Freo's View


Posted in city of fremantle, skaters, youth by freoview on August 25, 2014


The Fremantle ESPLANADE YOUTH PLAZA skatepark is getting rid of some misconceptions and urban myths about modern youth I hope, because it is a fine example of how well a large group of young people can respectfully engage and have fun.

There is no screaming, no four letter words, no alcohol, no vandalism, but there is a lot of consideration, sharing, learning, teaching and supporting going on. It is how the entire community should be, because the kids at the EYP are far more selfless than a large percentage of grown ups in our society are.

There is no queue jumping, no elbows out to get in first, and ahead of others who have been waiting their turn, and it’s all done with appreciating the efforts of others, complimenting them, or giving tips on how to improve. Although they all come as individuals they have amazing skills at team work.

Roel Loopers



Posted in city of fremantle by freoview on August 10, 2014


The sunny weather attracted everyone to the outdoors on Saturday in Fremantle, with the alfresco cafes full and the Esplanade Youth Plaza   packed with kids, families and teenagers. There is something to do for everyone with tiny kids climbing onto things and playing table tennis, while other youths were doing the Parcour structures. The skateboarders, BMX and scooter riders were doing their often amazing acrobatics in the skatepark. It’s a whole lot of fun to watch, and many did that while having a bite of take-away food to eat.

I decided to do some shadow photos of the skaters.

Roel Loopers



Posted in architecture, fremantle by freoview on July 15, 2014

Urban Design Award 2014


The City of Fremantle and CONVIC have won the Australian Urban Design Award 2014 for the Esplanade Youth Plaza skate park in the small scale category. Congratulations!

The Youth Plaza has been very controversial in Freo and divided the community, but it has been a great success that is a huge attraction for young people. The place is packed full most days and has become an asset to our city. Would it have been less successful 50 metres further south on the carpark there? Probably not, but we’ve got it on the Esplanade now, so let’s embrace and enjoy it!

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle by freoview on June 15, 2014

shadow play 1

SHADOW PLAY by Roel Loopers


It is quite a delight to see how successful the Fremantle Youth Plaza skate park has become in a short time. It is busy there every day and the gorgeous weather this Sunday attracted many people. Parents were having a picnic while watching the kids and the older ‘kids” who do amazing acrobatic things or their skates, BMX bikes, and little scooters.

While wandering around there I had a closer look at the Carriage Cafe and the plans for an extended deck, and I thought it would be good if it came further and around the corner to the west, so parents could sit on the deck and have coffee or a meal while keeping an eye on their children at the Youth Plaza. Maybe just a minor adjustment like that to the plans could see them being realised soon.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle by freoview on June 4, 2014

Carriage Cafe

The Planning Services Committee of the City of Fremantle will this evening debate to allow the alfresco extension of the CARRIAGE CAFE on the Esplanade Reserve. The cafe has become a real Freo ikon on one of our few inner city’s public green spaces, so I hope the CoF will be sympathetic toward the proposed changes. With the new Youth Plaza next to it the cafe will be catering for more people and needs more space, and the proposed changes are in my opinion sensitive to the environment and A Class reserve. The CoF officer recommends that the PSC will approve of them.

I have always wanted to see a small structure that would allow for weddings and wedding functions on the Esplanade and maybe the enlarged alfresco of the Carriage could at least accommodate small wedding parties.

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle by freoview on April 16, 2014






















I know it is still early days to make a considered judgment on the success of the Fremantle YOUTH PLAZA skate park, but it is interesting to read that researchers of the University of Western Australia-UWA-have found that skateparks are more likely to promote good behaviour, instead of anti-social behaviour, feared by some in the community. The UWA report said that young people at skate parks learn from each other, teach, cooperate, help and respect others, and that they learn the art of compromise and negotiation.

From my observations at the Freo Youth Plaza that is how it is. Young kids watch and get shown by older ones how to do certain movements, they respectfully wait till someone finishes before starting their own spin and they are careful not to hurt each other. I have been there on three occasions and was surprised about the lack of foul language and swearing and the relative peacefulness of it all.

It’s a delight to see so many kids on skateboards, bikes and scooters coming from all parts of the city and beyond to have a spin at the Youth Plaza, while others are happy to continue at the old Woolstores ramp. Youth rock!

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle by freoview on April 13, 2014

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The opening of the Fremantle ESPLANADE YOUTH PLAZA skate park attracted a huge crowd today. Kids and parent and teenagers battled for space with the more mature, but it was smiles all over. Awesome was the word I heard most, and cool came close second. What a whole lot of fun is was to watch the incredibly skilled young people on skateboards, scooters, and BMX bikes, or the ones jumping and climbing doing the parkour track.

I fell in love with an unbelievably brave and talented girl who looked like just five years old. WOW! She’ll be a pro skater and world champion one day.

When I see young people I see potential, not hoodlums who want to commit crimes and are off the rails, and I believe they will take ownership of their Youth Plaza, respect it and each other and will look after it. Already today one noticed they were all very aware of one another and keen to share and that is a good sign.

The Youth Plaza is without a doubt a great asset for Fremantle, as Youth Minister Tony Simpson said, and I hope the entire community will now embrace it and leave all the controversy about it behind.

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle by freoview on November 1, 2013

Just an update on the Fremantle skatepark youth plaza work in progress. Taken at midday today, Friday November 1 from the Tourist Wheel.

Roel Loopers

skate park


Posted in fremantle by freoview on January 8, 2013

The City of Fremantle is holding two community workshops on the proposed Esplanade skate park youth plaza on January 18 from 3-5 pm and on January 19 from 10-12 am. The locations will be announced at a later date but you can register here: design

It is unfortunate council insists on using the heritage reserve for the skate park when a more appropriate and less intrusive option would have been the car park that adjoins the Esplanade to the south, or even move it north of the reserve to the carpark in front of the Shipwreck Museum.


Posted in fremantle by freoview on November 29, 2012

Last night’s full council meeting of the City of Fremantle had a very full agenda and public gallery with many people addressing council. The Contribution for Public Art and/or Heritage Works is probably the outstanding decision of the evening. It was adopted that Council can require certain types of commercial and multiple residential development to contribute one percent of the project’s total development costst to the development of art or heritage. Fremantle does not have a great public art collection and the maintenance of heritage buildings has a poor record so hopefully we will see serious improvement in both in the next ten years.

The controversial West End Working Group boundaries were also approved as were the two new members Kate House and Anne Brake, while the third nominee John Dowson was surprisingly left out.

The proposal for the City to manage the Arthur Head art hub was also adopted, so it will be interesting to see where the City will find the money to repair and alter all the buildings, who are in dire need of maintenance.  I am doubtful the $ 150,000 allocated for it is anywhere near enough for what will be required. I am not in favour of making an exemption and leaving the port pilots in their office as this is not an art or culture related business. If the heritage connection is seen as a valid reason for them to stay, the family at number 10 Captain’s Lane should also be allowed to stay as there has always been a residential component on Arthur Head with harbour master and family living up there. The best idea for reactivating Arthur Head is the plan to make a bar/cafe/restaurant out of the most southern J Shed studio. That will bring residents and visitors to the area.

What will also bring people to the West End is the four months trial of a Saturday twilight market at Bathers Beach. It will be fantastic to browse for art and craft and eating international food while watching the sunset over the Indian Ocean from the new boardwalk. I could see that market moved to the front of J Shed once the art hub and bar/cafe there become a reality.

The approval for the design of a Skate Park/Youth Plaza on the Esplanade was also signed off on.   This substantial $ 600,000 project would see serious changes been made to the relaxing and quiet park and a loss of grassed area. While I like to see many more young people having a great time in our city, I believe building the skate park on the carpark directly adjacent and south of the Esplanade would have been better. I suggested it be moved to the carpark in front of the Shipwreck Museum because of its proximity to Notre Dame University, Bathers Beach, the CAT bus and food outlets in the Fishing Boat Harbour.

It is always good to see democracy at work and while not everyone did get what they wanted, big steps were made to move forward and make changes to make our city more vibrant.

Driving home through wild weather I saw the new Christmas decorations light up High Street. They look fantastic and show that semi permanent colourful banners in that street would catch the eye and entice people to wander down the West End. It’s time for the West End Traders to step up and start organising this.

Roel Loopers


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