Freo's View

BETTER COMMUNICATION ESSENTIAL FOR GOOD FREO DEVELOPMENT

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle society,, Uncategorized by freoview on December 7, 2017

 

Warders 2

 

The Planning Committee of Fremantle Council last night recommended for approval by JDAP the development of a boutique hotel, tavern and restaurant at the Henderson Street  historic Warders Cottages next to the Fremantle Markets.

The development is valued at $ 3.5 million and the application will be decided by the WA Joint Development Assessment Panel on December 16.

Fremantle Society President John Dowson said hotel accommodation was a good outcome for the cottages, but questioned the size of the tavern and heritage issues such as a two storey walkway at the back of the cottages, which is contrary to heritage policy.

Dowson was justifiably outraged when he spoke again later in the evening that none of the Councillors had mentioned heritage considerations when they deliberated the proposal.

It was good to see Councillor Hannah Fitzhardinge reaching out to the Fremantle Society president, as all Councillors and planning and heritage staff should be doing, because the Society has been very influential for over forty years in protecting Fremantle’s heritage.

Without the interference and protests of FS Fremantle would not have become the tourist attraction it now is, as many of our heritage buildings in the West End would have been demolished, and so would have Victoria Hall.

About eight years ago the Society published an nine-page flyer, which I wrote, in which it was recommended that developers and Council engage the Fremantle Society as early as possible when proposing new development, to avoid frustrating delays and negativity. No one ever took up that offer and it is time for Fremantle Council to revisit that and collaborate more and better with FS and other relevant community groups.

The chair of the new Westport task force was adamant a few weeks ago that only when all stakeholders are engaged and consulted a new outer harbour and all relevant infrastructure will get the best outcomes and community acceptance, and Fremantle City needs to move that way as well and reach out to community groups like FS, instead of dismissing them as NIMBY or negative old farts who are against change.

During the recent election Mayor Brad Pettitt and other elected members acknowledged that community consultation in Fremantle needed to be improved, and the administration is also working toward it, so Councillors need to meet regularly with the Fremantle Society and other groups, so we can work all together for a better and modern Fremantle.

Roel Loopers

COUNCIL CANDIDATE LEGAL ACTION AGAINST FREMANTLE SOCIETY

Posted in city of fremantle, election, fremantle society,, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on October 26, 2017

 

Fremantle City Ward candidate Julie Morgan has taken legal action against the Fremantle Society for an email its president John Dowson sent to the members, writing that Morgan should be run out of town because of the, in Dowson’s opinion, inappropriate veranda she and her husband built in High Street.

Fremantle lawyers Ralph Legal sent the following letter to the Electoral Commission.

Please accept the attached letter as formal complaints under section 4.96(2) of the Local Government Act 1995 (LGA) by Mrs Morgan in relation to certain publications by the Fremantle Society in relation to the following:

That a statement by Mr John Dowson on behalf of the Fremantle Society published on 3 October 2017, as detailed in the attached letter, amounted to a threat or suggestion of detriment under section 4.85(2)(a) of the LGA.

That material published by the Fremantle Society as detailed on the attached letter is deceptive and contrary to section 4.88 of the LGA.

That material published by the Fremantle Society detailed in the attached constituted electoral material within the meaning defined in section 4.87(3) of the LGA not having been authorised constitutes an offence under section 4.87 (1) of the LGA.

I am instructed to request the Electoral Commissioner and the Returning Officer for the 2017 Local Government Elections to the Fremantle City Council that the Commissioner formally investigates the actions of the Fremantle Society and of the person who caused the material to be published in the name of the Society.

This comes after Local Government Minister David Templeman called for a stop to on-line bullying of local council candidates and supporters and to show more respect.

Templeman said that trolling and negativity does not help in attracting quality and diverse candidates for local government elections.

I experienced courtesy and respect while door knocking, but sadly there are a few people on social media who delight in name-calling, innuendo and conspiracy, and that is very disappointing.

 

Roel Loopers

 

AWFUL CIVIC CENTRE ARCHITECTURE CLAIM

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, fremantle society,, Uncategorized by freoview on August 26, 2017

 

kings-square-7

 

The always negative emails from Fremantle Society president John Dowson to its members this time attacks the professionalism of internationally renowned Kerry Hill Architects, who designed the new City of Fremantle Civic Centre at Kings Square.

JD quotes Fremantle architect Ron Campbell who wrote to the Society that “whoever is pushing the design is making it more expensive and less of a civic building.” 

Campbell also claims the architecture is awful. JD wrote:

“Rob Campbell is concerned with the sharp angular nature of the building, especially when viewed from the corner of High and Newman Streets (near the crosswalk next to Myer). He said the sharp angular turn of the building at such an acute angle is “architecturally awful and not in the Fremantle tradition. It is a terrible mistake which undermines the architectural presentation.”  He said it was council playing developer and not creating a civic space, because that awkward corner retail space would be difficult to rent and would compete with the adjacent Sirona development.” 

The sharp angle of the building is very simply explained. It keeps the sightlines of Newman Court and the High Street reserve clear and legible, and that makes a lot of sense. Newman Court is now clearly defined, as is the High Street reserve that separates the St John’s triangle from the City triangle.

I wished the Society had a more positive platform than just blasting anything Fremantle Council does.

Roel Loopers

NO SECRECY IN WEST END CONSERVATION AREA LAUNCH

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle society,, heritage by freoview on December 9, 2016

To have integrity one needs to avoid all spin and bending of the truth, but disappointingly the Fremantle Society prefers to ignore facts, as a letter in today’s Fremantle Herald by FS president John Dowson shows.

Dowson claims the announcement a few weeks ago by WA Heritage Minister Albert Jacob of the West End Conservation Area listing on the State Heritage list was a “secret event”. It was so secret that all the media were there, and the Fremantle Society president was also there, and even I was invited to Kakulas Sisters for the announcement. I don’t believe it qualifies as a secret event when it was on the TV  and radio stations that night and widely reported in the print and on-line media.

Dowson does not like the boundaries of the WECA gold rush period and blames Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt for reducing the West End Conservation Area to accommodate developers, but as a former councillor Dowson well knows that council makes democratic decisions and not the Mayor on his own.

The lament by the FS president that Arthur Head is not included is irrelevant because Arthur Head in its entirety, including Kidogo Arthouse(the former kerosene store) is already on the State Heritage list, so adding it to the WECA would make no difference.

To have a semblance of credibility one should not manipulate the truth.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE SOCIETY LIKE LEMMINGS OFF THE CLIFF

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle society,, Uncategorized by freoview on December 8, 2015

At last night’s AGM the Fremantle Society members decided to go back to the past by electing former Fremantle Councillor and former FS president John Dowson as their new leader. Dowson received about 80% of the votes while the other candidate Chris Lewis received just a fifth of the votes.

It was packed house with over one hundred members attending the meeting, so at least a presidential vote pulled them our of their lethargy.

I believe that the vote for Dowson is one for going back to negativity and anti just about everything and the attitude that Fremantle Council is the enemy. As one disappointed member said “It is like lemmings off the cliff.”

While we might have expected spin from former PR guru Chris Lewis it was John Dowson who did the spin and name dropping when he addressed the members and claimed to have single-handedly rescued the Warders Cottages because he had written a report for “Colin” Forget all the efforts Freo Council put in, all the presentations they made and forget also the submissions about it by the Fremantle Society and other members of the public, including I here several times on this blog.

So Dowson plays tennis with “Colin” but what good has that done for Fremantle? Did “Colin” support Freo Council when Dowson was an Elected Member, I think not.

Dowson will do what Dowson does best and that is make FS a narrow-focus organisation that will get a kick out of negativity and will oppose any major development in Fremantle. Like a political party that opposes anything the opposition proposes, the Fremantle Society will treat Fremantle Council as the enemy and the Brad bashers and Council kickers now have another organisation that will basically be about negativity, unwillingness to compromise and unwilling to collaborate with Council. That in my opinion is not the way forward and it is bad for Fremantle.

The negativity, the smear campaign and the conspiracy crap used by the Dowson supporters paid off, so it is still true in Australia that more people vote for those who run a negative campaign.

While FS members might live the dream that under JD the Society will save Fremantle from modernisation I should remind them that at the October election the voters did not ditch six sitting members to show their unhappiness with Council, and I remind them also that major development is not approved by Council but by State agencies DAP and SAT.

I sincerely hope that my fears are wrong and that the Fremantle Society under JD will try to remain progressive, pro change, willing to collaborate with Council and be a positive force in our city, but I fear the worse. Time will tell, and no doubt so will all the nasty comments that will be posted and attack me.

Roel Loopers

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