Freo's View

HISTORIC LAST COUNCIL MEETING TODAY

Posted in city of fremantle, kings square, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on December 13, 2017

 

It looks like the historic last Ordinary Council meeting in the old Fremantle civic centre could be a very long one this evening.

There are many interesting items on the agenda, where members of the community will want to address Councillors about, so I’ll be in for the long haul.

Here some of the items on the agenda:

  • Annual Financial statement
  • Report on Financial Management Review
  • Proposed tavern at J Shed
  • Local Planning Policy for the Beaconsfield and White Gum Valley town centres
  • Planning policy for taverns and hotels in the CBD
  • Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre future
  • South Terrace traffic calming in South Fremantle
  • Safe Hampton Road crossing at Scott Street

City of Fremantle staff will be moving to Fremantle Oval from Monday December 18 and the next Council meetings will be held in North Fremantle and other location until the new Civic Centre has been built at Kings Square.

Roel Loopers

 

J SHED DEBACLE ON COUNCIL AGENDA

Posted in Uncategorized, architecture, local government, city of fremantle, arthur head, bathers beach by freoview on December 13, 2017

 

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There were indications at last week’s Fremantle Planning Committee that Mayor Brad Pettitt might try to defer the decision at tonight’s Ordinary Council meeting on the proposed tavern at J Shed for 2-3 months to get Sunset Events to make more changes.

This would be contrary to what the Fremantle community wants, as it has expressed very clearly and loudly for four years.

The Wadjuk Noongar people, inner city residents, Fremantle Ports, Fremantle Society, Fremantle History Society, Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides and the J Shed artists have all very clearly said no to a tavern at Arthur Head, and so has the WA Planning Committee.

We have heard the excuses and semantics in the past that somehow that specific part of Arthur Head has less historic significance than the rest of the historic area, but that is baseless rubbish.

Fact is that Arthur Head in its entirety is heritage listed. Fact is that the proposed site for the tavern is only metres away from where the Whaling Station used to be. It is 30 metres from the Whalers Tunnel, and it is just below the Gunners Cottage and WA’s oldest public building the Roundhouse gaol.

Bathers Bay is where British settlement started in ernest and where the first port was, in the form of a one-kilometre-long jetty. It is also where Aboriginal men and boys were put on boats to be transported to the inhumane Quod prison on Rottnest Island. The Arthur Head area is the foundation of Western Australia’s British settlement.

Another reason why the item should not be deferred by Fremantle Council is a point made by Councillor Rachel Pemberton when Council discussed another planning proposal a few weeks ago.

Pemberton stated that the Elected Members had agreed that they would no longer indefinitely defer planning proposals if these proposals required substantial changes, instead of minor tweaking. That is the case with the Sunset Events proposal for J Shed. It requires substantial changes, not just minor adjustments, and for that reason alone refusal of the proposal should be the only outcome of the Ordinary Council meeting tonight.

Sunset Events wants a tavern on the A Class reserve, that the community does not want, and WAPC has made it clear in its past ruling that is inappropriate use of the reserve. WAPC did not rule on the number of patrons, but about inappropriate use of a public space. That will not change.

It is also highly unlikely that Sunset Events would be willing to reduce the number of patrons yet again, because they already deleted the 1,500 patron outdoor music venue and halved the number of tavern patrons. There is little left of their initial plans.

The sad fact for Sunset Events is that they have been had by Fremantle Council. What is happening with the tavern proposal is akin to the City of Fremantle signing a lease for a funeral parlour, but when it comes to planning approval they suddenly decide that they don’t want dead bodies in the building and no hearses in the street. It’s outrageously bad governance!

The J Shed saga is an unmitigated debacle that Fremantle Councillors should be ashamed about, and it needs to stop now!

Roel Loopers

SOUTH FREO SCOTT STREET TRAFFIC SAFETY

Posted in city of fremantle, local government, traffic, Uncategorized by freoview on December 9, 2017

 

The controversial changes to the Hampton Road/Scott Street intersection in South Fremantle will come before Fremantle Council this Wednesday.

Community consultation with local residents and businesses conducted by Freo City concluded that:

  • Most people (65%) said they preferred the option proposing to move the school crossing 50 metres south of its current location, reinstate access for vehicles turning right into Scott Street from Hampton Road and move the bus stop a few metres north (Option 1).
  • The most common reasons for preferring option 1 were less congestion at the intersection of Hampton and Lloyd Streets, eliminating dangerous traffic conditions and inconvenience for motorists experienced since the temporary median installed in March 2107, and addresses increased traffic in neighbouring streets, also experienced since the introduction of the trial.
  • 15% of people said they would prefer to formalise the temporary traffic treatment at the Hampton Road and Scott Street intersection (Option 2). Most people who preferred Option 2 felt it was safer for pedestrians because it has stopped cars using the bus lane.
  • 20% of people didn’t support either option. The most common suggestion was to install traffic lights with a signalised pedestrian crossing at the intersection.

SOUTH FREO TRAFFIC CHANGES AT COUNCIL

Posted in city of fremantle, local government, traffic, Uncategorized by freoview on December 9, 2017

 

Fremantle Council will this coming Wednesday discus the plans for traffic calming, pedestrian safety and streetscape improvements along South Terrace in South Fremantle, after lengthy community consultation.

The local community told the City of Fremantle that:
* 72.6% of people support the proposed changes, with 53.8% indicating they ‘strongly support’ the changes and a further 18.8% supportive of ‘most changes’.

* The proposal to improve the streetscape was the most supported change, with over 90% of respondents answering positively to the proposed new paving, street furniture, trees and planting.

* The proposal to reduce the carriageway to a trafficable width of 7 metres is the least supported change. While 58.2 % of people support narrowing the road to make it easier for people to cross the street safely, 22.2 % felt this would create more dangerous conditions for cyclists.

* The need for South Terrace to be calmed from South Street to Douro Road was mentioned by numerous people, along with the need to protect the interests of people living in the side streets.

* A plan for the area bounded by South Street, Douro Road, Marine Terrace and Hampton Road was suggested, following concerns that the proposed treatment at Little Lefroy and South Terrace will create traffic problems elsewhere.

* The need for a cycle lane on South Terrace between South Street and Douro Road was frequently mentioned, along with a desire to see similar treatments implemented at other nodes in this section.

If you did not have your say you can still address Council this Wednesday at 6pm!

Roel Loopers

FRESH IDEAS NEEDED FOR ARTHUR HEAD

Posted in art, arthur head, bathers beach, city of fremantle, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on December 8, 2017

 

The desire of Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt and Councillor Hannah Fitzhardinge to extend the decision period on the proposed tavern at J Shed by Sunset Events comes in my opinion far too late. What could possibly be achieved in 2-3 months of talking that could not have been achieved in the last four years?

Fremantle Council did have many opportunities to listen to the community but instead created a divide that has now become too polarised to be resolved and end in a good outcome for the proponents and opponents.

Sunset Events has in desperation asked Freo Massive readers what they believe is acceptable for the J Shed studio at Bathers Beach, as director David Chitty also did at the Council meeting on Wednesday. The community already told you that, David, so why engage social media when there has been community consultation, meetings, information sessions, a special electors meeting, written and verbal submissions, etc?

The dilemma is that the two sides are too far apart to find a compromise, and there appears to be a bit of stubbornness on both sides as well. The stuff them attitude is not going to help anyone!

Would Sunset Events be happy to just run a day-time cafe and small bar with a nice deck to watch Bathers Bay and the sunset? I doubt it, as they want big numbers of patrons to make their investment worthwhile, and that is fair enough from a business perspective.

The J Shed artists appear to not want anything but another art studio in that location, so they will probably also object to a small bar at the No 1 studio.

Community groups might well be happy with a 150-patron small bar there, as I would be, but I don’t think Sunset Events will want to scale down its proposal that far.

Fact is that the City of Fremantle should not have wandered off so far from the initial Expression of Interest and CoF should not have signed a 21-year lease for a tavern and outdoor music venue.

Councillors and the administration have to accept all the blame for this fiasco and they now will have to do their utmost best to get Sunset Events to relinquish the lease and start from scratch.

It is however also important for the J Shed artists to show more willingness to compromise as they should not dictate who their next door businesses can be. A small bar and cafe is totally acceptable for the venue and would become a good attraction for tourists and local residents.

The A Class reserve is very suitable to support the artists and create a sculpture park, with the addition of some shade structures and more seating. That would also support a new cafe/bar at J Shed. And a small playground for the kids would also be a nice addition for the area.

The Bathers Beach Art Precinct should go back to the drawing board as it is not working. The Pilot’s Cottages at Captain’s Lane are closed too many days of the week and do very little to help activate the area. The only exemptions up there are the Glen Cowans photo gallery and the very popular Roundhouse which attract a lot of visitors, and so did the High Tide biennale by the way.

I still wonder if the Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre would not have been far more successful at the J Shed No 1 unit and complement the existing art businesses there better.

Fremantle Council need to acknowledge they got it wrong as far as the activation of Arthur Head is concerned and should start all over again with an open mind. This might well be the opportune time to engage an outside consultant to get some new and fresh ideas.

In the meantime the Roundhouse volunteer guides want to put new displays inside the popular tourist attraction, and they need big money to do that. Time for Fremantle Council to engage with them and collaborate and also to give them some assistance!

 

Roel Loopers

 

 

COUNCIL INCOMPETENCE IN J SHED FARCE

Posted in arthur head, city of fremantle, heritage, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on December 7, 2017

 

The highly farcical tavern proposal at J Shed on Bathers Beach saga continued last night when the Planning Committee of Fremantle Council refused again the proposal by Sunset Events for a 400-patron tavern at the number one studio on the A Class reserve.

In its utter incompetence in this matter Fremantle Council has managed to make victims of both the proponents and opponents of the development at historic Arthur Head. That is a remarkable feat!

Some four years ago Council supported the applicant driven proposal for a 1,500 patron outdoor music venue and 850-patron tavern and signed a 21 year lease with Sunset Events.

This was against strong opposition of West End residents, J Shed artists, FICRA, Aboriginal and  heritage groups and Fremantle Ports, but our Councillors had their rose-coloured ACTIVATION glasses on and suddenly wanted something much bigger than a cafe, restaurant or small bar, as was invited for in the Expressions of Interest document.

All public submissions were ignored and even the packed full Townhall special electors meeting was dismissed because our elected members knew best what is good for us.

In good faith and with the justifiable assumption that Council would approve the tavern and music venue Sunset Events signed a 21-year lease, but now their scaled-down proposals keep getting rejected and that is extremely unfair to them.

I agree with last night’s refusal and the refusals before that because a large tavern is not acceptable for one of our state’s most significant historic areas, but to leave the proponents in limbo with no room to move shows arrogance, naivety and incompetence by those Councillors who voted for the 21-year lease.

J Shed artists have had their nerves stretched to the limit as their livelihood is at stake, and Sunset Events rightly insists that the project has to be financially viable for them before they invest millions in sewerage, toilets, a commercial kitchen, etc.

The way Fremantle Council has handled the J Shed proposal is so absurd and incompetent that it might well have been an episode of the satirical TV series Utopia.

Sunset Events has every right to being frustrated and should take legal action against Fremantle Council for wasting their time and money, because reducing the scale of the tavern even more would not make financial sense for them.

One has to seriously wonder why it is that only after four years officers and Councillors now decide that a tavern is inappropriate for the A Class reserve, the heritage area and the Bathers Beach Art Precinct, although they signed a lease for it. That, as Planning Committee chair Jon Strachan pointed out, will make any size tavern un-approvable in the future and leaves Sunset Events in limbo.

It is an absolute disgrace and those Councillors who voted for the long-term lease should kick themselves in the backside really hard and get an injection of a dose of reality.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE COMMITMENT TO ABORIGINAL CULTURE

Posted in aboriginal, city of fremantle, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on December 5, 2017

 

FINALLY!!!!  Fremantle Council has committed $30,000 towards a feasibility study for an Indigenous Cultural Centre at Victoria Quay.

The study will include consultation with the local Aboriginal community and investigate issues including location and funding opportunities.

The concept for the centre includes galleries and exhibition spaces, theatres for lectures and performances, office space for local Aboriginal tourism and cultural businesses, and outdoor areas connected to the Swan River.

Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt said  “If traditional owners support the concept, the addition of an indigenous cultural centre near an upgraded cruise ship terminal would make Victoria Quay a substantial tourism destination.”

Other ideas the study will explore include partnering with local universities to create a world class centre for indigenous studies that will attract international conferences and events.

The centre could also host touring exhibitions from other parts of Australia and the world.

The study is expected to commence later this year and be completed early next year.

This is in my opinion a well-overdue process as our local Aboriginal people, and those calling for more  tangible reconciliation and less tokenism, have been advocating for an Aboriginal cultural centre in Fremantle for very many years.

Well done Fremantle Council for finally allocating money for the significant process!

Roel Loopers

 

QUIET BEFORE THE STORM IN FREMANTLE

Posted in city of fremantle, development, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on December 5, 2017

 

Freo’s View readers are concerned that I might be sick or gone AWOL, as I have not posted many articles lately, but that is not the case. There is simply not much going on to report about in good old Femantle at present.

It’s the quiet before the Kings Square development storm and other major new development in the pipeline.

The demolition of the Queensgate building might still happen in December, but it might not, and the council building is due for demolition in January.

City of Fremantle staff will move to Fremantle Oval on December 18, so take note of that.

The Stan Reilly site has been flattened and they are now removing the rubbish to make way for a new 150+ bay car park.

MATCH has started the development of the former Energy Museum site at Parry Street.

Freo’s major concern remains inappropriate development where developers do not seem to care about the visual impact of the proposed new buildings, and the heritage significance of Fremantle.

It is a worry that the development laws are not stronger and more specific in that regard and that major development gets approved by state agencies.

Fremantle Council can only put a recommendation of refusal or approval to those agencies, but the statistics show that JDAP is very much pro developers and often ignores  what local councils want.

Two significant development proposals are coming before the Planning Committee tomorrow night so have your say!

Roel Loopers

HAVE YOUR SAY ABOUT FREO

Posted in city of fremantle, communication, community, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on December 1, 2017

 

Have your say

 

The City of Fremantle is keen to get community feedback about how they communicate with the residents and ratepayers, to find out what is working and where Freo City can improve.

When you fill out the communications survey you have the chance to win some great prizes, including a double pass to the Fremantle Falls Festival, a Fremantle Arts Centre art course or a $100 voucher at Strange Company.

What information would you like to receive from CoF? How can they make better use of social media? How do you find navigating the City’s website?

The City of Fremantle is keen to do a better job of communication and this survey is the community’s chance to shape the approach.

Give your feedback on-line at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CoFcommsurvey  or pick up a survey from the library or the customer service desk.

The survey closes on Friday 19 January 2018

A LITTLE BIT MORE PARKING AT LEIGHTON BEACH

Posted in beaches, city of fremantle, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on December 1, 2017

 

The City of Fremantle will be spending $ 70,000 on adding 19 car parking bays to the Leighton Beach area, where parking during peak hours is an issue.

This will be in addition to the 260 bays that are already there, so really only a drop in the ocean, that will make little difference to the parking problems at the popular beach.

So get on your bike Freo people to visit our northern beaches, or hop on the train to North Fremantle and leave the car bays for people from out of town.

Roel Loopers

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