Freo's View

LET’S TALK FREO UP!

 

Those people who constantly hammer Fremantle Council with criticism about vacant shops, homeless people, anti social behaviour and crime would do well to pay attention to recent media reports.

Shops, cafes and restaurants in Mount Lawley along once extremely popular Beaufort Street are closing in large numbers and they blame high rents and a drop in foot traffic for that.

The decline in retail is happening all over metropolitan Perth, Australia and the world as the traditional high street shopping destinations have been replaced with huge suburban shopping centres on the outskirts.

Media reports about excessive shop lifting and anti social behaviour in Cockburn, Rockingham, Canning, etc have become common, and the West Australian dedicated two pages of their weekend edition on the issues of homelessness in the Perth CBD.

There are no easy solutions for any of these problems and the call from traders for councils to demand that property owners charge lower rents is as unrealistic as it would be unlawful. Governments can not dictate what rents property owners can charge and while high rents in the present retail climate appear almost indecent and selfish there is very little local or state governments can do about it.

Some owners are better and allow pop-up shops to fill vacant shops, but only for a very limited time, so that is only a short-term ‘solution’.

Crime and anti social  behaviour are State responsibility and while Fremantle and most councils do have their own very good security officers they are often powerless as they do not have the right to issue move-on notices or arrest people.

There is no doubt though that the perception of not feeling safe will keep people away. Foot traffic numbers in the Cappuccino Strip have dropped dramatically while they have increased quite a bit in High Street in the West End. The latter is probably mainly due to Notre Dame University students pounding the pavement.

It is always strange to notice on busy Freo weekends how many people are walking along South Terrace but when I turn into High Street the street is nearly void of pedestrians.  Visitors seem to prefer Collie and Essex streets for their East West movement and ignore the far more attractive historic High Street.  Why is that, I wonder?

A prominent Freo business owner urged me last week to promote that we collectively stop talking our city down and that we have to start telling ourselves and our visitors how special Fremantle is.

Only yesterday at the Roundhouse two German tourists told me how much they liked Freo and how friendly people here are, and the volunteer guides hear those kind of remarks very often. We receive so much positive feedback from overseas and interstate visitors that it is hard to believe that some Fremantle residents and traders here have such a negative opinion about our gorgeous little city.

Freo is a great place but like most other suburbs has similar problems and struggles with the retail economy,  anti social behaviour and crime. Attracting more visitors to Freo will partly help with that, and that can only be achieved by not talking our city down, but by talking it up. Let’s give it a try!

Roel Loopers

 

STREET GAMES FREO FITNESS FUN

Posted in city of fremantle, community, fitness, homelessness, social services, sport, Uncategorized by freoview on February 27, 2019

 

 

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I was surprised to see so many people turn up for the first Street Games at Fremantle’s Princess May Park this morning.

It was already hot and humid but they braved the conditions to kick and handball the footy and do boxing exercises to get them in good shape.

The weekly Wednesday event from 10-11.30am is organised by Reclinc, St Patrick’s, with help from Notre Dame University and the South Fremantle Football Club.

It was relaxed fun, so I hope it will grow. Nice to see Councillor Adin Lang also visiting to show his support.

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE CITY SPONSORS FREO STREET DOCTOR

 

 

The FPOL-Finance, Policy and Legislation- Committee  of Fremantle Council unanimously agreed on Wednesday evening to sponsor the Fremantle Street Doctor services for $ 20,000 and will also write to the State Government to seek reconsideration for ongoing funding, since the Health Department slashed all funding for this great initiative by the end of this financial year.

Councillors also agreed to lobby the members for Fremantle Simone McGurk MLA and Josh Wilson MP.

The Fremantle Foundation’s Impact 1000 could be perfect to sponsor the Freo Street Doctor, I believe.

The Mayor and Councillor Rachel Pemberton said that if the City sponsors these important social services it should make the community aware of it through a logo or something.

Your ratepayers’ money at work with the council logo would be great!

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE BEGGARS BLAME GAME NOT HELPFUL

 

While there is no doubt that beggars and homeless people do create problems in Fremantle it is unfair to blame Fremantle Council for it, as the tabloid emotive article by Josh Zimmerman in the Sunday Times does today.

The headline screams that business furious at council inaction, and further in the article it is claimed that Fremantle has the reputation as a soft-touch on anti-social behaviour.

Beggars increase in numbers during the summer months in Fremantle and there is no doubt there are heaps of them around at the moment, many of them with mental health issues.

The Community Safety Officers of the City are on the beat every day from early till late, but they don’t have move-on power like the WA Police does, and anyway, that just shifts the problem elsewhere.

There have been several community safety forums held by the CoF which are attended by police and support services, but the frustration is always evident that there is little they can do about homeless people.

Homelessness is not a crime, but public drunkenness, drug dealing and anti-social behaviour are, and that needs to be addressed more consistently, because there are a few too many who behave aggressively  on our streets who make people feel uncomfortable and unsafe.

There is no doubt in my mind that the fact that there are many support services in Fremantle attract homeless people to our city, because there is always a free meal, a new blanket, the Freo Street Doctor, etc. to help them out. Services they can’t get in most other suburbs in the Perth metro area.

Fremantle Council can’t be blamed for that however. We are yet again getting more CCTV cameras which are live monitored 24/7 and we have more Community Safety Officers on the streets as well. Law&order issues are State Government responsibility and not in the power of local councils.

It is an annoying and frustrating problem for which there are no easy solutions unfortunately, but the blame game in tabloid newspapers is not helpful either.

Roel Loopers

JOIN THE FREO LONG DINNER TABLE

 

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To paraphrase what Prime Minister Bob Hawke said when the America’s Cup was won, you are a bum if you are not at tonight’s great Fremantle Long Table Dinner.

Even if you don’t have a ticket to sit down and have a meal, you can still enjoy the activities and ambience and the Christmas Market in Henry Street.

The event is a fundraiser for St Patrick’s so bring a few dollars to donate for the very good cause and help people in need.

There is a great vibe at the long table dinner, so come along and be part of this VERY FREO! event.

Roel Loopers

WHERE IS REAL GOVERNMENT ACTION ON HOMELESSNESS?

 

One of the problems going to many forums about homelessness and (affordable) housing is that you have heard it all before and wonder when the action will start and the talk fests stop.

Nothing I heard last night at the Politics in the Pubs event by the Fremantle Network at The Local Hotel was new, but that isn’t the fault of the two speakers, who were equally frustrated about it.

Sam Knight of RUAH said the fundamental thing is that homeless people need homes, but they also need support workers to help with social, health and mental health problems.

The cost on the health system by not supplying sufficient affordable houses is enormous and governments fail to recognise that.

Victor Crevatin, the Director of Housing and Support Services at Fremantle’s St Patrick’s, said St Pat’s has been working with homeless people since 1971 and in 2017 had supplied 31,000 meals and 1,200 clothes to those in need, and 500 people were given accommodation.

Like Sam Knight, Crevatin said it is not just about providing houses, but that it needs support services to get people back on track.

There is the need to turn the generational NIMBY attitude around, and it is all about education to get rid of the bullshit myth about affordable housing and anti-social behaviour!

Sam Knight said it was also about offering the right mix of housing. We need to give choices about accommodation from shared accommodation to single apartments. “What are the best low-cost constructions we can do?” We need to recognise housing has a social and health aspect!

As I heard a week earlier at the Fremantle Safety Forum, there appears to be a serious issue with support agencies not collaborating well and the state government should do something about trying to streamline that, so that there is better coordination and information sharing, to the benefit of those in need.

Comment: I have supported the Fremantle Network since it started and have very often found the meetings very good, but the nice bloke, who shall remain unnamed, who took over from Rachel Pemberton to organise the Fremantle Network loves hogging the limelight. Last night again his introduction of the topic and two expert speakers was far too long. Just a short and succinct intro will do instead of babbling on for 15 minutes. Participate in the Q&A as Rachel used to do, but don’t give a very long speech. It’s not about you!

Roel Loopers

HOUSING.HOMELESSNESS.POLITICS

Posted in accommodation, city of fremantle, fremantle network, homelessness, housing, living, Uncategorized by freoview on November 20, 2018

 

Labor party leader Bill Shorten’s announcement about affordable housing and homelessness comes timely as it is the topic of this evening’s Politics in the Pubs by the Fremantle Network.

Perth Now reported this morning:

Bill Shorten has vowed to make community and affordable housing an issue at the next federal election, flagging promises beyond changes to negative gearing.

The Labor leader addressed the Community Housing Industry Association in Melbourne on Tuesday with a pitch to put struggling renters and homeless people “front and centre” in national debate.

“Nothing is more fundamental to a government’s obligations to the people than the right of every Australian to have a roof over their head,” Mr Shorten said.

He said better data about the extent of affordable housing needed to be a priority, along with better quality standards for dwellings including energy efficiency and accessibility for people with disabilities.

The Politics in the Pubs is TODAY from 7pm at The Local Hotel in South Fremantle!

It is a free event and the bar and kitchen are open, so enjoy a meal and a drink during the debate.

Roel Loopers

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HOMELESSNESS AND AFFORDABLE HOUSING DEBATE

 

The next POLITICS IN THE PUBS by the Fremantle Network is this Tuesday November 20 from 7pm at The Local hotel in South Fremantle.

This months politics in the pub tackles the issue of homelessness, which we see too much of in Fremantle

There are many reasons why people become homeless, but the lack of affordable rental housing is a big factor.

The 2016 Census recorded 116,000 Australians as Homeless, but that certainly understates the total number of people who lack an affordable and secure roof over their head.

Politics in the Pubs invite people to join in discussing the big picture issues behind the closely related problems of housing affordability and homelessness – and also the local perspective.

Special guests for this evening are:
Sam Knight from RUAH Fremantle (50 homes, 50 lives program).
Victor Crevatin, Director of Housing and Support Services at St Pats
Peter Anthony and Derek Parkin from St Pats Starlight Hotel Choir.

See you there!

 

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE HAS THIRD LOWEST CRIME RATE IN WA

Posted in city of fremantle, community, crime, homelessness, law&order, local government, police, Uncategorized by freoview on November 13, 2018

 

The public perception that Fremantle is a hot spot for crime and antisocial behaviour is wrong according to the statistics, Senior Sergeant Brad Warburton, the officer in charge of the Fremantle police station, told a safety forum at the Townhall on Monday evening.

The senior sergeant said that Fremantle ranked third from the bottom of all local councils in Western Australia when it came to crime, and that the majority of crime in Fremantle is stealing of clothes and food, stealing bicycles, and stealing from cars.

Minister Simone McGurk said that the perception of safety depended on where you are in Fremantle and at what time of the day, but a perceived issue is a problem in itself.

A whole raft of issues needed to be addressed and we should look at the evidence of solutions in other cities.

Senior Sergeant Brad Warburton said that police had a real passion for Fremantle and that burglaries, theft and motor vehicle theft were down considerably, compared to last year. “Crime is definitely not out of control!”

He said there needed to be a platform for multi-agency support and collaboration and that the City of Fremantle safety officers and excellent CCTV network were very important.

Homelessness is a social problem. It is not a crime to be homeless and not a police problem.

Lately Fremantle had been experiencing a youth problem with truancies, especially from the new Fremantle College in Beaconsfield and that needed a multi-agency approach to deal with. Unfortunately many agencies had a too high threshold before they could engage with issues, and that meant they often came in too late.

The new policing system introduced by the new police commissioner meant that Fremantle police station has doubled in size and the officer in charge has more control and a better understanding of the problems.

Chris Scanlon, who leads the City’s safety team, said that they are improving their collaboration with NCOs around town and that an additional 39 new CCTV cameras will be installed over the next 12 months.

Michael Piu, the CEO of St Patrick’s said that Imagine Futures had brought together a large number of agencies which are working together at all levels, from youth problems and schools to homelessness. “We need to stop things from happening in the first place!”

It was a good forum last night, but we had one about a year ago, so we need to make sure that these forums are more than just talk fest, and that actual action is taken. As Senior Sergeant Brad Warburton said “My question after forums like these is what now?”

Two things that need improvement in Fremantle in my opinion are street lighting, maybe in some areas motion-triggered lights to flood a whole area, and the fact that too many drunks fall out of licensed premises, an indication that the responsible service of alcohol is not complied with and the Fremantle Accord is not working.

 

Roel Loopers

 

 

MAKING WAVES FOR THE HOMELESS

Posted in city of fremantle, community, homelessness, social services, Uncategorized by freoview on October 10, 2018

 

homeless

 

It breaks my heart when I see homeless people sleeping on the streets of Fremantle.

I took the photo this morning at Kings Square where a $ 220 million redevelopment is under way.

Sometimes I wonder about our priorities in life.

Roel Loopers

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