s and Mrs Trivett Lane, but instead they added them to the artist studios program of the Fremantle Arts Centre, which means that many don’t even have to, or are allowed to, open to the public.

Arthur’s Head is shambles, it brings shame on Fremantle, and it is a sign of very bad governance of the area. And of course the State Government conveniently states that the cliff was vested in the City of Fremantle so it is not their problem to stabilise the cliff face, do urgent repairs and beautifications, and show a serious interest in the historic Roundhouse. All that while Fremantle Prison and the Shipwrecks and Maritime museums are getting all the financial support they need from the state government.

It is not good enough Fremantle Council and Premier Mark McGowan!

Roel Loopers

IRRUNGADJI ARTISTS AT KIDOGO ARTHOUSE

 

July 13 Kidogo NAIDOC

 

Fremantle’s Kidogo Arthouse at Bathers Beach has artists from the Irrungadji community in residence this weekend, so go and say hello and check out their colourful story telling creations.

NAIDOC Week is an important time to connect-even more- with our indigenous people, so don’t forget to go and view the show and have a chat.

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE’S OLD SHEDS

 

J Shed 1

E Shed in B Shed

C Shed in B Shed

 

The story of four old sheds in three photos. Late afternoon light created the J Shed art studios exterior, while the windows of the B Shed cafe offered great reflections of C Shed and the E Shed markets.

Yes indeed, This is Fremantle! 😎

Roel Loopers

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SCULPTURES AT BATHERS BEACH IS BACK!

 

Sculpture@Bathers

 

I am delighted that the great SCULPTURE AT BATHERS exhibition will be back on next year with the organisers calling for entries.

The show at Fremantle’s Bathers Beach attracted thousands of people in the past and is a great showcase of Western Australian 3D art.

Roel Loopers

J SHED ARTISTS CREATE OWN SIGNS

 

j shed 3

 

The Fremantle J Shed artists at Bathers Beach have had enough of Council constantly talking about activating the historic precinct while they ignore their own placemaking advise of low hanging fruit of supporting and promoting existing businesses, instead of just pipe dreaming about the big projects for Arthur’s Head.

So the arty J Shed mob have started to put their own way finding signs around to make visitors aware there is creative light at the end of the Whalers Tunnel, and by the way, also a gorgeous beach.

Roel Loopers

LET’S GET REAL ABOUT WEST END ACTIVATION

I missed the Fremantle Council FPOL Committee meeting on Wednesday due to the Candidate Debate being at the same time, so could not observe myself what went on about Arthur’s Head.

What I hear is that that tired buzzword ‘activation’ was thrown around a lot and that Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt talked about a “Grand Vision” with substantial development, ideally in the form of a National Aboriginal Cultural Centre at the location where J Shed is at the moment.

The one major issue here is that such a building would probably cost $ 40-50 million, which Fremantle has not got, and staff cost and maintenance Fremantle cannot afford either, and…. the State Government wants to build the centre somewhere in Perth and Fremantle is not a preferred location unfortunately.

So should we risk $ 50,000 of ratepayers money on a feasibility study for an Aboriginal centre Fremantle can’t afford to build, manage and maintain, when there is hardly even a remote change that it would be approved and funded by the McGowan government?

Grand visions are great, but they need to be realistic and achievable if we are going to throw money at it.

Now let’s talk a bit about activation. First there was the idea for the Bathers Beach Art Precinct that was meant to activate the area, but did not, and galleries who tried it up on Arthur’s Head closed.  Only the Glen Cowans photograpy gallery established itself well. Now the residential cottages will become artist studios and that will do absolutely nothing to activate the area and attract more people there because the artist studios do not have to be open to the public.

Then Fremantle Council had the brilliant brain flash that a large tavern with an even larger live outdoor music venue would activate Arthur’s Head, against the wishes of the community. They proceeded anyway, to finally be told by the WA Planning Committee that it was inappropriate use of the area, after Sunset Events had wasted a lot of money and Council had managed to frustrate many Freo people. Who cares, we’ve got a grand vision!

To top it off Fremantle Council does not give a rat’s arse about the only place that actually activates Arthur’s Head 363 days a week, the Roundhouse. This major tourist attraction that gets 150,000 visitors a year has not received a single cent of Fremantle Council funding since I have been a volunteer there, which is nine years. But who cares about that tiny activation when one has a grand vision for the area. Maybe we should just demolish WA’s oldest public building and get on with an ever bigger grand vision of a twenty-story hotel on the site. Now that would activate the area.

If this is good governance, Mayor Brad Pettitt, Elected Members and Minister David Templeman than we might as well keep supporting unrealistic pipe dreams instead of supporting those who have put the hard yards in for twenty years without any help from the local, State and Federal governments. You have disrespectfully been taking the Roundhouse for granted for far too long!

You can’t see the activation of Arthur’s Head because you are blinded by your grand visions. Grow up! Mature! Inject some reality into your thought bubbles instead of talking nonsense.

Maintain Arthur’s Head better and make it more attractive. Support the Roundhouse volunteers financially and substantially, and market the old prison more and better. Get rid of the artist studios and offer tourism merchandise along Captain’s Lane, hold a monthly art&craft market on the A Class reserve at J Shed, include it in more festival events such at the Street Arts Festival, and PLEASE stop believing you need to build a monument to be remembered by. It’s not working.

Roel Loopers

 

MORE ART STUDIOS FOR ARTHUR’S HEAD

 

The Fremantle Bathers Beach Art Precinct will join the City’s Studio Program and the former Pilots Cottages will become home to multiple artists instead of art galleries.

City staff conducted a trial period and believe there are benefits for Arthur’s Head, such as “an increase in the diversity of activation” and “a more dynamic precinct has been created”

This is of course self-serving bollocks as the art studios do not have to be open to the public, so one can hardly claim there is now a more dynamic precinct at Captain’s and Ms Trivett lanes, and while there might be diversity of use inside the buildings there is no diversity of activation outside and not much to attract visitors.

The marvelous and very popular Glen Cowans underwater photography gallery stands out as a beacon of professionalism, and at least the artists in the David Giles gallery open the doors, paint on the veranda and engage with the public.

The matter of the area being a ghost town at night is not addressed, so that will only get worse.

Fremantle Council has been wanting to activate Arthur’s Head for many years but fails to understand that artist studios which are closed to the public are not going to do that. It has also dismally failed to support the Roundhouse volunteers who run a major tourist attraction without receiving any funding at all from the City or the State.

The item is on the FPOL Committee agenda on Wednesday.

Roel Loopers

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