Freo's View

WHAT IS GOOD TASTE IN BUILDING DESIGN?

 

I think all of us who often complain about the mediocre new architecture we are getting in Fremantle should be delighted that the new DESIGN WA guidelines will apply from today on, but I am quite skeptical about the impact it will have, because good design is like good taste. It is very personal and hard to quantify.

Often when I have slammed the design of buildings others have commented they liked what I believed was atrocious architecture, so why would expert panels be any different in their different taste and preferences? Who dictates what good taste and good design is?

The new DESIGN WA guidelines are all about aesthetics and a review panel of 50 people will decide which planning proposal is in good taste and which one is not. The design review panel comprises of people from architecture, urban design, planning, and landscape architects plus more from heritage, public health, sustainability and engineering. It will be near impossible to reach consensus in such a big group I fear, so Chair Geoff Warn, who is the WA Government Architect, will have a big job ahead of him.

DESIGN WA has got rid of the controversial R-Code system applied up to now, so I wonder if Fremantle and other local councils will also do that. I’ll ask the Fremantle Planning Department if changes will be made in that regard.

I believe that our cities and communities deserve much better design than what we largely have been getting lately, especially for substantial apartment and office buildings. Retaining the tree canopy or providing significant numbers of trees and plants and creating much better streetscapes an public realm will be a very positive step forward. Let’s hope it can all be realised.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE SAILING CLUB RENT TWENTY TIMES INCREASE

 

The members of the Fremantle Sailing Club have got a huge challenge on their hands. The historic club has received notice from the Department of Transport that the rent they have to pay would increase from $ 34,700 last year to a whopping $ 760,000 this year.

An increase that is twenty times more than the previous rent sounds pretty outrageous to me and the Sailing Club is not happy about it either, so they are going to arbitration and will try to renegotiate the rent.

Good luck!

Roel Loopers

ROUNDHOUSE NEEDS NEW TREASURER

Posted in city of fremantle, heritage, roundhouse, tourism, Uncategorized, volunteers by freoview on May 24, 2019

 

The FREMANTLE ROUND HOUSE are seeking a VOLUNTEER TREASURER to join their passionate team of volunteers.
Main duties of the role are as follows:
  • Have an understanding of Xero Accounting Package & be able to process payments and manage accounts.
  • Be able to produce a monthly & annual Budget & Treasurers Report.
  • Complete quarterly BAS statement & other statutory requirements.
  • Manage monthly payroll for 1 employee.
  • Commitment of around 3-4 hours per week.
We are seeking someone who can work well independently. A hand-over will be provided from our current volunteer treasurer.
If you think this role may be of interest to you, or if you would like some more information, please send us an email with a brief overview of your relevant experience to enquiries@fremantleroundhouse.com.au
Deadline: 14th June 2019. Email enquiries preferred.

FREMANTLE MASS TIMBER BUILDING WA FIRST

 

High and Josephson

 

The YOLK Group has applied for planning approval for a six storey building on the corner of Josephson and High streets, just east of Kings Square.

If approved the building would be the first mass timber building in WA.

The Harris Jenkins Architects designed building would feature a bar, restaurant and cafe at street level plus five floors of office accommodation.

“The proposal presented in this application successfully delivers a vision for the site which:
Has been inspired by the Fremantle Port’s old timber-framed industrial storage sheds, taking inspiration from its historical and coastal port environment.

Will contribute towards the broader revitalisation of the Fremantle City Centre, together with the Kings Square development and other new developments.

Will promote social life and activity through a bar/restaurant which activates High and Josephson Street and encourages social interaction.

Will provide a mass timber framed office which is one of the most sustainable materials available which has been demonstrated to boost productivity
and mood, promoting wellbeing in the workplace.

Will contribute towards delivering a unique identity and focal point for the eastern end of the City Centre, ensuring its ongoing rejuvenation.”

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 TALK FREO UP!

 

Those people who constantly hammer Fremantle Council with criticism about vacant shops, homeless people, anti social behaviour and crime would do well to pay attention to recent media reports.

Shops, cafes and restaurants in Mount Lawley along once extremely popular Beaufort Street are closing in large numbers and they blame high rents and a drop in foot traffic for that.

The decline in retail is happening all over metropolitan Perth, Australia and the world as the traditional high street shopping destinations have been replaced with huge suburban shopping centres on the outskirts.

Media reports about excessive shop lifting and anti social behaviour in Cockburn, Rockingham, Canning, etc have become common, and the West Australian dedicated two pages of their weekend edition on the issues of homelessness in the Perth CBD.

There are no easy solutions for any of these problems and the call from traders for councils to demand that property owners charge lower rents is as unrealistic as it would be unlawful. Governments can not dictate what rents property owners can charge and while high rents in the present retail climate appear almost indecent and selfish there is very little local or state governments can do about it.

Some owners are better and allow pop-up shops to fill vacant shops, but only for a very limited time, so that is only a short-term ‘solution’.

Crime and anti social  behaviour are State responsibility and while Fremantle and most councils do have their own very good security officers they are often powerless as they do not have the right to issue move-on notices or arrest people.

There is no doubt though that the perception of not feeling safe will keep people away. Foot traffic numbers in the Cappuccino Strip have dropped dramatically while they have increased quite a bit in High Street in the West End. The latter is probably mainly due to Notre Dame University students pounding the pavement.

It is always strange to notice on busy Freo weekends how many people are walking along South Terrace but when I turn into High Street the street is nearly void of pedestrians.  Visitors seem to prefer Collie and Essex streets for their East West movement and ignore the far more attractive historic High Street.  Why is that, I wonder?

A prominent Freo business owner urged me last week to promote that we collectively stop talking our city down and that we have to start telling ourselves and our visitors how special Fremantle is.

Only yesterday at the Roundhouse two German tourists told me how much they liked Freo and how friendly people here are, and the volunteer guides hear those kind of remarks very often. We receive so much positive feedback from overseas and interstate visitors that it is hard to believe that some Fremantle residents and traders here have such a negative opinion about our gorgeous little city.

Freo is a great place but like most other suburbs has similar problems and struggles with the retail economy,  anti social behaviour and crime. Attracting more visitors to Freo will partly help with that, and that can only be achieved by not talking our city down, but by talking it up. Let’s give it a try!

Roel Loopers

 

WHAT FREMANTLE CAN LEARN FROM FRANCE’S MULHOUSE

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, city planning, hospitality, retail, Uncategorized by freoview on May 23, 2019

 

City of Fremantle Heritage Coordinator Alan Kelsall made me aware of a very positive article in The Guardian by Angelique Chrisofis about the revitalisation of the town of Mulhouse in the east of France, which should inspire Fremantle to continue with its efforts of recreating the high street ambience of the past.

According to Chrisofis the town “was once considered eastern France’s grimmest town” and ten years ago “was a symbol of the death of the European high street”

The town of 110,000 residents had a very high rate of youth unemployment, poverty, crime and anti-social behaviour, but that all turned around when Council took action.

Mulhouse set out to rebalance the housing mix. Generous subsidies for the renovation of building fronts expedited a facelift of more than 170 buildings. Security and community policing were stepped up. Transport was key – with a new tram system, bike schemes, shuttle buses and cheap parking.
But making the town’s public spaces attractive was just as important, with wider pavements, dozens of benches, and what officials deemed a “colossal budget” for tree planting and maintenance, gardening and green space. Local associations, community groups and residents’ committees were crucial to the efforts. A town centre manager was appointed to support independents and high-street franchises setting up.

The big change happened and 470 new shops and businesses opened over the last eight years. 75% of them are independent!

Read the full article in The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/may/20/from-bleak-to-bustling-how-one-french-town-beat-the-high-street-blues-mulhouse

In this context it is good to hear that Notre Dame University is considering a Masterplan for their Fremantle West End campus, in close collaboration with the City of Fremantle.

The uni recognises that it has grown well organically over the last 20 years but that it will be good to plan more ahead for the future with Freo City’s planners and Council, in light of the fact that NDA acquired the former Customs House buildings. Very positive!

 

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE WELCOMES SOMA KITCHEN

Posted in bar, cafe, city of fremantle, food, hospitality, Uncategorized by freoview on May 23, 2019

 

 

Fremantle has a lovely new restaurant, bar, cafe and bakery in Little Market Street behind Gino’s and the Dome. SOMA Kitchen has opened its doors and it looks very welcoming and cosy.

International beers and a great wine list enhance the Southern European food on offer, that is merged with North African and Middle Eastern influences.

It is nice and relaxing to sit in the alfresco area without buses and cars in your face, so wander over soon and give it a try. I will for sure!

It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Roel Loopers

MISSCHIEF WINS FOGARTY LITERARY AWARD

Posted in BOOKS, city of fremantle, publishing, reading, Uncategorized, writing by freoview on May 22, 2019

 

The inaugural Fogerty Literary Award for authors between 18-35 years of age was awarded on Wednesday evening to Rebecca Higgie of Como for her manuscript The History of Misschief.

Higgie’s novel came out on top of the 64 manuscripts entered. She received a $ 20,000 cash prize and a publishing contract with Fremantle Press.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE SAFETY OFFICERS SAVE LIFE

Posted in accidents, cars, city of fremantle, health, health&safety, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on May 22, 2019

 

Congratulations to the City of Fremantle Safety Officers who saved a man’s life on the Fremantle traffic bridge!

The man’s vehicle was involved in an accident and his airways got blocked so our very astute Safety Officers took care of that, cleared his airways, administered CPR, and kept him alive with a defibrillator on standby until the ambulance arrived.

Great job! Should we now call them Health and Safety Officers?

Roel Loopers

%d bloggers like this: