Freo's View

COME ON SILVERLEAF. PUT A GARDEN ON THE WOOLSTORES DEVELOPMENT!

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on February 14, 2018

 

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What a coincidence to just see an article on Facebook about a rooftop garden on a Melbourne shopping centre, when I only yesterday talked with North Fremantle architect Murray Slavin about the opportunity lost to do something similar with the proposed Woolstores shopping centre development in Fremantle.

Besides the poor design qualities of the proposed development, Murray and I both lamented that a rooftop garden for residents and hotel guests on top of the four-storey carpark had not been included in the development, as that would lift it to another level.

I also sugested that to indicate the bulk of a woolstores the two towers of the development could be linked at the top with massive steel beams, so that there is an impression of bulk, but it does not fill up the space above the carpark.

Unfortunately we are getting very conservative and rather boring new development in Fremantle and that is partly to blame on a council that is so keen on economic recovery that it is willing to compromise far too easily on the beauty and aesthetics of new buildings.

Fremantle is unique and that unique character needs to be acknowledged with creative and outstanding design!

Roel Loopers

SILVER LINING FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on December 31, 2017

 

Only one more sleep and we are starting a new year, which will be a very significant one for Fremantle.

I am very optimistic about the future of our delightful port city, as 2018 will be a year of transition, change and consolidation for Freo.

Major development will start early in the year at Kings Square and other massive development is in the pipeline.

The large LIV apartment building at Queen Victoria Street will be completed toward the end of the year, and the Warders Cottages boutique hotel will be built next to the Fremantle Markets.

One of the major development players in town is Silverleaf, which are embarking on the huge development of the Woolstores shopping centre site, the Manning Building and the Police and Justice complex at Henderson Street.

Being one of the major developers responsible for future building Fremantle Silverleaf does not only have a real opportunity to make a big impact, but also have an obligation to create beauty and character in the CBD.

Silverleaf, Match, Sirona Capital, and other developers can create history by building exceptional heritage of the future buildings of creative architecture and old-fashion craftsmanship pride.

Cheap and cheerful concrete boxes with a bit of cladding to make them more appealing are not very Freo at all, and should be refused. There needs to be softness and roundness instead of square hard corners, and lovely features that makes building attractive.

Building modern Fremantle just a stone’s throw from the old heritage town comes with responsibility to do more than just watching the triple bottom financial line for investors. It comes with community demand for outstanding design and respect for Freo’s character and lifestyle.

It is just mindset and goodwill that are the difference between building boring mediocrity or classy high-quality eye-catchers!

Roel Loopers

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THE YEAR WE HAD IN FREMANTLE

Posted in aboriginal, city of fremantle, development, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on December 21, 2017

 

Christmas is only fours sleeps away and the year has just ten days left, so this is a good time to reflect on what kind of year it was for Fremantle. I do this randomly as important issues come to my mind.

The October local government election was a resounding rebuke for the right-leaning very vocal social media negativity, with all the sitting members re-elected. I find it hard to argue that this is not a vote of confidence in the plans and policies Fremantle Council has implemented. City ward even elected a new Green councillor.

The positivity and negativity of massive planned development is a fine line between a stunning modern Fremantle CBD and an aesthetic disaster that could kill our city’s unique heritage character.

Quite a few new hotels are in the pipeline and that will be good to attract more tourism and for visitors to stay overnight, but the many plans for more taverns in the inner city are a worry.

The Kings Square Project is finally underway and will be the game-changer Fremantle desperately needs, and the new FOMO retail concept by Sirona Capital sounds very exciting.

The change of Australia Day celebrations on January 26 to One Day on the 28th shows Fremantle council is getting more serious about Aboriginal issues, and the funding to investigate a purpose-built Aboriginal centre is also a clear indication that council wants to do more than just tokenism.

The heritage listing of the entire West End is significant and well overdue.

The cancellation of the Roe 8 Perth Freight Link by the new state government, and the Westport taskforce could well open up opportunities for the development of Victoria Quay.

The Long Table Dinner along High Street was a resounding success and raised $ 80,000 for St Pats, so well done Freo community for caring!

Fremantle City took back ownership of Fremantle Oval which opens up opportunities for good development of that precinct. And good riddance to the greedy Dockers!

The development of the South Fremantle Senior High School into Fremantle College and the departure of TAFE also create fantastic opportunities for substantial development in the heart of Beaconsfield.

Well-overdue traffic improvement in the Hilton centre are happening and so is traffic calming in South Fremantle.

The J Shed tavern saga continues and is a stand-off between what the community wants and Freo council stubbornly does not want to accept, while it also fails to concede that the Bathers Beach Arts Precinct concept is a failure.

Notre Dame University listened to the community and scrapped plans for a five-storey School of Nursing and Midwifery in High Street and bought the three-building Customs House complex instead to accommodate expansion.

Fremantle culture is maturing very well with outstanding exhibitions and concerts at the Fremantle Arts Centre and the very impressive and creative High Tide Biennale during the Fremantle Festival. More of that please!

The Cantonment Hill Project is now underway with the opening of the Tuckfield Oval playground.

The City of Fremantle has added three new communication officers, so we should rightly expect much better genuine communication and information from the City. The October election showed that there is a lot of ignorance in the community about what Fremantle Council and the administration do and that needs to be improved.

Well, that’s all that comes to my mind early this Thursday morning, so remind me what I failed to mention and I might do another article on other important issues in a few days time.

Roel Loopers

BOUTIQUE ACCOMMODATION AT THE FREO NATIONAL

Posted in accommodation, city of fremantle, hospitality, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on November 22, 2017

 

National

 

The historic Fremantle National Hotel will become a real hotel next year with the addition of twelve boutique hotel rooms.

Owner Karl Buller told me yesterday they will also develop a rooftop bar and wedding function centre, so these are very welcome additions to the Freo CBD.

Construction work is estimated to take six months, so it should all be up and running by mid next year. Stay tuned!

Roel Loopers

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NEW WOOLSTORES DEVELOPMENT PLANS

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on October 26, 2017

 

Woolstores

 

Brand-new plans for the development of the Fremantle Woolstores shopping centre at Cantonment Street by Silverleaf are out and open for public submissions, so check out the City of Fremantle website.

The proposal is for a 4-10 storey mixed-use complex that would have shops, a market, a tavern, offices, student and aged-care accommodation, a carpark, etc.

There would be 799 car bays, 141 hotel rooms, 261 student accommodation and 155 retirement units.

 

Roel Loopers

TOURISM SHOULD BE FREMANTLE PRIORITY

Posted in city of fremantle, local government, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on September 17, 2017

 

 

The rather optimistic prediction by Sirona Capital that the Kings Square Project innovative and exciting FOMO retail concept will double tourism in Fremantle made me think on how we can increase tourist numbers and offer a better tourism experience in the port city.

For reasons I cannot understand there is reluctance to sell the great brand of Fremantle in destination marketing, and our retail marketing is not anywhere good enough. Retail is hard to sell anyway, as Fremantle lacks variety in shopping.

There is lack of coordination between the major players, and I have the feeling there are a few egos in the way. The City’s marketing people don’t really believe BID is necessary and the Chamber of Commerce is also not a big fan of it, and the major players in town are often left out, so everyone does their own bit, instead of working together on major strategies.

There is an assumption of communication, simply because visitors to Fremantle can access the Fremantle Story on-line or go to different Facebook pages about festivals, etc.

Fact is though that there are many people who do not engage with social media and who can’t be bothered to do long searches to see what is available to them.

Why can’t a visitor to Fremantle, who is staying Tuesday and Wednesday night, find out where live music is on those nights, which pubs have got specials on, etc?

At the Roundhouse we are not supplied with information about events. Many of the volunteer guides don’t live in Fremantle, so they do not know what is going on. It should be a matter of routine that the City’s marketing department emails a list of events, etc. every Monday morning to the Maritime and Shipwreck museums, Fremantle Prison, the Roundhouse, etc. but that is not happening.

Every year we have to contact the City to beg for festival programs, flyers, even a small poster about the Winter, Beer, Chilli festivals, whatever, but it is not forthcoming.

The City of Fremantle does not see tourism as a priority and great opportunity to boost the retail and hospitality industries. If thousands more people come to Freo and stay longer they will shop, eat and drink and support our traders, but BID mainly does cutesy things for locals during school holidays and festivals, which already attract people, instead of being a conduit for all the major players, such as developers, Fishing Boat Harbour, museums, etc.etc. come together, and work on strategies for Freo’s tourism.

The majority of overseas visitors are looking for an indigenous experience, but can’t find it. There is an opportunity here for Fremantle, but we do tokenism better that high impact stuff. There is no big picture thinking on tourism.

We light up the Arthur Head cliff face at night, but close the Whalers Tunnel at 7 pm, so there is no direct access from High Street. Why?!

We should have substantial tourist promotion for Fremantle at the airport, in the Perth CBD, and in Kalgoorlie and Esperance for those who drive here, but we preach to the locals mainly.

The Roundhouse volunteers want to improve the displays, but the City is not pro-actively involved in supporting them, and appears quite happy to leave it to the mostly senior amateurs to sort something out, while they could do with good professional advise and financial support.

The City should lobby the Royal Australian Navy and ask them to reconsider putting the planned Sailor monument on the North Mole, and instead put it on Victoria Quay or in Pioneer Park, or even Kings Square, because tens of thousands of visitors to Fremantle will miss out on seeing it. The North Mole is too remote for people who don’t have a vehicle, and riding one’s bike there is a challenge with all the trucks in the area.

The City of Fremantle needs a think tank on tourism, something substantial and outcome based. We have plenty of talkfests and don’t even do those well, because they procrastinate into nothing.

Our traders deserve and demand support, and we need to have a more innovative approach on how we can sell brand Freo, because our promotion is stale, and Fremantle does not get much help from the Perth-centric state tourism promotions.

Many tourists to Fremantle comment on how different we are, and that Perth is just like other big cities, but we do not sell our heritage beauty well, or even our gorgeous High Street that ends up at Bathers Beach.

Fremantle needs creative people who are willing and able to think outside the box, and who don’t do same same every year, time and time again. Fremantle’s marketing is boring, uninspiring and not working!

Roel Loopers

VOTE ROEL FOR CITY WARD!

HOTELS NEED TO ADAPT TO TOURIST NEEDS

Posted in accommodation, city of fremantle, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on August 21, 2017

 

The $ 2 million emergency campaign announced by Tourism Minister Paul Papalia to get more people using Perth hotels is not dealing with the changing demands for tourist accommodation.

The minister wants us to invite friends and family over, but it is not just lower visitors’ numbers that are to blame for the many empty hotel rooms.

Hotel rooms are expensive and not very family friendly, hence the success of Bed&Breakfast accommodation and AirBB.

In Fremantle one can get a 2-3 bedroom house with garden for as low as $ 170 a night. For a family with children that is much better and cheaper than hotel rooms.

People can cook in a B&B and don’t need to go out and buy three meals a day, and the kids can play in the garden.

Many B&B also allow dogs and that is very popular.

What hotel operators need to do is change with the times and offer more serviced apartments, where people can cook their own meals, as the new Fremantle Quest Hotel has.

What is wrong with hotels having some floors with rooms and suites, and other floors with serviced apartments with cooking facilities?

Having a whinge is not the solution, but changing with modern tourist demands is.

Roel Loopers

 

ST PAT’S LONGER SUPPORT FOR WOMEN

Posted in city of fremantle, st patricks, Uncategorized, women by freoview on August 11, 2017

 

A very important message from the St Patrick’s Community Support Centre:

It’s with a mix of optimism and gratitude that we announce that St. Pat’s Sisters’ Place will be transitioning from a short-term accommodation option to a medium-term service for women.

This decision was made in response to the growing need for medium term accommodation for women in the Fremantle area.

In the new service, women will be able to stay in the accommodation for up to 12 months, working with case workers to get their lives back on track.

Emergency, short-term accommodation will be continued to be offered by St. Pat’s Street To Home and Emergency Relief programs.

As Sisters’ Place transitions into its new role, we’d like to thank all the volunteers who have so faithfullly served the community over the last seven years. From all of us here at St. Pat’s, thank you.

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HOMELESSNES A VERY REAL PROBLEM

Posted in accommodation, city of fremantle, homelessness, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on August 4, 2017

 

An article in today’s West Australian by Ian Carter, the CEO of Anglicare WA, should be reminder to us all that we need to do more for homeless people. It is a blight on society that in a rich country like Australia thousands of people have to live on the streets.

Ian Carter writes that only one per cent of rental properties in the Perth area are affordable to people on Newstart or on a pension. That is ridiculously low and not acceptable.

Affordable rent is considered to be no more than 30 per cent of income, hence the latest Census shows we have 9592 homeless people and another 7070 are at risk of becoming homeless, as they live in caravan parks and overcrowded accommodation.

The main reasons for becoming homeless, according to Anglicare, are domestic violence, sexual abuse, mental health, financial troubles, and substance use.

The Anglicare CEO writes in the West Australian that social housing should be near transport nodes and accessible to human services and government resources.

It is important not to see homeless people as an unsightly sight on our streets, but as people who deserve and require our compassion and support. I have no doubt we could do a whole lot better if we really tried.

 

Roel Loopers

 

MORE FREMANTLE TOURIST ACCOMMODATION

Posted in accommodation, fremantle, social media, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on April 24, 2017

The Be. serviced apartments in Fremantle Challenger Harbour are adding more units to the tourist accommodation, so just what Freo needs to attract more visitors and enable them to stay overnight instead of having to commute to Perth.

All the older apartments at Be. have been refurbished recently and are considered to be four and a half star quality accommodation.

They have great views to Bathers Bay and historic Arthur Head or the Fishing Boat Harbour, so keep them in mind when friends are coming over to visit WA.

Roel Loopers

This is a community service, not a paid advertorial! 

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