Freo's View

FREMANTLE CITY STAFF UPROAR

Posted in city of fremantle, covid-19, employment, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on April 17, 2020

 

There are a lot of unhappy staff at the City of Fremantle because the coronavirus crisis has forced CEO Phil St John to take drastic measures and cut staff costs.

Some of the staff of the Fremantle Arts Centre, Leisure Centre and Library, which are all closed, have been directed to take annual leave, and unfortunately for some that means leave without pay.

Of the 380 staff at Freo City 170 have been pushed to accept a 20 per cent reduction in working hours, which for them means a 20 per cent loss of income, which is the same as the voluntary pay cuts for the 23 senior staff and 13 elected members.

Fremantle no longer charges parking fees and I have not seen parking officers for days, so presumably parking fines are also no longer issued, and these officers might also be out of work temporarily.

While there has been outrage on the City of Fremantle Facebook page, with affected staff members complaining the measures are unfair to them, it is clear that Fremantle is financially struggling with a huge loss of income from parking, commercial property leases, Fremantle Arts Centre concerts, and Leisure Centre fees, and that expenditure had to be cut somehow.

I believe though it is fair to ask also which directors and senior managers are essential during the Covid-19 crisis, e.g. Community Development, People&Culture, when there are no festivals or community events to organise.

To put balance to the debate though, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said yesterday that the Federal Government was not contemplating pay cuts for the Cabinet.

These are bloody hard times, and so many people are severely affected by it, and of course those who are affected always feel they are unfairly dealt with. I feel for all of them, and hope all the restrictions will not last as long as we all fear. Stay strong!

Roel Loopers

 

THE LATEST FROM FREO’S KINGS SQUARE

 

Civic Centre 1

Civic Centre 2

 

This is how the construction of the City of Fremantle’s new Civic Centre at Kings Square looked on Saturday.

The FOMO retail and hospitality component at our city square is due to open in April, and the paving work at Newman Court is under way. Department of Housing staff will start moving in around February/March, so good things will be happening soon.

The Civic Centre is due for completion in November, and council staff will be moving back in by the end of the year.

Roel Loopers

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PEACE IN FREO’S YELLOW WAR

 

yellow 1

 

There appears to be a peace agreement in the Fremantle yellow art war with former Mayor Peter Tagliaferri agreeing that the City of Fremantle remove the yellow foil and repair and repaint his building on the corner of Cliff and High streets.

I am not sure if Tagliaferri has withdrawn his $ 50,000 writ against the City but that seems logic.

The removal of the fantastic and highly popular Felice Varini Arcs D’Ellipse, which was installed for the 2017 Fremantle Festival, proved far more difficult than anticipated and forced Fremantle Council to increase the removal/repaint budget from $ 15,000 to $ 220,000, but I have been told the final cost will be much less than that.

The repainted buildings along High Street look better than they have in 20 years and the workers are now painting the entire facade of the building that houses the Roma restaurant and Blink cafe.

The City will also install four large planter boxes along High Street from Cliff Street to Chalkys cafe to hide the unattractive Notre Dame University carpark there. As a quirky reminder of the great Varini artwork and controversy removing it the boxes will have a yellow stripe on them. Great idea!

Roel Loopers

THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF DISAPPEARING ARTS MANAGERS AT FREMANTLE

Posted in art, city of fremantle, community, culture, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on January 14, 2019

 

What on earth is going on at the City of Fremantle’s Cultural Development Department? I just heard that the Manager Culture and the Arts Destry Puiashame has suddenly left after only six months in the job.

Piuashame came with high credentials from Melbourne and took over from Pete Stone, whose departure was also quite unexpected, and Festival Co-ordinator Alex Marshall also left. The Freo grapevine tells me other staff are also due to leave.

The Fremantle Festival, which will be for the first time during winter this year, is just five months away, the Fremantle Heritage Festival is in May/June and the Hidden Treasures winter music festival is in July, so who is stepping up at the City to organise all those events on short notice, and what are the issues that cause the departure of good staff members?

I hope City of Fremantle CEO Phil StJohn will be able to shed some light on this rather curious situation, especially since the CDD was also in charge of the yellow art debacle in High Street.

Roel Loopers

NO SHOPPING WEST OF THE FREO RAILWAY LINE?

Freo map

 

For the City of Fremantle’s marketing department the shopping experience in our city clearly does not extend west of the railway line, why else would they have excluded important galleries at Arthur’s Head, an area the Council claims it wants to activate, albeit with a tavern though.

Why is there no icon next to the Roundhouse for the Glen Cowans Photo Gallery which is #2 on Trip Advisor, and why no icon at Bathers Beach for Kidogo Arthouse?

Also excluded are the galleries at J Shed and the David Giles gallery up at Captain’s Lane.

When the City of Fremantle last created a tourist map it left out Fremantle Prison, which is one of the most popular tourist destinations. They printed so many of them that we still have to hand them out at the Roundhouse, where very many of our visitors ask for directions to…. you guessed it!…. Fremantle Prison.

It is really not fair, City of Fremantle, that you deliberately disadvantage some traders in our city!

Roel Loopers

HOLDEN SHEPPARD WINS TAG HUNGERFORD AWARD

 

Holden Sheppard

 

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt announced the winner of the $ 12,000 2018 TAG Hungerford Award at the Fremantle Arts Centre on Thursday evening.

Perth-based Holden Sheppard, who is originally from Geraldton, won the prestigious award for his novel Invisible Boys, which also gives him a publishing contract with Fremantle Press.

Sheppard was shortlisted together with Yuot Alaak, Zoe Deleuil, Julie Sprigg and Trish Versteegen, and came out the winner of the biennial writing prize.

His novel is about a group of gay men negotiating what it means to be gay, and the risks and issues of coming out with it in a small town.

Roel Loopers

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FREO CIVIC CENTRE DEMOLITION UNDER WAY

 

KS 1

KS 2

 

Scaffolding, which was installed at the Fremantle Townhall to assist in removing asbestos from the civic centre, is now being dismantled, and that means that we will soon see the demolition of the building.

Just south from there the replacement of the Queensgate building is starting to look like a real building, so it’s all happening at Kings Square.

If you happen to come into Freo when it is dark, check out the large cranes lit up like Christmas trees. it’s a very impressive sight!

Roel Loopers

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YES! RAINBOW FLAG AT FREO TOWNHALL

Posted in city of fremantle, family, Uncategorized by freoview on August 23, 2017

 

rainbow flag

 

There is a big pro marriage equality rally under the Fremantle Rainbow sculpture on Friday at 5 pm, and Fremantle Council is flying the rainbow flag high as well.

Love is not sexist or gender bias. People who love each other should be able to marry, and it does not matter if they are same sex couples.

Voting YES matters a lot to very many people who want to commit themselves to their partner.

 

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE CITY ADMINISTRATION NEEDS TO DO BETTER

Posted in city of fremantle, local government, parking, traffic, Uncategorized by freoview on July 29, 2017

 

I have been contemplating this since Wednesday’s Fremantle Council meeting, as I simply cannot understand the reasoning behind the residents parking permit yoyo process, that reeks of incompetence.

I reacted very negatively when I first read that the City of Fremantle wanted to change the residents free permit parking from on-street to off-street only, and the next thing that happens is that it is all reversed and we are now back to on-street parking, with a few minor adjustments.

For me that is proof of a thought-bubble gone all wrong, where officers did not do their homework and considered all the consequences. Only when there was a community outcry they changed their mind and went back to the past.

The only changes we will see from September on is that residents with the appropriate permit can now also park for free in street bays on Saturdays before 11am and after 3 pm. There is no free Saturday parking at present.

The negative is that all day free Sunday parking now also has been restricted to the before 11am and after 3pm times. That is not good as there are shops that only open at 10am on Sundays and close at 4pm. Sunday lunch with free parking in the CBD is now also out for Fremantle residents.

Then we had the speedhump shambles, where too many speedhumps were installed along three streets, and some were too high. At no doubt considerable cost speedhumps were then removed again and others flattened.

I am sorry to say this but these are mediocre performances by the responsible officers, which the CEO needs to jump on as these mistakes cost a lot of money.

Questions need to be asked why too many speedhumps were installed in the first place and who gave the go ahead for them, and questions need to be asked why the consequences of changes to residents parking were not considered before the item went to council.

The other thing I do not understand is why on-street and off-street parking is not going to be introduced for a trial period of one year, so that the officers can properly evaluate what the financial consequences would be, and how many motorists would prefer off-street parking over on-street parking. This cannot be tested without actually implementing it!

It’s been a disappointing few weeks by the City of Fremantle administration. Our Councillors need to start asking a few hard questions, because the community will blame them.

Let me ask these questions:

  • How much did the installation of speedhumps in South Terrace, Ord Street and Wray Avenue cost, including cost for traffic management staff and electronic signs?
  • How much did it cost to remove some of these speedhumps and modify others, including cost for traffic management and electronic signs?

 

Roel Loopers

WE HAVE A COMMON GROUND TO SUPPORT FREO TRADERS!

Posted in city of fremantle, retail, shopping, Uncategorized by freoview on July 4, 2017

 

COMMON GROUND the retail collective in Fremantle High Street has moved to the smaller premises next door in the same building.

These are challenging times for retailers all over Australia and they need the support of the entire Freo community.

It would be nice to see the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce taking positive action and support our traders through promotion, rather than just criticising the City of Fremantle,

The Fremantle City marketinging department and BID should get the support from an organisation that claims to represent the business community.

Roel Loopers

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