Freo's View

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

 

IS THERE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE WHALERS TUNNEL?

 

 

Vandals have caused more than $ 10,000 damage to the small solar lights along the coastal path at Bathers Beach between Kidogo Arthouse and J Shed since they were installed.

The City of Fremantle stopped repairing the lights over the last 18 months because of the constant and excessive vandalism, but officers have put a request to Council to include in next financial year’s budget replacement lights mounted on tall poles.

Such lights were proposed before by officers but deemed not in keeping with the heritage character of Arthur’s Head, but already two taller lights have been installed just south of J Shed in the vicinity of the former whaling station.

I took photos of the vandalism on Monday morning.

Roel Loopers

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RESPECT CREATES A BETTER COMMUNITY

 

There is a lot of hypocrisy gong on in the mainstream media and from politicians in the wake of the white supremacist terrorist attack on two Christchurch mosques.

Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon to play the blame game about irresponsible social media without taken responsibility for their own contributions.

Mainstream media has moved so far right that it is not funny, with the West Australian newspaper becoming the mouthpiece for the Liberal/National Federal government and right-wing  columns by  Andrew Bolt, Paul Murray, Gemma Tognini and others.

Federal politicians have been engaging in fear mongering about Muslims and refugees, while the ultimate hypocrites must be Sunrise which puts Pauline Hanson on a weekly panel to sprout her racist nonsense, but suddenly attack her for those views after the Christchurch massacre.

There is no doubt though that social media has created a terribly negative community conversation that spreads hatred, ignorance, racism, innuendo, conspiracy and name-calling and where all respect for people with a different view point has disappeared, and that also happens on a local level here in Fremantle.

I want to believe that Australia is better than that! I want to believe that we are still the fair-go and tolerant multicultural country, where every law abiding person from all over the world can make a new home and where we welcome those who need a safe haven away from war, violence and abuse.

But we all need to be more aware of what we are writing on social media and try not to engage so dismissively and angrily when we don’t agree with posts of others, and the mainstream media needs to start to be more considerate and respectful as well and understand how damaging sensationalist reporting can be to individuals. The Jesse Hogan story of the Fremantle Dockers is such a case. This young man does have a mental health issue and he does not need to be humiliated in the media for that. Leave him alone and let him heal!

We should all take a lesson from New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. What empathy and compassion, what dignity, strength and integrity, and what outstanding leadership!

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE WORKING ON BETTER COMMUNITY SAFETY AND CRIME PREVENTION

 

safety

 

Fremantle residents, businesses and visitors to Freo are being asked for their input on the City of Fremantle’s new Community Safety and Crime Prevention Plan.

The development of the new plan is being overseen by the Community Safety Reference Group, which includes both the City of Fremantle and WA Police.

The Community Safety Plan will be guided by the feedback received during stakeholder and community engagement, and will set out clear timelines, targets and responsibilities for addressing community safety issues.

Police statistics show that crime in Fremantle is relatively low, but like all major centres there are issues and quite a few complaints about crime and safety on social media.

Fremantle Council believes that it will be really valuable for people to let them know what their recent experiences in Fremantle have been like – both good and bad – so that the City and WA Police know what’s working well and what areas they need to focus on in the new plan.

People can visit the City’s My Say Freo website to share their thoughts in a short survey and access information about current community safety initiatives.

They can also use an interactive map to pin point the places in Fremantle they like to visit and also the places where they feel uncomfortable or unsafe.

The City of Fremantle’s Community Safety Team patrols the city centre and surrounding suburbs from 7am-2am on Wednesday-Saturday, and from 7am-9pm on Sunday-Tuesday.

Fremantle is also one of just three local governments in Western Australia to have a CCTV network that is monitored in real time.

For more information and to complete the Community Safety survey visit the Community Safety and Crime Prevention Plan page on the My Say Freo website.

The survey closes on 12 April.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE SHOWS RESPECT FOR CHRISTCHURCH VICTIMS OF TERRORISM

Posted in city of fremantle, community, crime, islam, terrorism, Uncategorized by freoview on March 16, 2019

 

half mast

 

The Australian flag is flown half mast today on the Fremantle Townhall to show our community’s respect for the victims of yesterday’s mindless violent terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, where 49 decent law-abiding citizens young and old were gunned down and died and many others injured.

I feel very shocked and have a sense of deep sorrow, but also anger that these terrorist attacks keep happening. I cried last night for the victims, as I have cried in the past for all the other victims of terrorism.

Hate and racism have no place in our society and violence never is the solution.

Roel Loopers

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COPS ON THE BEAT NOT MEDIA BEAT UP IS WHAT FREMANTLE NEEDS

 

While the concerns of the Fremantle retailers about antisocial behavior, violence and shoplifting are genuine and need to be much better attacked by WA Police, it is not at all helpful for their businesses to get a silly tabloid headline such as “Is Fremantle On Its Knees?” on Channel 7 Today Tonight and negative articles on line in the West Australian and Perth Now/Sunday Times.

Big negative headlines in the media will no doubt have an impact on visitors and shoppers and while retailers claim shoppers stay away from Fremantle because they don’t feel safe, it is more likely they will stay away because of the negativity in mainstream and on social media.

The City of Fremantle does extremely well when one considers all the CCTV around town and the Community Safety officers patrolling the streets daily from early till late, but at the end it is the State Government that will need to demand from the Police Commissioner that we will get a regular and constant number of officers on foot, on bike and in cars in Fremantle, and not just for a few weeks after bad press.

Bad press is not helping Fremantle! We have read for years that parking supposedly was an issue, but it wasn’t really, and we had a former CEO of the Chamber of Commerce who loved to be photographed in front of vacant shops complaining that retail was declining-as it did everywhere else-and now we have the outrage about homeless people, vagrants, foul language, abuse, etc.

I do totally get the frustration of those who have to deal with this shit daily and are victims of it, in and in front of their shops, but it is much better to put pressure on the Police Commissioner, the Minister for Police and the Premier of this state to let them know that it is not good enough, no matter that incidents such as we have in Fremantle also regularly occur in Cockburn, Midland, Perth, Northbridge, etc.

Our traders, shoppers, tourists, residents, workers and everyone who comes into Freo deserve to have a good time. Feeling unsafe might just be a perception for many, but that makes it a reality for them and that needs to be stopped. Now! We want and need more police on the beat each and every day and indefinitely to prevent all the unacceptable and unlawful incidents happening, not to write reports after the event!

Roel Loopers

TYRES SLASHED IN SOUTH FREMANTLE

Posted in cars, city of fremantle, crime, law&order, police, Uncategorized, vandalism by freoview on February 11, 2019

 

 

Dozens of tyres were slashed last night in Kings William and Attfield Streets in South Fremantle.

Many cars did have two tyres slashed which required a mobile tyre repair company to attend this morning.

A lot of people are now hundreds of dollars out of pockets because of some brain dead idiot(s) who believe it is funny to vandalise other people’s cars.

This happened about two years ago as well in the same area with even more cars damaged, and I also had two tyres on my car punctured.

These vandals are fools and criminals, so I hope the police will catch them!!

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE’S SAFETY A WORRY FOR TRADERS AND SHOPPERS

 

FREO NOW-formerly BID-are writing to the Minister for Police and WA Police Commissioner about the escalating safety issues in Fremantle.

Shop owners are fed up with shop lifting, violence, anti-social behaviour and foul language in the CBD and want more police presence on the streets and stronger action taken.

Only a few months ago Fremantle residents and business owners were told that the crime statistics for Fremantle had been going down steadily, but that does not appear to be the case when one hears of a woman being assaulted at Mills Records and an armed robbery at Rip Curl.

Drug dealing and anti-social behaviour are daily occurrences in High Street near the backpackers on the corner of Henry Street, and so is shop-lifting all over the CBD.

When people feel unsafe in the inner city of Fremantle they will not come for shopping or to enjoy the entertainment our city often has on offer, so more needs to be done by WA Police because the City of Fremantle unfairly gets the flack for it.

More police walking the beat is essential to deter and prevent crime, but from my observations fewer officers are on the streets now than six months ago.

Our traders are doing it tough as it is, so they don’t need more stress and worries and getting abused by out of control vagrants.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE’S GROWING BIG BROTHER

Posted in city of fremantle, crime, federal government, law&order, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on January 23, 2019

 

Fremantle Council’s FPOL Committee will this evening decide if it will approve the tender by Astute Trust, trading as Zenien Pty Ltd for the installation of new CCTV cameras in the CBD, and authorise the CEO to discuss the scope of work with the preferred tenderer, to meet the financial limits of the Federal Government Safer Communities grants.

The tender is to:

  • add 25 fixed high definition 360 degree CCTV cameras
  • install 5 fixed Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras
  • purchase two mobile CCTV trailers
  • install fibre optic within the CBD
  • future expansion to other locations outside the CBD.

The City of Fremantle received a Federal Government grant of $ 928,390 for this project.

OFFICER’S RECOMMENDATION
That the Finance, Policy, Operations and Legislation committee acting under delegation 1.1:
1. Accepts the tender submitted for tender FCC529/18 by The Trustee for Astuta Trust t/as Zenien Pty Ltd, for the supply and install new CCTV infrastructure and upgrade existing.
2. Approves the Chief Executive Officer to negotiate with The Trustee for Astuta Trust t/as Zenien Pty Ltd on the basis of amendments to the scope of work to deliver the services for the amount of $928,390 (ex GST), as provided for by the Federal Government Safer Communities Grant and any contractual variations, in accordance with Regulation 20 of the Local Government (Functions and General) Regulations 1996.

 

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE BEGGARS BLAME GAME NOT HELPFUL

 

While there is no doubt that beggars and homeless people do create problems in Fremantle it is unfair to blame Fremantle Council for it, as the tabloid emotive article by Josh Zimmerman in the Sunday Times does today.

The headline screams that business furious at council inaction, and further in the article it is claimed that Fremantle has the reputation as a soft-touch on anti-social behaviour.

Beggars increase in numbers during the summer months in Fremantle and there is no doubt there are heaps of them around at the moment, many of them with mental health issues.

The Community Safety Officers of the City are on the beat every day from early till late, but they don’t have move-on power like the WA Police does, and anyway, that just shifts the problem elsewhere.

There have been several community safety forums held by the CoF which are attended by police and support services, but the frustration is always evident that there is little they can do about homeless people.

Homelessness is not a crime, but public drunkenness, drug dealing and anti-social behaviour are, and that needs to be addressed more consistently, because there are a few too many who behave aggressively  on our streets who make people feel uncomfortable and unsafe.

There is no doubt in my mind that the fact that there are many support services in Fremantle attract homeless people to our city, because there is always a free meal, a new blanket, the Freo Street Doctor, etc. to help them out. Services they can’t get in most other suburbs in the Perth metro area.

Fremantle Council can’t be blamed for that however. We are yet again getting more CCTV cameras which are live monitored 24/7 and we have more Community Safety Officers on the streets as well. Law&order issues are State Government responsibility and not in the power of local councils.

It is an annoying and frustrating problem for which there are no easy solutions unfortunately, but the blame game in tabloid newspapers is not helpful either.

Roel Loopers

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