Freo's View

A LOOK AT THE NEW FREMANTLE LIBRARY

 

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The City of Fremantle has released images of what the new library in the new civic centre at the Townhall will look like.

If al goes to plan the civic centre will open late next year when the entire Kings Square Project should be completed.

The Kerry Hill architects design will bring some class to Freo’s city centre.

Roel Loopers

 

WHALERS TUNNEL TO REOPEN SOON(ISH)

 

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It looks like the Fremantle Whalers Tunnel below the historic Roundhouse and the foot/bicycle path along Arthur’s Head will reopen in a couple of weeks.

City of Fremantle officer Daniel Sharp told me that they will shave off the dangerous corner near the retaining wall along the path soon and also build scaffolding to extend the Whalers Tunnel on the beach side, so that any rockfall would not endanger people walking or cycling through the tunnel.

Together with the State Heritage Office Fremantle City is looking for more permanent solutions to the chronic problem of erosion and rockfall danger.

Roel Loopers

SOLAR FARM COMMUNITY HEALTH CONCERNS

Posted in city of fremantle, community, family, health, local government, pollution, solar, Uncategorized by freoview on April 19, 2018

 

The public gallery at the Ordinary Council meeting in North Fremantle last night was packed full with people, many of them families and children with placards.

They were there for the Solar Farm Business Plan item on the agenda, that deals with the proposal for the solar farm on the former heavily contaminated South Fremantle tip site.

Most speakers supported the Solar  Farm but were very worried about possible health implications for the community if the contaminated soil gets disturbed. They wanted to be assured that all possible safeguards would be in place to make sure that the health of their children would not be affected by any work on the site.

One man in his ignorance claimed that Council had underhandedly sneaked the Solar Farm through without public consultation, when in fact this has been on the public record for nearly a decade and the public consultation process will start with the planning application, since that is a legal requirement. Last night’s item was only about starting a business plan.

The unsuccessful recent South Fremantle election candidate thundered “Shame on you council!” for ignoring the consultation process, but that is factually wrong. She must have forgotten that she attended the community consultation meeting in the Townhall organised by the solar farm proponents and she should also know how due process at local government works and that every box has to be ticked under the local government act, and that the Solar Farm proposal was widely reported in the local media.

It is very frustrating to time and time again hear members of the community complain they did not know anything about planning proposals and blame council for their own ignorance, when these plans have been announced on the City’s weekly page in the Herald and reported in the Fremantle Herald, Fremantle Gazette, on Freo’s View, on the CoF website, Facebook and other social media platforms.

To claim that Councillors try to sneak a planning proposal past the community without them noticing it is insulting and laughable, as it would be in contradiction to the Local Government Act. Our elected members are not crooks who do sinister deals the community is left in the dark about!

Mayor Brad Pettitt assured the public gallery that Council would only approve the proposal if it was safe for the community.

The community needs to take ownership and has the onus to inform itself as one cannot realistically expect to receive a letter in the mail for every new plan in the city.

Health issues are extremely important for the Solar Farm proposal and under the Contaminated Sites Register and EPA laws stringent environmental guidelines will have to be adhered to if any soil disturbance is to occur, and we all will make sure that it will be monitored daily! I too live not far from the site and the southerly wind could easily blow contaminated dust here where there is also a primary school.

Roel Loopers

BUSY EVENING AT FREMANTLE COUNCIL

Posted in city of fremantle, community, democracy, local government, politics, Uncategorized by freoview on April 19, 2018

 

It was a busy night at the full Ordinary Council of the City of Fremantle last night.

The Destination Marketing Fremantle was on the agenda, that will probably mean the demise of BID, and it sailed through with just a few mentions that BID had done a good job connecting small businesses and that the Economic Development and Marketing Department had a gap to close with the retailers in that regard.

Councillors expressed they hoped BID would survive in a kind of precinct form so that traders would stay connected and helped as volunteers at events.

It was unanimously decided to go ahead with the new marketing concept but $ 50,000 will be allocated from the budget for the Winter Festival and the Long Table Dinner.

Also-yes still!-on the agenda was the Sunset Venues lease for the No 1 unit at J Shed.

Councillors disagreed with speakers that the operators would not get the go ahead from the Western Australian Planning Committee for a smaller tavern, as there were examples on Rottnest Island and elsewhere where hospitality venues had been allowed on A Class Reserves and in heritage precincts.

It was mentioned that it would be hard to find another business that would be willing to spend a lot of money to put all the required infrastructure in and that Fremantle would get an improved asset.

Mayor Brad Pettitt said they had taken it back to where we originally wanted it to be as a small bar/cafe and restaurant that would activate the area.

The proponents will only have 12 months to start substantial development or the lease will be terminated. Only Councillors McDonald and Jones voted against the item.

Only Councillor Strachan did not support the License Agreement with the South Fremantle Football Club for Fremantle Oval. He questioned why the city was giving the club so much financial support in difficult fiscal times for the City.

The adoption of the new Precincts Policy was also approved with Councillor Sullivan expressing that he would like a more organic precincts system where groups would be less formal.

And the Dog Exercise and Prohibited Area Policy also got the tick of approval from our elected members.

Roel Loopers

JDAP REJECTS FREMANTLE WOOLSTORES DEVELOPMENT

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on April 18, 2018

 

The 38.9 metre high proposal for the development of the Fremantle Woolstores shopping centre site by Silverleaf Investments was this morning unanimously rejected by the five members of the South West Joint Development Assessment Panel-JDAP.

The Fremantle Society had brought the big guns with architects Ken Adams, Ian Molyneux and Sasha Ivanovich all stating that the development was inappropriate for the location and the design was not of exceptionally high standards to allow additional discretionary height.

Silverleaf’s Gerard O’Brien expressed his frustration and angrily said that he was gutted that the development might not go ahead after spending so much time and over $ 2 million dollars on it already.

“I have been misled all the way” O’Brien thundered, and that it was hard to stomach for a small business. “What do we expect Fremantle to be? What does the public want? We wanted to create something for Fremantle!”

There was a lot of talk that the building should relate to its context and that the scale did negatively impact on the heritage surroundings. Fremantle is globally a unique place!

The design of the proposal was considered to be at best very ordinary, according to architect Ken Adams and that it poorly related to the streetscape.

Former Perth City architect Craig Smith sent his assessment that the applicants had addressed all the issues brought up by the Fremantle City Design Advisory Committee. While the DAC suddenly wanted the hotel tower to be set back there were no setbacks required in the planning scheme. Smith believes there is no rational reason to set back the hotel from Queen Street.

DAC chair Geoffrey London said the decision of exceptional design was made by the collective judgment of an expert group of people, but one of the JDAP panel members said he believed there was a high degree of subjectivity.

There was short adjournment for CoF planning staff to give additional confidential information to the JDAP panel members, so no idea what that was all about as it did not change anything.

Councillor Rachel Pemberton said that the vision behind controversial Planning Scheme Amendment 49 was to give developers the option of getting more height allowance as long as they offered superior standard design. I don’t want to relax that requirement, she said.

One of the JDAP members rightly stated that the East CBD part of the city was very run down and that investment in that area was crucial for Fremantle’s development. Maybe there was too much concern about the design quality. “Who is going to invest in this type of scale when the process is so intimidating?”

COMMENT:

While I agree that the building design is definitely not exceptional I still believe this is a loss for Fremantle. If Silverleaf Investments pulls out of this development Fremantle will end up with the very ugly and mediocre shopping centre site for many years to come and that is a disaster for the rejuvenation plans for the inner city.

There is little guarantee that the Hilton Doubletree development will happen, so then all we might get is the eight-storey Little Lane development next to Target.

I really hope Gerard O’Brien will not chuck all his efforts in the bin and walk away from his plans to develop the site, and that he will give it one more good try to get the height he believes he commercially needs and Fremantle gets the iconic landmark building it wants there. PLEASE!!

Roel Loopers

 

WOOLSTORES PROPOSAL AT JDAP TOMORROW

 

Woolstores

The proposal by Silverleaf Investments for the development of the Fremantle Woolstores shopping centre site will come before the state’s South West Joint Development Assessment Panel tomorrow morning at 10 am at the temporary council chambers at Fremantle Oval.

Fremantle Council have recommended to reject the proposal because the proposed additional discretionary height conditions are not met to give the proposal the excellent design rating that is required to be granted extra height.

I hope a compromise can be reached between the City of Fremantle and Silverleaf Investments as the site is of great importance for the rejuvenation of the CBD and Fremantle’s attempt at economic recovery.

The present building is ugly and boring and offers a provincial low-key shopping experience, so a new development, especially with a hotel, would be very good.

We should also not forget that the developers could simply drop their request for additional discretionary height and build a very mediocre building that is within the PSA 49 rules, so the City and Silverleaf need to try to work together to get an exceptional iconic building.

Roel Loopers

ROYAL GEORGE TOWER REVEALED

 

 

 

I received these artist’s impressions of the proposed new slim tower behind the Royal George hotel in East Fremantle from developers Saracen Properties.

The developers plan to fully renovate the beautiful heritage listed Royal George for tourist accommodation, a gin distillery, bar, restaurants, etc.

They also want to build a 15 storey elliptical spike set on a four storey podium along Duke Street, and create a community square between the former Brush Factory building and the Royal George.

The architect for the project is highly-regarded Michael Patroni of the Fremantle spaceagency.

Roel Loopers

 

AERIAL SOLAR MARKETING FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in advertising, city of fremantle, flying, local government, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on April 16, 2018

 

solar farm image

 

It might be a bit left field and out of the box, but if/when Fremantle gets its Solar Farm on the former South Fremantle tip site, could we ask the proponents to create the word FREMANTLE with the solar panels so that there is a bit of marketing for those who fly over our city.

In China there is a solar farm that looks like a panda from the air, so why not follow that lead?

Roel Loopers

NEW MARKETING MANAGER SHOULD HAVE SAY ON NEW FREO STRATEGY

Posted in bid, city of fremantle, hospitality, local government, retail, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on April 16, 2018

 

I have been thinking a bit about the push for Destination Marketing Fremantle, which would likely mean the end of Fremantle BID, and why there is a sense of urgency when we hear that Tom Griffiths, the present Manager Economic Development and Marketing, will be leaving the City of Fremantle.

There is no doubt that the new marketing manager will have her/his own thoughts about retail versus destination marketing, or a combination of both, so would it not make more sense for Fremantle Council to wait with its decision until a new marketing manager has been appointed and our elected members can find out from that new officer which direction (s)he wants to go with a new marketing strategy?

I agree with critics that BID has not worked as well as it could have. It connected Freo’s traders well but failed to have a big picture approach, but let’s also be clear that BID specifically was created for the CBD retailers and hospitality traders. But I also believe that the City’s Fremantle Story is not a great marketing campaign because it too did a lot of small things and there is far too much and hard to find information on that website.

Destination marketing will attract people to Fremantle, but an essential part of it needs to be to communicate with visitors what they can do in Fremantle every day, but also on the specific day(s) they are here. That has been lacking forever and it needs to change, so that people will linger longer in Fremantle. Getting back to basics with a What’s On In Freo Today might just be the start.

Starting a new marketing strategy just months before a new marketing manager will be appointed makes no sense, so Council should be very careful not to rush a decision about Destination Marketing Fremantle prematurely.

Roel Loopers

DELAY FOR SPICER SITE SETTLEMENT

 

The monthly Fremantle Ordinary Council meeting will be held this coming Wednesday at 6pm and there are some interesting and controversial items listed on the agenda, so why not observe grassroots governance first hand and attend the meeting at the North Fremantle Community Hall.

On the agenda are Destination Marketing, the tavern lease for J Shed, the South Freo Solar Farm, the license with the South Fremantle Football Club for the use of Fremantle Oval, the Strategic Planning Framework, the new Precinct Policy,  and the Dog exercise areas policy.

Surprisingly listed as a confidential item is the request by Sirona Capital for the extension of the settlement for the former Spicer site, which now is the public car park on the corner of William Street and the Henderson Street mall.

The Spicer site development is part of the Kings Square Project the City of Fremantle and Sirona Capital signed off on, and an important inner city development. Why does the Council debating the settlement extension request have to be confidential and not open to the public?

By the way, the new convenor for the South Fremantle Precinct is Sean Hefferon.

 

Roel Loopers

 

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