Freo's View

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

CRIME DEBATE AT NATIONAL HOTEL TODAY

Posted in city of fremantle, crime, fremantle network, law&order, Uncategorized by freoview on February 26, 2018

 

North Fremantle residents Glen and Louise who own the Glen Cowans Photography Gallery at the Roundhouse took advantage of the free D-Lock offer for their bikes by Freo City

 

The monthly Fremantle Network meetings are always interesting and informative, so make sure to attend them.

This evening at 6pm it will be all about community safety, crime, law&order, anti social behaviour, shoplifting, etc.

The event is upstairs at the National Hotel and kitchen and bar are open, so stay for dinner and network!

Join the discussion about the reality of local crime and safety issues, and what the Fremantle Police and Council are doing about it with Acting Officer in Charge, Senior Sergeant Phil Gazzone from Fremantle Police and Christopher Scanlan from the Council’s Community Safety Team.

Local police and community safety officers have been collaborating on a range of strategies to reduce antisocial behavior, improve safety and tackle crime in our city. This collaboration and coordination is having positive results.

Plus newly elected President of the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce, and owner of iconic local business Benny’s, Ivan Dzeba will provide an update on the Chamber’s agenda and priorities for supporting local business in 2018.

Roel Loopers

WOMEN DESERVE AND DEMAND RESPECT

 

The Fremantle Network at the National Hotel last night debated the unacceptable high instances of sexual attacks on women in clubs, pubs and during music events.

Rebecca Snedden and Will MacDonald of Safer Venues WA spoke about the need to raise awareness, collaborate with venues, the alarming statistics of prevalence of harassment on women, and what kind of harassment it is and what causes it.

Safer Venues WA did an online survey in which 80% of female participants reported harassment, unsolicited sexual comments, verbal harassment, non consensual touching, and intimidation by men in venues in Perth and Fremantle.

Of the women who participated in the survey 42% had left a venue because of harassment, but most of them had not reported it to the venue management.

Steps are being taken to address this in venues with better staff and security staff training, signage in venues, that victims coming forward will be believed, better gender balance of security people, musicians calling out from stage to respect women, etc.

It is also important for other people to call out unacceptable behaviour. It just takes one to step between a woman who is harassed and the perpetrator and to take her away from him.

Community lawyer Kate Davis said that only 15% of sexual attacks are reported to police and from that only 10% make it to court. Australia has an incredibly low rate of convictions for sexual assault, to the point that it has become a concern for the United Nations.

Often women who have complained about sexual assault are character assassinated in court and hence most don’t bother to report the crime because of the humiliation they face.

Western Australia has the highest rate of domestic violence in Australia and it has been growing alarmingly I read a couple of weeks ago, which is a clear indication that far too many men do not respect women and don’t treat them as equals. That is not on.

Here my message to men who don’t know how to behave toward women:

It is not manly, macho or blokey to assault women physically or verbally. It’s what cowards do, and it is a criminal offence!

Women don’t ask for it because they are dressed sexy, and you have no reason whatsoever to believe that they dress up for you to touch them, attack them, or insult them.

When you buy a women a drink you don’t buy the right to her body.

To make absolutely sure there are no confusing messages, let the woman take the initiative. If she wants to get to know you better and more intimately she will let you know in no uncertain terms. But even when she kisses and cuddles you she might still not want to have sex with you, so chill, relax and treat her with respect!

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE FORUM ON SAFER VENUES FOR WOMEN

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle network, hospitality, Uncategorized, women by freoview on January 27, 2018

 

The Fremantle Network presents a forum on respect and safety for women in our community and at events at 6pm on Monday 29 January, upstairs at the National Hotel, Fremantle.

Safer Venues WA is a newly established advocacy group that aims to improve standards of inclusivity and safety in Perth’s music and entertainment spaces.

They are doing this by:
• identifying harmful behaviours such as harassment, discrimination and assault as barriers to safety and inclusion,
• working with venues, audience, artists and industry to initiate a collective responsibility for change,
• using communication and research as tools to develop resources and frameworks for tangible change.

Research by Safer Venues WA found that over 67% of punters have experienced harassment (primarily experienced by women).

Perpetuation of discrimination against women based on their choice of dress, their state of intoxication or other forms of victim blaming continues in our community.

The Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services is a state-wide peak organisation committed to improving the status of women and children in society. Their work includes the transformative school-based “Promoting Respect Project”.

Kate Davis has worked in the community legal sector for over 15 years, including 5 years as Managing Solicitor of the Women’s Law Centre. Her career reflects her personal commitment to women’s rights and supporting disadvantaged women facing violence or homelessness.

Featuring:
Rebecca Sneddon and Will MacDonald, Safer Venues WA
Angela Hartwig, Women’s Council of WA
Kate Davis, community sector lawyer and local feminist

Whether you’re a man or a woman, a party goer, a venue operator or a by stander, you can make a difference in promoting respect and safety.

 

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CONNECTING COMMUNITIES IS ABOUT PEOPLE

Posted in city of fremantle, community, fremantle network, Uncategorized by freoview on December 12, 2017

 

The last Fremantle Network of the year event at the National Hotel last eve had two speakers talking about different forms of place making.

Maureen Maher of Street by Street talked about how to connect neighbours and recreate community.

She said the social connections we once had don’t exist any longer and that she had a yearning to meet more people in her street.

Statistics showed that there is an increase in people who feel isolated and that stronger community ties create happiness, security and support.

The average person unlocks their smartphone 110 times a day.

Street by Street organises get togethers, lunches, dinners, garden parties, bake ups, litter cleaning, etc. where neighbours get together and connect.

Dean Cracknell of the Town Team Movement started with the highly successful Beaufort Street Festival in Mount Lawley/Highgate.

He said that governments supply the hardware and the communities the software when they connect businesses and residents and organise events. The people make places and cities!

There is too much negativity in the world and we need to become more pro-active and positive, Cracknell said.

It was important for the groups to have an action plan and not to lose focus, but the main challenge was to get enough people to volunteer and actually help instead of only giving lip service support.

I don’t want to sound too sceptical about this all, but place making has been around for some twenty years. The City of Fremantle payed well-known placemaker David Engwicht to visit our city several times where he talked about picking the low hanging fruit and that the community should be leading the change and take ownership.

Rachel Pemberton, before she became a Freo Councillor had the great idea for the very successful Cappuccino Strip Street Club that happened once a month, where people from the burbs connected in the city centre, set up couches, played games, made music, had dinner. They were really fun events, but died because no one took over the leadership.

The Fremantle community does very well connecting and creating events, e.g the Vally Festival in White Gum Valley, Lilly Street lasagne bake-off, Pilbarra Street get together, the school community-lead Growers Green Farmers Market, the Long Table Dinner, etc. and we have a lot of festivals and music events.

Roel Loopers

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