I am always on the look out for so-called street photos when wandering around inner city Fremantle and noticed this backpacker relaxing at the old Orient Hotel this morning.
A heated exchange has been happening on social media about Fremantle West End residents having problems with the anti-social behaviour of backpackers from the Fremantle Beach Backpackers hostel in High Street.
Emotive accusations are flying high and residents have erected an arty gate, set back from the street, in Henry Street to try to keep drugged and drunken backpackers from invading their property.
Councillor Rachel Pemberton has accused the owners of having put the fence up without proper planning approval while they say the inner city Councillor is not supportive enough to help solve their problems. The ugly sliding fence the hostel erected to put rubbish bins behind reportedly also did not receive planning approval.
There is an irony in the fact that the owners are allegedly breaking the law to protect themselves from alleged law breakers but I do have sympathy for the fact that the safety of their small children and family is their priority and not planning laws.
The saga with the backpackers has been going on for far too long with some of them recently climbing onto the roof of the house of the young family one night, trying to get into their backyard, and the family’s children no longer feeling safe in their bedroom.
That is not on as the number one priority of society should be the protection of innocent children, so Fremantle Council, which approved the backpackers hostel, needs to take stronger action.
The community policing model introduced by the Commissioner years ago is not working as there are not enough cops on the beat and police presence in Fremantle is often next to nothing, especially during the evenings and nights.
It is not acceptable that visitors to Fremantle have disregard for the law and the residents of our city. We welcome them with a smile and hospitality and treat them with respect, and we have the right to demand the same attitude from them.
Is this terribly ugly partition at the Fremantle Beach Packpackers in the heritage Orient Hotel in Henry Street really acceptable to the City of Fremantle heritage experts?
It looks bloody awful and should be removed!
The world of government is an interesting one that has its own rules, so hence the public is sometimes bewildered about processes and outcomes at the City of Fremantle.
Some weeks ago I attended a Council Committee meeting that had as Confidential Items the market review for Mountain Design in the Queensgate building at Kings Square and the Old Fire Station backpackers at Phillimore Street. Confidential Items mean the public gallery has to be vacated and the media can’t attend either.
However the agenda for next week’s Ordinary Council meeting I just read on line is disclosing all the financial details of the confidential items mentioned above. So when did the items become n0n-confidential when the same commercial confidentiality should still apply?:
This report is CONFIDENTIAL in accordance with Section 5.23(2) of the Local Government Act
1995 which permits the meeting to be closed to the public for business relating to the following:
(e) a matter that if disclosed, would reveal –
- (i) a trade secret;
- (ii) information that has a commercial value to a person; or
- (iii) information about the business, professional, commercial or financial affairs of
The Fremantle CBD has another parklet in Pakenham Street, that makes it the third parklet in that street and the removal of six parking bays. The well-built parklet by Scapes Unlimited is at the Fremantle Backpackers.
Just down the road a new one was installed at the Natural Light cafe and Bread in Common has had one since opening. Together with the parklet in High Street at Lapa, that is rarely used by diners, alfresco dining parklets have removed eight bays from the West End and retailers are not at all happy about it.
There is another backpackers hostel in Fremantle in the Orient Hotel on the corner of Henry and High streets. The Fremantle Beach Backpackers is only a five-minute-walk from gorgeous Bathers Beach, so a pretty good location.
This is the 7th backpackers in our city, if I haven’t overlooked one, so now it’s time to get a few more upmarket tourist accommodation venues as well. The 4 star Quest short-stay hotel in Pakenham Street is progressing well so will probably open later this year.
Fremantle Prison is holding a community workshop at 6pm on Tuesday February 23 to gather ideas for new uses of the 160-year-old world heritage listed building.
They are thinking about concerts, festivals and even extreme sports, but recognise there might be better left off field ideas they could take up, so if you are keen to participate contact them on: email@example.com or phone 9336 9205.
The building is already very popular and gets around 200,000 visitors per year. They have been holding art exhibitions and other events and the prison is now also home to a backpackers.
Interesting to hear today that there are plans to make the upstairs of the Fremantle Orient Hotel on the corner of High and Henry streets into a backpackers for up to 300 people. I am sure the struggling pub downstairs would be pretty delighted about the idea as it would automatically become the home base for all those international visitors.
I find the debate on how to revitalise the West End quite fascinating but also disappointing. Some people come up with the same boring ageist rubbish that it is just nay-saying oldies against young ideas and everything and anything to stop the progress of Fremantle, but that is certainly not true for me personally.
Wanting better quality of entertainment and better quality and creative design of new buildings is not a negative but is a positive contribution to trying to make Fremantle a more vibrant and modern place that compliments the heritage character of our city.
I am not against progress and change. I enjoy change that’s why I migrated twice and why I lived in three different countries for long periods. I have also moved around Fremantle quite a bit and lived in different parts of the city.
But change needs to be good and should not be about accepting everything just because it is new. Change needs to be considered carefully and it needs to address the impact it has on everyone from residents and businesses to visitors to Freo. Good change is great while bad change is often just putting a plaster on something to hide its deficiencies.
Change is not a fight between oldies and youngies, but is a battle for the very best outcome for our city. Disrespectfully dismissing the opinion of older people in our fast ageing society is narrow-minded and pretty stupid really.
I have a lot of contact with younger people. I like it that we are different but also very similar no matter what the age difference is. I treat younger people with the same respect as older ones. I don’t patronse them and I don’t give them the impression that I know everything better. But I do know that because of my life experience I can make a valid, positive and creative contribution to Fremantle because I deeply, genuinely and passionately care about this city and its community!
ROEL FOR FREO! Beaconsfield Ward. Truly Independent.
Written and authorised by Roel Loopers of 5 Maxwell Place, Beaconsfield 6162