Freo's View


Posted in fremantle, heritage, town of east fremantle by freoview on September 22, 2015
Heritage protection is a serious challenge and needs to be done with utmost care.

Heritage protection is a serious challenge and needs to be done with utmost care.

East Fremantle residents and heritage advocates have been worried about the demise of the old Royal George Hotel for many years, as there appears to be little action to remedy the decline and neglect of the building.

We now however have been informed that there is  a Working Group that includes State Heritage Office, the Town of East Fremantle and the National Trust to work with Westbridge Property Group towards a conditional purchase lease over the Royal George Hotel.

Westbridge is putting together a package of information that will be used to brief the Minister for Lands. The Working Group recently visited the site, local residents were told by the department.

The Westbridge Property Group combines Saracen Properties and Sirona Capital and the group is involved in the Quest Hotel development in Pakenham Street, Fremantle, Habitat Nth in North Perth, the Glass House in South Perth, Tenth&Beaufort in Inglewood, and properties in West Perth and Perth.

Roel Loopers

ROEL FOR FREO! Beaconsfield Ward. Truly Independent. 

Written and authorised by Roel Loopers. 5 Maxwell Street. Beaconsfield 6162


Posted in city of fremantle, local government by freoview on September 20, 2015


Three dongas are not appropriate urban infill for Fremantle

Three dongas are not appropriate urban infill for Fremantle

I don’t have a problem per se with the idea of tiny houses as infill in suburban areas of Fremantle, as promoted in one of those 30 second media election grabs in the Freo Herald by Councillor Rachel Pemberton, but I warn against a broad brush approach by Council as it should only be considered for very specific nodes in suitable locations. There are no doubt streets in White Gum Valley, Beaconsfield, Hilton, etc. that might benefit from these tiny dwellings, but they are not a good idea for everywhere.

Fremantle Council should also be very clear about what these dwellings should look like, because some owners and developers might just want to go cheap and plonk four-walled rubbish down that will create extra income, but will do nothing for the urban amenity.

There are good examples of the use of sea containers as residential housing in O’Connor, but also a bad example of three mining dongas  put in a garden at Mardie Street in Beaconsfield, as South Ward candidate Andrew Luobikis told me.

There is also the issue that if we build our backyards full with small dwellings we will be losing more and more of Freo’s green lungs and trees, bushes and grass will disappear from the suburbs more and more and make our burbs hard-surface heat islands. It appears strange that such a passionate member of the Greens has not considered the loss of green spaces when proposing the tiny houses scheme.

With all things Council does it should be about detail and balance and not about having one’s name on the front of the local paper every weekend before the Local Government election. A bit of substance goes a long way, and while I am all for looking after everyone and especially minority groups, I am sure there is no shortage of housing for infants, small people and garden gnomes and that we need to rush into a tiny dwellings policy fast.

Roel Loopers

ROEL FOR FREO! Beaconsfield Ward. Truly Independent.


Posted in city of fremantle, heritage, local government by freoview on September 15, 2015

eye for detail

It’s the lack of attention to detail that annoys me often in Fremantle. When we could do things 100% the City of Fremantle tend to do the she’ll be alright 70% only. For me this building development in High Street is one of the examples of not having an eye for detail.

We can debate personal taste and proper heritage protection forever and I can understand why it might be too expensive to rebuild the bullnose veranda, but why does the inappropriate awning have to stick out half a metre further that the verandas of the two adjoining buildings? It is not as if the awning is a great heritage feature. It is a boring white modern structure that might just have got lost in the streetscape had it been the same distance from the buildings as the buildings left and right of it, but oh no, the heritage and planning department allowed it to stick out like an ugly sore. Very disappointing COF!

Roel Loopers

ROEL FOR FREO! Beaconsfield Ward. Truly Independent.

Written and authorised by Roel Loopers. 5 Maxwell Stret. Beaconsfield 6162


Posted in city of fremantle, local government by freoview on September 14, 2015

I find the misconception about the role of the Mayor of Fremantle an intriguing one. Critics of Brad Pettitt blame him for everything that goes wrong in Fremantle while his supporters claim everything good done in Freo is Brad’s initiative. That is an unbalanced and unrealistic view of how council operates.

While the Mayor is the public face of Council he only has got one vote, like the other 12 elected members and only when votes are even does his vote become a casting vote, and that rarely happens on Fremantle Council.

Even Committee for Perth chair Marion Fulker unfairly praised our Mayor at Thursday’s Future Freo for being a kind of Freo Messiah when in fact all praise and criticism should go to the entire council and all elected members, because they all have one democratic vote in chamber and Mayor Brad Pettitt can’t make dictatorial decisions on his on.

The substantial increase in building activity in Freo for example comes partly from Planning Scheme Amendment 49 that was signed off by Council some three years ago and allows for higher buildings in the CBD.

It is easy for the Braddie Bunch of Pettitt fans to claim Brad Pettitt does it all and somehow has got power well beyond the power the local government act gives him, and it is too easy also for the opponents of our Mayor to blame him for the things they don’t not like.

The confusion comes because the Mayor speaks on behalf of the City of Fremantle so the public believes he takes egotistic responsibility for all the progress. When COF engages in spin and want to make us believe that the city is heavily investing in development people become cynical because nearly all of the development going on in Fremantle and planned for the near future is done by private investors and developers and not by the City of Fremantle.

The one partnership with Sirona Capital at Kings Square the City is involved in is very much still in limbo and might never proceed, and others might not be going ahead either. A REIWA spokesperson told TV news last night that 30% of planned residential apartment developments will not go ahead in the Perth metro area because of lack of necessary pre-sales.

Let’s all chill a bit and accept that there is a lot of development going on in Freo, that some is less than average, that other might not eventuate, and that none of it is going on just because Mayor Brad Pettitt did it on his own.

Roel Loopers

P.S. THANK YOU FREO! A massive 3759 people read this blog yesterday. Amazing!!

ROEL FOR FREO! Beaconsfield Ward. Truly Independent.

Written and authorised by Roel Loopers of 5 Maxwell Street. Beaconsfield 6162


Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development by freoview on September 7, 2015

quest 2george 2

I have been thinking about how we preserve heritage and also had a talk about it with Fremantle Society president Henty Farrar. Our concerns are that developers are allowed to remove existing heritage to make new development easier and presumably faster, and hence cheaper, and then reinstall the former heritage parts. Is that really preserving heritage or is it pretend preservation?

Both the Fremantle Pakenham Street Quest hotel and the East Freo former Lauder&Howard buildings were gutted and only the facades left standing, but we have been assured the developers will replace some of the heritage features. Is that good enough? I personally don’t think so.

Columns and roof trusses, heritage timber parts, etc. are removed and put back in but no doubt this will happen with modern means like welding, nail guns, new mortar, and so on.

City of Fremantle heritage architect Alan Kelsall replied to my queries about the Pakenham/Short Street development with this: “All the columns and roof trusses had to be removed for buildability reasons to allow excavation and construction of the new structure. The portion of columns and roof trusses that are to be reinstated will be done so in their original locations. The remainder of the structure is to be permanently removed as per the planning approval.”

Whilst I am realistic enough to acknowledge this is more practical for the developers, I believe the COF planning rules should change and heritage aspect of buildings that are to be kept have to remain in situ while the building activity is going on, otherwise we end up with mock heritage preservation and that is not a good thing.

Roel Loopers

P.S. I am the Vice President of the Fremantle Society

Facebook: ROEL FOR FREO! Truly Independent.



Posted in city of fremantle, development by freoview on September 5, 2015
Queen Victoria Street view with Heirloom by Match on the left.

Queen Victoria Street view with Heirloom by Match on the left.

Quarry Street view

Quarry Street view

I went to have a look at the display of the proposed development at Fremantle Queen Victoria Street on the former Toyota site Defence Housing put up at Kings Square on Friday afternoon, and I am still convinced that the boring sameness of the very long facades along Queen Victoria Street are not at all the kind of landmark development we in Fremantle should approve off opposite the iconic heritage Dalgety woolstores that is to become the Heirloom residential hub.

From talking to one of the architects though I have the feeling it will be concrete community consultation we are going to have, concrete meaning that the project plans seem to be set in concrete and they won’t budge or change it and that the community consultation will be meaningless tokenism.

I was politely told that my concerns with the Queen Victoria Street facades was just personal taste. More or less suggesting I should shut up because I did not know what I was talking about and the designers simply know so much better what is good for Fremantle.

It is interesting to note that the architects did along Quarry  Street what I would like to see at QV street and that is to break up the buildings through different heights, set backs, etc. so that the appearance of monotony and sameness is not there.

The excuse that they have to work in a narrow pocket is pretty feeble as they could have added more height to some parts of the buildings, set back parts and just break up that long boring streetscape they want to create now.

Great development is good for Fremantle but bad boring development is not, but I don’t believe it is going to make one iota of a difference what I and others in our community think and that mediocrity will be rammed down our throats yet again.


Roel Loopers

ROEL FOR FREO! Truly Independent.


Posted in bar, fremantle, strange company by freoview on September 5, 2015

Congratulations to the operators and architect of Fremantle’s newest small bar STRANGE COMPANY in Nairn Street, which received an excellent review by the West Australian food writer Rob Broadfield today.

Broadfield writes “We’ve fallen in love with Strange Company.” and that the bar is more Potts Point(Sydney) than Port City.

The restaurant reviewer starts of with lauding the interior design by well-known Freo architect Michael Patroni and writes “It is one of the most welcoming hospitality places around. It makes you feel good just walking in the door.” I could not agree more! It is such a homely environment to be in that I might have to start drinking more in the future, just so that I can enjoy the ambience.

Rob Broadfield raves about the ox cheek roll for only $ 14.00 and writes that the salty spice dust on the superb ‘Strange Fries’ was so good that it is addictive.

I highly recommend Strange Company but must disclose they assigned me to do the interior photography for them before the bar opened.

Roel Loopers

ROEL FOR FREO! Truly Independent.


Posted in development, fremantle by freoview on September 4, 2015


The entry to the new Mediterranean Shipping Company-MSC-building in Fremantle’s Cliff Street was installed this morning and looks interesting.  I am looking forward to seeing the creative glass facade being put in soon and many new office workers roaming the West End and supporting local traders.

The MSC building was designed by North Freo architects Murray Slavin.

Roel Loopers


Posted in architecture, fremantle, perth, photography by freoview on September 2, 2015

I love change. I think change is great and makes us reach the boundaries we have created for ourselves. Change challenges us to move on or procrastinate. Shall we hold on to the comfort of the past or move on into an exciting but unknown future?

Maybe that is why I love great creative modern architecture like the Perth Arena. It challenges me to accept that change is inevitable and that when change is done well we do not need to fear it. For that same reason I really like the Fremantle Maritime Museum and always find new angles that fascinate me.

Of course I am also aware and disappointed about the fact that the majority of modern buildings in Perth and Fremantle are pretty mediocre and not inspiring at all, but the outstanding ones are great.

Walking around Perth this morning to have a look at the desert they call Elizabeth Quay I walked past the Arena and had to take a series of photos of the stunning architecture. I am sure it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I love the building. It was designed by architects Ashton Raggett McDougal and Cameron Chisholm Nicol.

Roel Loopers

Facebook: ROEL FOR FREO! Truly Independent.


Posted in city of fremantle, development, heritage by freoview on September 1, 2015

quest 2 quest 1

I am very concerned about what is going on at the Fremantle Quest serviced apartment development on the corner of Pakenham and Short Street.

When I addressed Council on behalf of the Fremantle Society then Planning Director Phil St John and heritage architect Alan Kelsall assured the public gallery that the additional hight approved for the building was all about preserving the interior heritage integrity of the building, but that is not at all what it looks like today.

The entire interior of the building has been ripped out and only the facade is still standing and I doubt very much that this is proper preservation of Fremantle’s extremely important heritage.

I will email these photos to Alan Kelsall and hope to get a response from him because I am greatly worried about this process.

Roel Loopers

ROEL FOR FREO! Truly Independent.

I received following explanation from the architects through Fremantle heritage coordinator Alan Kelsall:

All the columns and roof trusses had to be removed for buildability reasons to allow excavation and construction of the new structure. The portion of columns and roof trusses that are  to be reinstated will be done so in their original locations. The remainder of the structure is to be permanently removed as  per the planning approval.


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