Freo's View

URBAN INFILL DEMANDS NOISE PROTECTION MEASURES

 

One of only two agenda items for the Strategic Planning and Transport Committee on Wednesday will be the community consultation paper put out by the WA Planning Commission-WAPC about noise in entertainment areas such as Northbridge, and the question if Fremantle Council should consider asking the WAPC to include the Fremantle CBD in the trial.

Medium and high density urban infill has seen a rise in complaints in recent years from residents who are not happy with the noise from entertainment venues and transport, but the entertainment industry believes it is not fair that the onus should only be on them and that it should be shared with developers of new residential buildings, which should be required to put better noise insulation measures, such as double glazing and thicker glass in their developments.

I remember many years ago that when the new apartments opposite Clancy’s were built that it only took one week before the first complaint was made about live music there, although the tavern had been having regular live concerts for many many years.

In Fremantle where we are going to see a glut of new residential apartments and hotel rooms, combined with new taverns and bars, it is essential to also protect the livelihood of the hospitality industry and demand new buildings that have better noise protection for their users.

Roel Loopers

MUCH ADO ABOUT A TINY FREO LANE

Posted in city of fremantle, city planning, community, local government, pedestrians, Uncategorized by freoview on October 10, 2018

 

WOW! OMG!!! The FPOL committee of Fremantle Council spent 65 minutes, including some public speakers, debating the closure of the tiny laneway between Kellow Place and Swanbourne Street, after the City of Fremantle had been directed by the WA Planning Commission to reverse the decision they made about two years ago on the closure of the pathway.

An alternative recommendation was put to the elected members that the City should approach the chair of the WAPC and get them to change their ruling. The reason for that recommendation is that the access way could be easily replicated with a footpath at Bolton Place. Yep, let’s close an existing path and build a new one instead. Really?

Two petitions by local residents were there, with 22 signatures to reopen the path and 13 for keeping it closed, but public speakers argued that the majority of Kellow Place residents supported the closure while many in Bolton Place wanted it open. Interesting to note that there was a sense of entitlement by those who appeared to believe the little lane is a Kellow Place issue for people who live in the street, and not one for the local community which uses the pathway.

Councillor Rachel Pemberton said there was not much crime in the area, which was a reason the lane was closed by Council in the first place, and that the WAPC ruling says that this is not the best urban outcome.

Councillor Andrew Sullivan disagreed and said that he was not convinced that the WAPC was a better judge than the local authority. He believed the initial design of the area was extremely flawed that there is a sound argument for the closure, and that the lane did not even have universal access.

The motion was carried 3-2 so now officers will approach the WAPC to see if they are willing to change their ruling and if the path can remain closed.

Roel Loopers

 

SHARING ART IS GENEROUS AND BEAUTIFUL

Posted in architecture, art, city of fremantle, city planning, culture, lifestyle, living, Uncategorized by freoview on October 8, 2018

 

 

I was surprised to get a few negative comments about the mural artwork on the corner of Stevens and Brennan streets in Fremantle. I am yet to hear strong community protest against visual pollution such as signs all over the place, so what irks people about art along our streets?

Some people believe that individual home owners have no right to impose their art and taste on the community, and they argue that if people want these murals they should do it on the inside of the wall, or inside their house, but not where it is visible to the general public. I disagree with that.

Since humans started building structures others have had that imposed on them, be that bad architecture, ridiculous colour schemes, or garden gnomes, lions, etc.

And where would we stop if we legislated against murals and other art on private properties?  Should we ban businesses as well from beautifying their walls, and is it acceptable to have public art inflicted on us? What about bus shelters and railway stations?

Art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, but I believe that most people understand what crappy amateur art is, compared to good professional art, and the artwork in Brennan Street is the latter.

Roel Loopers

THE IMPORTANCE OF TELLING OUR STORIES

Posted in aboriginal, architecture, art, city of fremantle, city planning, culture, history, Uncategorized by freoview on October 1, 2018

 

 

I had no idea how big and impressive the new WA Museum at the Perth cultural centre was going to be until I saw the building site yesterday.

Museums, cultural centres and state galleries are such important places to tell our stories, so I hope he WA State Government will in the near future also make an investment in Fremantle and build a migrant museum on Victoria Quay and an Aboriginal Cultural Centre as well.

Fremantle Ports is creating two new websites, one for normal port business and the other specifically for Victoria Quay, so it looks like they might go ahead with development there after all, and connect the port better with Kings Square.

 

 

While in Perth, during one of my very rare visits to the big smoke, I also noticed the SKS Group building the Hilton Doubletree hotel at Elizabeth Quay, so now hoping they will prioritise the Fremantle one at Princess May Park as well.

And isn’t it nice to see that there are actually architects who design nicely curved and round buildings, instead of the boring and predictable rectangular ones. Yes, these buildings are too high for Freo, but I’d love to see some rounded corners at new developments.

Roel Loopers

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MAKING FREMANTLE MORE WALKABLE

 

What makes a walkable city, and is Fremantle one of them, was asked at the Politics in the Pubs forum by the Fremantle Network at The Local in South Fremantle on Tuesday evening.

A panel with Olwyn Williams, the CEO of the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce, Dr Annie Matan of CUSP(Curtin University of Sustainable Policy), and City of Fremantle urban and transport planner Martin Spencer addressed the topic before a general discussion

Martin Spencer said that on the walkability index Fremantle gets 72-79 out of 100 and is the 19th most walkable suburb in the Perth metro area.

We need to make the city open, invite people in, and make them walk. Drag people into the shops and off the footpaths, and connect destinations with better signage.

Dr Annie Matan said that being pro pedestrians and cyclists did not mean we are anti car, but we need great public transport and walking and cycle infrastructure to make the city work better. There needs to be a safe and interesting environment for pedestrians, which includes good public toilets, water fountains, benches, shade structures and trees, etc.

“Every road needs to tell a story to our visitors and ourselves”

Footpaths are where we meet friends, and importantly also strangers. It is where we connect with our communities.

We need to create authentic places as they are important, and destinations to walk to, and do connections better, such as walking from the CBD to South Beach or the Fremantle Arts Centre.

Many footpaths are cluttered and become a hazard and Fremantle City needs a strong policy for planning walkability, Dr Matan said.

Olwyn Williams said that Fremantle has got more than anyone else; the port, heritage, the university, beaches, cafes, art, shopping, festivals and concerts, but we are a small community with a small ratepayers’ base, so we need the outside world to come to Freo and make it economically viable to set up shop here.

We need more visitors, more people working here and more residents, and to become a better place we need to embrace medium density living.

Connections with the suburbs is vital and important as Fremantle is not just the CBD.

Road closures in the CBD often have a negative impact on nearby businesses and the City should consider that more carefully. The second hour free parking the City of Fremantle has just implemented, is a very good idea as it will make people linger longer, Williams said.

Wayfinding needs to improve as signs don’t tell you that you could walk just a block further to enjoy Wray Avenue, or that it is a nice half hour walk to South Beach, and we need much better lighting to make us feel safer at night.

Olwyn Williams also said that the High Street Mall is a disaster and the closure should never have happened.

Martin Spencer said it was about time the community took ownership as it can’t be just left to local governments to implement change.

Comment: I believe we need to make the walking journey more attractive and make it a discovery, an adventure, walks where we connect all our Freo hidden treasures, and where we decentralise more and better utilise the A Class reserve at Arthur’s Head, the lawn next to the Roundhouse, Pioneer, Princess May and Fremantle parks, etc.

Fremantle offers a unique experience and that is what our new destination marketing should be all about. People will be encouraged to walk if we offer them a better shopping and lifestyle experience.

Roel Loopers

 

 

EAST FREO ROYAL GEORGE HOTEL PROTEST ON SATURDAY

 

royal-george-2

 

East Fremantle residents and heritage supporters will be holding a protest tomorrow against the proposed development by Saracen Properties of a 19 storey high-rise building at the Royal George Hotel in Duke Street.

The protest gathering will be this Saturday at 10.30 am at Locke Park on the corner of Fletcher and Moss streets, north of East Fremantle Oval.

East Fremantle Council approved a scheme amendment of a maximum of six storeys, but that has been rejected by the WA Planning Commission, which wants changes made to the amendment, and East Freo locals fear they might end up with the huge high-rise they strongly petitioned against.

Roel Loopers

BUSY FREMANTLE PLANNING COMMITTEE

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, city planning, development, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on September 6, 2018

 

Fremantle Council’s Planning Committee last night conditionally approved the application by the Western Australian Planning Commission for a new White Gum Valley 3 lot freehold subdivision at Montreal Street, with the boundaries at Blinco, Knutsford and Wood streets.

There will also be a 36 lot survey strata title subdivision, and an application for the 36, two storey grouped dwellings has been lodged on August 10 and will be assessed by the WA South-West Joint Development Assessment Panel soon.

The former industrial area in White Gum Valley is well suited for residential development and the area could also handle medium to high density in my opinion, and offer affordable, student and social housing within a larger planning scheme.

Also approved last night were two alcohol related applications, one for a tavern and gin distillery, the Fremantle Republic, in Pakenham Street and another one for a small liquor store and deli at Freeman Loop in North Fremantle.

Roel Loopers

WOOLSTORES DEVELOPMENT RECOMMENDED FOR APPROVAL

 

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The application by Silverleaf Investments for the development of the Woolstores shopping centre site will go before the Fremantle Council Planning Committee this coming Wednesday.

The planning officers and the City’s Design Advisory Committee recommend Conditional Approval for the six storey, 141 hotel room new building and alterations to the shopping centre and car park.

Details such as giving the facade a more robust and less glass look are still to be dealt with, but it is likely that the Elected Members will follow the recommendations of the CoF experts and recommend approval of the development to the state’s JDAP, which is the decision-making authority for the $ 15 million project.

I believe the proposed building is a lot more appealing than the present eyesore and will help improve the run down eastern part of the Fremantle CBD. The hotel will also significantly help to revitalise and modernise the area. This is not a great and iconic building, but in my opinion an acceptable compromise for the site that will improve the area, rather than keeping the status quo derelict appearance.

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE ON THE RIGHT DEVELOPMENT TRACK

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, city planning, development, media, Uncategorized by freoview on August 23, 2018

 

Kate Emery’s article in today’s West Australian with the headline Kings Square Boost for Freo is good and positive and something Fremantle Council deserves.

Emery writes that contrary to a fall of development approvals in WA by nine per cent Fremantle had a record of building approvals to the sum of $ 313 million last year, largely due to the $ 270 million Kings Square redevelopment project by Sirona Capital and Fremantle City.

In Emery’s article the CEO of the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce Olwyn Williams rightly points out that Fremantle also  needs more medium density residential development and better coordination with the State Government.

While Kate Emery mentions the WGV development in White Gum Valley and development in South Fremantle, it needs to be stressed that residential development also needs to happen outside of the CBD, to make sure there is affordable, student and social housing.

The Heart of Beacy project at the TAFE site will be a good and substantial start in that direction, and the options on the present Works Depot site at Knutsford Street are limitless if the City approaches the development of the area with creativity and an open mind and does not get side tracked into too much One Planet philosophical details, which would make development more expensive and less affordable.

There is no doubt that Fremantle is on the right track to attract more residents, more office workers and more businesses to the port city, but flexibility is a key requirement to move forward.

Roel Loopers

 

 

FREMANTLE OVAL PRECINCT A GREAT OPPORTUNITY

 

Integrated into the heart of Fremantle, the vision for the Fremantle Oval Precinct is to re-establish and offer an active venue for sport, community, cultural and health pursuits.

Work on creating a concept for Fremantle Oval and the surrounding areas is underway with the City of Fremantle having established a Steering Group and a Reference Group.

The Steering Group consists of three directors of the City, the CEO of the South Metro Health Service and the Manager City Design and Projects of CoF.

The Reference Group is very large with three Elected Members,  the Area Manager Infrastructure of South Metro Health, a representative from the Department of Local Government, Sport and Culture, The CEOs of the South and East Fremantle football clubs, the President of the Fremantle District Cricket Club, the CEO of the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce, a representative of the University of Notre Dame, and three managers of the City of Fremantle. WOW, they must have veeeery looooong meetings so that everyone can have their say!

And what is it all about?

1. CONNECT WITH THE SURROUNDS

The precinct is re-established in a way that integrates its internal uses with one another as well as reconnecting the precinct into the fabric of the city centre.

2. CONSOLIDATES A CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE

Develop and enhance the precinct in a manner that consolidates and increases sporting activities on the Oval as the primary use and as a Centre of Excellence for football, while respecting the heritage of the precinct.

3. BRINGS ADDED PUBLIC LIFE

Augment sporting uses at the venue with entertainment, cultural events and community activities that bring added public access and life to the precinct.

4. ENABLES REGENERATION AND INTEGRATION

Consolidate health activities on the hospital site; enabling regeneration and improved integration with the surrounding city.

5. IMPROVES PUBLIC ACCESS

Develop key perimeter sites that improve public accessibility and increase pedestrian activity at ground level, throughout the year.

6. BALANCES TRANSPORT ACCESS

Enable a balanced portfolio of transport access arrangements to the precinct.

and there is more:

PUBLIC OPEN SPACE

Provide Open, Green Space for a Healthy City

Ensure the precinct provides open and green spaces for access by city workers, residents and visitors.

Reveal and Visually Connect the Precinct

Key views, vistas and links are established, protected and celebrated.

BUILT FORM

Optimise Activity through Appropriately Scaled Development

Ensure development opportunities optimise activities / density through appropriate height, mass and setbacks.

Respond to the Environment

Seek excellence in design and aesthetics; develop in a fashion that is responsive to local environmental conditions and sustainability principles.

SOCIAL AND CULTURAL

Integrate into Fremantle’s Historic Urban Fabric

Where practical, extend the urban grid of the city into the precinct to improve legibility and urban integration, whilst acknowledging the historical informal and open nature of the precinct.

Celebrate Heritage and History

Understand, reveal, enhance and interpret the unique heritage attributes of the precinct and its context.

MOVEMENT AND TRANSPORT

Invite People In

Improve pedestrian access, permeability and sense of safety across the precinct and along adjoining streets.

Create Good Journeys

Enhance physical connections between the precinct, prison and town.

What appears to be missing are some creative people; architects, artists, placemakers, and also yet again no attempt to involve community groups from the beginning, so yet again they will have to be reactive and that often results in the groups being criticised for being negative.

When will they ever learn at local government that it is advantageous to involve members of the community from the very start because it means a lot less hassles when it comes to planning issues, etc.

The Fremantle Oval Precinct is a huge opportunity for the City of Fremantle and while they mention a time frame of 20-30 years for the development this one is more realistic and achievable than the South Quay development ideas.

Roel Loopers

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