Freo's View

BEACY PRIMARY KIDS GET SAFER CROSSING

Posted in children, city of fremantle, local government, pedestrians, traffic, Uncategorized by freoview on October 8, 2018

 

It has been a long road with many community consultations, but it looks as if the City of Fremantle will finally make a decision this Wednesday of moving the pedestrian crossing on Hampton Road near the Scott Street intersection 50 metres south to make it safer, especially for kids who attend the Beaconsfield Primary School.

An important decision will also be the re-opening of the Scott Street intersection, so that motorists coming from the south can turn right into Scott St and don’t have to do the dog leg via Jennings and Maxwell streets.

The State Government is paying for it through a $ 200,000 grant under the Local Projects, Local Jobs Program.

The item is before the Finance, Policy and Legislation Committee on Wednesday.

OFFICER’S RECOMMENDATION

Council approve Project 11664 to improve safety for pedestrians crossing Hampton Road near the Scott Street intersection, in accordance with Option 1 of the community consultation, as shown on concept plan – drawing number 005-CP-17-001-D, in Attachment 1 of this report, to:

1. Move the guarded school pedestrian crossing approximately 50 meters south of its current location and create a new guarded school pedestrian crossing, complete with median island refuge and also pedestrian crossing lights that will flash at peak, before and after school crossing times.

2. Remove the existing guarded school pedestrian crossing.

3. Move the existing northbound bus stop approximately 20m north of its existing location, to provide a safe distance from the guarded school pedestrian crossing.

4. Reinstate access for vehicles turning right into Scott Street through the removal of the trial median installed in March 2017.

5. Trial the use of a riley kerb system to deter vehicular lane changes on the approach to the guarded school pedestrian crossing as shown in Attachment 1.

Roel Loopers

THE FUTURE OF FREO’S J SHED

 

With the saga about a tavern at J Shed on Bathers Beach now finally closed it is now time for Fremantle Council to look at a long-term plan for historic Arthur’s Head because the Bathers Beach Art Precinct idea has clearly not improved activation of the area, and that is what Council supposedly was hoping for when approving the 21-year tavern lease with Sunset Events.

There are a few simple facts about the art precinct and that is that quite a few artists have tried but could not even earn enough to pay the rent, and only a few real professionals such as Greg James, Jenny Dawson and Glen Cowans have survived and contributed to the area, and to a lesser extend also the messy looking David Giles gallery where many Sunday painters gather.

We also know that hospitality operators looked at the No 1 glass wall studio at J Shed but did not believe it was financially viable to start a business because they would have had to invest in sewerage, toilets and building a commercial kitchen, and the costs were prohibitive. It was also questioned if a hospitality venue would be a good neighbour next to a semi-industrial art workshop where grinding, welding, wax and bronze melting takes place.

Activation is a buzz word in Fremantle, as was placemaking for a few years, but what does it really mean and how much of it is needed at Arthur’s Head? Already the Roundhouse attracts some 150,000 visitors a year and that is the number of people actually going through the door, while many who walk up to the limestone cliff face just wander around without entering. It is a coming and going that make the place look popular, and the Glen Cowans gallery next to it offers fantastic underwater photography that is admired by many visitors from all over the world.

If Fremantle Council is seriously interested in activating the area why does it not use the lawn next to the Roundhouse and the A Class reserve in front of J Shed more often for events, one has to wonder. Why for example is the far west end of High Street not used as a stage for the Street Arts Festival to attract people there and help the activation Freo councillors keep dreaming about? Why is there no weekend art and craft market in the area?

Where is the investment in the area when Bathers Beach still does not have public toilets and where the connectivity from The Fishing Boat Harbour to Victoria Quay is still not resolved properly? Why are the Pilot’s Cottages not lit up at night, that would also discourage homeless people from using them?

Why also do we live with scaffolding and fencing around the cliff face since May, and work has still not started on it when tourists numbers and cruise ship visits will increase during the warmer summer months? Why has it taken so long, nearly half a year!, to find a solution?

Fremantle Council needs to walk the walk and put ratepayers’ money to good use at Arthur’s Head, because the area looks run down and uncared for and that is unacceptable for this heritage and tourist precinct. Forget activation, prioritise tender loving care first!

Roel Loopers

THE IMPORTANCE OF TELLING OUR STORIES

Posted in aboriginal, architecture, art, city of fremantle, city planning, culture, history, Uncategorized by freoview on October 1, 2018

 

 

I had no idea how big and impressive the new WA Museum at the Perth cultural centre was going to be until I saw the building site yesterday.

Museums, cultural centres and state galleries are such important places to tell our stories, so I hope he WA State Government will in the near future also make an investment in Fremantle and build a migrant museum on Victoria Quay and an Aboriginal Cultural Centre as well.

Fremantle Ports is creating two new websites, one for normal port business and the other specifically for Victoria Quay, so it looks like they might go ahead with development there after all, and connect the port better with Kings Square.

 

 

While in Perth, during one of my very rare visits to the big smoke, I also noticed the SKS Group building the Hilton Doubletree hotel at Elizabeth Quay, so now hoping they will prioritise the Fremantle one at Princess May Park as well.

And isn’t it nice to see that there are actually architects who design nicely curved and round buildings, instead of the boring and predictable rectangular ones. Yes, these buildings are too high for Freo, but I’d love to see some rounded corners at new developments.

Roel Loopers

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WRAY AVE PARKLET TO BE RELOCATED

Posted in city of fremantle, community, parking, parklet, Uncategorized by freoview on September 30, 2018

 

The beautiful Wray Avenue parklet has been removed and will be given some TLC and relocated to another street in Fremantle.

The parklet, designed by Jean-Paul Horre, was designed to be a solar power one but issues with Western Power prevented it from being connected to the grid, hence the City of Fremantle is now trying to relocate the parklet to a location where solar power can become part of it. Stay tuned!

Roel Loopers.

 

PERCENTAGE FOR THE ARTS QUESTIONED BY SAT

Posted in architecture, art, city of fremantle, development, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on September 28, 2018

 

It is disturbing for WA artists and local governments that the State Administrative Tribunal(SAT) has expressed the opinion that the percentage for the arts policy should not be part of local government development approval.

SAT expressed that the percentage for the arts was just a way for local councils to get public art they would not have to pay for themselves, but that is a very narrow-minded opinion, as culture is extremely important.

Public art enhances the public realm significantly and the percentage for the arts has given local artists opportunities to create significant artwork for which they get commissioned and is an important source of income for them.

If public art should only be paid for by local ratepayers, small and financially struggling councils would never be able to put decent public art in the public realm, and that would mean communities and future generations would mis out on great contemporary creations.

The SAT opinion was expressed during a hearing about new asphalt plants in Hazelmere by BGC, and I do agree that industrial development should be exempt from the percentage for the arts scheme, but that it has to remain in place for commercial and residential development in our councils.

Art is the spice of life and should be accessible to all, not just a few rich councils that can afford to pay for it.

Roel Loopers

PLANNING FOR FREMANTLE’S FUTURE

 

The Ordinary Council meeting of the City of Fremantle had two interesting potential development items on the agenda, the first one the application by Silverleaf Investments for the removal of four free half-hour parking bays and one loading bay at Market Street, so that they could widen the footpath and re-instate the awning along the Manning Building to improve pedestrian amenity and safety, and lighting under the awning.

The attempt to restrict the use of shops there to retail only and not allow alfresco was squashed with a motion by Councillor Adin Lang who argued that market forces should decide the use of shops, not council policy.

I find it hard to accept the argument for better pedestrian safety and amenity, as Silverleaf’s Robert O’Brien did, when the relatively narrow footpath can be made even narrower and more cluttered with alfresco tables and chairs, which will restrict the flow of walkers.

Councillor Rachel Pemberton’s suggestion to plant trees was unrealistic, as trees would interfere with the proposed awning and also on the road side with public transport and tourist busses which use Market Street very frequently. She was correct however that the City should be doing something about the excessive signage as too many A-frames clutter our streets. They have become a hazard an visual pollution.

Councillor Sam Wainwright argued that it was time to relocate bus stops along the Cappuccino Strip, especially near Fremantle Markets. The item was passed unanimously.

Another very interesting item was the Lefroy Road Quarry Local Structure Plan that would allow for substantial development near the Portuguese Club and the heritage-listed 1890s Healy House, with buildings of up to eight storeys permitted.

To maintain good views to Healy House was considered essential, as was public access and connectivity through the site. Councillor Andrew Sullivan said it was a very difficult site to develop and it needed to be a combined effort by the developers, community, Portuguese Club and Council to make it work. It was important for Council and planning officers to have a good relationship with the proponents as it will require robust conversation and compromises.

Councillor Rachel Pemberton stressed that design excellence on this landmark site was really important. The item was passed unanimously.

Roel Loopers

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MAKING FREMANTLE MORE WALKABLE

 

What makes a walkable city, and is Fremantle one of them, was asked at the Politics in the Pubs forum by the Fremantle Network at The Local in South Fremantle on Tuesday evening.

A panel with Olwyn Williams, the CEO of the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce, Dr Annie Matan of CUSP(Curtin University of Sustainable Policy), and City of Fremantle urban and transport planner Martin Spencer addressed the topic before a general discussion

Martin Spencer said that on the walkability index Fremantle gets 72-79 out of 100 and is the 19th most walkable suburb in the Perth metro area.

We need to make the city open, invite people in, and make them walk. Drag people into the shops and off the footpaths, and connect destinations with better signage.

Dr Annie Matan said that being pro pedestrians and cyclists did not mean we are anti car, but we need great public transport and walking and cycle infrastructure to make the city work better. There needs to be a safe and interesting environment for pedestrians, which includes good public toilets, water fountains, benches, shade structures and trees, etc.

“Every road needs to tell a story to our visitors and ourselves”

Footpaths are where we meet friends, and importantly also strangers. It is where we connect with our communities.

We need to create authentic places as they are important, and destinations to walk to, and do connections better, such as walking from the CBD to South Beach or the Fremantle Arts Centre.

Many footpaths are cluttered and become a hazard and Fremantle City needs a strong policy for planning walkability, Dr Matan said.

Olwyn Williams said that Fremantle has got more than anyone else; the port, heritage, the university, beaches, cafes, art, shopping, festivals and concerts, but we are a small community with a small ratepayers’ base, so we need the outside world to come to Freo and make it economically viable to set up shop here.

We need more visitors, more people working here and more residents, and to become a better place we need to embrace medium density living.

Connections with the suburbs is vital and important as Fremantle is not just the CBD.

Road closures in the CBD often have a negative impact on nearby businesses and the City should consider that more carefully. The second hour free parking the City of Fremantle has just implemented, is a very good idea as it will make people linger longer, Williams said.

Wayfinding needs to improve as signs don’t tell you that you could walk just a block further to enjoy Wray Avenue, or that it is a nice half hour walk to South Beach, and we need much better lighting to make us feel safer at night.

Olwyn Williams also said that the High Street Mall is a disaster and the closure should never have happened.

Martin Spencer said it was about time the community took ownership as it can’t be just left to local governments to implement change.

Comment: I believe we need to make the walking journey more attractive and make it a discovery, an adventure, walks where we connect all our Freo hidden treasures, and where we decentralise more and better utilise the A Class reserve at Arthur’s Head, the lawn next to the Roundhouse, Pioneer, Princess May and Fremantle parks, etc.

Fremantle offers a unique experience and that is what our new destination marketing should be all about. People will be encouraged to walk if we offer them a better shopping and lifestyle experience.

Roel Loopers

 

 

FREO POLITICS IN THE PUB TONIGHT

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle network, pedestrians, politics, traffic, Uncategorized by freoview on September 25, 2018

 

A reminder that the Politics in the Pub by the Fremantle Network is on tonight at The Local in South Fremantle from 6.30pm.

Topic of the evening is the question if Fremantle is pedestrian friendly, so it will be interesting to hear suggestions on how we can improve the pedestrian experience and make it safer.

Far too many motorists don’t give way to pedestrians when rounding corners, and only a  few of them stop during busy weekends on the Cappuccino Strip and Marine Terrace to let pedestrians cross. That lack of consideration, and how/if we can improve it needs to be discussed as well.

See you at The Local. It’s a free event, but meals and drinks available at the bar.

Roel Loopers

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FREO KINGS SQUARE REDEVELOPMENT UPDATE

 

 

A look down Queen Street and another one down William Street shows how far the Fremantle Kings Square Redevelopment Project is progressing.

Great times ahead for good old Freo!

Roel Loopers

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THE FUTURE IS OURS, FREO!

Posted in city of fremantle, development, future, lifestyle, living, placemaking, Uncategorized by freoview on September 13, 2018

 

Place Partners

 

I just saw this poster or billboard of PLACE PARTNERS  on Twitter and thought that it is very relevant to Fremantle.

PLACE PARTNERS-Placemaking Consultancy Australia are in beautiful Paddington in Sydney, NSW, but no doubt they will be happy to advise WA local councils about placemaking as well. Phone 02-8065 7401.

The future is ours if we are daring enough to reach for it and embrace it, Freo!

By the way, retail will thrive in WA over the next five years according to Deloitte, so the draught might soon be over for our struggling traders.

Roel Loopers

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