Freo's View

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

Comments Off on REINSTATE THE MISSING ROUNDHOUSE CELLS

FREMANTLE SOCIETY NOT TRUTHFUL

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle society, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on May 5, 2017

While Fremantle Society President John Dowson is always keen to question the integrity and transparency of Fremantle Council he does not care much about telling his members blatant lies to make Council look bad.

Dowson sent this email to FS members recently “…..the new administration building will only have HALF as much office space for staff as the current one! The 400 staff will have 800 sq metres of space, or 2 sq metres each, with the new “Hot desking” technique of not giving staff their own offices. This encourages staff to arrive early, around 5am, to secure the best positions.”

But the facts are very different according to the City of Fremantle. The present administration building has a net floor area for staff of 1,804 square metres and the new administration building will have 1,839 square metres of net floor area for staff, so  1,039 square metres more than the Fremantle Society President claims it will have.

In his desperation to make political points John Dowson does not bother to check facts it appears, so be warned who you vote for at the October election, especially when the candidates are supported by John Dowson’s hot air.

Roel Loopers

PUBLIC COUNCIL MEETINGS NOT BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, fremantle society, local government by freoview on March 31, 2017

The Fremantle Society continues sending misinformation to their members, now claiming that recent decisions by Fremantle Council were made behind closed doors, as was put in capital letters screaming it out in an email.

Fact is that the one-year delay of the Sirona Capital settlement for the Spicer site development and the Kings Square playground went through the proper democratic process at Council and from public Council committees to public full Council meeting, so nothing of that process was irregular or behind closed doors.

This is part of the rambling email to the Fremantle Society members:

Democracy Dead at Fremantle Council

Major decisions affecting ratepayer assets have been made BEHIND CLOSED DOORS at Fremantle Council.

Giving council’s developer mates Sirona Capital an extra year to decide on the Spicer site, the $550,000 playgound in King’s Square, and major decisions affecting the n ew administration building we dont need, were all made behind closed doors at a sub committee of council and then simple reported at council.

Insipid Media

The media seem disinterested in major Fremantle governance issues like decisions being made behind closed doors.

It is time the Fremantle Society stopped the nonsense of making non-factual claims about Fremantle Council and started to make a positive difference instead of silly political grandstanding.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with rigorously scrutinising Council and severely criticising them when they deserve it, as I myself regularly do here on Freo’s View, but it needs to be based on facts. The issues mentioned in the FS email were not behind closed doors but at public council committees and council meetings I attended as an observer, and they were not ‘confidential items’ on the agenda either, so open to public scrutiny.

Agendas and Minutes of Council and Council Committee meetings can be read on the City of Fremantle website.

Roel Loopers

DEVELOPMENT WOULD IRREVERSIBLY DESTROY WEST END

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, fremantle society by freoview on March 24, 2017

 

I don’t often agree nowadays with Fremantle Society President John Dowson but his comment in the Fremantle Herald today that the proposed five-storey development for Pakenham and Henry streets is ‘Insanity’ is spot on!

It would be absolute madness to approve these buildings which would irreversibly destroy the West End.

The proposed building on the Centrelink site  is evil in it’s absolute ugliness, and the beautiful facade of the Customs building on the corner of Henry and Phillimore streets would be destroyed if two storeys stuck out above it.

The problem will be that even if Fremantle Council rejects these inappropriate buildings we will be dependent on the whim of the pro-developers state agencies DAP and SAT and the new State Government need to do something about that very urgently.

The Fremantle community will not allow the destruction of our beautiful heritage West End that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to WA every year!

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE INSOLVENCY CLAIM RIDICULOUS

Posted in city of fremantle, development, fremantle society, kings square, local government by freoview on January 25, 2017

Claims by the Fremantle Society that the City of Fremantle is insolvent were strongly rejected as ridiculous by Deputy Mayor Dave Coggin at the Ordinary Council meeting on Wednesday. Coggin demanded that the Society would send him the report by the certified public accountant they claim had provided the Fremantle Society with the advise that the City was technically insolvent.

Another ridiculous claim by the Fremantle Society was the lack of community consultation on the Kings Square Project.

I don’t know where these people were when Planning Scheme Amendment 49 was debated and the Fremantle Society under my presidency had a scale model in shopping centres to show the proposed heights, which we rejected and wanted lowered, but we did not succeed.

There was also extensive community consultation on the Kings Square development and even a Citizen Jury which I addressed on behalf of the Society, and I went to all the other community meetings to make suggestions. One outcome of that was that Newman Court now no longer will have vehicular access and parking.

Also ridiculous is the expectation that a private developer like Sirona Capital would make the roof tops of the two new buildings accessible to the public. Who is going to pay for security and public liability and how many privately owned buildings in the Perth CBD have public roof top access?

More ridiculousness in the claim that Fremantle Council has a conflict of interest in recommending to JDAP approval for the two Kings Square buildings. The City is not the decision-making authority, and as Councillor Doug Thompson pointed out as a body Council cannot have a conflict of interest or perception of that, but individual Councillors need to make their own decision if they believe they do have a conflict of or financial interest, which none of them declared.

Saying that Council cannot debate the development of a property they have sold would mean for example Council could not make planning approval for the Hilton Doubletree hotel development on the Point Street carpark site the City sold.

Councillor Rachel Pemberton said Sirona Capital was very serious about creating the best possible outcome and had even instigated workshops to improve the building design and enhance the character of the inner city. High calibre people from all sections of the community had attended the Sirona workshops and we will get an outcome we all will be proud of, Pemberton said.

Planning officers told Council and the public gallery that the developers had made significant changes over the last three months in collaboration with the Design Advisory Committee and the DAC now believed the design was at a stage where it was acceptable for them to recommend approval, but more changes would be required and be part of the City’s recommendation to JDAP.

Roel Loopers

MORE IMPACT WITH BALANCED FREMANTLE SOCIETY

Posted in city of fremantle, community, development, fremantle society by freoview on November 28, 2016

The Fremantle Society will have its AGM on December 7 where president John Dowson will be re-elected unopposed.

The Society has played a very important role in protecting Fremantle’s heritage for more than forty years, but I believe it has lost its way by being too negative and too narrow focussed, and rumblings within the membership suggest that Downson’s anti-height, anti-development and anti-change rhetoric is wearing thin not only outside the Society but also among the community group’s members.

It is a shame that the negativity is making the Society irrelevant, as many people in the community, Councillors and CoF officers no longer take Dowson’s criticism serious and stop listening to what the Fremantle Society has to say about the future of Fremantle.

The Society needs to find some balance and a strong committee that will guide its president and stop the relentless negativity in the media, as it is counter productive.

I have no doubt at all that John Dowson means very well and that he is passionate about protecting Fremantle’s heritage, and so am I, but blaming Fremantle Council, particularly Mayor Brad Pettitt, for development rejected by CoF but approved by state agencies DAP or SAT, is unfair and makes one question the integrity of the Fremantle Society.

The Society always had a very strong voice and was respected and listened to and while it did not win all the battles, it has done some remarkable work. Instead of whingeing about a down pipe in the wrong location Dowson should have been proud of the great outcome of the Warders Cottages, for which FS fought so hard, and also for the Society’s achievement finally getting the Gunners Cottages at Cantonment Hill restored.

I agree with Dowson that a lot of new development in Fremantle is ugly and inappropriate and I will stand side by side with him and FS fighting the Notre Dame University proposal for the corner of High and Cliff streets and other mediocre and inappropriate buildings, such as the one proposed by the Yolk developers for the former Spotlight site in Adelaide Street.

The Society needs to do what it does best and find the right battles to combat instead of the blanket approach of no change, no height, no development, because Fremantle is in desperate need of residential, commercial and tourist development and the Society should be supportive of positive change and progress in our city.

I sincerely hope John Dowson and the new committee will find a more balanced and respectful way of expressing their views, so they have more impact and will be taken serious again.

Roel Loopers

STICK TO THE FACTS WHEN FIGHTING FREO COUNCIL

Queen Victoria:Beach Street

I was a committee member, president and vice president of the Fremantle Society community group and have great respect for what they have achieved in their 44 years.

FS must be one of the oldest community groups in Fremantle and I recommend everyone to read the group’s history and achievements in the Fighting for Fremantle book. It’s a great read and shows what a committed community group can change.

But the present Fremantle Society appears to be losing the plot as it puts out false information, such as this one on the proposed development of a new building next to St Patrick’s at Queen Victoria Street and next to the Australia Hotel on Beach Street

This is what FS  told their members: “Another appalling development for Fremantle (the mayor blamed the DAP system, whereas in reality it is the scheme amendment 49 amendments which are allowing such dismal outcomes)”

Fact # 1: Fremantle Council rejected the proposal as it was deemed inappropriate for the location.

Fact # 2: The State’s Development Assessment Panel approved the proposal.

Fact # 3: This site was never part of Planning Scheme Amendment 49 Council signed off on some three years ago.

Shame on you Fremantle Society for putting out incorrect information. Your credibility is on the line FS committee and members!

Roel loopers

 

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