Freo's View

CHANGING AUSTRALIA DAY JUST A MINOR ADJUSTMENT

 

I almost fell of my stool and choked on my double espresso yesterday when I saw the front page of the West Australian and read their editorial suggesting it is time to have a discussion about changing the date of Australia Day.

When Fremantle Council changed the date four years ago and stopped the fireworks it was blasted by the West and heavily criticised time and time again in editorials and columns by Paul Murray, so what a nice and positive change of heart for this right-leaning publication.

Contrary to what the West has written, and what some politicians and community members have said, this was never about silly politics by some left-leaning loonies, but only and all about respect for our Aboriginal people and their history, and the huge pain and displacement European settlement brought for them.

Moving Australia Day to another day will not diminish the achievements of the early settlers and it will not change Australia’s history. All it will do is show consideration for those Aboriginese whose families have suffered, whose children were taken away, who were moved on from their communities, and who were severely mistreated and their land taken away. The consequences of that are still felt in Aboriginal communities today.

I don’t believe we can take our history for granted and say Aboriginal people just need to move on and forget about the past, because from the past we can all learn, and we can acknowledge that mistakes were made, without having to feel guilty. Moving forward together by changing Australia Day away from January 26 is just a tiny adjustment for non Aboriginals to make, but it would make a huge difference to very many of our First Nation people.

The West is encouraging a community discussion about it, so let us start one with respect and without polemic and political point scoring.

Roel Loopers

FREO TOURISM INFO UP IN A TREE

Posted in city of fremantle, local government, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on January 23, 2020

 

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It does not look very good that this Tourist Information banner has been hanging in a tree on the Fremantle Cappuccino Strip for a few days now. These kinds of unsightly things make our city look neglected and need to be attended to immediately when they happen.

Roel Loopers

Great work, City of Fremantle! I posted this 30 minutes ago and already they are taking the banner down from the tree.

FREO’S ONE DAY AN ABORIGINAL SHOWCASE

 

 

Some of WA’s best young artists will be showcased during this year’s One Day in Fremantle event this Saturday., January 25

The free, all-day event will commence with a traditional smoking ceremony at Bathers Beach at 8am and conclude with a sunset ceremony featuring the burning of six balga trees, signifying reflection and renewal.

From 11am-4pm the stage will be thrown open to some of WA’s brightest young talent, including 2015/16 WAM Song of the Year winner Beni Bjah, 2018/19 WAM Song of the Year runner-up Joshua Flewnt, 2018/19 WA NAIDOC Music Award Winner Indigo Ellis and emerging rapper Trent Howard.

The program has been put together by Perth singer/songwriter and Abmusic Aboriginal Corporation representative Natasha Eldridge, who will also be taking to the stage with her band Kruize Control.

13-year-old Indigo Ellis said she couldn’t wait to perform in front of the One Day crowd.

Rapper Trent Howard said it was an honour to be able to perform at an event that promoted reconciliation and encouraged everyone to come together to celebrate Australia.

Beginning with the smoking ceremony at Bathers Beach, One Day will incorporate Aboriginal artwork, music, workshops and food at Kidogo Arthouse and around the grassed area at Bathers Beach.

Activities include boomerang painting, rock mandalas, weaving, an art exhibition, storytelling and poetry readings along with Uluru Statement from the Heart and a number of other information stalls.

Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse, Walyalup Kannajil and Madjitil Moorna choirs will be among many other performers.

The free celebration will also serve as a fundraiser for the Australian Bushfire Appeal with attendees encouraged to donate to the Fremantle Foundation’s Freo Fire Fund which has been set up to support affected communities in the wake of the recent devastating bushfires.

For further information, visit fremantle.wa.gov.au/oneday.

 

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE LOOKING FOR NEW VISITOR CENTRE IDEAS

Posted in city of fremantle, communication, local government, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on January 23, 2020

 

The City of Fremantle will undertake an Expression of Interest(EOI) for a new tourist Visitor Centre somewhere in the inner city. It is seeking ideas and concepts for the development and delivery of an innovative and world class visitor centre model for Fremantle, but this can only be at no additional cost to the city above the current operating levels.

It is interesting to note here that the City states the Visitor Centre needs to be in the inner city at street level, when I for one assumed a significant space for the Visitor Centre would have been allocated already in the new under construction Civic Centre at Kings Square, which to me seems the most logical and practical location for a Visitor Centre.

The City is hoping to achieve a world class Visitor Centre that will have a significantly improved servicing model, but ideally at less than or comparable with the current operating costs, because the City’s 10 year financial plan has no additional allocation over and above the current funding.

One thing Fremantle Council needs to prioritise with urgency is to maintain and repair one of our City’s most significant tourist destinations and historic site Arthur’s Head and the Roundhouse, that are in a state of disrepair and an absolute disgraceful eyesore.

Roel Loopers

 

WILL IT BE FREO’S OWN BERMUDA TRIANGLE?

 

Fremantle’s Bermuda Triangle?

 

The hospitality triangle lease of the new Fremantle Civic Centre at Kings Square was the most debated item on the FPOL Committee agenda, and the public gallery was only allowed to hear part of it, since there were commercially confidential issues as well, so we were booted out.

I just want to make some general remarks about what has become a bit controversial in the community, because of the high financial incentives the City is required to give to the proponents of the three level hospitality venue.

Councillor Andrew Sullivan was very passionate in his support and pointed out the new building is part of the City’s commercial property portfolio and hence it should create income. I have no issue with that argument.

Sullivan continued to say it was an essential part of the Kings Square plan to have night time activity, and I agree with that as well, but that would have happened in a far better way if Fremantle Council had insisted on a residential and/or hotel component as part of their deal with Sirona Capital.

We should also consider realistically if the proposed hospitality business would last 20 years. Just look at what is happening right now: A new tavern will open in the Manning building, a new tavern in the Warders boutique hotel, an entertainment venue in the new Police and Justice complex in Henderson street, and no doubt there will be bars in the planned hotels at the Woolstores and Point Street.

All that in addition to the Federal Hotel, National Hotel, Newport Hotel, Sail&Anchor, the Monk, the Old Synagogue, the Norfolk Hotel, Freo.Social, and several small bars. All in a walking distance of five minutes or less from the proposed Kings Square venue! And there will probably be a bar or two in the FOMO centre as well.

Does Fremantle really want and need another alcohol venue, and at what cost to the ratepayers?

Yes, the $ 500,000 will be invested in the building, so it will be the property of the city, but if the proposed hospitality venue does not succeed what would an office do with a dumb waiter goods lift? And we heard that the third floor won’t be activated for at least another 18 months until the proponents have found their feet in the new venue.

I know that Councillors want the best for our city, but this is again a proponent driven venue and not the cafe and small bar that was initially on the cards. It smells a bit like the Sunset Events J Shed venue where Council have stars in their eyes and see something really big happening that they had not even considered in their wildest dreams.

The Fremantle community though might well believe this is more a case of Freo’s own Bermuda Triangle where ratepayers money disappears that we could have used to make a start on the urgently needed repairs of Arthur’s Head and the Roundhouse, as Councillor Marija Vujcic pointed out.

We all want Kings Square and the inner city to be activated and the redevelopment project to be a success, but we expect our elected members to be realistic and pragmatic, and I am not at all sure that this is the right way to do it.

Roel Loopers

and some friendly advise for our elected members. Please do not make this item a confidential item at the Full Council meeting, because the community would question Council’s transparency and ask what they have to hide!

FREO A CITY ON THE MOVE

 

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One can get a good impression of what the paving at Newman Court, in front of the Fremantle Kings Square FOMO retail and hospitality centre, will look like, with large two-coloured slabs of concrete already down. It looks like there will be cobblestone in the gaps in between.

Through the windows at the levels above one can see the office furniture and computers being installed for the state government department staff, while the huge steel beam structure of the new Civic Centre clearly starts showing what the building will look like.

Roel Loopers

HUGE FINANCIAL INCENTIVE FOR FREMANTLE CIVIC CENTRE HOSPITALITY VENUE

 

I had another read of the Fremantle Council FPOL committee agenda item about leasing the triangle part of the new Civic Centre at Kings Square to the Fremantle Doctor Restaurant and Bar Pty Ltd, and it becomes evident that the proposed hospitality operators are expecting a large financial incentive from the City of Fremantle.

The commercial rent for the three levels is $ 233,100 per annum, but the proposed venue operators want the first three years to be rent free, and the fourth year to pay only 5% of the gross income of the venue, plus they want a $ 500,000 contribution from the City for the fit out.

I am aware that it is common to offer rent free periods for long commercial leases, and this one is 10+10 years, but I believe that paying half a million dollars on top of three rent free years, and only a relatively small rent for the fourth year is asking the cash-strapped City of Fremantle for too much.

Reading between the lines it appears that not many hospitality operators were willing to commit to Kings Square before it has proven to be a success, and of course the City is keen to lease out the space that will be close to the new playground, but is a cash incentive of $ 500,000 realistic?

New venues, such as the Old Synagogue and Freo.Social, have become immediate attractions from the start, and presumably run profitable businesses, so how far should Fremantle Council go financially to lure an operator for its Civic Centre hospitality part?

In that context I was disappointed to read in the Sunday Times today that the FOMO retail and food concept by Sirona Capital is now only due to open in June/July, while it had been on the cards for April this year, after the initial marketing for the Kings Square Redevelopment Project mentioned late 2019 as the opening date. I do however understand very well that in the current retail climate it must be a huge challenge for Sirona to find enough tenants willing to sign long-term leases.

The Civic Centre construction  is well underway to be completed in the last quarter of this year, and the State Housing Department is moving in in April with approximately 1,500 staff, so it is all pretty good, but it needs to hurry up.

The item is on the FPOL Committee agenda for this Wednesday and will then go to full Council in a few weeks for a final decision.

Roel Loopers

STATE AND CITY GO HALVES FOR ROCKWALL AT PORT BEACH

 

 

Lisa O’Malley, the Member for Bicton, standing in for minister Rita Saffioti, announced this morning at the SAVE PORT BEACH festival that the State and City of Fremantle will go half and half to build a protective rockwall at the very popular endangered beach.

The City of Fremantle and the Western Australian government will each provide $ 200,000 to do what is basically a stop gap measure, as a substantial ocean wall will have to be built to ensure that Port Beach won’t disappear and the restaurant and carpark won’t have to be relocated.

Strong erosion during the winter months means that the future of Port Beach is in limbo and so is the future of the COAST bar, restaurant and cafe.

Roel Loopers

THREE LEVEL HOSPITALITY VENUE FOR FREO’S NEW CIVIC CENTRE

 

 

Great news for the future vitality of Fremantle’s Kings Square with Fremantle Council  considering the lease terms for a major new hospitality venue in the new under construction Civic Centre at a committee meeting next week.

The proposal from the City’s preferred applicant is to lease all three floors of the triangular portion of the City’s new building, with a café, bar and alfresco area on the ground floor, dining room on the first floor and function space on the top floor.

The proposed offering is based around providing casual and formal family-friendly food and beverage options, and aims to activate the area both day and night, seven days per week, by catering for different markets throughout the day.

The ground floor will feature bi-fold doors to create a seamless transition between inside and outside, with the substantial alfresco area overlooking the City’s planned new Kings Square play space.

The lease to be considered by the council’s Finance, Policy, Operations and Legislation Committee on Wednesday includes terms consistent with current market expectations.

Following consideration of the lease by the FPOL committee the item will be referred to the full council meeting on 29 January for a final decision.

Roel Loopers

NEW SOLAR LIGHTS AT KINGS SQUARE

 

 

The City of Fremantle is installing some new solar lights at Kings Square to brighten up our city square a bit more at night. They replace the old ones, so are using existing posts.

Roel Loopers

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