Freo's View

FREMANTLE DOWN BUT NOT OUT!

 

walk 3

 

When things are down we have to remind ourselves of the good things as well, so I was thinking about the demise of Fremantle traders, the hardship of many retailers and the increasing vacancies of shops. Yep, we all know the problems are not unique to Fremantle and similar issues are happening in other parts of metropolitan Perth and WA,  but that does not help anyone.

What might be better for Fremantle though is to talk up our city’s uniqueness and achievements instead of having constant negativity in the news media, so I was thinking about all those iconic Freo traders who have been here seemingly ‘forever’.

I am sure my list is incomplete so please add all those long-term surviving traders I have overlooked.

The oldest shoe shop in metro Perth is Bodkin’s Bootery in Freo’s west end High Street, Bousfield and Warrens menswear have been here for as long as I know, and so has Ruocco’s pizza, the Capri, Culley’s, the news agency in the mall, Cicerello’s, Galati’s, Franks, the South Fremantle fish&chips.

Top that with the Sail&Anchor, National, Orient and Federal hotels, the Norfolk, Little Creatures and Newport, the Local and South Beach Hotel, the Tradeswind, Esplanade and Federal hotels, and the Fremantle Markets.

The Moore&Moore cafe has been open for more than ten years and so has the old Roma, that closed for a while but reopened. The Attic is still going well and so are Gino’s, Chalky’s, Picollo’s, and Duck Duck Bruce in Collie Street have been doing so well that they are opening a new second place in Bannister Street.

Kennedy’s the barber is also going well, and while Norm Wrightson’s will be closing  due to the Manning building development it has been THE iconic Freo barber for ages. And let’s not forget Bitches Brew the framers and art gallery, Kakula’s Sister,  and Japingka Gallery and Megan Salmon’s fashion shop.

The Manning building development with a new tavern, brewery and distillery will be great and so will be the Police&Justice complex tourist attraction with hotel, FOMO at Kings Square will offer a whole new shopping and hospitality experience, and a few new hotels  and residential apartment buildings will pop up in the centre of Freo over the next years as well

It might often feel as if Fremantle is on it’s knees but the fight is not over by a long way, and Freo people and traders know how to fight and the community knows how to support one another. We’ll get through these tough times by telling ourselves and others that Freo is a pretty outstanding place to visit, shop and live. We can do it Freo!

SHOP AND HAVE FUN IN FREO!

 

Roel Loopers

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UNFAIR TO BLAME LOCAL COUNCILS FOR RETAIL DECLINE

 

Kings Square

 

It is rather hypocritical for Bill Marmion to berate Fremantle Council about economic development in his letter in the West Australian on Thursday. Has Mr Marmion forgotten that he was a minister in the Barnett government that created the biggest billions of dollars debt in the history of Western Australia?

Fremantle Council has in fact been proactive for ten years to start the economic recovery with encouraging developers to start building in the CBD, and that is happening with the LIV and Heirloom residential developments now occupied and with four hotels approved at the Woolstores shopping centre, the former Point Street carpark site, the Police&Justice complex and another one at the Warders Cottages next to Fremantle Markets. And the Kings Square Redevelopment Project is on track and will open in the first quarter of next year with a creative new retail concept called FOMO.

A new Destination Marketing campaign for Fremantle was launched two months ago, but retailers must adjust to the changing shopping trends instead of blaming local councils for the decline of retail. Some Freo traders still have boring window displays as if it’s the 1960s and refuse to modernise their shop fronts and customer service.

There is plenty of parking in Fremantle Bill Marmion with over 5,000 bays plus a new carpark coming on line next year in Parry Street.

The world changes, and while Fremantle Council is far from perfect and often frustrates me they are well ahead of other local councils in the economic rebirth game.

Roel Loopers

COMMITTEE FOR PERTH LATEST WA STATISTICS

 

Committee for Perth WA stats

The Committee for Perth released its latest Fact Sheet with this easy to read graphic.

Interesting to note that the huge state of Western Australia only has 10% of Australia’s population, so over-population is not something we have to greatly worry about here in the west.

While the unemployment rate is 6.3% in WA the forecast for employment growth is 2%, so let’s hope that will be at least the case as the nation’s average is 5%.

Roel Loopers

FREO’S ONE PLANET GREEN BUDGET

Posted in budget, city of fremantle, economy, environment, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on July 25, 2018

 

This will start the tongues wagging of those who are not happy with the ‘Greenies’ running the City of Fremantle. ; >)

This from the city on the budget:

The City of FremantIe is delivering on the One Planet Fremantle strategy through initiatives funded in its 2018-19 annual budget.

The centrepiece of the budget is the allocation of $46.3 million towards the construction of the City’s new administration building and library, as part of the broader Kings Square Renewal project.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said the aim was to make the new administration centre one of the most energy efficient buildings of its size in Western Australia.

“Our target is for the new building to be zero carbon, so it will have a sophisticated automated opening façade system designed to capture Fremantle’s famous sea breezes and enable natural ventilation for most of the year.

“It will have high-performance, well shaded windows to minimise heat loss during cooler periods and minimise heat gain in summer.

Other sustainability features will include a 240kw solar PV system, energy-efficient LED lighting and water saving appliances.

Another key sustainability measure in the 2018-19 budget is the allocation of $920,000 to implement the new three bin Food Organic Garden Organic (FOGO) waste management system.

The new FOGO system is a key step towards achieving the City’s One Planet target of a 70 per cent community recycling rate by 2020, and will also protect ratepayers from long-term increases landfill costs.

The budget also includes:

$50,000 to purchase carbon offsets to maintain carbon neutral status
$40,000 to implement the verge garden scheme
$32,784 for a new cardboard and aluminium bailer for the Fremantle Recycling Centre
$14,000 to provide Living Smart sustainability workshops
$10,000 to introduce a local container deposit scheme at three Fremantle Primary Schools
$12,000 to install solar panels on community buildings
$10,000 to implement a car share scheme
$30,000 for works and maintenance in the City of Fremantle Bike Plan
$65,000 to revise the Sir Frederick Samson Park management plan
$102,000 for coastal monitoring and assessment at Port, Leighton and Mosman beaches

For more information on the City’s One Planet strategy visit the One Planet page on our website.

 

Roel Loopers

 

AGEING POPULATION IMPACTS ON ECONOMY

Posted in aged, city of fremantle, economy, health, hospitality, retail, seniors, Uncategorized by freoview on July 23, 2018

 

The media reports that the Western Australian economy has bounced back is positive, but the reasons for the closure of many hospitality outlets and the downturn in retail sales is always only ever explained with internet shopping and the mining bust. Not one expert opinion I have read considers that the fast ageing population is also a reason for people spending less money on non essential items.

Just in Fremantle I know several people whose life has changed since they went on the government pension, because they simply no longer have the money to socialise with friends in pubs and restaurants. Some tell me they can’t even afford to entertain at home, because cooking a meal for friends might cost 50% of the money of their weekly food expenditure.

Many of the pensioners I talk to say they mis no longer going to live theatre plays, concerts and events, because there is not enough money in the kitty, and even going to the hairdresser, especially for women, requires to save it from something else.

A ‘cheap’ $ 20 breakfast or $ 35 dinner in a nice cafe or restaurant are beyond their reach, so they feel on the scrap heap of society, where no one really cares how they are surviving and what their quality of life is.

The government pension does not keep up with the constantly increasing costs of just about everything, but that does not appear to be an issue for our political parties. Once one pays rent, telephone, internet and for the car, there is very little left for food, and hardly ever enough for a meal and glass of wine somewhere nice. Even doctors’ visits need to be kept to a minimum because most GPs don’t bulk bill any more, hence far too many old people use the free service at the emergency departments at our public hospitals.

It is an outrage that many old people live in cold homes in winter because they don’t have enough money to pay for gas and power, and it is an even greater outrage that thousands of people sleep on the streets of our cities.

The very fast ageing of the Australian population is very real, and it does affect the economy, so it is time for our politicians to start preparing for a future where over fifty per cent of the population will be over 60 years old. It is even more tangible and imminent than global warming, so it is time to change the priorities a bit and start looking after our older people a whole lot better.

Roel Loopers

 

Henty's

FREMANTLE BUDGET AN INVESTMENT IN THE FUTURE

Posted in budget, city of fremantle, development, economy, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on June 29, 2018

 

Fremantle Council has adopted an annual budget it claims to be the single largest local government investment in the city’s history.

The 2018-19 budget, adopted by the council on Wednesday night, included $46.3 million as the City’s contribution towards the broader Kings Square Renewal project, which includes the development of a new library, civic and community centre, upgrade of public spaces by the City and the redevelopment of the former Myer building, Queensgate building and Queensgate carpark by project partner Sirona Capital.

The 2018-19 budget also includes $920,000 for the roll-out of the new FOGO (Food Organics Garden Organics) waste management system, and $2.8 million to construct the new Fremantle Park Sport and Community Centre.

Residential rates will rise by a modest average of 2.9 per cent, which includes a 2 per cent increase to partly fund the costs of implementing the FOGO system, including the purchase of new FOGO bins.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said  that “It’s a significant achievement that the City has been able to deliver this unprecedented level of investment and keep rate increases low, despite the substantial increases in costs through state government charges like power and water.”

The 2.9 per cent average rate increase is the second lowest since 2000. The lowest was last year’s increase of 1.5 per cent.

Total budget expenditure is $150.1 million, comprised of $57.7 million in capital expenditure, $90.7 million in operating expenditure and $1.7m in loan repayments.

Other budget highlights include:
• $2.5 million road improvement and maintenance program
• $743,000 for more CCTV
• $506,000 to refurbish Cantonment Hill Naval Store
• $250,000 for internal restoration works at the Town Hall
• $110,000 to upgrade the Esplanade Youth Plaza
• $100,000 for further upgrades to South Terrace
• $115,000 on new play equipment
• $25,000 to prepare concept plans for Fremantle Station city square and Queen Street upgrades.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE’S HEALTHY FINANCIAL RATING

Posted in budget, city of fremantle, economy, finances, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on June 22, 2018

 

The financial management of the City of Fremantle was strongly criticised by some in our community when it was rated only 42 by the My Council state government website for 2015/16, so for what it is worth, Fremantle has climbed substantially and was rated 87 for the 2016/17 financial year. It was at 79 in 2014/15.

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE BID FUTURE IN DOUBT

Posted in advertising, bid, city of fremantle, economy, local government, retail, Uncategorized by freoview on April 11, 2018

 

The FPOL Committee of Fremantle Council will consider tonight the City’s future role in delivering destination marketing also known as the ‘place marketing’ service. Some of the reasons for it are :

The service aims to support the viability of the Fremantle business community by improving awareness of the overall Fremantle offering to visitors, improving perception of the overall Fremantle offering to visitors, and ultimately increasing visitation to Fremantle to provide opportunities for local businesses to capture expenditure.

The service encompasses the marketing of all business-to-customer or population-driven industries including (but not limited to) retail, hospitality, professional services and traditional tourism attractions.

Combining the City’s destination marketing budget with the use of the central area differential rate to enable a greater investment in destination marketing, and

Establishing an ‘arm’s length’ group comprised of a marketing professional as chairperson and key representatives from the business community with appropriate skills or experience in marketing to set the plan for:

the overall strategic marketing approach, including different stages over next four years

how to achieve ongoing business community engagement in marketing activities

appointment of a marketing agency and/or marketing contractors (via a normal City procurement process) to deliver destination marketing services, and

sponsorship of existing and new private events and grass roots business activation projects.

It is recommended that the destination marketing advisory group will operate for a four year period (2018/19 – 2021/22) with agreed terms of reference, and process for nomination and appointment by council. The group would make recommendations to council on matters related to destination marketing. In many ways, comparisons can be made to the way the Design Advisory Committee operates.

The Group will consider the ‘brand values’ and ‘unique selling points’ of Fremantle within the context of increasing competition from competing Perth metropolitan centres, global customer trends, disruptions to major industries such as retail, and the economic development aspirations of Fremantle.

Following organisations that have submitted letters of support: Experience Perth, Tourism Council of Western Australia, Fremantle Chamber of Commerce, Fremantle Prison, Fremantle Tourism Association, Fremantle Accommodation Association, Fremantle Markets, MANY 2.0 and Sirona Capital.

The current recipients of the differential rate, the Fremantle BID and some of its supporters, have submitted letters opposing the proposal. This is an expected and logical position for the BID to take as the recommended model requires discontinuing the BID’s funding after this financial year.

This report does not comprehensively evaluate the performance of the Fremantle BID but does assume that the recommendations in the report will deliver a more effective use of the differential rate money. That assumption is made by comparing the expected outcomes of the officer’s recommendation and the level of business support for it, against the level of support for the Fremantle BID and the outcomes delivered for the approximate $2.2 million in funding provided to the BID since 2012/13 FY.

One of the issues that is not addressed is that the additional differential rates are only paid by businesses who operate in the CBD, while the new destination marketing strategy will be for all of Fremantle, so how will the City make this fair for inner city traders that are paying the extra rates?

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE FINANCIALLY SOUND SAYS MINISTER

Posted in city of fremantle, development, economy, finances, Uncategorized by freoview on September 20, 2017

 

I am not a big fan of publishing media releases by Freo City, or anyone else for that matter, but this one about the City of Fremantle’s financial situation is very important, especially during the local government election campaign, where some people claim Freo is going broke because of its investment in the Kings Square Project and selling city assets.

The City of Fremantle has received clarification from the Minister for Local Government over the City’s risk profile.

The City wrote to the Minister, David Templeman, in August after it was identified as being “high risk” in a response to a question in State Parliament.

The City’s risk profile was based on reporting from the 2015/16 financial year, where it recorded an unusually low Financial Health Indicator (FHI) score due a number of factors including a change in accounting methodology.

In his reply the Minister said he accepted information from the City’s auditors that, subject to final audit, the City of Fremantle’s 2016/17 FHI score will restore to approximately 85.

For the MyCouncil website and the Department of Local Government’s risk profile an FHI score of 70 and above indicates sound financial health.

The Minister also said he had asked his Department to review the way it communicates its risk profile process to avoid potential misunderstandings in the future.

CITY OF FREMANTLE FINANCES SOUND

Posted in city of fremantle, economy, finances, Uncategorized by freoview on August 11, 2017

 

A small article in today’s West Australian reported that David Templeman, the Minister for Local Government, had announced that 15 per cent of, or 22 local councils in W.A. were considered to be high risk by the department.

They include the City of Perth, Fremantle, Kalgoorlie, Exmouth, Derby, Carnarvon, etc. but the article did not go into detail as to why these councils are judged to be high risk.

The claim about Fremantle’s finances has been made before, and rejected by the City, but I thought it would be prudent to ask them for a comment. Here it is:

Today’s page 14 newpaper article in The West Australian: ‘More councils high-risk’ has named the City of Fremantle as being identified by the Department of Local Government as ‘high risk’.

The City assumes it was included in this list due to a one-off low Financial Health Indicator (FHI) score for the 2015/16 financial year. The lower than usual score was caused by a combination of factors including a change in accounting methodology used by the City to simplify the way overhead costs are recorded. This change artificially inflated the year-on-year operating expenditure in 2015/16.

With this anomaly addressed in subsequent budgets, the City’s FHI score will normalise back to its long-term healthy trend when the 2016/17 audit is completed.

In previous reports issued by the Department of Local Government the City of Fremantle has not ever been classified as being in any risk category, let alone a high risk.

The City is independently audited each year and no audit has ever indicated any fundamental issues or problems with the City’s medium or long-term financial viability.

I wonder if it should not be a matter of course for the Department of Local Government to notify local councils of their findings and concerns and offer support to them, and clarify how they reached the findings.

 

Roel Loopers

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