It no longer comes as a surprise to me that City of Fremantle officers recommend approval for a 185 sqm restaurant and 285 sqm climbing wall for the Naval Store at Cantonment Hill as part of the long-term lease to the ENKEL collective.
More and more we see the non-approvable being recommended for approval by CoF officers and that is disappointing. It is a worry because Councillors take serious notice of the expert advise of the officers, even when common sense appears to be lacking in some recommendations to the elected members.
The ENKEL item is on the agenda of this Wednesday’s Planning Committee but will be decided by the Western Australian Planning Committee.
City officers believe it is an acceptable proposal although there is not sufficient parking nearby and even drop off and pick up points near the Naval Store would be very challenging.
Officers say the lack of parking is made up for by the car park at the East Street jetty on Beach Street, but that would require people to walk up the hill and cross four lanes of the very busy Canning Highway at a dangerous intersection at a bend in the road. How many parents will risk this with their children to get to the climbing wall, and how many elderly people would dare to take the risk to get to the restaurant?
Parking and access is going to be one of the main issues with the Cantonment Hill development because activation will mean traffic concerns for local people and safety concerns for visitors because of the awkward location of the site.
It might have been better to create a car park with trees on the site proposed for a children’s playground just east of the hill, because it is unrealistic to assume that most people will visit the site by bike or on foot. Most will come by car and that has has not been catered for.
Bad call, officers!
I wasn’t aware of and not invited to the official opening of the Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue moving into the Signal Station at Cantonment Hill yesterday, so I have pinched these photos from the Facebook page of Josh Wilson MP. Thanks Josh!
Because I wasn’t there I can’t tell or show you anything else unfortunately and that is disappointing.
The City of Fremantle will need approximately $ 187,000 to make the limestone cliff face behind the former Naval Stores at Cantonment Hill safe, which means the ENKEL group occupation of the stores will be delayed.
Geotechnical consultants have found that the natural area behind the stores is unstable with a high risk of failure, so immediate action needs to be taken to secure the rock face and prevent rockfall on or near the Naval Stores.
The preferred method is the batter protection one, using an anchor system, mesh and fibrous shortcrete to stabilise the area and allow for regrowth.
The Fremantle Cantonment Hill open day started with the very good news this morning that Lotterywest has granted the important City of Fremantle project a $ 2,2 million grant and work on stage one will start in the second half of this year.
The Volunteer Sea Rescue organisation also received the keys for the Signal Station today and they will start moving brand new equipment in soon as well.
The move of innovators and incubators ENKEL into the former Naval Stores is just a matter of time and fine tuning the fine print of the long-term lease with the City.
Cantonment Hill will be a fantastic project for Fremantle that will become a very important tourist attraction because of its stunning views over the river, port and city, but also because of its very significant Aboriginal and British settlement history.
I was less than impressed by some local residents who claimed to have absolutely no knowledge of the project at their doorsteps and who already started complaining about losing views.
This project had extensive community consultation and coverage in the local media, City of Fremantle PR and even the West Australian, plus on social media and blogs, and the Friends of Cantonment Hill did do house to house letterbox drops with information, but the poor locals must have been asleep for the last three years and never heard of it all. Pathetic really! Don’t blame the process for your own ignorance but take part in the community you live in and inform yourselves.
The Cantonment Hill project is very important for Fremantle and will be another feature for our city.
My apologies for posting so many articles today but that is just the way it is. Sometimes I scratch my brain to find something to write about but today there is heaps to report. The variety of blog posts is probably one of the reasons some 45,000 people read this blog each month. Every article is also published on Facebook and Twitter and goes around the world.
TOMORROW, Saturday April 2 from 10-12 is the CANTONMENT HILL OPEN DAY and the Naval Stores that ENKEL will lease will also be open. There are also guided tours.
This is an extremely important project for Fremantle and the heritage and indigenous significance of the area has to be a priority, as is community access to the entire site. Come and have your say! I’ll be there.
I have no problem with the City of Fremantle wanting to sign a 5+5 year lease with the ENKEL group for the former Naval Stores at Cantonment Hill, but I do have a few points I would like to raise.
The item is on the agenda of the newly named Finance, Policy, Operations and Legislations Committee this coming Wednesday at 6 pm.
The officer’s recommendation suggests ENKEL will only have to pay a yearly rent of $ 35.00 per square metre for the 1,393 m2 shed plus outgoings. This is a community rate and not a commercial one the agenda states, but at the same time it says that ENKEL and the COF will agree to “subletting arrangements that may exceed the total payable rent.” What I can’t find is a clause that ENKEL can also only charge community rates when it sublets parts of the premises, as that would only be fair and would support community groups.
ENKEL was unwilling to share with the WA Circus School, so I am surprised they now want to sublet.
I am also surprised ENKEL and the City will sign a lease, as the artists at Arthur Head have been refused a lease and have only been able to sign a license with COF. Why treat ENKEL differently?
I am delighted, after the Sunset Events J Shed mess, that the lease will include a “Performance Criteria” check to make sure ENKEL is not just promising the world but then deliver nothing.
If you don’t know who ENKEL is, here is their vision:
OUR VISION IS A PLACE OF IDEAS WHERE PEOPLE ARE EMPOWERED TO CREATE BETTER FUTURES.
We work towards this vision by consulting to organisations, running innovation labs, organising courses, connecting and supporting changemakers and communities, as well as much more. All this work is aligned with and reinforces our values, the four C’s; Courage, Community, Conscience and Creativity.
Against the wishes of community consultation and the public members of the Cantonment Hill Working Group Fremantle full Council last night approved a 10+10 year lease for two floors of the Signal Station to the Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue group. Councillor Rachel Pemberton’s very sensible motion to make it into a 5+5 year lease so the City of Fremantle would be able to consider other options in ten years did not get the support from the only eight member council.
It was pointed out by members of the public who addressed Council that the Masterplan was all about the interest of the broader community and that community access to the tower was a prime criterium, and that remarks by Councillors that the lease fulfils all the aspirations for the site could not be further from the truth, but to no avail.
I believe it is naive to think the Sea Rescue occupation will create the required activation of Cantonment Hill. I doubt that the shifts will need more than four people to monitor communication, and those who man the rescue boats will no doubt be on those boats or close to them and not on Cantonment Hill from where it could take up to a twenty-minute drive on festival and event weekends to the Fishing Boat Harbour to hop on the boats.
No doubt the FVSR is an essential service that safes lives and that they deserve support from the Fremantle community, but there are other options and it is quite ridiculous to believe they need to be able to see the river and the ocean to do their job properly.
I do agree with Councillors that the building is far from ideal for an interpretive centre the community wanted there. The whole of Cantonment Hill could become an interpretation centre with modern technology allowing for interactive touch screens, phone Apps, motion triggered sound, etc all over the historic signal hill.
What is most disappointing about Council decision is that yet again the community will feel that they were ignored, as was the case with the Youth Plaza, the tavern at J Shed, etc. Council often gets criticised for being inconsistent in its decision-making but it has shown to be quite consistent in ignoring community input. Community cynicism will only grow because of that.
The City of Fremantle CANTONMENT HILL information session last evening was a strange one as the officer did not know if there would be an official period for public to comment on the masterplan for the historic significant area and gateway to Fremantle.
The masterplan is set up in five stages and according to the consultants could be implement over a period of up to 25 years, so that is a long way away for those who just want to go and have a walk, sit on a bench in the shade and enjoy the views over the Swan river, port, Indian Ocean and the city.
Call them concepts or visions, and I am sure within the realm of transformational moves it needs to be all big picture stuff and grandiose, but it might well be better and faster to make the bush park area a community project, like Booyeembara, and let the local people get on with it.
ENKEL will no doubt bring a lot of creativity and new energy to the old Naval Stores and they should get a relatively free hand at designing the space they want to create and the immediate surroundings of the building, so it works best for their use and needs.
I was stunned to see a cafe proposed to the East and above the Naval Stores in the area closest to the street and traffic noise and even more amazed architect Sasha Ivanovich suggests there could even be an outdoor theatre/performance space there, when something like that could have the natural noise protection of the huge Naval Stores and also take advantage of the parkland behind it as a natural setting.
The locals don’t seem to like it, but I think a cafe/restaurant high up on the hill with great views would be good, but the cost for it will probably be prohibitive for a small city like Freo.
Parking is going to be a major problem and the experts’ predictions are rather unrealistic and optimistic in my view. They almost talked down the expected number of visitors to the area as if it would not become a great attractor for Fremantle, so no need to worry too much about the lack of parking. The ludicrous inclusion of Beach Street as a parking destination for those who want to enjoy Cantonment Hill left me shaking my head.
I believe scaling down the project significantly and starting with a really great playground- and even a flying fox- good furniture and shade structures, a few winding paths and Aboriginal heritage interpretation would be a good and achievable start.
While there is a 95 percent chance the Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue will get a long-term lease for the Signal Station, the architect was still showing off plans for a new building behind it that would accommodate a lift and the Australian standard steps required to make it open to the public.
I liked Councillor Robert Fittock’s passion for universal access and him saying that he and Council would not approve anything that does not have disability access. Good on him!
The officers and consultants need to take their coloured glasses off and have a very realistic look at the parking issues before they nail down where new paths will be installed. The one planned from the bus stop to the top looks expensive and might only cater for a handful of people, while the Army Museum car park is locked up because of terrorism issues, so not available to the general public. Maybe the bullet has to be bitten and a small parcel of land needs to be reclaimed for a parking area near the proposed playground on the eastern side of the hill.
This evening Fremantle Council will decide if they will approve the application by Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue to lease the old signal station on Cantonment Hill. The FVSR needs a bigger home as the tower in the Fishing Boat Harbour is getting too small for them.
This is an interesting development after the City of Fremantle far too early asked for expressions of interest to open a cafe in the heritage tower and-not surprisingly-no one showed interest before the landscaping of the area was done. Why would one want to start a cafe in a derelict environment with no proper public access paths to the tower?
But to lease the tower to the FVSR will not bring the activation to the area the COF is keen to achieve, and held community workshops on, and set up a working committee for it. Lessons should be learned from the failed activation of Arthur Head by making it into an arts precinct. That area is death for half of the week and a ghost town at night that attracts homeless people.
Cantonment Hill was supposed to become Fremantle’s Kings Park with great views over the river, harbour and ocean, a place for the community to have fun, to hold events, to have a bbq, and where there was going to be Aboriginal history interpretation and possible art studios in the big Navy Shed. Leasing the tower to a very worthwhile organisation like the FVSR won’t achieve the activation that the area needs.