Freo's View

NO SHOPPING WEST OF THE FREO RAILWAY LINE?

Freo map

 

For the City of Fremantle’s marketing department the shopping experience in our city clearly does not extend west of the railway line, why else would they have excluded important galleries at Arthur’s Head, an area the Council claims it wants to activate, albeit with a tavern though.

Why is there no icon next to the Roundhouse for the Glen Cowans Photo Gallery which is #2 on Trip Advisor, and why no icon at Bathers Beach for Kidogo Arthouse?

Also excluded are the galleries at J Shed and the David Giles gallery up at Captain’s Lane.

When the City of Fremantle last created a tourist map it left out Fremantle Prison, which is one of the most popular tourist destinations. They printed so many of them that we still have to hand them out at the Roundhouse, where very many of our visitors ask for directions to…. you guessed it!…. Fremantle Prison.

It is really not fair, City of Fremantle, that you deliberately disadvantage some traders in our city!

Roel Loopers

KRAKEN IN FULL SWING

 

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THE KRAKEN Festival in the Fremantle Bathers Beach Art Precinct is in full swing this afternoon, so make sure to go and have a look.

There are art and craft and food stalls, live music and performances, stuff for the kids to do, and all that around historic Arthur’s Head.

The Fremantle Doctor is blowing very hard so that will be a challenge to light the fires of the Karla-K Koorling at 7pm. Don’t mis it though!

Roel Loopers

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THE FUTURE OF FREO’S J SHED

 

With the saga about a tavern at J Shed on Bathers Beach now finally closed it is now time for Fremantle Council to look at a long-term plan for historic Arthur’s Head because the Bathers Beach Art Precinct idea has clearly not improved activation of the area, and that is what Council supposedly was hoping for when approving the 21-year tavern lease with Sunset Events.

There are a few simple facts about the art precinct and that is that quite a few artists have tried but could not even earn enough to pay the rent, and only a few real professionals such as Greg James, Jenny Dawson and Glen Cowans have survived and contributed to the area, and to a lesser extend also the messy looking David Giles gallery where many Sunday painters gather.

We also know that hospitality operators looked at the No 1 glass wall studio at J Shed but did not believe it was financially viable to start a business because they would have had to invest in sewerage, toilets and building a commercial kitchen, and the costs were prohibitive. It was also questioned if a hospitality venue would be a good neighbour next to a semi-industrial art workshop where grinding, welding, wax and bronze melting takes place.

Activation is a buzz word in Fremantle, as was placemaking for a few years, but what does it really mean and how much of it is needed at Arthur’s Head? Already the Roundhouse attracts some 150,000 visitors a year and that is the number of people actually going through the door, while many who walk up to the limestone cliff face just wander around without entering. It is a coming and going that make the place look popular, and the Glen Cowans gallery next to it offers fantastic underwater photography that is admired by many visitors from all over the world.

If Fremantle Council is seriously interested in activating the area why does it not use the lawn next to the Roundhouse and the A Class reserve in front of J Shed more often for events, one has to wonder. Why for example is the far west end of High Street not used as a stage for the Street Arts Festival to attract people there and help the activation Freo councillors keep dreaming about? Why is there no weekend art and craft market in the area?

Where is the investment in the area when Bathers Beach still does not have public toilets and where the connectivity from The Fishing Boat Harbour to Victoria Quay is still not resolved properly? Why are the Pilot’s Cottages not lit up at night, that would also discourage homeless people from using them?

Why also do we live with scaffolding and fencing around the cliff face since May, and work has still not started on it when tourists numbers and cruise ship visits will increase during the warmer summer months? Why has it taken so long, nearly half a year!, to find a solution?

Fremantle Council needs to walk the walk and put ratepayers’ money to good use at Arthur’s Head, because the area looks run down and uncared for and that is unacceptable for this heritage and tourist precinct. Forget activation, prioritise tender loving care first!

Roel Loopers

J SHED TAVERN LEASE TERMINATED!

 

In a great exclusive the FREMANTLE HERALD today reports on its front page that Sunset Events has asked the City of Fremantle to terminate its 21-year lease for a tavern at J Shed.

The development approval was rejected by the WA Planning Commission last month, but there were fears in the community that Sunset Events might take it all the way to the State Administrative Tribunal, instead the events promoters decided to walk away from the Bathers Beach venture.

This is an amazingly good outcome for the Fremantle community and heritage groups who protested long, loud and clear against the inappropriate proposal, but the majority of Fremantle Councillors just did not want to listen to them and now have egg on their face for pursuing this for far too long.

It is now time for Fremantle Council to revisit plans for J Shed and the entire Bathers Beach Arts Precinct, which needs to have new innovative ideas to activate it more and better and to make it a tourist destination in the significant heritage area just below the Roundhouse.

Roel Loopers

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J SHED SAGA NOT OVER YET

 

Word on the J Shed grapevine is that Sunset Events is going to take the application for a tavern at Bathers Beach all the way to the State Administrative Tribunal, after it was refused this week by the WA Statutory Planning Commission as being an inappropriate use of the A Class Reserve.

I believe it is disappointing that the SE directors are so stubborn and want to fight a proposal that has been strongly rejected by many community groups and the WASPC.

Rumours also have it that if Sunset Events do not get their way at SAT they are considering legal action against the City of Fremantle, although CoF are not the deciding authority.

So here we go again, deja vu and groundhog dag all together.

Roel Loopers

FREO J SHED TAVERN REFUSED BY WAPC!

 

The WA Statutory Planning Committee announced in the Minutes today of their meeting on August 28 that they REFUSE the development of a tavern by Sunset Events of the No 1 studio at J Shed at Fremantle’s Bathers Beach.

The committee members agreed that the area could be activated but there was a need to find an appropriate and compatible use.

“1. The proposed application does not comply with there requirements of the Clause 30 (1) of the Metropolitan Region Scheme as it is inconsistent with the purpose for which the land is reserved under the scheme, inconsistent with the orderly and proper planning of the locality and does not allow the preservation of amenities in the locality.
2. The proposed application does not comply with there requirements of Development Control Policy 5.3 – Use of Land Reserved for Parks and Recreation and Regional Open Space as it is not of a nature and scale compatible with the use and zoning of the surrounding land, the nature and purpose of the reserved land and the environmental character of the location.”

This is a huge win for Fremantle heritage groups, local residents and the J Shed artists who have been fighting Fremantle Council from the very start of the proposal.

Council signed a 21-year lease with Sunset Events for an 850 patron tavern and a 1,500 patron outdoor live music area against the strong opposition of all the community groups and Fremantle Ports. Even a packed Townhall for a special electors meeting did not sway the elected members to change their mind.

Sunset Events watered down their proposal to a tavern for only 350 patrons and no live outdoor concerts but the WASPC still believed that this would be an inappropriate use of the A Class Reserve.

The lease contract between the City of Fremantle and Sunset Events will now be declared null and void.

Roel Loopers

 

D DAY FOR BATHERS BEACH J SHED TAVERN

 

It is D Day for the proposed tavern at J Shed with the development application coming before the WA Statutory Planning Committee today.

The application by Sunset Events is recommended by officers for refusal, so now we have to wait and see if the committee members agree with that.

It has been a very long saga that will hopefully end today, so Fremantle can move on.

Roel Loopers

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J SHED TAVERN RECOMMENDED FOR REFUSAL BY SPC

 

The WA Statutory Planning Committee will next week on August 28 debate the application by Sunset Events for a tavern at J Shed at Fremantle’s Bathers Beach.

Contrary to Fremantle Council the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage ‘Considers the current application has not fully addressed the SPC’s reasons for refusing the previous application and it is therefore recommended that the application be refused’

I believed from the start that the SPC would not change their mind that a tavern is inappropriate use of the A Class Reserve at historic Arthur’s Head, and that in this case size would not matter, so reducing the number of patrons would have no impact on the decision.

If the committee agrees with the refusal recommendation Fremantle Council urgently needs to go back and revisit the Bathers Beach Arts Precinct, as it is not working in its present form.

Roel Loopers

 

 

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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

 

 

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