Freo's View

RETAIL DECLINE A HUGE WORRY FOR OUR CITIES

 

Recent media reports in the West Australian and on TV news show that retail is severely struggling in Perth and that Fremantle’s worries are not unique in that regard. Of course that is cold comfort to our Freo traders.

The same complaints Fremantle traders make are made by Perth traders; parking costs, antisocial behaviour and homelessness.

According to one news outlet one in five shops are vacant in the Perth CBD, so that is even higher than in Fremantle, with one trader saying that they were experiencing the worst trading conditions in a decade, with whole days of no sales and no customers entering the shop.

The sad fact is that there is a lot of on-line shopping and that many people prefer the sterile all-weather comfort of shopping centres where there is little antisocial behaviour, no homeless people and three-hour free parking.

In summer shoppers escape to the cool airconditioned comfort of suburban shopping centres, which keep them warm and dry in winter, so that is something old-fashion High Street shopping can’t offer.

While free parking might be an option for big and wealthy Perth council a small city such as Fremantle is reliant on parking fees and parking fines revenue. Fremantle Council would have to substantially raise council rates if it introduced free parking.

Fremantle could however offer free weekday night parking to try to attract more people into town in the evenings.

What the demise of retail will mean for the FOMO retail concept at Kings Square, that will open mid next year, is yet to be seen, but don’t expect miracles in the short term.

There is no point in not supporting local traders but then complain that retail shops, cafes and restaurants close and that so many shops are vacant, so support our Freo traders!

Roel Loopers

SOUTH FREMANTLE LANDFILL SITE SUITABLE FOR SOLAR FARM

Posted in city of fremantle, city planning, environment, local government, solar, Uncategorized by freoview on July 3, 2019

 

The WA Department of Water and Environmental Regulations(DWER) has accepted a report by the Contaminated Sites Auditor that the South Fremantle landfill site is suitable for a proposed Solar Farm by Epuron.

The City of Fremantle and Epuron will soon hold a community information session to explain the details and what will happen next, so stay tuned.

Roel Loopers

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LIGHTS ON AT FREO’S KINGS SQUARE

 

Kings Square lights

 

The party lights are on at Fremantle’s Kings Square between the two new Sirona Capital buildings, so here a glimpse of it.

Roel Loopers

IRONIC DEVELOPMENT PROPOSAL FOR WEST END

 

I have to admit that I had a smile on my face when I read the agenda for Wednesday’s City of Fremantle Planning Committee and noticed that architect Shane Braddock is applying for planning approval for a two-storey addition at 33-37 High Street in Freo’s West End.

Braddock is a very loud voice constantly complaining on social media how unsafe Fremantle’s CBD is and the anti social behaviour that is allegedly happening next door to his property at the backpackers and on the street below.

It is a bit ironic then that he now wants to extend the property for his family with a living and dining area, a kitchen and bedroom, and adding a bridge between the front and rear buildings and also add a water tower.

But good luck to Shane. I welcome anyone who wants to commit to Fremantle’s progress, so good to see the officer’s recommendation is for Council to approve the proposed development.

Can the property owner please also remove the yellow foil from the facade of the building while he is doing the additions.

Roel Loopers

 

FREO’S LAST TEN YEARS NOT A FAILURE

There is a Not Happy Brad! whinge letter in the Fremantle Herald today by a Keith Manton, who blames the Fremantle Mayor for just about everything that is wrong in our city.

Drug taking, street drinking, begging. Blame the Mayor when everyone by now should be aware that WA Police is responsible for taking care of these issues and crimes and anti social behaviour. They do that pretty well with assistance of the Fremantle community safety officers.

The one point I agree on with Mr Manton is that lack of good quality architecture we are getting, but most of the major projects are approved by the state’s JDAP and not the City.

According to the director responsible for the removal of the yellow foil at High Street comes in under the $ 220.000 budget, so not anywhere near the one million Mr Manton claims it will cost. Can we get an update on that please Director Graham Tattersall. Thanks!

Vacant shops and the cry out for more diversity is nothing new. Retail vacancies are unfortunately happening everywhere around Perth and Australia and Fremantle Council cannot enforce lower rents or dictate to property owners which tenants and businesses to take on, although the economic development team has been trying hard to get more diversity in Fremantle’s shopping.

It was on expert advise that Fremantle Council decided not to renovate the old Civic Center and go ahead with an all new one that will compliment the Sirona Capital commercial development at Kings Square. To say that replacing the ailing building was totally unnecessary is being ignorant of the facts.

Have the last ten years of Fremantle under the leadership of Mayor Brad Pettitt been a failure, as Keith Manton claims? I don’t believe so, as the Kings Square Redevelopment Project will make a significant difference to the economic revitalisation of our city. It will require a bit more of our patience, and no doubt that is very difficult for many of our struggling traders, so let’s support them!

Could Fremantle Council and the administration improve? Absolutely, and I have no doubt they are aware of that.

Roel Loopers

 

FREMANTLE PLANNING PROCRASTINATION NOT A GOOD LOOK

 

The City of Fremantle has some explaining to do about the procrastination it is engaging in on two planning items.

The City of Fremantle closed the PAW-Pedestrian Access Way-between Kellow Place and Swanbourne Street over a year ago and did not re-open the PAW when the closure was rejected by the WA Planning Committee, so the PAW has now been illegally closed for nearly a year and that is unacceptable behaviour by the City.

Planning officers were directed by Council to engage with the Chair of the WAPC to see if they would change their mind, but absolutely nothing has happened to the chagrin of residents who believe there is nepotism in play because one of the property owners next to the PAW is befriended with Elected Members and City officers. It’s not a good look!

The other flabbergasting planning subject is the four-storey Atwell Arcade building where the exterior paneling has not been completed to planning approval specifications.

On a motion by Councillor Rachel Pemberton officers were directed last year by Council to engage in negotiations with Silverleaf Investments to see if a compromise could be reached that would satisfy both parties but nothing has been forthcoming here either.

When it comes to a small residential fence being too high or a new residential building being 15 centimetres higher than the approved plans the City takes action, but for some very obscure reasons when it affects mates and big property developers they sit on their hands and hope it will just go away and we stop mentioning and complaining about it.

Negotiations should not take longer than a few weeks to sort out these things.

Roel Loopers

Disclosure: One of the resident of Kellow Place who is against the closure of the PAW is a long-term friend of mine.

 

DIGGING FOR FREO’S NEW CIVIC CENTRE

 

Kings Square

 

Fremantle’s hole in the ground is getting deeper. The excavation for the library part of the new Civic Centre at Kings Square is becoming more prominent by the day.

Roel Loopers

FREO CBD DEVELOPMENTS PROGRESS

 

 

I had a look at the progress of two major Fremantle inner city developments at Kings Square and the Manning building and it was reassuring to see that things are going well and fast.

Contractors for Silverleaf Investment are working hard on creating the new tavern and micro brewery at the back of the Manning building, so that will be an exciting new addition to the Freo hospitality industry.

Here a few photos to see where they are at.

Roel Loopers

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BOARDWALK FROM FREO TO SCARBOROUGH?

Posted in beaches, city of fremantle, city planning, indian ocean, Uncategorized by freoview on May 31, 2019

 

The idea by the Tourism Council of WA for a 25km boardwalk from Fremantle all the way to Scarborough is an interesting one, but can it ever be realised?

It would be a hugely expensive project to undertake, have environmental impact, and councils and communities along the path might not like the idea, and who would pay for it?

The proposed new long boardwalk would link the existing boardwalk that links Floreat Beach to City Beach.

I’d love to go for very long leisurely walks along the beautiful Indian Ocean without having to divert into the suburbs to get back to the ocean, but is it viable and has Fremantle Council be consulted about the idea?

I would love to see the Bathers Beach boardwalk extended to the J Shed A Class reserve. That would make a huge difference in the West End.

Roel Loopers

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KINGS SQUARE LANDSCAPING START BEFORE CHRISTMAS

 

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Fremantle Council has agreed on the priority works to be carried out over the next two years to upgrade the public spaces around Kings Square.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said the council agreed its first priority was the improvements to Newman Court and High Street to coincide with the completion of FOMO and the City’s new civic centre and library.

The construction on Sirona’s FOMO development is nearing completion and the site fencing is expected to come down in August.

Brad Pettitt said that “It’s important for the City to get in there as soon as possible and do that work on Newman Court and High Street so when FOMO opens to the public and the state government employees move in we have that area looking great.”

It is my understanding that many of the current pavers will be re-used in the new landscaping and that makes sense in a city that loves recycling.

The other priority for the City is the completion of the new play space and the relocation of a mature fig tree into the square. The play space is an essential part of the plan to bring more people and activity into Kings Square.

The design development for the play space is on track for tendering later this year, with aim of having the tree relocation and the play space construction completed in the second half of 2020.

Other priorities for Kings Square include more tree planting and interim works like removing the existing planter beds and installing additional public seating.

The Kings Square Renewal project will result in a net increase of 23 trees in the precinct, including the proposal to frame the square with Jacaranda trees.

Investigations are continuing into the ‘Window to the Past’ concept in which the remains of the original St John’s Church would be revealed and interpreted. The foundations of the old church, along with the remains of a blacksmith’s shop, corner newsagent and numerous historical artefacts, were discovered during an archaeological dig at Kings Square last year.

Consideration is also being given to public artwork which would recognise and interpret Whadjuk Nyoongar culture in a culturally appropriate manner.

Roel Loopers

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