Good to hear the City of Fremantle is finally taking steps to join other councils to get rid off the controversial state development assessment panels. I have been asking Fremantle Council for months to join the protest of councils such as Vincent, Stirling, Subiaco, Mosman Park, South Perth and many others against the DAP.
DAP decisions against the wishes of local councils and communities have done serious damage to the character and lifestyle of many older suburbs when DAP allowed inappropriate new buildings.
Here in Fremantle a DAP recently allowed the development of a very ugly building next to St Patrick’s on Queen Victoria Street and next to the heritage listed Australia Hotel on Beach Street, although Fremantle Council had rejected the application.
Local communities and local councils should be able to decide what is best for their cities, not state bureaucrats who have little or no understanding of the local character.
Another glorious day in Fremantle paradise today and I just loved wandering around the city and seeing all the visitors and so many families during the school holidays.
It is an absolute delight to walk through the west end streets with the gorgeous heritage buildings, see the dolphins in the port and just relax. Freo is perfect for that.
The Winter Festival at the Esplanade was packed full and kids and parents having fun skating on the ice rink, speeding down the toboggan slide and the massive slide.
The Esplanade Youth Plaza skate park was also packed, so there is a lot of activity at that end of town at the moment. Join in the fun!
To all interstate and overseas readers of Freo’s View, if you haven’t visited Fremantle yet book it for your next holiday. We’ll make you feel very welcome!
The gorgeous old former Elders building on the corner of Cliff and Phillimore streets is being revealed again after extensive work on it as part of the new MSC-Mediterranean Shipping Company’s new office building next to it.
The new modern building adjoining it, designed by North Fremantle Murray Slavin Architects, shows that respectful modern design can be complimentary to neighbouring heritage buildings like the Elders one.
It is however a whole different and very disappointing story down the road at the new Quest Hotel building on the corner of Pakenham and Short streets. The designers show no respect whatsoever for the heritage building and the historic Pakenham streetscape. I think the building is a disgrace as it diminishes the heritage warehouse.
Sirona Capital who are the developers of the hotel have big signs stating “Investing in Fremantle’s Future” If this is the standard of buildings Sirona want to build in Freo I suggest they go and invest somewhere else because we want excellence in our historic city, not mediocrity.
I was curious to find out who the two new City of Fremantle Design Advisory Panel members were, who were selected in a confidential Council sitting of item PC 1606-1 on June 22 this year, so I checked the Minutes of the meeting.
Joining Chair Geoffrey London, Dominic Snellgrove and Melinda Payne are Kieran Wong and Patrick Kosky. The latter moved up from one of the two deputy positions and Marion Frederickson was appointed as a new deputy to join Phillip Gresley.
So far so good, but why on earth did Mayor Brad Pettitt not declare a conflict of interest for this item, while he declared a conflict of interest for the Sunset Events J Shed item that same council sitting because his partner works at CODA Architects. Kieran Wong is the principal director of CODA, so surely the Fremantle Mayor should have excused himself from the council debate about Wong’s appointment.
It looks as if a conflict of interest only is declared under public scrutiny and not when items are confidential. That is a great worry for transparency and accountability at Fremantle Council, as Council decides which items are considered confidential. Why did the CEO not point out to the Mayor that he was being inconsistent by not declaring a conflict of interest for the item that appointed his partner’s boss to the DAP?
It might just be a minor item, but if it is considered to be important enough to be declared confidential and away from the public gallery, the Freo Mayor should have been more transparent and stay out of it as it simply does not look good.
Another development proposal in the CBD will no doubt divide the Fremantle community. The Yolk Property Group wants to build an eight-storey, plus basement building at 52 Adelaide Street next to Target. The site was previously earmarked for a seven-storey hotel.
The mixed-use building would house 24 one bedroom, 42 two bedroom, 6 three bedroom apartments plus five retail shops and one office space. Car parking will be in the basement.
The development application states that “The facade of the building references and draws from the facade treatments of Fremantle heritage buildings.” but I fail to make any connection to that when I look at the artist impression.
The site is a real eyesore and is opposite Freo’s highest and ugliest cbd building Johnson Court, so I was hoping for a much more creative design than this run of the mill one. I am all for residential development east of Kings Square but it really needs to be more respectful to Fremantle’s unique character. The height itself does not bother me personally, but it is yet again a very boring building and that is something I do not like and support at all.
While the development proposal will go though community consultation, the planning committee and ordinary council it will probably end up at the state’s development assessment panel for final approval.
Check out the details for yourself here: http://mysay.fremantle.wa.gov.au/52-adelaide-street-fremantle
I just read an article in the Fifth Estate of June 20, 2016 by Hana Jestribek about a forum of property experts that included Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt. The forum was about infill and density and is definitely a discussion we in Fremantle should have as the very costly urban sprawl is not sustainable in the long-term.
But I wonder where our Freo Mayor got his facts from when he told the forum that “Density was widely supported by the Fremantle community because the City promised our community design excellence.” Where are the survey figures that show that the Freo community supports density, Brad? I haven’t seen them so please be so kind and post them in a comment to this article.
As for the promise of design excellence, the Fremantle Mayor indeed promised us heritage of the future quality buildings during the Planning Scheme Amendment 49 debate, but not a single multi storey building approved by Fremantle Council is anywhere near excellent, in fact most are very boring and mediocre concrete boxes.
What Fremantle needs is smart infill and density, density hubs spread all over the city but only in appropriate locations, where public transport and shopping is nearby and where people will be less inclined to use their cars. We need density hubs so we can cater for a fast ageing population and for couples without children, in smaller but better apartments that have outstanding sound proofing against internal and external noise. Residential hubs with great public and green spaces around them that are well planned ahead and where public transport is not an after thought.
Buildings approved in recent years by the City of Fremantle and/or the state’s Development Assessment Panels are not outstanding in any way or form and are basically the bland, cheap and fast structures developers love.
That brings me to an article by Guy Keuleman of the University of NSW who warns that modern concrete structures will not even last till the end of this century because of the steel reinforcement-rebar process used.
Keuleman points out that steel is mainly made of iron and that iron rusts, but the process is faster and cheaper because it requires fewer concrete pours, but it ignores more durable processes such as brick and mortar and stainless steel frame constructions. The author writes that developers fail to consider the extended costs of maintenance, repair or replacement, and that there are severe environmental implications as developers ignore low carbon and more environmentally sensitive options.
So let us have a few public forums on urban infill and density in Fremantle, Mayor Brad Pettitt. Let’s find out if the community actually does support density and where it believes infill should happen.
Fremantle is growing and that is good, but we need to develop with extreme sensitivity and restraint and with community consensus. Let’s talk about it! Maybe one of the next Fremantle Network talks could start the discussion.
A Fremantle photo that does not require an explanation.
Not much newsworthy happening in delightful Freo, and I am a bit low on energy due to a flu that makes me dizzy, so what better way to combat it than walking through the old town and shooting a few reflections.
I love the discovery and finding new photos in the city I have lived in for 25 years. It is a real challenge that demands power of observation and looking for details everywhere. The grainy looking one is a reflection in a marble column at the police station.
A heavy squall came through Fremantle just after I had my first coffee at Chalkys this morning around 9am, so I took these two photos at Victoria Quay in Fremantle Port on my way to B Shed, where I met up with my mate Lachlan for a second cuppa.