Freo's View

FREMANTLE WELCOMES QUEEN ELIZABETH PASSENGERS

 

QE 1

QE 2

 

The Queen Elizabeth cruise liner arrived in Fremantle at 6am this morning bringing over 2,000 passengers to our city. Many of them however hopped on a bus to the Pinnacles or Swan Valley, so it was relatively quiet in Fremantle and at the Roundhouse which I opened up an hour and a half earlier at 9am.

The City of Frematle had 23 Visitor Centre ambassadors at the Passenger Terminal on Victoria Quay to greet the arriving passengers and also had roving teams throughout the inner city. There was also a shuttle bus every 15 minutes between Kings Square and the Passenger Terminal and that will continue till 9pm this evening.

Quite a few visitors to the Roundhouse remarked on the very good historic lecture they had received about Fremantle on board the ship by Fremantle Society President John Dowson, so good on him!

The Queen Elizabeth is due to depart at 10pm this eve on her way to Busselton, Adelaide and Melbourne. Some people told me they will return to Perth from there on the Indian Pacific train.

Roel Loopers

 

SOS-FREMANTLE SOCIETY DROWNING IN NONSENSE

 

fs

 

One has to wonder what is going on at the Fremantle Society when one reads today’s tabloid-style advertisement in the Fremantle Herald.

SOS-Save Our Square it yells, insinuating that if the new Civic Centre is built by the City of Fremantle Kings Square will be lost, which is utter nonsense.

Kings Square has been two triangles, separated by the High Street road reserve, for decades, so what is all the Fremantle Society grand-standing about?

The northern triangle is the property of the St John’s church and the southern triangle belongs to the City. That will remain so.

Do the members of FS really expect that Fremantle Council will change the decision they made years ago, when they agreed on the Kings Square Redevelopment Project with Sirona Capital? Surely FS knows the horse has bolted and the start of the construction of the new Civic Centre is only a month or two away.

The Society calls for the square to be reinstated, so they want that big empty space that was created by the demolition of the former Civic Centre just to remain that? And they are happy for the City to have wasted many thousands of dollars on architects and consultants, which would have to start all over again if we were to build a civic centre elsewhere in Fremantle?

How on the ball about Fremantle issues is the Frematle Society when one of their committee members lives in Nannup, another one travels the world, and its president also spent at least a third of last year overseas? Not much up to date local knowledge at FS committee meetings one might suggest.

The Kings Square Redevelopment Project is good for Fremantle, and so are the many other developments in our city. It is time for the Fremantle Society to start accepting that the world changes constantly and Freo will do the same. That is a good thing!

Roel Loopers

SILLY CLAIM THAT BARNETT WOULD PUT FREMANTLE IN ADMINISTRATION

 

Fremantle Society president John Dowson likes to make outrageous claims, as long as they are negative about Fremantle Council, so this alleged statement by former WA Premier Colin Barnett surely must be taken with a grain of salt.

In his latest email message to FS members JD claims that: “Recent controversial decisions of Fremantle Council, particularly relating to Australia Day, and being told that the council still refuses to fly the Australian flag from the Town Hall long after spending $3 million to fix it up, led the former Premier to tell the Fremantle Society this week that : “If I was still Premier, I would put Fremantle Council into Administration.”

So are we really to believe that a state government would put a local government, which has been pro-active in encouraging extensive development and urban infill, into administration just because they don’t fly the Australian flag and don’t celebrate Australia Day on January 26? I doubt that very much!

Dowson also suggested in a recent email to FS members that Fremantle’s new destination marketing should be about telling stories, such as that Prince Phillip was in Fremantle Port for one day during WW II. Yep, that would get thousands of Chinese, Indonesian and Malaysian tourists rushing to Fremantle for sure. OMG!

And have the FS members noticed that their president talks about himself like the Queen? The Fremantle Society met the former premier, the Fremantle Society met David Attenborough, etc. when it was only JD meeting these people?

The AGM of the society was held last night and I fear we’ll be getting another year of unbalanced narrow-minded negativity and anti-change, anti-development and anti-progress messages from its president.

Roel Loopers

 

THE SOCIETY ALWAYS KNOWS BETTER

 

In his latest communication with its members Fremantle Society president John Dowson laments the vitriolic and nasty comments on social media platform Fremantle Massive and blames Fremantle’s leadership for the divided Fremantle community.

JD, who has returned to Fremantle after spending most of the year in the UK, then continues with his customary attack on our Council, claiming that the vision for the town centre is all wrong, presumably because Freo Council encourages medium-rise buildings.

JD writes that a symbol of Freo Council getting it all wrong is that they did not fly the Australian flag on Queen’s birthday. I am more inclined to believe that the many building developments around Fremantle are a symbol of Freo’s prosperous future, but hey, why be positive about progress when you can have a whinge about a flag not being flown.

Of course the issue of the removal of the old Moreton Bay fig trees from Kings Square also deserves another attack on Mayor Brad Pettitt, who according to JD single-handedly relocated the Christmas tree from the Esplanade to Kings Square. A very silly accusation to make for someone who was a Councillor for four years and who knows how the council process works.

No matter what the issues are JD’s experts are always better than the ones the City of Fremantle engages, be that architecture, city planning, or trees, so the president received the opinion that the fig trees could have lived many years longer at Kings Square, contrary to the advise CoF received from expert eastern states arborists, who flew over, injected the soil, monitored the trees for a long period, and who decided the trees would become a public hazard if left there. The City even had a community consultation process period about the removal, so it was all pretty transparent.

The only positive in JD’s email to the FS members is that the Guildford Society has offered nine-year-old Moreton Bay fig trees to the City of Fremantle, according to the president.

We know that CoF officers are sourcing to replace the so-called Christmas tree, next to the new playground, with another mature Moreton Bay fig tree. One issue is how to get a mature tree through the streets, and the officer in charge told me on Wednesday that they are already looking at the possibility of having to use a helicopter to do that.

The sun is shining, summer is on the way, John Dowson, and the glass is half full. Fremantle has a great future ahead, and new development won’t destroy our beautiful city, just change and modernise parts of it. Inspire your Fremantle Society members with creative new and positive ideas for our city, not just the same old vitriolic rants and attacks on the Mayor, which are becoming tedious and irrelevant.

Roel Loopers

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BLOGGER ALL ABOUT SUPPORTING FREO, NOT POPULARITY

Posted in city of fremantle, community, fremantle society, Uncategorized by freoview on May 23, 2018

 

Fremantle Society president John Dowson has sent yet another rant to the poor members of FS, accusing me of only wanting to be popular, because the narrow-minded no change advocate does not agree with what I publish on Freo’s View.

Mr President writes: The Heritage Council is a developer’s club, the National Trust is useless as an advocate, the Fremantle Herald cannot lead campaigns on its own, and the very few public commentators like the blogger Roel Loopers are only concerned with being popular.

I started this blog eight and a half years ago as a community forum, that does not create income for me. I spend many hours a week going to council, community and precinct meetings, talk to residents, do research, etc. and I do it because I love Fremantle and I love living here. I want to help make Freo an even better place than it already is for future generations.

Unlike Mr President I don’t try to be in the Fremantle Herald every week with negativity about Fremantle Council, developers, etc.

Unlike Mr President I don’t give negative lectures about Fremantle on cruise ships where I blast Fremantle development and Council.

Unlike Mr President I have written 33 positive reviews about Fremantle businesses and attractions for TripAdvisor, that were read by nearly 16,000 people last month. All because I believe that we all can make a small difference and support our local traders.

Unlike Mr President I don’t drive around in latest model Porsches while wanting the rest of Fremantle to still go by horse&cart, and unlike Mr President I’ll do everything I can to support good change, good development and good progress, because I don’t believe that living in the past and retaining the status quo is fair for future generations.

As for my perceived popularity; some people appreciate what I do for our community and others don’t, and so be it. I gain nothing personally or financially from my community involvement.

I am a volunteer tourist guide at the Roundhouse, unlike Mr President doing paid  lectures on cruise ships where he tries to sell his books.

It’s not about popularity John Dowson. It’s about integrity! You should try it.

Roel Loopers

 

HYPOCRITICAL FREMANTLE SOCIETY

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle society, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on October 3, 2017

 

Fremantle Society president John Dowson has emailed his members to advise them whom to vote for at the local government elections, and has this to say about the City Ward candidates:

In City Ward, while there is no doubt Adin Lang is charismatic and genuinely useful on green issues, Lynda Wayman seriously well qualified but seen as the mayor’s candidate, and Roel Loopers well intentioned but a total ‘flip flop’ on issues, the candidate who would best scrutinise council and who has done the hard yards in preparation is Claudia Green. There is another candidate Julie Morgan, who did so much modernisation to the heritage facade of her building (Bairds Buildings between P&O and Orient in High Street), that she should not be eligible to run, except perhaps out of town.

Of course Dowson does not spell out where I supposedly am a total ‘flip flop’ on issues, but I am very happy to concede that unlike Dowson I am comfortable to change my mind when I receive additional information. That is what intelligent open-minded people do, John, and I highly recommend you’ll try it for a change, instead of your my way or the high way philosophy.

FS president Dowson also supports Ra Stewart for Mayor and writes:

It has been tough for the sole contender against the incumbent to get traction when every time she explains why she is running she gets accused of being ‘negative’. That tactic is used by the mayor and his coterie of councillors all the time.

May I remind Dowson, all Fremantle Society members, and everyone who cares for our heritage that Stewart was a long-time board member and president of the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce, an organisation that has publicly expressed support for five-storey development in the historic West End, something the Fremantle Society is absolutely opposed to.

And may I remind the self-proclaimed purists that while Peter Tagliaferri, one of Stewart’s most vocal supporters, was mayor of Fremantle the hight restrictions for the West End mysteriously disappeared, until heritage custodian Les Lauder found out and made a big stink about it.

The word hypocrisy comes to mind, John Dowson!

Roel Loopers

VOTE ROEL FOR CITY WARD!

CELEBRATING FREO’S HERITAGE BATTLERS

 

High Street 1

 

I am delighted to have received notification from Fremantle Notre Dame University that the Vice Chancellor and senior staff have taken on board the suggestion I posted on Freo’s View last week of a commemorative wall at the back of the St Teresa Library in Henry Street.

The wall would commemorate the history of Fremantle and the contribution made by individuals and groups to preserve our heritage buildings.

UNDA wrote to me that they are now considering a wall with historic B&W photos plus a plaque that would feature individuals and groups, such as the Fremantle Society, who have been involved in preserving the precinct’s historic character.

This would be a nice new tourist attraction and acknowledgment of the dedicated work of Freo’s heritage warriors such as Les Lauder, Don Whittington, June Hutchison, John Dowson, Ron Davis, etc.

I hope that with collaboration with the City of Fremantle the wall will become reality in the not too distant future. Thank you UNDA!

If you want to learn about the many battles to save Freo’s heritage try to get a copy of the Fighting For Fremantle book the Fremantle Society published!

 

Roel Loopers

OUTRAGEOUS RANT FROM SOCIETY PRESIDENT

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle society, sirona capital, Uncategorized by freoview on June 4, 2017

Fremantle Society president John Dowson is losing the plot and needs to be reigned in by its members and committee!

This racist rubbish below, that he sent to FS members, is disgraceful and outrageous and it is unacceptable.

Fremantle gets many thousands of Malaysian tourists every months who support our retailers, hospitality industry and economy and Malaysia is a very important neighbour for WA.

Chinese interest in our mining industry are very high and China is a very important export market for our state.

The right-wing rant from the FS president is an embarrassment to the community group and Fremantle.

Roel Loopers

Which Flag Will Fly in King’s Square?

The massive sell off of ratepayer assets by Fremantle Council means that Queensgate, Queensgate car park, and the Spicer site in the heart of Fremantle belong to Sirona Capital, who have hinted the assets may be sold to overseas interests. Does this mean that key strategic assets adjoining King’s Square may soon be owned by Communist Chinese or Islamic Malaysian interests? Both countries are increasingly buying large stakes and large influence in this country.

 

GRASS NOT ALWAYS GREENER ELSEWHERE

Posted in city of fremantle, election, fremantle society, Uncategorized by freoview on June 4, 2017

Interesting to hear that the FRRAemantle Society committee has decided to not support former Fremantle Residents and Ratepayers Association convenor Claudia Green for the City Ward council election. FS Committee voted to support Michael Finn, one of the Kakula’s Sisters owners instead.

I have no doubt that many FRRA members will not at all be happy about that and now regret the recent merger with the Fremantle Society. FS president John Dowson endorsed Ms Green, so that will make for uncomfortable Society committee meetings.

I would welcome some small business owners on Fremantle Council as that expertise is missing and most people cannot imagine what it is like to run a small shop or cafe.

These small businesses are often not well represented at local and state government levels since they cannot afford to become a member of the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce, and it is mainly Fremantle BID that tries to look after and promote them.

Roel Loopers

 

REINSTATE THE MISSING ROUNDHOUSE CELLS

 

Roundhouse

 

 

The suggestion by the FRRAemantle Society that Notre Dame University should reinstate heritage features on buildings they own in Fremantle’s historic West End is very unrealistic.

Notre Dame is a business and not the National Trust so why should they reinstate features of building that were removed before they bought them, and is FS suggesting all owners of heritage buildings should reinstate details that have been removed over time?

FS does not believe it is too much to ask Notre Dame to reinstate verandahs at the former Watsons building at High Street, and the corner cupola on the former P&O Hotel, and the verandahs of His Majesty’s Hotel at Phillimore Street.

And why stop there, as the Society seems to believe that UNDA has unlimited funds, so the university should also add the verandahs and original openings of the Traveller’s Rest on Marine Terrace, reinstate the verandahs at the Cleopatra Hotel, and the Fremantle Hotel needs to gets it’s missing tower and cupola back.

Financial reality no doubt dictates how much Notre Dame University can afford to make improvements to the buildings they own and the dream list of the FRRAemantle Society is nothing more than unrealistic media attention seeking.

Why does the FRRAemantle Society not try to get funding, instead of badgering UNDA, to reinstate the interior wall and the four demolished cells of the Roundhouse as a bicentennial project when W.A. will be 200 years old in 2029. It’s after all the oldest remaining government building in the state. Now that would be a worthwhile project!

Roel Loopers

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