Freo's View

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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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.

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

NEW PLANS FOR SMALLER J SHED TAVERN

 

The City of Fremantle Planning Committee will next Wednesday, May 2, deliberate another planning approval by Sunset Venues for the No One unit at J Shed on Bathers Beach.

The application is for Partial change of use to tavern, additions and alterations to existing building.

Fremantle Council agreed two weeks ago to change the lease conditions for a smaller-300 patron-venue and rent reduction, so the next steps are planning approval and a liquor license.

I would have been a lot more at ease if the application had been for a large licensed restaurant/cafe that could cater for weddings and corporate functions. The insistence of creating a tavern at Arthur’s Head does not sit well with inner city residents and the neighbouring artists at J Shed.

There is little doubt that the planning approval with sail quickly through Fremantle Council and it will then be up to the WA Planning Commission and liquor licensing authorities to stop the tavern, or approve it.

Whatever the outcome, this has been going on for far too long!

Roel Loopers

FROM THE FREO FPOL COMMITTEE

 

The Fremantle Council Finance, Policy, Operations and Legislation Committee last night approved all, but one, items on the agenda. Some of them will have to go through full council next week before being implemented though.

  • The contract for J Shed between the City of Fremantle and Sunset Venues will be changed for a smaller venue. The Director of City Business explained that is not a planning approval, so the proposed  300 patron tavern might still be stopped when and if Sunset Venues applies for it and for a liquor license.
  • The Solar Farm also got the tick of approval but Councillor Andrew Sullivan said he would have liked to see officers explore the possibility and costs of remediation of the site as it might well be profitable if it could be developed for residential living.
  • The new Precinct Policy was also adopted with Councillor Andrew Sullivan saying he never saw the need for precincts to be managed by the City, as community groups should rise and fall depending on the interest and participation of residents.
  • The contract for Fremantle Oval with the South Fremantle Football Club will also go ahead, so the footy club is getting all their Christmases at once. It appears they have been playing a bit of hard ball with CoF, so I am not sure why we so desperately need the club at the oval as it will not generate any income for the City. Not even the outgoings for power, water, etc. have reached an agreement yet. Councillor Rachel Pemberton was very worried about the big LED sign and said the City should make sure that the SFFC would not put up more of them.

Roel Loopers

 

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