Freo's View

VANDALS SET FIRE AT FREO’S J SHED

Posted in art, arthur head, city of fremantle, crime, fire, j shed, Uncategorized, vandalism by freoview on July 18, 2019

 

J Shed fire

 

There was again serious vandalism at Fremantle’s Arthur’s Head last night with idiots setting fire to the northern wall of the J Shed art studios.

No major damage was done but the power had to be cut off for safety reasons. It is just lucky that the fire brigade arrived early as otherwise the entire shed and some very important artworks could have been destroyed.

Although vandalism is frequent in the area there are still no CCTV cameras in the historic precinct.

Roel Loopers

RAINBOW AT ARTHUR’S HEAD

Posted in arthur head, city of fremantle, rain, Uncategorized, weather, winter by freoview on June 27, 2019

 

rainbow

 

It was a wet, wild and very windy day and there is more to come, but the beautiful rainbow I photographed at Fremantle’s Arthur’s Head made up for the cold day that required a few layers of clothing.

Roel Loopers

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ROUNDHOUSE CLOSED AGAIN ON SUNDAY

 

Roundhouse

 

It is an outrage that one of Fremantle’s most significant tourist destinations, the historic Roundhouse, is closed again today on Sunday, which is one of the busiest days of the week.

The weather is perfectly alright with some very dark clouds around but it is pleasantly warm and there are a lot of people wandering the streets.

The oldest public building in Western Australia was also closed last week on Friday, Saturday and Monday and that is not acceptable at all.

The Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides who manage the Roundhouse sent a statement to the Fremantle Herald that before every winter an assessment is made, but that is nonsense of Trumpian proportions.

Fact is that traditionally the Roundhouse was only closed on Good Friday and Christmas Day and open to the public every other day of the year. If the weather is too inclement the team on the day might decide to close an hour or so early, but never have volunteer guides turned up and decided not to open this historic jail at all.

It is not good enough and it is reassuring to know that the City of Fremantle  is finally showing some interest to manage the tourist destination more professionally.

The unscheduled closures could well jeopardise the grant application with Lotterywest for new interpretive displays in the Roundhouse, which is a superb project just waiting for funding.

When is the State Government going to show interest in historically significant Arthur’s Head and the Roundhouse?

Roel Loopers

 

ROUNDHOUSE CLOSURE A REAL WORRY FOR FREMANTLE

 

 

It is a real worry that the Fremantle Roundhouse is closed today, and I was told it was closed most of yesterday as well.

A sign on the door says it is closed due to bad weather, but a few showers have never forced the Roundhouse volunteers to close all day in the nine years I worked there.

Fremantle Council now needs to take urgent action because it is not acceptable that the oldest public building in WA and one of Fremantle’s most significant tourist attractions is now randomly closed, presumably because of lack of volunteers.

In the nine years I was on duty only on the worst winter days did we close an hour early at 2.30pm, but all day closure only ever happened on Christmas Day and Good Friday.

I hear that at committee level of the volunteers it has been suggested they might have to wind up and hand the management of the building back to the City, but what then when there is no contingency plan in place?  Even if they staff the Roundhouse with volunteers from the Visitor Centre they would still need some of the current volunteers who have the license to fire the 1pm cannon.

Both Fremantle Council and the Roundhouse committee are to blame for not having been pro-active enough in trying to get new volunteers and annual funding. With enough State, City and Federal funding Roundhouse guides could get paid and the tourist attraction would be on the same level as Fremantle Prison, the Maritime Museum and the Shipwreck Museum, which all receive government funding.

The Roundhouse is very significant to Fremantle’s  and Western Australia’s history and the City can’t just sit back and let it close due to procrastination and lack of vision.

Roel Loopers

 

FREO’S WEST END LAKES DISTRICT

 

ah 1

ah 2

 

The wet weather is leaving its marks in Fremantle. It is impossible to get through the Whalers Tunnel because of a deep puddle on the west end of it, while the foot and bicycle paths on either side of Arthur’s Head also have huge puddles.

There is a sink hole starting to develop on the corner of High and Little High Street next to Chalkys cafe and there is a lake in front of J Shed.

It’s not a good look for visitors to our city.

In that context, what is the progress with the stabilisation works required at Arthur’s Head, City of Fremantle?

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE COMPETITIVE LEASING POLICY UNFAIR TO ESTABLISHED BUSINESSES.

Posted in art, arthur head, city of fremantle, local government, retail, shopping, traders, Uncategorized by freoview on June 11, 2019

 

Item 1906-1 on Wednesday’s FPOL Committee agenda of Fremantle Council raises interesting questions as to why the City of Fremantle has a ‘competitive manner leasing policy’ for its properties.

The item is about renewing the lease of the Fremantle Public Golf Course at Montreal Street and officers suggest that Councillors agree to an exemption of the competitive manner leasing policy because the Lessee has a proven record.

I believe it is pretty fair to extend the lease for the present Lessee but question why that does not apply to other Lessees or License Holders in Fremantle, such as the artists of the Bathers Beach Art Precinct.

It is not as if the competitive policy allows the City to get more money for its properties, because the City sets the rents, so it can only be about wanting change for no practical reasons.

Why does the City want established artists who have been professionally and successfully operating to engage in a competitive process, when there is no guarantee that new artists will be equally successful and able to pay the rent? There have been several failures at Arthur’s Head where at the end the City had to write off outstanding rent because it was not recoverable.

There are not many sculptors who still do traditional life-size bronze sculptures the way Greg James does at J Shed, so that should qualify as unique as well.

Jenny Dawson has run her ceramic art business successfully for twenty years at J Shed and pays full commercial rates to the city, which are determined by an outside consultant.

I have heard the argument from Councillors that if the artists pay commercial rates at Arthur’s Head it won’t be difficult for them to pay full rates elsewhere in Fremantle, but that is bollocks, and even more so for retail art galleries such at Glen Cowans and David Giles.

Establishing a small business is bloody hard work, and starting somewhere else all over again sets back a business by years, so it is time Fremantle Council reconsidered its competitive manner leasing policy because all it does is penalise successful established businesses, and that is very unfair.

Roel Loopers

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THE FREO ROUNDHOUSE EVEN ROUNDER

Posted in arthur head, city of fremantle, heritage, historic, roundhouse, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on June 3, 2019

 

Roundhouse

 

I borrowed the round hand mirror from the Glen Cowans Photography Gallery yesterday to take this unusual photo of the Fremantle Roundhouse and High Street.

I always like the looking backward and forward of reflections, so here is another one for you.

It was very busy up on Arthur’s Head yesterday with a very large number of Asians visiting Fremantle, so we are very popular with our neighbour countries.

Roel Loopers

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J SHED ARTISTS CREATE OWN SIGNS

 

j shed 3

 

The Fremantle J Shed artists at Bathers Beach have had enough of Council constantly talking about activating the historic precinct while they ignore their own placemaking advise of low hanging fruit of supporting and promoting existing businesses, instead of just pipe dreaming about the big projects for Arthur’s Head.

So the arty J Shed mob have started to put their own way finding signs around to make visitors aware there is creative light at the end of the Whalers Tunnel, and by the way, also a gorgeous beach.

Roel Loopers

IS THERE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE WHALERS TUNNEL?

 

 

Vandals have caused more than $ 10,000 damage to the small solar lights along the coastal path at Bathers Beach between Kidogo Arthouse and J Shed since they were installed.

The City of Fremantle stopped repairing the lights over the last 18 months because of the constant and excessive vandalism, but officers have put a request to Council to include in next financial year’s budget replacement lights mounted on tall poles.

Such lights were proposed before by officers but deemed not in keeping with the heritage character of Arthur’s Head, but already two taller lights have been installed just south of J Shed in the vicinity of the former whaling station.

I took photos of the vandalism on Monday morning.

Roel Loopers

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LET’S GET REAL ABOUT WEST END ACTIVATION

I missed the Fremantle Council FPOL Committee meeting on Wednesday due to the Candidate Debate being at the same time, so could not observe myself what went on about Arthur’s Head.

What I hear is that that tired buzzword ‘activation’ was thrown around a lot and that Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt talked about a “Grand Vision” with substantial development, ideally in the form of a National Aboriginal Cultural Centre at the location where J Shed is at the moment.

The one major issue here is that such a building would probably cost $ 40-50 million, which Fremantle has not got, and staff cost and maintenance Fremantle cannot afford either, and…. the State Government wants to build the centre somewhere in Perth and Fremantle is not a preferred location unfortunately.

So should we risk $ 50,000 of ratepayers money on a feasibility study for an Aboriginal centre Fremantle can’t afford to build, manage and maintain, when there is hardly even a remote change that it would be approved and funded by the McGowan government?

Grand visions are great, but they need to be realistic and achievable if we are going to throw money at it.

Now let’s talk a bit about activation. First there was the idea for the Bathers Beach Art Precinct that was meant to activate the area, but did not, and galleries who tried it up on Arthur’s Head closed.  Only the Glen Cowans photograpy gallery established itself well. Now the residential cottages will become artist studios and that will do absolutely nothing to activate the area and attract more people there because the artist studios do not have to be open to the public.

Then Fremantle Council had the brilliant brain flash that a large tavern with an even larger live outdoor music venue would activate Arthur’s Head, against the wishes of the community. They proceeded anyway, to finally be told by the WA Planning Committee that it was inappropriate use of the area, after Sunset Events had wasted a lot of money and Council had managed to frustrate many Freo people. Who cares, we’ve got a grand vision!

To top it off Fremantle Council does not give a rat’s arse about the only place that actually activates Arthur’s Head 363 days a week, the Roundhouse. This major tourist attraction that gets 150,000 visitors a year has not received a single cent of Fremantle Council funding since I have been a volunteer there, which is nine years. But who cares about that tiny activation when one has a grand vision for the area. Maybe we should just demolish WA’s oldest public building and get on with an ever bigger grand vision of a twenty-story hotel on the site. Now that would activate the area.

If this is good governance, Mayor Brad Pettitt, Elected Members and Minister David Templeman than we might as well keep supporting unrealistic pipe dreams instead of supporting those who have put the hard yards in for twenty years without any help from the local, State and Federal governments. You have disrespectfully been taking the Roundhouse for granted for far too long!

You can’t see the activation of Arthur’s Head because you are blinded by your grand visions. Grow up! Mature! Inject some reality into your thought bubbles instead of talking nonsense.

Maintain Arthur’s Head better and make it more attractive. Support the Roundhouse volunteers financially and substantially, and market the old prison more and better. Get rid of the artist studios and offer tourism merchandise along Captain’s Lane, hold a monthly art&craft market on the A Class reserve at J Shed, include it in more festival events such at the Street Arts Festival, and PLEASE stop believing you need to build a monument to be remembered by. It’s not working.

Roel Loopers

 

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