Freo's View

NO FREO PORT AND ROE 8 IN SPENDING CHECK

Posted in economy, finances, fremantle, state government, Uncategorized, western australia by freoview on May 15, 2017

I am surprised and disappointed that WA Premier Mark McGowan has not included the cost it has taken to prepare for the sale of Fremantle Ports in the inquiry into the spending of the Barnett Liberal/National government.

A meeting I attended at the Port well over a year ago was told they were spending millions of dollars on lawyers, consultants and experts to make the port ready for privatisation, which will not be going ahead under the new Labor government.

The inquiry announced by the Premier today will be headed by former under treasurer John Langoulant and will investigate 26 projects.

They include: Elizabeth Quay, Perth Stadium and Swan footbridge, land assets sales, Ord River Irrigation Project, Pilbara accommodation, Pilbara underground power project, Ningaloo Centre, Bulgarra sports complex, Wanangkura stadium Port Hedland, Fiona Stanley Hospital, Children’s Hospital, QE II Hospital, Karratha Hospital, St John of God Midland, IT at Department of health, outsourcing of non-clinical services, NurseWest, Muja power station, Synergy billing, Synergy and Western Power contracts, Western Power Woodlands and Vista, Road Safety Commission’s Rugby WA partnership, Buyback Scheme renewable energy, Temporary Personnel Services common use arrangements, Next ICT project.

But not Roe 8 and Fremantle Port and that wonders me a lot. Why were they excluded from the extensive list?

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE INVESTMENT IN THE FUTURE

Posted in city of fremantle, economy, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on May 11, 2017

 

The City of Fremantle’s Audit and Risk Management Committee this week approved the principles of a draft ten year financial plan (2017-2027) which confirms the City has the ability to deliver its portion of the $270m redevelopment of the Fremantle city centre with CPI-based rate increases and without a need for future sale of income generating assets.

The plan confirms the Kings Square city centre renewal project as central to providing a solid financial base for the City of Fremantle and a strong economic future for Fremantle as a whole.

• Reserves to be reinstated to current levels by 2027
• The ability for all debt to be paid off within 10 years of Kings Square redevelopment
• Demonstrates all of the above can be delivered with CPI rate increases
• Recent wave of new investment and developments in Fremantle to deliver an estimated $5m annually to City’s commercial rates revenue by 2022
The long-term plan was also developed to deliver balanced annual budgets and restore reserves to current levels (~$20m) within the ten year period of the plan.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said the draft plan included the City’s largest capital works program in its history to deliver a renewed city centre and strengthen the City’s long-term financial position.
“The redevelopment of Kings Square is a major long-term investment in the economic future of Fremantle and the revised financial modelling which includes the latest information on Kings Square costs demonstrates this,” Mayor Pettitt said.

“Before this investment in the Fremantle city centre there was a serious fear Fremantle was on an unsustainable economic trajectory. The City committing to the catalyst Kings Square project in 2013 has renewed investor confidence and has been a major contributor to the $1.3b development boom we now see in Freo.

VACANT SHOPS A MAJOR PROBLEM

Posted in city of fremantle, economy, hospitality, retail by freoview on April 2, 2017

A report in the Sunday Times today shows that the accusations against Fremantle Council not looking after its retailers well enough and that parking problems keep shoppers away are hot air.

The new Perth Labor MP wants a City Summit because of the dire retail economy in the big smoke, which shows Fremantle’s retail problems are neither unique nor to blame on Council.

Of the 950 shops in the Perth CBD 150 are vacant at a 16 per cent vacancy rate. Along Barrack Street and St George’s Terrace a staggering one in five shops are empty, so it does not look well at all.

We know that retailers in Subiaco and elsewhere have also been struggling for years, so this problems is all over the Perth metropolitan area.

Yesterday the West Australian reported that many restaurants are closing in Perth as well and that shows that we need to do more for tourism, conventions, festivals, etc. and can no longer rely on the patchy mining industry that booms and busts often and lacks the stability our retailers and hospitality industry need.

It is unfair to lay blame for the economy on individual local councils as there is clearly a bigger picture at play well outside the power of local government.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE EAST CBD DEVELOPMENT

Posted in city of fremantle, development, economy, hotel, housing, tourism by freoview on March 19, 2017

This photo taken from the top of the Fremantle Townhall on Friday has historic significance for Fremantle as the inner east CBD will look very different in a few years from now with major development plans for the area.

In about five years we will see the new Woolstores shopping centre commercial, hotel and student development by Silverleaf, the Point Street Hilton Doubletree hotel project, and the eight-storey residential development of the former Spotlight building, and just beyond that the residential development next to the Hotel Australia at Beach Street.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE’S SOCIALIST DEVELOPMENT

Posted in city of fremantle, development, economy, lifestyle by freoview on March 14, 2017

 

The LIV Defence Housing residential development at Fremantle’s Queen Victoria and Quarry streets is well under way and will be a great addition to the east end of the CBD.

I find it rather cute that people on the right side of politics keep accusing Fremantle Council of being socialists when this council has done more in thirty years to attract very capitalist development to our city than previous councils.

While some of the new development is disappointing and mediocre it will do Fremantle’s economy and traders a lot of good in the near future to have three new hotels and very substantial residential and commercial development that will bring thousands more people living in the inner city and thousands more working in the CBD.

It will be fantastic for the hospitality and retail industries to have hundreds of tourists staying overnight in Fremantle and shop, dine and drink here, and having locals and students roaming the streets day and night will make it a safer and more lively place.

Roel Loopers

Comments Off on FREMANTLE’S SOCIALIST DEVELOPMENT

FREMANTLE’S EXCITING MODERN FUTURE

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, economy, retail, shopping, tourism by freoview on March 8, 2017

There was a rather exciting BID-Business Improvement District meeting at the National Hotel on Wednesday evening that spelled out the future of the Fremantle inner city, and I was very impressed.

Mayor Brad Pettitt said it was important that the business community engaged with the City and that they went on the journey together.

Pettitt admitted the next 3 years are going to be challenging for inner city traders because of the disruptions caused by the massive development at Kings Square and elsewhere in the CBD.

The Mayor said it was disappointing that the Hilton Doubletree hotel development on the Point Street carpark site will now only start in the first quarter of next year, so that is another lengthy delay.

The more I see of Gerard O’Brien, the boss of Fremantle developers Silverleaf, the more I like his no-nonsense approach and straight-forward message that Fremantle only has a three-year window before Garden City will more than double in size.

“We need to keep moving as we have suffered big time in Fremantle”, O’Brien said. “We need to get our act together and support each other as a community and Council. It needs to be a team effort!”

Silverleaf has huge plans for Fremantle and O’Brien said that they are only the custodians and want to leave something behind that all of Freo can be proud off, not just a glass box.

O’Brien then revealed his plans for the Woolstores shopping centre site and that is very exciting for Fremantle. The development is 26,000 square metres.

There will be an Adina Hotel, commercial floorspace and -hallelujah!- student accommodation! Plus a shopping centre at ground level and underground parking.

Coles will keep trading during the construction period and Gerard O’Brien believed that was essential to keep attracting shoppers into the inner city.

O’Brien said the design of the building pays tribute to the heritage and pays homage to the environment the new building will be in.

I quite like the old&new architecture with red bricks at ground level and vertical cladding similar to the new Perth library and theatre buildings, while the levels above that are very modern, but quite striking and minimalist.

The entire roof will be solar panels, which O’Brien said was a good investment, while the windows will be double-glazed and have new technology in them that will keep out the sun and keep the interior cool. I am impressed!

Silverleaf will also be developing “ the beautiful piece of history” former police and courthouse complex and Warders Cottages at Henderson Street into three-star history tourist accommodation with 64 rooms. It will also have a market place open space and four different concepts that are all about tourism.

New BID CEO Tim Milsom said the transformation of Fremantle is about to happen and that Silverleaf could develop anywhere in the world but chooses to do so in Fremantle.

Milsom said BID have plans for a creative hub and an aspirational business mix but O’Brien said that Fremantle has enough specialty stores.

Milsom said we need to find out from the community and visitors what is missing in Fremantle and what will bring people back. For example there is no hardware store in Freo anymore.

There is no bakery or butcher or corner deli in the CBD either, but more than a dozen new shops will open in Fremantle soon, so that is more good news.

Many 6160 are moving from the former Myer building at Kings Square to the former Spotlight building next to Target and are due to open next week.

I put my neck on the line and say that this is very good news for Fremantle and that we are on the right track to create a great vibrant city where hundreds of tourists will stay over night, eat, drink and shop and where we will finally have many students living in the inner city.

Roel Loopers

Comments Off on FREMANTLE’S EXCITING MODERN FUTURE

FREMANTLE QUEST HOTEL NOW OPEN!

Posted in accommodation, economy, fremantle, hospitality, hotel, tourism by freoview on December 13, 2016

pak-4

The Fremantle QUEST serviced apartments hotel in Pakenham Street opened yesterday, so let your visitors know about this new accommodation in the port city.

It is very important for the Fremantle economy to keep visitors here over night, instead of them going to Perth or elsewhere, so the more tourist accommodation the better.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE PERCEPTION AND REALITY

Posted in city of fremantle, economy, retail by freoview on December 5, 2016
The new Cotton On opened in the Atwell Arcade.

The new Cotton On opened in the Atwell Arcade.

I picked out a few more figures from the City of Fremantle annual report to show facts that sometimes do not support the perception(s) people have of Fremantle.

The lament that businesses constantly close in Fremantle is a real but the annual report figures show that 64 new businesses opened while 37 closed and 11 relocated within the city. Not great figures and I’d love to see no shop closures at all and new big retailers opening up in Freo, but the facts are better that community perception.

And here a copy and paste below from the annual report:

Compared to Perth’s metropolitan population, Fremantle shows a lower proportion of people in the younger age groups (0 to 17 years) and a higher proportion of residents in the older age groups (50+ years). Overall, 18% of the residents are under 18 years of age, 8% are between 18 and 24 years, 37% between 25 and 49 years, and 38% are aged 50 years and over.

Fremantle households tend to be smaller than the Perth average with 70% of dwellings housing one or two people, while only 4% have five or more residents. Car ownership reflects this, with 13% of households having no vehicles and fewer than 10% having three or more cars.

Fremantle people are well educated, with 29% of residents holding a bachelor’s degree or higher. At 6.4%, unemployment in the city is slightly higher than the national average.

The Fremantle economy is diverse, with 4 456 registered businesses operating across a wide range of sectors. Many of the city’s enterprises are small businesses, with 20% of active businesses employing fewer than five people.

Interesting about these statistics for me is the average age of the Fremantle population with 38% over the age of 50 years and 37% between the ages of 25 and 49 years of age. This means 75% of Fremantle residents are older than 25 years of age, but there is a strong emphasis at Fremantle Council to create a youth culture in Fremantle that tends to ignore the population reality. I support having a Youth Council but we should also have an Aged Council that represents the vast majority of the population!

Roel Loopers

MODERNISATION GOOD FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in architecture, atwell arcade, city of fremantle, economy, hospitality, retail, shopping by freoview on November 23, 2016

I had a look inside the renovated Atwell Arcade building and was very impressed with some of the stunning office spaces they have created on the first floor above Cotton On and the other shops in the High Street Mall.

There is no doubt in my mind that this development is good for the Fremantle retail and hospitality industries and our city overall.

Cotton On will open this Friday and looks very impressive and the modern arcade looks inviting.

Maybe some of the heritage character has been lost but I believe the development is a real gain for Freo and a milestone for the revival of Fremantle.

As I have said before the exterior of the new building is not outstanding but for me an acceptable compromise in this location because it angles away as a huge set back and it appears very soft against the blue sky.

 

Roel Loopers

Comments Off on MODERNISATION GOOD FOR FREMANTLE

FREO CITY NEEDS TO PRIORITISE SPENDING

Posted in city of fremantle, economy, finances, local government by freoview on November 10, 2016

It appears the dire financial situation of the City of Fremantle has shocked some elected members with Councillor Doug Thompson even questioning at the FPOL Committee if the City needed to spend the relatively small sum of $ 54,000 on the first stage of a new club building at Parry Street for the Fremantle Workers, Tennis and Bowling clubs, which is a financial collaboration of the Workers Club, CoF and Department of Recreation and Sport.

Becoming financially more prudence is clearly required and Councillors and officers need to sit down and prioritise expenditure and find savings.

Councillors might have to reconsider the purchase of one or two of the Warders Cottages as community benefits for that are questionable since the cottages are tiny and have limited community use and hence will create limited income for the City but constant expenditure.

While the sale of the Knutsford Street depot will create a big sum of income for the city it might want to reconsider building a new administration building at Kings Square and compromise by extending the present one.

The present building boom will over time see a substantial rate increase for the City with more people buying residential and commercial property in Fremantle, but that is still many years away from making a positive impact on the City’s finances.

Fremantle is in a transformative state of substantial development that will see the City grow and prosper with more tourist, residential and office accommodation. That will also boost the retail and hospitality industries, but council expenditure needs to be more focussed and that can start with the administration increasing its performance in most areas and reducing the costs of external consultants, etc.

It is fantastic to have big plans and dreams for Fremantle, but financial reality has to come first so let’s put a focus group together that will make recommendations to Council on how to improve the City’s financial performance.

Roel Loopers

%d bloggers like this: