Freo's View

NARROW-MINDED PERSPECTIVE OF FREMANTLE’S HERITAGE

 

Fremantle Society president John Dowson is losing all his credibility when he sends these kind of nonsense messages and photos to FS members:

JD perspective

Australia Day Gone – Now Fremantle

Australia Day was cancelled without consultation.

Now, without consultation, the name Fremantle has been supplanted by Wanju Nidja Walyalup Whadjuk Boodja.

The sign above blocking the view of one of Australia’s most important heritage streets, High Street Fremantle, mentions Fremantle as an afterthought.

Mayor Brad Pettitt has been paid over $1 million already to be mayor of Fremantle, not another name that has not been discussed with the community.

 

Let us look at a more objective perspective, because the reality is that any face-level sign will block the view when one is very close to it, so below the photo I took of the same sign this Christmas morning.

A more objective perspective than John Dowson’s photo.

 

It is also remarkable that John Dowson must have discovered the Fremantle way-finding signs just now at the end of December 2019 when they were installed in June 2016, so three and a half years ago.

Dowson appears to have an issue with the Noongar message on the signs, and that is astounding for someone who has made his reputation on the protection of heritage. Would Dowson want the City of Fremantle to simply ignore the 40,000+ years of Whadjuk Noongar heritage and pretend it all just started in 1829 when European settlement started?

Roel Loopers

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WOOLSTORES PLANS A BIG IMPROVEMENT

 

Predictably the Fremantle Society has lodged a submission with the City of Fremantle against the planning approval for a mixed use development of the Woolstores shopping centre site, as the FS  president shared with his members.

John Dowson argues that there is no need to rush the development of the site and that the City should take possession of the six shops near the corner of Elder Place and Queen Street, which was investigated by Fremantle Council last year, but no action taken.

The Society has many arguments against the development, and I too have heard some architects say the plans were disappointing, while others find it acceptable. I believe the development would be a huge improvement to the bland and boring building that is currently there, so that would be a big step forward to modernising that run-down part of Fremantle’s CBD, and for me that is a priority for our city.

Of course the plans could be different and better, and if we asked 25 architects we would get 25 different plans, and everyone of them would receive criticism from the public and other architects. That is the simple reality of life and anything creative. Someone else will always have another, maybe better, idea on how to improve our city.

For example, as a layman, I would have liked to see the corner of the building at Cantonment Street be rounded, to compliment the other corner and also the roundabout there, and there are no doubt many other ideas on how the plans could be improved, but too many cooks…..

I am more interested in the big picture and see the development in context with what is happening at Kings Square, the Little Lane residential development over the road, the proposed Hilton Doubletree hotel development, the Energy Museum development, a possible new use for the Adelaide Plaza next to the Basilica, and maybe a new hotel on the former Spicers site at William Street.

All these developments, once realised, will make that part of Fremantle much safer, and far more attractive and it will start creating the 24/7 economy and lifestyle that Fremantle needs, if our retailers and hospitality providers are going to survive.

We all want perfection and outstanding architecture, but that will not happen overnight. We need to accept that progress is slow and not always perfect, but the plans for the Woolstores are a big improvement for this significant site, and I hope they will be approved, and that Silverleaf Investments will commence with the construction very fast.

Roel Loopers

DOWSON NOMINATES FOR FREMANTLE CITY WARD

Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, election, fremantle society, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on September 12, 2019

 

The biggest surprise at this year’s Fremantle local council election is no doubt that Fremantle Society president John Dowson has nominated for City Ward and will do battle with incumbent Rachel Pemberton.

Dowson spent four years on Fremantle Council previously, so he knows the ropes of local government.

In a city that is going through a bit of a development boom Dowson’s negativity about most new buildings might not sit well with those in the community who believe change is good and necessary for Fremantle, but I have no doubt that the more conservative voters will see Dowson as a good alternative to the Green-leaning Pemberton.

Roel Loopers

ITS APRIL FOOLS. SMILE!

Posted in april fools, city of fremantle, fremantle society, Uncategorized by freoview on April 1, 2019

 

fools-1

 

I missed the Blessing of the Fools today to celebrate April Fools Day, so I publish a golden oldie I took a few years ago at Fremantle’s St John’s church.

I  also have to make a confession that my blog posts about the sale of the Hilton hotel site to Twiggy Forrest, the secret merger talks between Freo and East Freo councils, and the departure from Fremantle of Fremantle Society president John Dowson were all made up stories to celebrate the first day of April.

And I added the City of Fremantle’s funny April Fools about Freo Time and daylight saving.

It was all done in good fun, so I hope I fooled a few of you and that it gave you something to smile about!

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE SOCIETY PRESIDENT LEAVING FREMANTLE

 

 

It is not official yet, but I was told last night that shock waves are going through the Fremantle Society with their president John Downson indicating that he will soon be relocating permanently to England.

Dowson is said to be deeply frustrated that the Society has been unable to make an impact on Fremantle planning matters and bad architecture, and he is outraged about what he calls the incompetent Fremantle Council, planning department and State’s JDAP and SAT, which approve in Dowson’s opinion inappropriate buildings in our city.

The Fremantle Society committee is very worried that they might not be able to find anyone to replace John Dowson because it has been very difficult over the past years to find members willing to put their hat in the ring and take on an official function, hence FS has now members on committee who don’t live anywhere near Fremantle.

Already during the last two years Dowson has ran FS partly from London, where he bought an apartment in a new upmarket subway station development, and from cruise ships on which he lectures about Fremantle’s history.

I see John Dowson’s departure from Fremantle as a good opportunity for the Fremantle Society to consider how to make the group relevant again and less political and council-bashing. It needs to go with the times and rejuvenate and redevelop itself and not be anti change and anti development. I hope the group won’t falter and collapse in a heap because of the departure of its powerful president.

If the Brits can cope with Brexit and Dowson is another thing, but good luck to John Dowson, who has been very controversial but with his heart in the right place for Freo.

Roel Loopers

 

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FREO’S YELLOW ART REMOVAL A DELICATE ACT

 

high 5

 

I was a wee bit skeptical about the claims by Fremantle Society president John Dowson that the City of Fremantle did not want to take back to its original tuck pointing the building on the corner of High and Cliff streets that is at the centre point of the yellow art removal controversy, and Dowson’s assertion that tuck pointing the building would cost about the same as repainting the entire facade.

City of Fremantle Director of Infrastructure and Project Delivery Graham Tattersall says that many buildings in High Street have condition problems; for some, the multiple coats of paint over the years have taken its toll and in some instances this has also damaged the sub-strata.

Director Tattersall told me that in reality the cost of repairing and returning the building to its original tuck pointed style would be considerably more costly than that of the planned works related to the foil removal.

Tattersall said “The City is wholly supportive of owners electing to take this opportunity to contribute for further works to restore or further improve their buildings (where requested, we agree to contribute the value of the yellow foil works towards the cost of an owners revised scope) and would not decline requests of this nature.”

“A number of property owners have taken the opportunity to engage the City’s contractor to carry out additional work on their properties at their own expense, which has greatly improved the appearance of the street, but as these are privately owned buildings it’s up to the property owner to make that choice.”

I think it is important to clarify this and also point out that building owner, former Freo Mayor Peter Tagliaferri, has taken out a writ against the City for $ 50,000 and that this legal action is continuing.

I have been watching how very time-consuming it has been to remove the paint of the brick building in Pakenham Street that will became the home of the Fremantle Republic gin distillery and micro brewery, and hence wondered if the claims by the Fremantle Society that the cost of tuck pointing and painting were similar could be correct. The Freo City director says they are not.

Roel Loopers

WHY WILL FREO CITY NOT BRING BACK THE OLD FACADE?

 

yellow art

 

I am surprised to hear that the City of Fremantle did not want to entertain the idea of stripping back the entire paint of the building, owned by former Mayor Peter Tagliaferri, on the corner of Cliff and High streets to its original tuck pointing, as part of the removal of the yellow artwork.

Fremantle Society President John Dowson sent a comment to Freo’s View that FS had suggested to the former Mayor to do that and not repaint the facade, but that the City had rejected the idea. If that is a fact that is disappointing because architect Michael Patroni, the owner of 10 High Street diagonally opposite Tagliaferri’s building, will take that building back to its original tuck pointing.

The owners of the Fremantle Republic gin distillery, micro brewery and tavern in Pakenham Street received a State heritage grant to take the facade of that building back to its original tuck pointing, so I would have thought the City of Fremantle would have embraced the idea of the Fremantle Society and do the same with the Tagliaferri building.

The Society president claims they did get a quote for the tuck pointing work that was approximately the same as repainting the building, so cost don’t appear to be a factor.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE GENERAL ELECTORS MEETING TONIGHT!

 

The Annual General Electors Meeting of the City of Fremantle is on this evening at the Townhall from 6pm, so come along if you have any issues with the Elected Members or administration, or if you just want to thank them for doing a difficult job pretty well.

Residents and property owners of Fremantle can put motions forward and vote on them so make sure to have an ID on you.

On that note, Fremantle President John Dowson has emailed the members of the group more fake news. This time under the headline Are Your Highly Paid Councillors Doing Their Job?

Dowson writes “Are you getting value from your councillor? Besides getting $500 a week for attending meetings etc, councillors pay themselves to run those meetings, from a little pot of honey worth $60,000 a year.”

But Dowson’s assertions are wrong! I double checked with the City of Fremantle Director of City Business Glen Dougal and he tells me that the Mayor receives $ 88.000 annually plus $ 47.000 meeting allowance and Councillors get just over $ 30,000 a year plus approximately $ 3,000 for IT and communication allowance.

The payment Councillors receive is for much more than just attending Council meetings. They work very hard and are out and about all the time and meeting members of the community. It is a thankless task that does not get paid anywhere well enough in my opinion. And of course Councillors don’t pay themselves. That is done by the administration as it would be highly inappropriate for Elected Members to make payments.

I’ll see you at the AGEM this eve!

Roel Loopers

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

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