Freo's View

CLIMATE CHANGE DANGER TO FREO’s HERITAGE AND COFFEE

Posted in city of fremantle, climate change, environment, global warming, western australia by freoview on August 30, 2016

A report on Channel Nine TV last night by Jane Grljusich painted a wet future for the west end of Fremantle where rising sea levels due to global warming will see many coastal properties disappear in the Indian Ocean unless seawalls are being built.

Grljusich talked about flooded cellars in the west of Fremantle that already require 24/7 pumping by the building owners.

The predicted higher ocean levels would see the Roundhouse become an island and even flooding of the Esplanade, so the state and federal governments need to become pro-active in making plans on how to protect Fremantle’s coast line and significant heritage area.

There is a Cockburn Sound Coastal Alliance where the cities of Fremantle, Cockburn, Kwinana and Rockingham work together and Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt told the TV reporter a plan will be released in a few weeks.

I have wondered for a long time why governments still allow so much development very close to the coast, as at Coogee for example, and wonder if insurance companies are still willing to insure properties in locations where rising seawater levels will create flooding and damage.

Are people naive or just don’t care that their expensive houses might get flooded or destroyed in 15-20 years from now, and what responsibility do governments have when releasing coastal land for development?

And to add insult too injury and make life even worse for us is a report from Brazil that climate change will cut coffee production by 50%, which no doubt will mean much higher prices for coffee in caffeine-mad Freo in the future.

Roel Loopers

FREO TO TAKE OVER STATE PUBLIC TRANSPORT ROLE

Posted in city of fremantle, lightrail, roel loopers by freoview on August 30, 2015

Fremantle Council never stops surprising me, so the news report on Channel Nine this Sunday with Councillor Rachel Pemberton, who quite clearly is on the election campaign, announcing the City of Fremantle might implement a percentage for lightrail on parking fees as early as next year, was yet another indication of a lack of reality.

I love lightrail but there is something rather green-as in naive-about the idea. One also has to question why a junior Councillor would announce such a huge project on national televison when it has not even yet been to any of the Council committees. I suppose it is a case for Pemberton of just  getting her face in the media, no matter the lack of substance, and people in City Ward might actually vote for her at the October 17 local government elections.

I quite like Rachel and she is a pretty good performer in Council chamber, but she has not explained why people parking in Fremantle, and  hence Freo ratepayers, would want to fund lightrail to Cockburn and Fiona Stanley Hospital.

I suggested on Mayor Brad Pettitt’s blog a few weeks ago that if he believed there is so much support for lightrail he might want to start crowd funding, as least that would mean those Fremantle ratepayers who want to pay for it can elect to do so, and it might attract funding from far and wide and not only tiny Freo.

Lightrail and all public transport is a numbers game and the Fremantle area needs far more residents before any state government or private operator would invest in it. For Freo that is at least 15 to 20 years away still.

Public transport infrastructure is a state government responsibility and for a small council like Fremantle to want to do it on its own is naive to the extreme, even more so when there never appears to be enough money for basic maintenance of COF properties and important parks like the Esplanade.

Roel Loopers

ROEL FOR FREO! Truly Independent.

SIRONA CAPITAL NOT HAPPY WITH ROEL

Posted in city of fremantle, development, local government, sirona capital by freoview on April 16, 2015

I had a long talk this morning with a very upset Matthew McNeilley, the general manager of Sirona Capital, and after having listened to Matthew I believe he is right that I should correct yesterday’s blog post on the Channel Nine Morning ‘news’ story on future development in Fremantle.

Matthew McNeilley assured me that the Channel Nine story was not initiated by Sirona Capital and that he received a phone call from the TV reporter to ask him for the interview he did. I take his word for that. Also interviewed were the Freo Mayor, the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce and Member for Fremantle Simone McGurk.

I know parts of the Fremantle community are very concerned about the business plan the City signed with Sirona and many have become very skeptical about the process, but unlike certain groups I am not interested in just Council bashing that almost inevitably also involves Sirona as one of the biggest investors in Freo.

For the record, I am very much in favour of inner city development, change and real progress, because Fremantle cannot continue on the no change path it followed for over ten years. But I ask for restraint, common sense and consistency, and really great architecture, and I ask for transparency because that is what the Freo community wants to see.

The business plan financial details do worry people in our community and this has now created a very negative us and them attitude that some people are using to boost their own political future on council.

I will criticise the COF and anyone if needed, but I also am a strong believer in balance and fairness, and I believe Sirona’s Matthew McNeilley deserves this clarification, which by the way was not written under threat of legal action. Matthew and I had a good conversation and agreed to communicate better in the future.

Question remains why Channel Nine rehashed the old development story that is a year old, but maybe there was just nothing new to report on Tuesday morning.

Now let’s get that Kings Square development going!

Roel Loopers

SMOKESCREEN TRYING TO HIDE REAL KINGS SQUARE ISSUES

Posted in city of fremantle, development, kings square by freoview on April 15, 2015

The combined Public Relations might of the City of Fremantle and Sirona Capital seem to have pushed Channel Nine’s Perth Today morning news to do an advertorial style 5.20 minute long ‘news’ item on the future of Fremantle yesterday.

Call me a cynic any time, but when concerned members of the community are asking questions about the financial plan for Kings Square and the City of Fremantle is not releasing details of it because of “commercial confidentiality” and instead of answering questions by highly-regarded professional auditors then goes on a PR blitz where Sirona Capital managing director Matthew McNeilley talks about being the catalyst for transformation with the stalled and delayed Kings Square development, then we know spin, hubris and hot air are more important to Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt and his Sirona mate than dealing with reality and providing answers to very serious and valid questions.

Channel Nine should be ashamed of itself putting this up as a news item because there was absolutely nothing new in it. All these proposed developments have been promoted by the City of Fremantle for over a year. They even published a glossy brochure telling the world about nearly a billion dollars worth of investment in the pipeline in the port city.

Instead of hopping on the spin train to provide a smokescreen it would have been better if Sirona Capital had authorised the City of Fremantle to release the financial details for Kings Square. That would have been really good PR and real news, instead of rehashing old stuff to take away the public attention from the persistent questioning about the deal the City did with Sirona.

These questions won’t go away Brad and Matthew, no matter how many smokescreens your PR machine will put up! Please answer the questions and don’t insult those members of the Freo community who are concerned that all might not be hunky dory with Kings Square.

Roel Loopers

Just a small update I received from Simone McGurk who was also interviewed by Nine Morning. She emailed to say the production of that story had started in late March.

CHANNEL NINE CHARACTER ASSASSINATION OF MH 370 PILOT

Posted in fremantle by freoview on March 11, 2014

I don’t normally watch Channel Nine’s A Current Affair, but when I heard they were going to do a negative story on the co-pilot of missing Malaysian Airlines plane MH 370, my first reaction was “disgraceful!”

This was serious character assassination of  27 year-old co-pilot Fariq Ab Hamid, who might well have struggled bravely to safe the plane and its 239 passengers.

No one has any idea what happened to the missing plane. Was it an accident, terrorist attack or system failure? We don’t know, but ACA decided it was okay to smear the name of this man. It is probably just racist ramble. Two white Western women telling us that Muslim pilots allowed them into the cockpit during a flight, although that is against regulations.

Does that make Fariq Ab Hamid responsible for what happened to missing flight MH 370? No it doesn’t, but who cares when one can air an “exclusive” smearing the name of a decent man, whose family and friends are mourning about his loss. What a disgrace ACA!

Roel Loopers

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