Freo's View

FREO’S CIVIC CENTRE DEVELOPMENT PROGRESS

 

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Some more photos of what it looked like at Fremantle’s Kings Square on Wednesday morning.

The demolition team is very carefully removing the building parts that are touching the heritage listed Townhall, so that no damage will occur to the old building.

The back steps that used to be the entrance to the council chambers have already been demolished.

Behind it the Queensgate carpark building is almost ready to be reopened with a few last touches to be done before shoppers can park their cars their again.

Just over a year to go until the Kings Square Redevelopment Project will be finished!

Roel Loopers

RESIDENTS ACTIVATE FREMANTLE’S WEST END

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, heritage, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on October 2, 2018

 

High St

 

A good way to activate city areas is getting more residents living in them, so the proposal to change the top floor of 85-87 High Street in Fremantle’s historic West End into multiple dwellings should be encouraged by Fremantle Council, and so should the addition of a three-storey, three multiple dwellings rear building behind it.

The development plans will come before the Planning Committee this Wednesday.

The residential apartment development on the former Workers Club site in Henry Street is under way and will see more people living in the old town. Notre Dame University have also indicated they might want to create student housing in the former Customs House complex between Pakenham and Henry Street, so that would be very welcome as well.

Roel Loopers

 

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J SHED TAVERN LEASE TERMINATED!

 

In a great exclusive the FREMANTLE HERALD today reports on its front page that Sunset Events has asked the City of Fremantle to terminate its 21-year lease for a tavern at J Shed.

The development approval was rejected by the WA Planning Commission last month, but there were fears in the community that Sunset Events might take it all the way to the State Administrative Tribunal, instead the events promoters decided to walk away from the Bathers Beach venture.

This is an amazingly good outcome for the Fremantle community and heritage groups who protested long, loud and clear against the inappropriate proposal, but the majority of Fremantle Councillors just did not want to listen to them and now have egg on their face for pursuing this for far too long.

It is now time for Fremantle Council to revisit plans for J Shed and the entire Bathers Beach Arts Precinct, which needs to have new innovative ideas to activate it more and better and to make it a tourist destination in the significant heritage area just below the Roundhouse.

Roel Loopers

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THE SOCIETY ALWAYS KNOWS BETTER

 

In his latest communication with its members Fremantle Society president John Dowson laments the vitriolic and nasty comments on social media platform Fremantle Massive and blames Fremantle’s leadership for the divided Fremantle community.

JD, who has returned to Fremantle after spending most of the year in the UK, then continues with his customary attack on our Council, claiming that the vision for the town centre is all wrong, presumably because Freo Council encourages medium-rise buildings.

JD writes that a symbol of Freo Council getting it all wrong is that they did not fly the Australian flag on Queen’s birthday. I am more inclined to believe that the many building developments around Fremantle are a symbol of Freo’s prosperous future, but hey, why be positive about progress when you can have a whinge about a flag not being flown.

Of course the issue of the removal of the old Moreton Bay fig trees from Kings Square also deserves another attack on Mayor Brad Pettitt, who according to JD single-handedly relocated the Christmas tree from the Esplanade to Kings Square. A very silly accusation to make for someone who was a Councillor for four years and who knows how the council process works.

No matter what the issues are JD’s experts are always better than the ones the City of Fremantle engages, be that architecture, city planning, or trees, so the president received the opinion that the fig trees could have lived many years longer at Kings Square, contrary to the advise CoF received from expert eastern states arborists, who flew over, injected the soil, monitored the trees for a long period, and who decided the trees would become a public hazard if left there. The City even had a community consultation process period about the removal, so it was all pretty transparent.

The only positive in JD’s email to the FS members is that the Guildford Society has offered nine-year-old Moreton Bay fig trees to the City of Fremantle, according to the president.

We know that CoF officers are sourcing to replace the so-called Christmas tree, next to the new playground, with another mature Moreton Bay fig tree. One issue is how to get a mature tree through the streets, and the officer in charge told me on Wednesday that they are already looking at the possibility of having to use a helicopter to do that.

The sun is shining, summer is on the way, John Dowson, and the glass is half full. Fremantle has a great future ahead, and new development won’t destroy our beautiful city, just change and modernise parts of it. Inspire your Fremantle Society members with creative new and positive ideas for our city, not just the same old vitriolic rants and attacks on the Mayor, which are becoming tedious and irrelevant.

Roel Loopers

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PERCENTAGE FOR THE ARTS QUESTIONED BY SAT

Posted in architecture, art, city of fremantle, development, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on September 28, 2018

 

It is disturbing for WA artists and local governments that the State Administrative Tribunal(SAT) has expressed the opinion that the percentage for the arts policy should not be part of local government development approval.

SAT expressed that the percentage for the arts was just a way for local councils to get public art they would not have to pay for themselves, but that is a very narrow-minded opinion, as culture is extremely important.

Public art enhances the public realm significantly and the percentage for the arts has given local artists opportunities to create significant artwork for which they get commissioned and is an important source of income for them.

If public art should only be paid for by local ratepayers, small and financially struggling councils would never be able to put decent public art in the public realm, and that would mean communities and future generations would mis out on great contemporary creations.

The SAT opinion was expressed during a hearing about new asphalt plants in Hazelmere by BGC, and I do agree that industrial development should be exempt from the percentage for the arts scheme, but that it has to remain in place for commercial and residential development in our councils.

Art is the spice of life and should be accessible to all, not just a few rich councils that can afford to pay for it.

Roel Loopers

PLANNING FOR FREMANTLE’S FUTURE

 

The Ordinary Council meeting of the City of Fremantle had two interesting potential development items on the agenda, the first one the application by Silverleaf Investments for the removal of four free half-hour parking bays and one loading bay at Market Street, so that they could widen the footpath and re-instate the awning along the Manning Building to improve pedestrian amenity and safety, and lighting under the awning.

The attempt to restrict the use of shops there to retail only and not allow alfresco was squashed with a motion by Councillor Adin Lang who argued that market forces should decide the use of shops, not council policy.

I find it hard to accept the argument for better pedestrian safety and amenity, as Silverleaf’s Robert O’Brien did, when the relatively narrow footpath can be made even narrower and more cluttered with alfresco tables and chairs, which will restrict the flow of walkers.

Councillor Rachel Pemberton’s suggestion to plant trees was unrealistic, as trees would interfere with the proposed awning and also on the road side with public transport and tourist busses which use Market Street very frequently. She was correct however that the City should be doing something about the excessive signage as too many A-frames clutter our streets. They have become a hazard an visual pollution.

Councillor Sam Wainwright argued that it was time to relocate bus stops along the Cappuccino Strip, especially near Fremantle Markets. The item was passed unanimously.

Another very interesting item was the Lefroy Road Quarry Local Structure Plan that would allow for substantial development near the Portuguese Club and the heritage-listed 1890s Healy House, with buildings of up to eight storeys permitted.

To maintain good views to Healy House was considered essential, as was public access and connectivity through the site. Councillor Andrew Sullivan said it was a very difficult site to develop and it needed to be a combined effort by the developers, community, Portuguese Club and Council to make it work. It was important for Council and planning officers to have a good relationship with the proponents as it will require robust conversation and compromises.

Councillor Rachel Pemberton stressed that design excellence on this landmark site was really important. The item was passed unanimously.

Roel Loopers

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TOP LEVEL CHANGE AT SIRONA CAPITAL

Posted in city of fremantle, development, Kings Square Redevelopment Project, Uncategorized by freoview on September 25, 2018

 

A significant change at the top of Sirona Capital will have no impact whatsoever on the Fremantle Kings Square development, a joined media statement assures.

Sirona Capital partners Matthew McNeilly and Kelvin Flyn are going their separate ways, but the change will have no impact on the Fremantle Kings Square Redevelopment Project Sirona Capital is involved in.

McNeilly and Flyn established the private equity firm in 2010, but Kelvin Flyn is moving on and has established Harvis, which will be progressing with the Northern Gateway Industrial Parks at Bullsbrook and Muchea, while Matthew Mc Neilly will continue with the $ 270 million biggest urban renewal project in Fremantle.

Kelvin Flyn and Matthew McNeilly expressed that they see opportunities for Sirona Capital and Harvis to collaborate on future projects.

Roel Loopers

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LACKLUSTRE PROTEST AGAINST ROYAL GEORGE HIGHRISE

 

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About one hundred people, including Labor politicians Josh Wilson MP and Lisa O’Malley MLA, turned up at East Fremantle’s Locke Park on Saturday morning to attend the protest by the Friends of the Royal George agains the planned 20 storey high-rise at the Royal George Hotel in Duke Street.

Only East Freo artist Tony Jones questioned where the Friends of the Royal George had been during the last 20 years when the building was neglected, and that is probably a fair question.

It was a disappointingly lacklustre event though with no speeches or formal gathering, and when I asked one of the display and petition table attendants if we could get a group shot he replied that it was too difficult to get the small crowd together.

Many people just trundled off after a while as nothing was happening, so I suggest the East Freo “Friends” get some coaching from Fremantle groups on how to organise a proper protest rally.

Roel Loopers

FREO KINGS SQUARE REDEVELOPMENT UPDATE

 

 

A look down Queen Street and another one down William Street shows how far the Fremantle Kings Square Redevelopment Project is progressing.

Great times ahead for good old Freo!

Roel Loopers

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EAST FREO ROYAL GEORGE HOTEL PROTEST ON SATURDAY

 

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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

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