Freo's View

THE IMPACT OF FREMANTLE PLACEMAKING

Posted in city of fremantle, community, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on October 13, 2017

 

There were so many posts on Twitter yesterday about placemaking, that I contemplated overnight what the modern buzzword actually means in the context of local government and a small city like Fremantle.

Placemaking should not be about beautifying small pockets of the city, but should be about awareness of the whole and the reality that everything we do impacts on others, either positively or negatively. That really is the big challenge for local government to deal with.

An event will please many thousands of people, but can negatively impact on local residents or traders, as there will be noise, parking and traffic problems, so while it pleases some it upsets others.

At planning meetings we constantly hear people opposing development next to where they live, with claims of loss of privacy, overshadowing, etc. so whichever way council decide it will upset one of the parties.

Traffic-calming in South Fremantle might please most locals, but it could alter the flow of traffic to the CBD and have a negative impact on traders there. What is the right placemaking decision?

Placemaking is about wholeness, and making good choices for the common good, even if that upsets those with a NIMBY attitude. It requires courage of councillors to make the ‘right’ decisions, because the decisions they’ll make will never be right for everyone in the community. That’s the nature of us human beings that we never all agree on everything.

When I hear election candidates naively state that they will do what the community want, my immediate question is which part of the community do they mean, because there will be opposing views in the community. Councillors will have to vote one way or the other, displeasing those who are opposed to it.

It comes down to how much, and how negatively or how positively decisions we make in life impact on others. Loud parties, noise, dog barking, anti-social behaviour, where we park our car in the street we live, etc. it all impacts on others. So to make the right decisions we need to be considerate and constantly aware that our great personal lifestyle might not be considered so great by our neighbours.

What might be a good event that benefits local traders, could well have a negative impact on those who live nearby, and events can also be detrimental for local traders, so how do we find the right balance of placemaking in local government?

The Australian Hotel Association claimed in a survey they sent to local government election candidates that pop-ups negatively impact on their members, but surely that statement is not true for all pop-up events and for all pubs, restaurants, cafes and bars around Fremantle, because many of them benefit from events, even from markets, as they attract many more people to the area than would normally visit.

Should we embrace multi-storey development in the inner city to boost the local economy, or should we preserve the human-scale character of place, even in the run down east of the CBD that looks desolate and uninviting? What is the right placemaking and balance? You will hear very opposing views about that in the community.

Placemaking for me is about being extremely sensitive and understanding that there is no way in the world we can please everyone, and it is about not being selfish, and learning to acknowledge that the common good has priority over individual needs.

I know that it very difficult to accept when it impacts on one’s own life or business, but it is the only way good placemaking can become good governance, and hopefully council can take the majority of the community with them on the very challenging and delicate journey of progress, revitalisation and modernisation.

It is easy to understand that being a local councillor can be a very thankless task, so one has to admire all who nominated for this election.

VOTE to show you care about your community!

 

Roel Loopers

Vote Roel for City Ward!

LIFESTYLE PROTECTION FOR FREO’S EAST END

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on September 5, 2017

 

 

Freo’s View reader David, who lives in the East End of the Fremantle CBD, commented that my letter in the West Australian last week indicated I had an anything goes attitude to that part of the city, as far as development is concerned, but nothing could be further from the truth.

I strongly believe the entire inner city demands excellent buildings that respect the unique heritage character of Fremantle, and I have expressed this many times here on the blog and in verbal and written submissions to Council.

While there is huge development potential, considerations needs to be given to the heritage buildings and streetscapes in the East End of town, where we have the beautiful Victoria Hall, Basilica, Boy’s School, Railway Station, etc.

And I believe that we need to protect the lifestyle of inner city residents, and Council needs to manage it better.

I objected to the architectural blandness of the Hilton Doubletree hotel, the proposed boring development between the Australia Hotel and St Patrick’s, and the mediocrity of the eight-story Spotlight site development.

When Defence Housing showed their initial plans at Kings Square for the six-storey LIV development at Queen Victoria Street, I suggested to one of the architects that the facade was far too long and needed to be broken up, which was met with a what would you know stare from the tall expert.

It was interesting then to read comments by the City’s Design Advisory Committee a few months later, who recommended exactly what I had done, that the facade needed to be split up. This has now been done with a large gap that creates a community piazza all the way to Quarry Street, but it should have been more with more attention to detail.

I would still have liked to see stronger vertical features on the LIV building, that would juxtaposed more with the majestic verticality of the Heirloom building opposite it.

The Fremantle Society fought under my presidency very hard against Planning Scheme Amendment 49 and the inappropriate height in some of the 13 locations. We had a scale model in the Adelaide Piazza and Woolstores to show the public what would happen, but it was to no avail and now the Woolstores shopping centre site could go up as high as eleven storeys.

The major problem I see with bureaucrats having a broad-brush approach to an area is that it stifles architectural excellence. In the right location and with great design, a cupola feature or something alike on a higher building might well look much better, even when it is a few metres higher than the planning scheme allows.

I don’t have a general objection to height in the east of the Fremantle CBD and believe it should all depend on how creative a building is and how it enhances the spatial amenity and streetscape.

For example the six-storey building on the corner of Cantonment and Parry Street, opposite the Australia Hotel, is good Freo human scale for me, because it has very attractive features, round corners and some tower like structures, instead of a boring flat roof. It does not appear to be too high because of that, but a square boring concrete box of the same height might well have been inappropriate and look too big for that corner site.

The issues with flexibility of course is that it would be very hard for planning departments to work with, developers would try to take advantage, and JDAP and SAT could allow inappropriate buildings because there is no planning scheme that disallows them. That is a big dilemma.

As it stands, the rules and regulations more often than not restrict creative design, because the attitude is that you can’t have a 2-4 metre feature sticking out above the allowed height. Somehow we need to get around that, so that we’ll get more excellent architecture in Fremantle.

Let’s have a symposium about what desirable design for Freo would be, and not just focus on height.

Roel Loopers

POSITIVE FUTURE FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in city of fremantle, development, kings square, sirona capital, Uncategorized by freoview on September 1, 2017

 

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The ceremonial start of the Fremantle Kings Square Project development by Sirona Capital was held this Friday morning, with WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt, Housing Minister Peter Tinley, Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt and Sirona Managing Director Matthew McNeilly.

The electronic and print media also turned up en-masse, and Minister for Women Simone McGurk, Federal MP Josh Wilson, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Olwyn Williams, attended, as did many Freo councillors and staff.

A special mention should go to former City of Fremantle CEO Graeme McKenzie, who did a lot of the hard work and preparations for this game-changing project. Nice to see him present!

The $ 270 millions project will deliver 25,800sqm of new commercial office and retail space, plus a new civic centre for the City. This is the largest infrastructure project in Fremantle’s history!

More than 1,00 fulltime workers will be working in the construction of the project.

Once completed Kings Square will have more than 2,000 people working there, which represents a 13% boost in the number of workers in the Fremantle CBD.

Sirona’s Matthew McNeilly said the development was an indication of Fremantle Council’s courage and desire to revitalise the city.

I am personally delighted that this huge project is finally under way, after so many years of waiting and hoping.

Those who believe that this project will not have a massive positive impact on Fremantle should stay in bed and contemplate their miserable negative existence. : >)

Roel Loopers

FREO KINGS SQUARE PROJECT NEAR START

Posted in city of fremantle, kings square, sirona capital, Uncategorized by freoview on August 29, 2017

 

KS fences

 

Fences are being put up this week around the Fremantle Kings Square Project for the start of the demolition of the Queensgate building, and the renovations and new facades of the former Myer building and carpark by Sirona Capital.

The fences are temporary ones, until more visually attractive fences have been created.

The City of Fremantle administration building will be demolished in January next year.

This is such a game-changing project for our city that I am really excited about. It will massively activate Kings Square and the surrounding streets and will be a real boost to our retail and hospitality industries and the city’s economy.

Fremantle is experiencing a very welcome unprecedented development boom and investment in our city, as a result of our Council actively promoting and encouraging Freo as a pro development city.

Not all the building we are getting are outstanding though, so we need to be careful not to get cheap and cheerful boring concrete boxes.

We are well on the way to great progress and the modernisation of the Fremantle CBD, that has been stagnant and tired for decades.

Roel Loopers

 

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AWFUL CIVIC CENTRE ARCHITECTURE CLAIM

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, fremantle society,, Uncategorized by freoview on August 26, 2017

 

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The always negative emails from Fremantle Society president John Dowson to its members this time attacks the professionalism of internationally renowned Kerry Hill Architects, who designed the new City of Fremantle Civic Centre at Kings Square.

JD quotes Fremantle architect Ron Campbell who wrote to the Society that “whoever is pushing the design is making it more expensive and less of a civic building.” 

Campbell also claims the architecture is awful. JD wrote:

“Rob Campbell is concerned with the sharp angular nature of the building, especially when viewed from the corner of High and Newman Streets (near the crosswalk next to Myer). He said the sharp angular turn of the building at such an acute angle is “architecturally awful and not in the Fremantle tradition. It is a terrible mistake which undermines the architectural presentation.”  He said it was council playing developer and not creating a civic space, because that awkward corner retail space would be difficult to rent and would compete with the adjacent Sirona development.” 

The sharp angle of the building is very simply explained. It keeps the sightlines of Newman Court and the High Street reserve clear and legible, and that makes a lot of sense. Newman Court is now clearly defined, as is the High Street reserve that separates the St John’s triangle from the City triangle.

I wished the Society had a more positive platform than just blasting anything Fremantle Council does.

Roel Loopers

HAMILTON HILL ARCHITECTURAL HERITAGE ART

Posted in architecture, art, city of fremantle, Uncategorized by freoview on August 22, 2017

 

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I noticed this on Facebook, so check out the page for Hamilton Hill Community Group.

It’s a great project that deserves to be supported!

Hi Hamilton Hill!
We are working on some public art, which will incorporate images of our suburb’s architectural heritage!
🏚️🏛️🏚️🏠🏡🏫🏭⛩️🏤🏟️

And we need your help:
Send us an image of a house in Hamilton Hill that best captures the heritage or aspirations of houses in our suburb. It could be old, new, traditional, modern, big or small.
It could be your own house or any other house in Hamilton Hill you admire.

We need your suggestions by next Monday, 28th August! Contact: hello@hhcg.com.au
Happy snapping!

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CODA ARCHITECTS MERGE WITH NATIONAL COX GROUP

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, city planning, Uncategorized by freoview on August 16, 2017

 

In a distinct acknowledgement of their high standards and credibility Fremantle’s CODA architects and city planners have merged with nationally acclaimed COX Architects.

Cox Howlett&Bailey, Woodland are highly respected in Western Australia and beyond, so this is a significant move for the Freo CODA group.

They have now moved from Elder Place to 360 Murray Street in Perth, but CODA director Kieran Wong and his family will continue to live in South Fremantle.

I have great respect for CODA and its directors and wish them all the best!

 

Roel Loopers

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NO COMPROMISES FOR FREO’S WEST END

Posted in city of fremantle, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on August 12, 2017

 

The FREMANTLE HERALD was kind enough to publish my Thinking Allowed about the necessary protection of Fremantle’s permanently heritage-listed West End this weekend. In case you don’t get the Chook home delivered or pick up a copy in town, I’ll post it here as well.

The attack by developers on Fremantle’s historic West End needs to be stopped and the City of Fremantle needs more support from State Government agencies to do that.

Applications for five-storey buildings keep coming although architects and developers are well aware that there is a three storey limit in the West End precinct.

There is an option for additional discretionary height of one floor, if it creates a better heritage outcome, or if the architecture of the building is considered to be of exceptional high quality.

What we see though are applications for boring and mediocre concrete boxes which would destroy the streetscape.

Architects show little to no respect for the spatial environment and the history of place, they just want to bang a totally inappropriate modern building in the middle of heritage buildings. This was shown in the recent application for three five-storey buildings behind Customs House in Henry Street going all the way to the former Centrelink site in Pakenham Street.

There was also a five storey application for the former Workers Club site in Henry Street, but fortunately that was rejected.

But even when Fremantle Council rejects development proposals the State’s Joint Development Assessment Panel or State Planning Commission can overrule council decisions, and they often do.

The State’s Heritage Office in my opinion sometimes also fails, as was the case with the now cancelled application by Notre Dame University for a mediocre five-storey building on the corner of High and Cliff streets. The Heritage Office recommended approval of the building, but Fremantle Council rejected it.

If UNDA had decided to go to JDAP with it they might well have approved the building the community and council did not want, on the recommendation of the Heritage Office.

It is only the sense of community and corporate responsibility of UNDA’s Vice Chancellor Celia Hammond that made the university decide to withdraw the plans for the new School of Nursing and Midwifery and start the process from scratch with a whole new design.

I am not against the development of some derelict sites and renovation of buildings in the West End, but there is nothing that can convince me that more than four storeys is appropriate for the heritage precinct. We only want outstanding development in the heritage area and nothing above four storeys!

Fremantle Council approved the five-storey nothingness of the Quest Hotel in Pakenham Street, because according to the planning and heritage officers of CoF it would preserve the interior heritage integrity of the building, but it hasn’t! Walk into the foyer of the serviced apartments buildings and you have no clue whatsoever that this is a heritage building. The blue artwork on the top corner of it is not suitable either.

Developers believe they can get away with murder in Fremantle because we are desperate for economic recovery in the port city. Yes we are, but not at any cost and the destruction of the unique character of our city.

If developers need extra height to please the bottom triple line they can develop in the east of Fremantle, and not even there indiscriminately.

Fremantle deserves more consideration when one wants to develop here and we need more support from State Government to protect the unique qualities of our city!

Roel Loopers

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CELEBRATING FREO’S HERITAGE BATTLERS

 

High Street 1

 

I am delighted to have received notification from Fremantle Notre Dame University that the Vice Chancellor and senior staff have taken on board the suggestion I posted on Freo’s View last week of a commemorative wall at the back of the St Teresa Library in Henry Street.

The wall would commemorate the history of Fremantle and the contribution made by individuals and groups to preserve our heritage buildings.

UNDA wrote to me that they are now considering a wall with historic B&W photos plus a plaque that would feature individuals and groups, such as the Fremantle Society, who have been involved in preserving the precinct’s historic character.

This would be a nice new tourist attraction and acknowledgment of the dedicated work of Freo’s heritage warriors such as Les Lauder, Don Whittington, June Hutchison, John Dowson, Ron Davis, etc.

I hope that with collaboration with the City of Fremantle the wall will become reality in the not too distant future. Thank you UNDA!

If you want to learn about the many battles to save Freo’s heritage try to get a copy of the Fighting For Fremantle book the Fremantle Society published!

 

Roel Loopers

NO LUNATIC ARCHITECTURE FOR HISTORIC WEST END!

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on August 7, 2017

 

 

The lunatic development proposal for five storey buildings at 2 Henry and 7 Pakenham Street in Fremantle’s heritage West End Precinct will be deliberated at the W.A. Joint Development Assessment Panel(JDAP) this Wednesday August 9 at 10am at the Townhall. (Enter from the backstairs near the former Myer building).

Anton Capital and Hassel Architects show very little consideration for the unique heritage aspects and streetscapes of the historic West End, and hence the State Heritage Office recommended the refusal of the development, as did Fremantle Council unanimously.

The last thing we want to see in the West End is oversized boring concrete boxes, but that is all the architects could come up with. That is very disrespectful, arrogant and inconsiderate.

The City of Fremantle  and W.A. State agencies need to take a strong stand agains totally inappropriate development proposals for Freo’s gorgeous West End.

These applications are a total waste of time for the City’s planning department and for JDAP, Heritage Office, Planning Commission, etc. as they are un-approvable!

 

Roel Loopers

 

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