Freo's View

PORT DEBATE SHOULD NOT BE POLITICAL FOOTBALL

 

Roe 8

 

It is a shame that the future of Fremantle Port has become a political football with self interest groups battling it out.

There is another attack by the pro Liberal West Australian on Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt today and the Libs have also paid for a wrap around of the Fremantle Herald to tell us all how fantastic Roe 8 would be.

Let’s just pause and be clear about some of the issues here. First of all the Liberal party lost the last state election by a landslide and the Labor party had promised not to build Roe 8. Second is that the Perth Freight Link the Barnett government wanted never made it over the Swan River or dealt with the bottleneck in North Fremantle. It stopped at Stirling Highway and hence was not offering the solutions needed.

Traffic on Leach Highway is mainly general private traffic and not trucks to and from Fremantle Port, and truck movements to the port have decreased significantly the last year or so.

The Town of Kwinana and the Western Harbour Alliance are only promoting a new port at Kwinana for obvious reasons, while Fremantle wants the cake and eat it too by wanting to keep a working port but also developing Victoria Quay while reducing the traffic issues at North Fremantle and not inconveniencing residents along the railway line with more frequent container trains. They can’t have it all!

The MUA is only worried about wharfies losing jobs if a Kwinana Port is built because automisation at a new port would mean fewer jobs for MUA members.

Truck companies whinge about Leach Highway traffic because a new Kwinana Port would be mainly road based freight, according to the recent Westport Taskforce report, so that means more work and money for the road transport industry.

Those who fought for the Beeliar Wetlands seem a lot less concerned about the environmental impact on Cockburn Sound, and in general no one really talks about the impact massively increased freight traffic would bring to the Kwinana region and the residents there.

The political decision about Roe 8 has been made and the voters agreed with it, so the silly push by the Liberal party and West media is ignoring democracy. At the same time the City of Fremantle needs to start being pro-active about where to go when-it’s not if-Freo will lose its working port. It might still be 10-15 years away but it will happen, no matter how much the Mayor talks up the potential for Fremantle Port to handle a lot more containers.

In my opinion Fremantle will be a lot less attractive once it loses the vitality of the working port, but level headed discussions are needed and we need to be pragmatic and realistic about the options and opportunities. Making it all into a political football is silly, immature and unprofessional.

Roel Loopers

ROAD SAFETY FORUM IN FREMANTLE

Posted in cars, city of fremantle, freight, traffic, Uncategorized by freoview on August 23, 2019

 

Road Safety Forum 26 August

 

Member for Fremantle Simone McGurk will be part of a forum on road safety that will be held on Monday August 26 from 6-7.45 pm at the South Fremantle Football Club at Fremantle Oval.

Have your say about what should be done to improve road safety for everyone.

Roel Loopers

WHY SHOULD FREMANTLE PAY FOR HIGH STREET UPGRADE?

Posted in city of fremantle, containers, freight, fremantle ports, Uncategorized by freoview on August 22, 2019

 

The City of Fremantle has now taken possession of the FERN site at Montreal Street and golf course designers have been appointed to redesign the public golf course because the High Street Upgrade by Main Roads will be intruding into the current gold course.

The big question Fremantle ratepayers are now asking is who is paying for it all? Is Main Roads paying for the costly redesign and development work of the golf course or does Fremantle City need to find the money for it?

There were also talks that the City would be compensated for the loss of land, because of the widening of High Street at the golf course, and that a land swap would occur where Main Roads would give Fremantle land at Clontarf Hill, but nothing has progressed in that regard either.

Surely the State Government needs to compensate the City of Fremantle as the widening of High Street is all about getting freight to Fremantle Port faster and safer, and Fremantle Ports is very profitable, so let them be financially responsible for creating the new golf course.

Roel Loopers

REDESIGN FOR FREMANTLE GOLF COURSE

 

The City of Fremantle has engaged some of Australia’s most respected golf course designers to reconfigure the Fremantle Public Golf Course.

Perth-based landscape architects Aspect Studios have been appointed to undertake the project with specialist golf course designer Richard Chamberlain, landscape architect Stuart Pullyblank and project manager Mal Birch.

Mr Chamberlain has more than 30 years of international experience in golf course design including Royal Hobart and Royal Fremantle golf clubs. He is also responsible for the extremely successful mini-golf course at the Wembley Golf Course.

Mr Pullyblank and Mr Birch have recently completed the redevelopment of the Lake 9 at Collier Park in the City of South Perth.

The redesign of the golf course is needed to make way for the Main Roads WA upgrade of High Street, which will result in the loss of the third and sixth holes.

The aim is to achieve a redeveloped nine hole, par 34 course and provide equivalent driving range and practice facilities, while also retaining mature trees and minimising the impact on neighbouring Booyeembara Park.

The  process gives the course and the City the opportunity to re-establish and re-badge the brand of what the course is about. It could be very similar to what’s happened at Wembley, where it was already a well-liked course and a well catered for course but the transformation there was amazing.

The Fremantle Public Golf Course is operated by the lessee Evergreen Golf.

The course designers met with representatives of the clubs based at Fremantle Public Golf Course last week to discuss the redesign process.

Issues such as the design of the new club house will be considered by Fremantle Council in the coming months.

The City of Fremantle did not mention in its media release if the state government through Main Roads will pay for the redesign  and work of the golf course as that has become necessary because of the High Street upgrade and the new alignment intruding into the current golf course. Still also not a word about a land swap where the City would get some of the Clontarf Hill land presently owned by the state government.

Roel Loopers

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LET WESTPORT TASKFORCE FINISH THEIR JOB!

 

It is disappointing that the in my opinion very thorough Westport Taskforce is now being criticised by the WA Liberal opposition and their PR agency the West Australian.

For two years the taskforce has dealt with all the stakeholders and conducted excellent community consultation but now they are being criticised for not having considered the Perth Freight Link.

Might it be the PFL was not considered because it fails to offer a solution on how to get freight faster and better to Fremantle Port because the PFL stopped at the Fremantle traffic bridge without any improvements to the North Fremantle bottleneck?

The Westport Taskforce preferred option is for the container port to be shifted to a new port at Kwinana and I believe that is most likely what the State Goivernment will decide on if all environmental approvals can be obtained that show that the impact on Cockburn Sound can be managed. It is unlikely the stevedores will support double handling of moving containers from Fremantle to Kwinana on barges as that would add costs and time.

For the City of Fremantle it is important to start planning what to do if we lose the great cranes and containers and most of the wharfies and port related office workers in town. Fremantle Port is so much part of Fremantle’s unique character and if we lose it we are in serious trouble as cruiseliners only come for a few months during the summer period.

While development at Victoria Quay would link the port better to the Fremantle CBD, a port without cranes and ships becomes just the river mouth of the Swan River.

The Westport Taskforce is still investigating and not finished yet and will now have to research if the Kwinana option is environmentally safe, so why not let them do their work without interfering and political finger pointing.

Roel Loopers

 

CONTINUING FREMANTLE PORT ONLY SECOND OPTION FOR WESTPORT TASKFORCE

Posted in city of fremantle, containers, freight, fremantle ports, maritime, Uncategorized by freoview on August 15, 2019

 

The WESTPORT TASKFORCE has released its shortlist for future port operations and the preferred one is # 1- is the option 23 on the long list that would see a stand-alone land-backed port handling all container freight at Kwinana. The new port would extend from the Kwinana Bulk Jetty to the Alcoa jetty.

Option #2 is the long list Fremantle option 2 plus Kwinana option 24 for a shared port with a new one at Kwinana and Fremantle Port remaining as it is with some road, rail and operational enhancements.

Option # 3 would be as option # 2 but with a so called Blue Highway of shallow barges transporting containers from Fremantle to Kwinana.

From the Westport Taskforce:

While all of the assessment criteria were deemed to be of high importance, the assigned weightings are further explained below:

1. Capital expenditure and land acquisition costs, as a combined criterion, was weighted highest (18.2 per cent) as affordability was considered the most important criterion for the State. It is critical that Westport delivers an outcome that is fnancially responsible for the State.

2. Similarly, operations and maintenance costs received the second highest weighting of 16.4 per cent, as the fnal option must be commercially viable and affordable for the long-term.

3. Land use compatibility was weighted third at 14.5 per cent, as the impacts of expanded road and rail corridors, increased freight movement and/or a new port would be signifcant on nearby residences.

4. Marine environmental impacts were weighted highly at 12.7 per cent as a result of strong community support for this criterion.

5. Terrestrial environmental impacts were also weighted highly at 9.1 per cent, again in acknowledgment of the importance of this value to the community.

6. Net amenity impacts – such as impacts on recreation, visual amenity and beach use – were weighted equally at 9.1 per cent, based on strong community feedback around these issues.

7. The ability to expand the infrastructure (scalability) in the long-term if required and operational effciency was similarly weighted at 9.1 per cent.

8. Other determining factors were deemed to be heritage impacts (5.5 per cent), port and transport corridor access (3.7 per cent) and land availability and complexity of acquisitions (1.8 per cent)

Roel Loopers

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SILLY MEDIA PUSH FOR REJECTED PERTH FREIGHT LINK

 

I find it quite astonishing that the West Australian and its related West Media outlets keep pushing for the Roe 8 highway to be built when the McGowan Labor government received a clear mandate for scrapping the Perth Freight Link when it won the last WA election by a huge landslide.

While the West never forgets to remind us that the Federal Liberal government have a mandate because they won the recent election that does not appear to apply for Western Australian politics.

The Perth Freight Link was a failed concept that did not have a solution for the bottleneck in North Fremantle.  Recent articles and letters failed to acknowledge that according to Mainroads 90 per cent of vehicles using the PFL would be private vehicles, so it is wrong to suggest this was just going to be some kind of fast toll road for trucks to and from Fremantle Port.

Now that the new state government has established the Westport Taskforce to see what the best location for a new port might be it is highly premature for the West and state and federal Liberal politicians to keep pushing for Roe 8, 9, 10 and whatever. Let’s just wait and see what the recommendations of the task force are before spending billions of dollars on a highway extension that might not be needed.

The people voted against Roe 8 so the McGowan government has a mandate to not build it.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE PORT FREIGHT ON RAIL RECORD

 

The WA State Government has announced that in April this year a record of 23.7 per cent of container freight to Fremantle Port was by rail and more than 20 per cent freight on rail in 2018-19. This equates to taking around 110.000 one-way truck movements off our roads

The substantial 30 per cent increase of freight by rail comes after the McGowan government raised the subsidy when it came into power.

Western Australia has the highest proportion of containers on rail in Australia, so that is a pretty good effort.

Experts believe that 30 per cent container freight on rail is achievable for Fremantle Port operations, but critics believe the noise the additional and longer container trains create in the west of Fremantle is a severe nuisance to local residents, who also complain about strong vibrations.

It is great though to get so many trucks off our roads, but a good balance needs to be achieved to try to keep everyone happy.

Roel Loopers

HUGE MSC ELMA ARRIVES AT FREMANTLE PORT

Posted in city of fremantle, containers, freight, fremantle ports, maritime, Uncategorized by freoview on July 20, 2019

 

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One of the largest container vessels ever to arrive in Fremantle Port entered the harbour just before 5pm on Saturday afternoon. The 300-metre-long and 50-metre-wide MSC ELMA can carry nearly 9,600 containers.

She was escorted into port by three tug boats.

Roel Loopers

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MAERSK SKARSTIND IN FREMANTLE PORT

Posted in city of fremantle, containers, freight, fremantle ports, maritime, Uncategorized by freoview on July 16, 2019

 

Skarstind

Skarstind 2

 

I was going to capture the departure of the huge 300-metre-long Maersk Skarstind from Fremantle Port this afternoon but the scheduled 4.30pm departure has been pushed back to 11pm tonight and that is bed time for old Loopy.

But I took these photos of the massive container vessel from the train when I returned from Perth at 1.30pm. The quality is not great as it was taken through the train window.

Roel Loopers

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