Freo's View

MYSTERY OF FREO’S MISSING BUILDINGS

Posted in city of fremantle, heritage, history, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on July 6, 2020

 

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In a historic city like Fremantle there are mysteries aplenty. I came across one today. Will Freo historians know the answer to this one?

Where are the missing buildings 9 and 11 Little High Street? When did they disappear? What were they?

Roel Loopers

DETAILS OF WALYALUP CIVIC CENTRE FINANCES

 

This Wednesday’s FPOL Committee of Fremantle Council will address some items concerning the Annual Electors Meeting, which was held early this year. This one concerning the finances of the new Walyalup Civic Centre. Below an edited version of the agenda item.

This report considers a motion moved at the Annual General Meeting of Electors on 9 March 2020 which recommended that:

It is proposed that the City of Fremantle engage the Auditor General to conduct a Post Investment Review of the construction of the new Civic Administration building in Kings Square, and provide a public report as to whether it has been implemented in accordance with the approved 2012 Kings Square Business Case, and whether the $50 million project investment has been in the best interest of Fremantle ratepayers.

The report should highlight any differences between the 2012 Business Case, as approved by Council, with particular focus on the following:

  • Has the total cost of the Admin building been constrained to the cost stated in the 2012 Business Case, including all cost associated with the projects dating back to the approval of the Business Case by Council in early 2013?
  • Has the City of Fremantle been successful in delivering on its financial risk management strategy, where it clearly stated that all cost over-runs would be managed via a fixed price contract for the building construction, where the contractor would be liable for cost overruns not the City of Fremantle?
  • Was the Admin building funded via Project Financing, as clearly stated in the 2012 Business Case, whereby the project would not require funds to be drawn from the City’s other sources of financing. In other words, was any debt associated with the project ring-fenced to the project itself rather than putting an additional debt burden on Fremantle ratepayers?

The Kings Square Business Plan was prepared for Council and publicly advertised in the second half of 2012 and adopted by Council in February 2013. The Plan provided the following costs for the construction of the new civic building;

Civic Centre and Library $16,779,883

Administration $27,564,642

TOTAL $44,344,525

These costs included demolition, base build and fit-out.

When budgeting for these works in subsequent years the City applied the Consumer Price Index (Perth) increases to the figures used in the original Plan. These were applied as follows;

Year

2014/15: $45,807,894

2015/16: $46,357,589

2016/17: $46,589,377

2017/18: $46,915,502

In late 2017 the City awarded a contract for the demolition of the former civic building and in late 2018 awarded a contract for the construction of the new civic, library and administration building and more recently a contract for additional furniture not contained in the construction contract. These amounts were for;

Demolition $ 2,383,743

Civic, Library, Administration $43,461,128

Additional Fit out/Furniture* $ 661,000

TOTAL $46,505,871

*(Not included in construction contract).

The project has been funded through reserve funds generated from the sale of property and debt funding as described in the Plan as below;

Reserves $29,550,000

Loan $20,000,000

TOTAL $49,550,000

Council meetings are in situ again and open to the public at the North Fremantle Community Centre, starting at 6pm.

Roel Loopers

 

A NEW PERSPECTIVE OF FREMANTLE

 

Progress

 

An interesting perspective of Fremantle’s Kings Square Redevelopment Project and other changes.  A former synagogue that now is a great pub, a church that remains a church, Fremantle Markets that needs some TLC, a carpark with a new artwork, a former cinema now home of the Department of Communities, a former department store now government offices, and the cranes of Fremantle Port, that might no longer be a port in the near future

Progress of cities, good and bad, is inevitable and always fascinating to watch. Way back, as a commercial photographer I recorded the huge changes in East Perth for years and later, for over a decade, the Midland redevelopment.

It always intrigued me how many very good changes are diminished by a few bad ones. City planning is not easy and it’s impossible to please everyone.

Time will tell if the Fremantle changes will bring the revitalisation of our city, that is badly needed and we all hope for.

Roel Loopers

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LOCAL COUNCIL PLANNING POWERS ESSENTIAL TO BUILD COMMUNITIES

 

Nigel Satterley, one of Western Australia’s biggest property developers, called last night on Channel Seven’s Flashpoint for the removal of planning powers from local governments and giving those powers to state government agencies. Satterley said that local councils should be responsible for picking up rubbish and cleaning roads, but that there were too many different planning rules at councils and that created red tape, long delays and additional costs for developers.

So no local say on what we want our cities to look like, as there would be very little chance of community input at state agencies levels, who would be swamped with planning approval applications from every council in WA. How would they cope with that any more efficiently than local government planning departments and committees?

If planning powers are removed from local governments the state government agencies can just ignore the wishes of the communities about the height and density of new buildings and what our cities should look like. That would be a disaster, especially for older character councils such as Fremantle.

State agencies JDAP and SAT already overrule council decisions often and permit buildings of inappropriate height, ignoring local councils, such as the 13-storey building on the former Subiaco Market side, which locals believe is far too high for the low rise suburb.

I have no doubt that planning rules at local councils could be streamlined and the process made easier and faster for developers, and it is probably arguable that major developments should be prioritised ahead of the addition of a fence or an extensions. The glut of small development applications delay the administration of large developments, which just get a number and end up on the bottom of the heap.

The experience at JDAP has often been that the majority of three members overruled the two Councillors on the panel, who tried to support what their local community and council want. The danger of creating pro-development panels taking over planning approval from local councils would have a negative impact on our democratic rights and that is not acceptable.

Local government elections already have a very low voter participation rate. Do we really believe anyone will bother to vote when councils are no longer in charge of what our cities should look like?  Looking after rubbish and roads can be done by the administration and does not require elected members, so why not stop democracy and get rid of local councils all together?

Developers already have the option to get large development approved or rejected by JDAP, with only a recommendation for or against the proposal from local councils.

One of the major issues with large developments are that developers do not build communities, only buildings. Developers contribute very little to what needs to be done by local councils to make their development attractive. It are the councils who build the streets, roads, parks, playgrounds, etc All the things people want and need. If community building became a priority for developers and were a planning law requirement we would get better cities where developers take corporate responsibility more serious and present us with plans to build exciting communities, not just boring big boxes.

Roel Loopers

 

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POPULAR NEWMAN COURT

 

Newman Court

 

Fantastic to see many people using Newman Court, between FOMO and the under construction Walyalup Civic Centre, at Kings Square. Freo activation is actually happening.

Roel Loopers

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THE REALISATION OF A FREMANTLE VISION

 

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I had a walk around Fremantle’s Kings Square this morning to check out the progress of the Walyalup Civic Centre development.

Good to see the tourist Visitor Centre is open and Sirona Capital promoting the FOMO brand for the future retail and hospitality hub.

It is interesting that over the last few weeks I have bumped into many people, who told me how much they like Freo and its lifestyle and the sense of community we have here. I totally agree. While good old Fremantle most definitely is not perfect, it is a great place to live and visit.

Roel Loopers

FOMO CAR PARK BRIGHTENS FREO CITY

 

FOMO

 

It’s a bit of a dreary old Freo day with showers and strong cold wins, so have some colour in your life to celebrate the end of the working week.

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE FACTS ARE NOT PROPAGANDA

 

Fremantle has a lot of funny people who do not accept that others have a different opinion. I get called anything from a Commie Mate to a Labor Stooge, and the Fremantle Council Propaganda Machine, and that I am Full of Shit, because those who are only interested in criticising our council are not interested in balanced and factual reporting.

One newish social media page is all about slamming our Councillors, but I had to laugh about a comment by a gentleman with an Italian name, who wrote that it was clear that Fremantle Council has failed because no one invests in the port city. Really?

I don’t know where the man lives but he must have the blinkers on if he is not aware about unprecedented development in Fremantle, more than we have had in twenty years!

Heirloom and LIV apartments buildings in Queen Victoria Street and Social in Henry Street, development of the Atwell and Manning Arcades, the Little Lane development that is under way, and the Energy Museum development that is due to start. There is also the boutique hotel and tavern development at the Warders Cottages, development of a hospitality hub and hotel at the Police and Justice complex in Henderson Street, plus the huge Kings Square Redevelopment project.

Planning approval has been given for the Adina Hotel development at the Woolstores and the Hilton Doubletree development at Point Street, and also for an eight storey wooden frame commercial building opposite Victoria Hall.

Plans are being considered for a big development in the Fishing Boat Harbour, the Communities Department has announced a major residential development at Vale Street, just up from the Fremantle Arts Centre, there is significant development at Amherst/Blinco streets, and major plans are being considered for the Heart of Beaconsfield.

Let’s also not forget the opening of Freo.Social and the Old Synagogue pubs, and a microbrewery and pub planned for the Sealanes site in South Fremantle.

I might have forgotten some development, because there is so much going on in Fremantle, thanks to Silverleaf Investments, Sirona Capital, Yolk Property Group, the Match group and others.

I know this will just be dismissed again by some as council propaganda, but facts are facts, even when some people like to ignore them. ;>))

Roel Loopers

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KINGS SQUARE LOOKING IMPRESSIVE

 

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Sirona Capital is adding some definition at street level of the Henderson Street carpark, with the installation of windows, and that looks a lot better than the black hoardings.

At The Walyalup Civic Centre detailed work has started on the main Kings Square entrance and brickwork. Personally I can’t wait for our new council building to open later this year.

Roel Loopers

 

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BUILDING FREMANTLE’S FUTURE

 

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Although it sometimes feels as if life is standing still because of Covid-19 there is still development going on in the Fremantle CBD.

I took this photo of the tavern and boutique hotel development between the Warders Cottages and the Fremantle Markets. Less than 200 metres from there the National Hotel will develop the former police and justice complex into a hospitality venue.

Just north of that the Walyalup Civic Centre development at Kings Square is in the finishing stages, and a bit further north from there the former Spotlight building at Adelaide Street is almost demolished and the Yolk Property group tells me they will get into construction of the eight-storey residential Little Lane development soon after that.

Life is never perfect and often a huge challenge, but we are very lucky to live in beautiful Freo!

Roel Loopers

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