Freo's View

UNDERGROUND POWER OPTIONS FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in city of fremantle, electricity, state government, Uncategorized by freoview on February 18, 2020

 

WA Energy Minister Bill Johnston has announced a trial of a new funding model that will allow more Western Australians to access the benefits of underground power.

Western Power’s Network Renewal Underground Program Pilot will be tested in four suburbs where significant capital works projects have been planned to replace and upgrade sections of overhead network.

Local governments invited to participate in the pilot are the Town of Bassendean (Eden Hill), City of Stirling (Scarborough), City of Fremantle (Hilton) and the Town of Victoria Park with the City of Canning (St James).

Under the pilot model, local government authorities are being given the option to contribute additional funds to cover the difference between like-for-like pole replacement and the cost of converting the area to underground power.

Because the poles and wires in the pilot areas are old and due to be replaced, the cost to homes and businesses are expected to be lower than the State Government-led Underground Power Program and other local government-led programs for undergrounding.

FREMANTLE HIGH STREET UPGRADE STARTS

Posted in city of fremantle, freight, fremantle port, state government, traffic, Uncategorized by freoview on January 22, 2020

 

High Street

 

A groundbreaking ceremony was held at the Fremantle HIGH STREET UPGRADE project this morning with Premier Mark McGowan, the Member for Fremantle, Minister Simone McGurk, Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt, and Mainroads officials, but no one though about inviting this Freo blogger, so all I can show is this latest plan.

There will no doubt be traffic disruptions when the work starts in a few weeks from now, so I will try to keep you up to date, but that will depend a lot on receiving the relevant information.

Roel Loopers

 

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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

GIVE FREMANTLE THE MONEY, PREMIER MCGOWAN!

 

Fremantle Council lives in hope that the State Government will cough up for an expensive $ 2.5 million seawall and dredging at Port Beach, where the ultimate outcome , according to an engineers report, is that the beach will be lost in the distant future.

Freo Council has also been living in hope for two years that the McGowan government will give them the $ 1.8 million to stabilise historic Arthur’s Head, but that money has not be forthcoming, so now it is a project on the City’s advocacy list. Yep, Father Christmas will no doubt put the money that is needed under the tree, or Council might win Lotto.

The seawall would also need an additional $ 200,000 per year for operational costs, so where the hell will the money be coming from?!

It is an outrage that the WA State Government allows the popular tourist attraction of Arthur’s Head to remain an ugly fenced-off eyesore that is unstable and dangerous, when it constantly talks about tourism being very important for our state.

When was the last time Premier Mark McGowan and Heritage Minister David Templeman visited Fremantle and had a long talk with our elected members and senior officers about how the State can support our City that has a limited ratepayers base?

Why does Fremantle not get serious financial support from Fremantle Ports, that makes tens of millions of profit each year, for the Port Beach seawall, when there are claims that the Rouse Head extension is partly to blame for the disappearing beach?

Why does a small local government like Fremantle not get compensated by the State for the loss of income it has because Notre Dame University, that has a substantial property portfolio in the port city, is exempt from paying Council rates?

It is unacceptable that WA’s second city is being ignored and is getting very little help from the State Government. Fremantle is not a third-rate backwater dump that can be ignored, but one of the State’s major tourist destinations. We need, deserve and demand support from the McGowan government!

Roel Loopers

 

IS ARTSOURCE LEAVING FREMANTLE?

Posted in art, artists, artsource, city of fremantle, state government, Uncategorized by freoview on November 23, 2019

 

Worrying signs for the art and artists in Fremantle with the ARTSOURCE newsletter indicating that the WA state government will have the old Customs House building open for expressions of interest next year.

If this means that Artsource will be leaving from there it will mean the loss of thirty artist’s studios in Fremantle and that is significant.

Artsource has been fantastic in Fremantle and today-Saturday will have an Open House where we can visit the artists’ studios, so make sure to go and show your support, and also contact the Member for Fremantle Simone McGurk and the Department for the Arts and let them know we want Artsource to stay in the Old Customs House right here in Freo!

Roel Loopers

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FREO’S RENT A FENCE DOES NOT WIN TOURISM AWARD

 

 

It will not come as a surprise to the Fremantle community and overseas and interstate visitors that Freo’s Rent A Fence attraction at Arthur’s Head did not win a Tourism Award nor a Heritage Award.

Two years ago Fremantle Council decided to fence off large parts of historic Arthur’s Head because of danger of rockfall from the limestone cliff. It took a very long time before an engineer’s report was commissioned and that told us that there is interior erosion because of rain water and that repairs to the cliff on which Western Australia’s oldest public building the Roundhouse stands will cost approximately $ 1,8 million.

While the report recommended solutions it failed to test if vibrations from the heavy container trains that run within a few metres of the cliff face have any impact on the deterioration of the heritage precinct.

As I understand it the City invited the Minister for Mandurah, …err Heritage, David Templeman to do a site inspection but he could not be bothered, and so the ugly fences remain and absolutely nothing is done to repair the damage and make one of our state’s most significant historic areas an attraction again.

At present new solar lights are being installed along the coastal path but looking at fences is not a tourist attraction and does nothing to activate the West End of our gorgeous city.

It is a total disgrace that the Western Australian McGowan government does not care one bit about it!

Roel Loopers

STAMP DUTY REBATE. BUY AN APARTMENT IN FREMANTLE NOW!

 

STAMP DUTY REBATE

 

BUY AN APARTMENT IN FREMANTLE NOW!

Apartment and unit buyers will get a rebate worth up to $50,000 on eligible properties under a two-year scheme announced by the WA State Government today.

The rebate will be available for two years to any buyer who signs a pre-construction contract for a new residential unit or apartment in a multi-storey development.

Multiple rebates will be available to the same applicant and there will be no cap on the purchase price.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE PORT POLITICAL FOOTBALL

 

The news that the Maritime Union of Australia-MUA have pulled out of the Westport Taskforce process, that was established to identify if, where and when a new container port is needed in WA, is as disappointing as it was predictable.

Unfortunately the process has been kidnapped by political and self interest and that makes it near impossible for Westport Taskforce chair Nicole Lockwoood and her team to remain independent.

The very first meeting I went to at the Fremantle Townhall had a commercial expert on the panel who predicted tens of thousands of job if a new port was built at Kwinana. It turned out he is the husband of the Mayor of the Town of Kwinana, so hardly an independent expert.

WA Premier Mark McGowan no doubt can also clearly see the economic benefits for his electorate of Rockingham if an international port is built just down the road from it, and the MUA is really only interested in the short-term retaining of jobs for the wharfies and worried about a largely automated new port at Kwinana, or elsewhere.

While the Labor government has promised to not privatise Fremantle Port it has not made similar promises for a new Kwinana port, and neither have the Liberal opposition.

The environmental impact on Cockburn Sound has not been investigated thoroughly and it is wrong to say that dredging would only happen at the start of the process because future dredging in the sound and Gage Roads will be needed as the size of container vessels grow.

The political argument that the Roe 8 option was excluded and therefor the process is flawed is wrong. The Labor party made the election promise not to build Roe 8, so that was clear from the start. It is also clear that the former Liberal government totally messed up the Perth Freight Link project because it could not find a solution to extend the new freight link all the way to the port, and it stopped at the Swan river.

Traffic congestion in North Fremantle and along Leach Highway are mainly caused by private cars as freight trucks to and from the port account for only 10% of the traffic volume.  The same number of trucks come to Fremantle Port as it did ten years ago, so while container import has increased it has been better handled and not resulted in more truck movements.

The Westport Takforce have stated that port related freight at Kwinana would mainly be road based, so traffic issues at Kwinana and surrounding areas need to be investigated first because it would be unfair to simply shift the traffic problems further south and away from the Fremantle area.

Moving the port from Fremantle to Kwinana would have an enormous impact on the Fremantle economy and while development along the river mouth would no doubt make partly up for that the loss of the working port would be immense and negative for our city.

While I believe the Westport Taskforce process is very thorough it is probably not helpful that they prematurely release findings and everyone jumps on the bandwagon to criticise everything they are doing. Transparency is great but appears to have become a hindrance in allowing the process to continue without political grandstanding.

First and foremost we need to see a very detailed environmental impact report for Cockburn Sound and the impact a new port at Kwinana would have on the local communities there and the traffic issues and solutions.

We should then also get to see a report on how/if Fremantle Port operations can continue and grow for 20-30 years without and increasing negative impact for North Fremantle, Melville and people living along the rail corridor.

A new freight bridge has been promised but what actually will it do to help solve all the issues we are all aware about, and would a tunnel be a better and realistic option?

There are still so many questions and not enough solutions, and it is not helpful that politicians, the MUA, the Town of Kwinana and other self interest groups are now kicking the political football around, that is going to kick a lot of goals but will probably have no winners.

My suggestion to everyone of them is to stay out of the process and allow Nicole Lockwood and her team to do what they get paid for. Once we see the final recommendations we can scrutinise the outcome and the process and accept or criticise it. No matter what the recommendations are, not everyone will be happy with it, but doing nothing is not an option as the future of Fremantle Port is not infinite.

Roel Loopers

WA GOVERNMENT DEMOLITION BY NEGLECT

 

It is unacceptable that the WA State Government neglects Fremantle’s significant heritage, which is a huge tourist attraction for the port city and WA.

World heritage listed Fremantle Prison needs more than $ 13 million to do conservation work as the roofs of several cells have collapsed, but all it will be getting from the State Government is $ 3.5 million and that is not good enough!

The Fremantle Roundhouse, and Arthur’s Head on which it is built, need stabilisation works worth $ 1.8 million but so far the State Government has shrugged their shoulders as if it is of no great concern to them.

The WA Labor government spend millions, if not billions, on getting sport stars and rugby and soccer clubs to Perth to help increase tourist numbers, but two of the state’s major and most significant tourist attractions get F… All from our government.

We have millions to spend on a Quokka Birthday Party on Rottnest Island but let the state’s oldest public building the Roundhouse and it surroundings just fall apart and rot away.

Demolition by neglect is unlawful in Western Australia, so who is going to prosecute the State Government?

Roel Loopers

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