Freo's View

RECONCILIATION AWARD FOR ONE DAY IN FREMANTLE

 

One Day

 

Great moorditj news and well deserved!

The City of Fremantle’s alternative Australia Day One Day in Fremantle event has  received an Australian Government award for promoting Indigenous reconciliation.

One Day in Fremantle took out the Promoting Indigenous Reconciliation category at the 2019 National Awards for Local Government in Canberra today.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt and the City’s Aboriginal Engagement Officer Brendan Moore were presented with the award by the federal Minister for Local Government Mark Coulton.

Mayor Pettitt said he was thrilled the City’s efforts to establish the One Day event had received national recognition.

“Our intention with One Day was to create an inclusive, family-friendly event where all members of the community felt comfortable to celebrate what’s great about being Australian,” Mayor Pettitt said.

“I said after the first One Day concert that it was the best event I had ever been involved with. The spirit among the crowd and the sense of belonging and community was a beautiful experience.

“It was never about being anti-Australian or divisive. It was about encouraging people to come out and enjoy Australia’s diversity, bringing people together and promoting reconciliation – which is why I’m so pleased the event has received this award.”

The City of Fremantle first staged the One Day in Fremantle event in January 2017.

The event starts with a traditional smoking ceremony and other Aboriginal cultural activities at Bathers Beach before the focus shifts to the One Day concert at the Esplanade Reserve.

In its first three years the event has featured major Australian artists like Dan Sultan, John Bulter, Kate Miller-Heidke, Montaigne and Kevin Parker from Tame Impala.

It has also showcased emerging Aboriginal artists like Baker Boy, Adrian Eagle and Emily Warramara.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE ROUNDHOUSE CLOSURE DISGRACE!

 

closure

 

The closure of the Fremantle Roundhouse today is the third day out of four the very popular tourist attraction has been closed to the public. It was closed on Friday and Saturday, supposedly due to bad weather, although the weather was in no way extreme and intolerable, and today the sign states that WA’s oldest public building is closed  due to a shortage of volunteers.

Fact is that the current president and some committee members of the volunteer group have been procrastinating instead of tackling the major issues of funding and volunteers.

I was a volunteer at the Roundhouse for nine years and loved talking with tourists from all over the world, but I resigned two weeks ago after a rude email from the president in reply to my email suggestions for improvements and changes. I was told that my emails to committee were a waste of energy and he reminded me I was not on committee, indicating I should just shut up.

It is now time for the City of Fremantle to immediately take over the management of the Roundhouse as this significant building has to be open to the public.  I am happy to get involved again under new more progressive and committed management.

A school group that arrived at 1.30pm today stood in front of the closed doors and that is very disappointing.

Roel Loopers

ROUNDHOUSE CLOSURE A REAL WORRY FOR FREMANTLE

 

 

It is a real worry that the Fremantle Roundhouse is closed today, and I was told it was closed most of yesterday as well.

A sign on the door says it is closed due to bad weather, but a few showers have never forced the Roundhouse volunteers to close all day in the nine years I worked there.

Fremantle Council now needs to take urgent action because it is not acceptable that the oldest public building in WA and one of Fremantle’s most significant tourist attractions is now randomly closed, presumably because of lack of volunteers.

In the nine years I was on duty only on the worst winter days did we close an hour early at 2.30pm, but all day closure only ever happened on Christmas Day and Good Friday.

I hear that at committee level of the volunteers it has been suggested they might have to wind up and hand the management of the building back to the City, but what then when there is no contingency plan in place?  Even if they staff the Roundhouse with volunteers from the Visitor Centre they would still need some of the current volunteers who have the license to fire the 1pm cannon.

Both Fremantle Council and the Roundhouse committee are to blame for not having been pro-active enough in trying to get new volunteers and annual funding. With enough State, City and Federal funding Roundhouse guides could get paid and the tourist attraction would be on the same level as Fremantle Prison, the Maritime Museum and the Shipwreck Museum, which all receive government funding.

The Roundhouse is very significant to Fremantle’s  and Western Australia’s history and the City can’t just sit back and let it close due to procrastination and lack of vision.

Roel Loopers

 

QUARRY STREET DEVELOPMENT CHALLENGES

 

The first item on Wednesday’s Fremantle Council Strategic Planning and Transport Committee is an interesting and challenging one because it is about the City-owned properties 9-15 Quarry Street.

Proposals for the development of the sites have been controversial and not to the liking of local residents who want to retain the low-rise streetscape on the southern side of Quarry Street while it is more likeley that developers would want to build medium to high density there.

The officers recommend to:

Introduction of a uniform zoning of Mixed Use and residential density of R80 with a plot ratio of up to 1, across the lots.

Introduction of specific building height limits and setbacks, to reflect the site’s location and facilitate a transition between high and low density.

Introduction of policy controls to include specific boundary wall, overshadowing, interface and pedestrian access link controls.

Councillors and staff held an on-side workshop on April 1 this year and the agenda state that:

The following broad parameters were discussed at the informal Councillor workshop:

Priority for residential land use given the need to encourage more people to live near central Fremantle, without excluding the potential for a modest mixed use component;

A residential coding of a medium-high density (achieving an equal or greater yield to that under current zoning – previously estimated around 34 dwelling units – refer to December 2018 report);

Diversity of dwelling types is preferred but should not be prescribed beyond the new requirements recently introduced into the R-Codes Volume 2 by Design WA;

Building height up to 4 storeys (reflective of provisions already applicable to Lots 2 and 1 and its associated sub-area) in the centre of the site with lesser heights on the boundaries with existing low density residential (including that to the south-west);

A higher quality design outcome is desired on site, as far as this can be achieved through traditional planning processes (noting the much stronger emphasis on this aspect established in the new R-Codes Volume 2 by Design WA);

Existing vegetation should be encouraged to be retained but not be prescribed beyond the new requirements recently introduced into the R-Codes Volume 2 by Design WA;

There should be specific provision on where boundary walls should be permitted, along with minimum setbacks for upper floors to limit bulk and overshadowing on neighbouring properties;

Pedestrian access should be incorporated through the site to provide a connection to Fremantle Park and to potentially activate the ‘dead’ corner at the back of the site

The site walk-around reinforced local community concerns about excessive bulk and height, impacts on amenity, the suitability of the site to accommodate non-residential uses and concerns about design quality. Support was expressed for the proposed pedestrian connection into Fremantle Park.

There have been suggestions made to use the sites for age-care and affordable housing and Slavin Architects released plans on how good low-rise development could be achieved at Quarry Street.

The sites are very well located close to the railway station, high frequency buses, the Leisure Centre and Arts Centre, shopping, schools, Fremantle Park, Princess May Park, etc.

It will have to be seen if developers are interested at all as there are a lot of apartments still vacant at Heirloom and LIV and the proposed Hilton development could not manage any pre-sales of the apartments on offer there.

The residential development of the former  Energy Museum, which is very close to 9-15 Quarry Street has also not eventuated although the Match group has stated it will go ahead with it.

Any other ideas for the sites? Share it with the Freo community!

Roel Loopers

FREO’S WEST END LAKES DISTRICT

 

ah 1

ah 2

 

The wet weather is leaving its marks in Fremantle. It is impossible to get through the Whalers Tunnel because of a deep puddle on the west end of it, while the foot and bicycle paths on either side of Arthur’s Head also have huge puddles.

There is a sink hole starting to develop on the corner of High and Little High Street next to Chalkys cafe and there is a lake in front of J Shed.

It’s not a good look for visitors to our city.

In that context, what is the progress with the stabilisation works required at Arthur’s Head, City of Fremantle?

Roel Loopers

DIGGING FOR FREO’S NEW CIVIC CENTRE

 

Kings Square

 

Fremantle’s hole in the ground is getting deeper. The excavation for the library part of the new Civic Centre at Kings Square is becoming more prominent by the day.

Roel Loopers

PORT BEACH CLIMATE WAR ZONE TOO BIG FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in beaches, city of fremantle, climate change, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on June 13, 2019

 

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The City of Fremantle is not big enough to win the war against climate change at Port Beach on its own. The erosion is happening every winter and is getting worse, to the point where the owners of the COAST restaurant must be getting worried about the investment they made in the building.

An earth moving machine was fighting a lonely, and not winnable, battle this morning, but a proper seawall should be the responsibility of the State Government.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE COMPETITIVE LEASING POLICY UNFAIR TO ESTABLISHED BUSINESSES.

Posted in art, arthur head, city of fremantle, local government, retail, shopping, traders, Uncategorized by freoview on June 11, 2019

 

Item 1906-1 on Wednesday’s FPOL Committee agenda of Fremantle Council raises interesting questions as to why the City of Fremantle has a ‘competitive manner leasing policy’ for its properties.

The item is about renewing the lease of the Fremantle Public Golf Course at Montreal Street and officers suggest that Councillors agree to an exemption of the competitive manner leasing policy because the Lessee has a proven record.

I believe it is pretty fair to extend the lease for the present Lessee but question why that does not apply to other Lessees or License Holders in Fremantle, such as the artists of the Bathers Beach Art Precinct.

It is not as if the competitive policy allows the City to get more money for its properties, because the City sets the rents, so it can only be about wanting change for no practical reasons.

Why does the City want established artists who have been professionally and successfully operating to engage in a competitive process, when there is no guarantee that new artists will be equally successful and able to pay the rent? There have been several failures at Arthur’s Head where at the end the City had to write off outstanding rent because it was not recoverable.

There are not many sculptors who still do traditional life-size bronze sculptures the way Greg James does at J Shed, so that should qualify as unique as well.

Jenny Dawson has run her ceramic art business successfully for twenty years at J Shed and pays full commercial rates to the city, which are determined by an outside consultant.

I have heard the argument from Councillors that if the artists pay commercial rates at Arthur’s Head it won’t be difficult for them to pay full rates elsewhere in Fremantle, but that is bollocks, and even more so for retail art galleries such at Glen Cowans and David Giles.

Establishing a small business is bloody hard work, and starting somewhere else all over again sets back a business by years, so it is time Fremantle Council reconsidered its competitive manner leasing policy because all it does is penalise successful established businesses, and that is very unfair.

Roel Loopers

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EAST FREO Z CARD FOR HERITAGE TRAIL

 

Heritage card

From the Town of East Fremantle: We recently launched a new Heritage Trail map with watercolour depictions of the local architecture around town.

You can pick up a Z-CARD from Town Hall or text the word ‘Heritage’ to 0475 111 222 for a digital copy.

Thanks to the team at Z-Card PocketMedia Solutions for working with us on this project!

This should inspire the City of Fremantle to do something similar. The Freopedia QR codes on building which were started by the Fremantle Society were unfortunately not continued and the East Freo smartphone Z-Card is an even better idea, so what about it This Is Fremantle?

Roel Loopers

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COMMUNITY NEEDS TO SUPPORT LOCAL TRADERS

Posted in city of fremantle, hospitality, local government, parking, retail, shopping, Uncategorized by freoview on June 7, 2019

 

retail

 

There is a bit of a discussion going on on Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt‘s Facebook page about the decline of retail when he posted the good article by Nathan Hondros on WATODAY about it. Hondros’ article “Striponomics’ The reasons Perth’s main streets are struggling is no big secret is worth a read.

The usual quick fixes are suggested by some readers; free parking and councils forcing property owners to reduce rents, but neither is a solution in a world where retail has been declining for at least five years and where major shopping centres have replaced traditional high street shopping.

I don’t know all the reasons for the decline in Perth, Mouth Lawley, Subiaco and elsewhere but I do know that the City of Fremantle has been trying hard to keep and get a diversity of retail in the city, instead of more and more cafes and taverns.

Fact is that councils can’t force property owners to lower rents and that many retailers are struggling because of rising outgoings such as power, water and gas. More competition might lower coffee prices for patrons but at the end that is not sustainable either for the operators.

Pop-up shops are the flavour of most councils but they are not a long-term solution because most of those who start a pop-up realise they can’t earn enough if they have to pay full commercial rates plus outgoings, so pop-ups do what their name suggest; they pop up and die after three or six months.

The always suggested free parking is not at all a solution because free parking will be taken up all day by commuters from Fremantle to Perth, backpackers, and Notre Dame students, so that would not leave too many bays for shoppers.

There is plenty of parking in Fremantle on weekdays and residents get free street parking before 11am and after 3pm.

Fremantle Council has a small ratepayers base so parking fees and fines are essential income for our city. Free parking would mean higher rates and I doubt property owners would agree that they had to pay for free parking of others. If it happened they would pass on the council rate increase to their tenants.

On very busy Sundays Fremantle might have the occasional parking issue, but surely no one expects Council to cater for weekend parking by creating more parking bays that would be vacant the rest of the week. It is like suggesting we should have 16-lane freeways to cater for rush hour traffic when for the rest of the day six lanes are sufficient.

I love the feeling of a good old high street, where there is a diversity of shops and were shop operators live above or behind their shops, as was the case in my home town of Hague in the Netherlands, where our family of seven lived behind the corner shop my parents ran, the pharmacist family on the other corner lived above their shop, the grocery shop people and the bookbinder next door lived behind the shop, as did the butcher on the other side of the street.

But times have changed and 25% of Australians engaged in on-line shopping last year, and money is tight with too many unemployed people.

There are never easy solutions, but we can all help by shopping local, even when it costs a few dollars more. Councils can not enforce shopping diversity or lowering of rents and we can only keep asking for property owners to keep the rents as low as possible so that our traders can survive and new traders are more willing to take the risk of starting in Freo.

Roel Loopers

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