Freo's View

WHERE IS REAL GOVERNMENT ACTION ON HOMELESSNESS?

 

One of the problems going to many forums about homelessness and (affordable) housing is that you have heard it all before and wonder when the action will start and the talk fests stop.

Nothing I heard last night at the Politics in the Pubs event by the Fremantle Network at The Local Hotel was new, but that isn’t the fault of the two speakers, who were equally frustrated about it.

Sam Knight of RUAH said the fundamental thing is that homeless people need homes, but they also need support workers to help with social, health and mental health problems.

The cost on the health system by not supplying sufficient affordable houses is enormous and governments fail to recognise that.

Victor Crevatin, the Director of Housing and Support Services at Fremantle’s St Patrick’s, said St Pat’s has been working with homeless people since 1971 and in 2017 had supplied 31,000 meals and 1,200 clothes to those in need, and 500 people were given accommodation.

Like Sam Knight, Crevatin said it is not just about providing houses, but that it needs support services to get people back on track.

There is the need to turn the generational NIMBY attitude around, and it is all about education to get rid of the bullshit myth about affordable housing and anti-social behaviour!

Sam Knight said it was also about offering the right mix of housing. We need to give choices about accommodation from shared accommodation to single apartments. “What are the best low-cost constructions we can do?” We need to recognise housing has a social and health aspect!

As I heard a week earlier at the Fremantle Safety Forum, there appears to be a serious issue with support agencies not collaborating well and the state government should do something about trying to streamline that, so that there is better coordination and information sharing, to the benefit of those in need.

Comment: I have supported the Fremantle Network since it started and have very often found the meetings very good, but the nice bloke, who shall remain unnamed, who took over from Rachel Pemberton to organise the Fremantle Network loves hogging the limelight. Last night again his introduction of the topic and two expert speakers was far too long. Just a short and succinct intro will do instead of babbling on for 15 minutes. Participate in the Q&A as Rachel used to do, but don’t give a very long speech. It’s not about you!

Roel Loopers

HOUSING.HOMELESSNESS.POLITICS

Posted in accommodation, city of fremantle, fremantle network, homelessness, housing, living, Uncategorized by freoview on November 20, 2018

 

Labor party leader Bill Shorten’s announcement about affordable housing and homelessness comes timely as it is the topic of this evening’s Politics in the Pubs by the Fremantle Network.

Perth Now reported this morning:

Bill Shorten has vowed to make community and affordable housing an issue at the next federal election, flagging promises beyond changes to negative gearing.

The Labor leader addressed the Community Housing Industry Association in Melbourne on Tuesday with a pitch to put struggling renters and homeless people “front and centre” in national debate.

“Nothing is more fundamental to a government’s obligations to the people than the right of every Australian to have a roof over their head,” Mr Shorten said.

He said better data about the extent of affordable housing needed to be a priority, along with better quality standards for dwellings including energy efficiency and accessibility for people with disabilities.

The Politics in the Pubs is TODAY from 7pm at The Local Hotel in South Fremantle!

It is a free event and the bar and kitchen are open, so enjoy a meal and a drink during the debate.

Roel Loopers

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HOMELESSNESS AND AFFORDABLE HOUSING DEBATE

 

The next POLITICS IN THE PUBS by the Fremantle Network is this Tuesday November 20 from 7pm at The Local hotel in South Fremantle.

This months politics in the pub tackles the issue of homelessness, which we see too much of in Fremantle

There are many reasons why people become homeless, but the lack of affordable rental housing is a big factor.

The 2016 Census recorded 116,000 Australians as Homeless, but that certainly understates the total number of people who lack an affordable and secure roof over their head.

Politics in the Pubs invite people to join in discussing the big picture issues behind the closely related problems of housing affordability and homelessness – and also the local perspective.

Special guests for this evening are:
Sam Knight from RUAH Fremantle (50 homes, 50 lives program).
Victor Crevatin, Director of Housing and Support Services at St Pats
Peter Anthony and Derek Parkin from St Pats Starlight Hotel Choir.

See you there!

 

Roel Loopers

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NOTRE DAME DEBATE ABOUT POLITICAL CRISIS

 

There is an interesting political forum on tomorrow night, October 30 at the Santa Maria Theatre of Notre Dame University.

IS DEMOCRACY IN CRISIS? will discuss why voters are cynical about and showing a low level of trust in our political leaders and the system.

Panel members include Labor MP Josh Wilson, Liberal Party MP Ben Morton and political journalist Jane Marwick.

It is on tomorrow from 7-8.30pm at the Santa Maria Theatre, 13 Mouat Street in Freo’s West End.

The free event is organised by the Fremantle Network and NDA politics students.

Roel Loopers

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MAKING FREMANTLE MORE WALKABLE

 

What makes a walkable city, and is Fremantle one of them, was asked at the Politics in the Pubs forum by the Fremantle Network at The Local in South Fremantle on Tuesday evening.

A panel with Olwyn Williams, the CEO of the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce, Dr Annie Matan of CUSP(Curtin University of Sustainable Policy), and City of Fremantle urban and transport planner Martin Spencer addressed the topic before a general discussion

Martin Spencer said that on the walkability index Fremantle gets 72-79 out of 100 and is the 19th most walkable suburb in the Perth metro area.

We need to make the city open, invite people in, and make them walk. Drag people into the shops and off the footpaths, and connect destinations with better signage.

Dr Annie Matan said that being pro pedestrians and cyclists did not mean we are anti car, but we need great public transport and walking and cycle infrastructure to make the city work better. There needs to be a safe and interesting environment for pedestrians, which includes good public toilets, water fountains, benches, shade structures and trees, etc.

“Every road needs to tell a story to our visitors and ourselves”

Footpaths are where we meet friends, and importantly also strangers. It is where we connect with our communities.

We need to create authentic places as they are important, and destinations to walk to, and do connections better, such as walking from the CBD to South Beach or the Fremantle Arts Centre.

Many footpaths are cluttered and become a hazard and Fremantle City needs a strong policy for planning walkability, Dr Matan said.

Olwyn Williams said that Fremantle has got more than anyone else; the port, heritage, the university, beaches, cafes, art, shopping, festivals and concerts, but we are a small community with a small ratepayers’ base, so we need the outside world to come to Freo and make it economically viable to set up shop here.

We need more visitors, more people working here and more residents, and to become a better place we need to embrace medium density living.

Connections with the suburbs is vital and important as Fremantle is not just the CBD.

Road closures in the CBD often have a negative impact on nearby businesses and the City should consider that more carefully. The second hour free parking the City of Fremantle has just implemented, is a very good idea as it will make people linger longer, Williams said.

Wayfinding needs to improve as signs don’t tell you that you could walk just a block further to enjoy Wray Avenue, or that it is a nice half hour walk to South Beach, and we need much better lighting to make us feel safer at night.

Olwyn Williams also said that the High Street Mall is a disaster and the closure should never have happened.

Martin Spencer said it was about time the community took ownership as it can’t be just left to local governments to implement change.

Comment: I believe we need to make the walking journey more attractive and make it a discovery, an adventure, walks where we connect all our Freo hidden treasures, and where we decentralise more and better utilise the A Class reserve at Arthur’s Head, the lawn next to the Roundhouse, Pioneer, Princess May and Fremantle parks, etc.

Fremantle offers a unique experience and that is what our new destination marketing should be all about. People will be encouraged to walk if we offer them a better shopping and lifestyle experience.

Roel Loopers

 

 

FREO POLITICS IN THE PUB TONIGHT

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle network, pedestrians, politics, traffic, Uncategorized by freoview on September 25, 2018

 

A reminder that the Politics in the Pub by the Fremantle Network is on tonight at The Local in South Fremantle from 6.30pm.

Topic of the evening is the question if Fremantle is pedestrian friendly, so it will be interesting to hear suggestions on how we can improve the pedestrian experience and make it safer.

Far too many motorists don’t give way to pedestrians when rounding corners, and only a  few of them stop during busy weekends on the Cappuccino Strip and Marine Terrace to let pedestrians cross. That lack of consideration, and how/if we can improve it needs to be discussed as well.

See you at The Local. It’s a free event, but meals and drinks available at the bar.

Roel Loopers

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IS FREMANTLE REALLY WALKING FRIENDLY?

Posted in city of fremantle, community, fremantle network, pedestrians, Uncategorized by freoview on September 18, 2018

 

The next POLITICS IN THE PUB by the Fremantle Network is on next Tuesday September 25 from 6.30-8.30pm at the Local hotel in South Fremantle.

The topic is Is Fremantle really walking friendly? and will be discussed by a panel of Urban and Transport Planner Martin Spencer, Dr Annie Matan of CUSP(Curtin University of Sustainable Policy) and Olwyn Williams, the CEO of the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce.

Of course there is also community participation during the Q&A.

Catch up with your community, have a meal and drink, and positively contribute to Freo’s future!

Roel Loopers

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POLITICS IN THE PUBS ABOUT REFUGEES

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle network, refugees, Uncategorized by freoview on August 27, 2018

 

The Fremantle Network is taking on a different format with Politics in the Pubs this Tuesday August 28 in The Garage at The Local hotel in South Fremantle at 7pm.

Members of the Fremantle Refugees Rights Action Network-RRAN will start the discussion to explore the challenges, complexities, concerns and compassion of dealing with refugees.

I am disappointed that the Fremantle Network is changing, as it was always good to talk about Fremantle specific topics once a month. The Politics in the Pubs will no doubt largely be about federal politics, instead of being about the governance of Fremantle and WA, with topics closer to home and to our hearts.

The lines about refugees are clearly drawn in Canberra  with the Liberal/Nationals wanting to stop the boats and the Labor party not having the guts to have different policies.

I am personally very disappointed and disgusted about Australia’s lack of compassion for boat people and refugees because a rich and huge country like ours could offer safe haven to many more desperate people.

Roel Loopers

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HOW TO LEGISLATE FOR BETTER CITIES?

 

 

What can a small city like Fremantle of just over 30,000 residents learn from a mega city like Singapore with over 5 million people? It was a question Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt asked when he went on a study tour with the South West Group and the Mayors of Melville, East Fremantle, Cockburn, Kwinana and Rockingham.

Yesterday at the monthly Fremantle Network event at the National Hotel the Mayor shared his thoughts and some photos, and it was a thought provoking presentation.

Brad Pettitt said that city greening was the extraordinary success of Singapore, as developers were required to create large green spaces on and around new buildings, but there is also a greening of highways, rooftops, walkways and gardens, and road corridors of trees that make large parts of the huge city look delightfully green. That is certainly a lesson we can learn from in Fremantle and in Western Australia, as European countries also do that much better and more intense than we do over here.

The largest vertical garden in the world is also in Singapore, comprising of 57,000 pot plants!

How we can legislate for it is altogether the question though. It probably needs to be done at state level, but there is always a risk that local council then lose control of their city planning.

I have suggested before here on Freo’s View that in appropriate locations Fremantle City should consider a percentage for green space, where developers are granted additional height if they create the equivalent floorspace into a green open space near or within the development.

Brad Pettitt also showed some less desirable and quite ugly highrise development that we definitely don’t want in WA.

The Freo Mayor also mentioned how massive the port of Singapore is with 35 million containers(TEU) a year.

Singapore has over 17 million international tourists a year, compared to WA of less than a million, and it is strongly branding itself as a green sophisticated city. Brad Pettitt thought Fremantle should celebrate its Aboriginal history more and make it part of our brand. We need a major attractor, Pettitt said.

The Mayor said that heritage was highly valued and protected in Singapore and that there is a lot of street activation in heritage areas, something missing in Fremantle, but there was a lack of solar energy use and Singapore was trying to catch up on that.

Brad Pettitt asked if there was a case to be made for greater hight if it helped to create better public realm, because the urban sprawl could no longer be supported in WA. “Get a train to Butler and see what we are doing!”

In that context it is good to note a change of heart by one of Melbourne’s leading urban planning experts Rob Adams, who ten years ago strongly supported densification and urban infill, but now says it has destroyed many streetscapes in the city because the public realm improvements did not eventuate when they started building highrise.

I say it again here that I would love to see a forum about what appropriate architecture, development and density for Fremantle could be, so I hope someone will organise an event that I would love to be part of.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE MAYOR LESSONS FROM SINGAPORE

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle network, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on June 13, 2018

 

Pettitt talk

 

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt is the next speaker at the monthly Fremantle Network event next Tuesday June 19 at the National Hotel at 6pm. He will share his impressions of Singapore with us and what Fremantle can learn from this modern city.

The Freo Mayor went on a study tour to Singapore with representatives from the South West Group, that comprises of six local councils.

On one level Singapore and Fremantle seem very far apart. A high density metropolis of over 5 million that’s at the crossroads of global trade, in contrast with our relatively small and isolated port city.

But there are some important lessons, both good and bad, that Freo can learn from Singapore, be that city greening, density, heritage, affordable housing, tourism, and multi-modal transit investment.

Roel Loopers

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