Freo's View

KINGS SQUARE AHEAD OF SCHEDULE

 

painting

 

Another minimalist photo of the work that is going on at the Queensgate carpark in Fremantle’s Henderson Street, as part of the Kings Square Redevelopment Project by Sirona Capital.

The carpark is due to re-open well before the Christmas shopping starts, so only a few months from now.

The replacement for the Queensgate building at Newman Court now has a ground floor roof and first storey floor, and I was told this morning that the builders are ahead of schedule, so that is great.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE’S NEW DESIGN ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on July 20, 2018

 

The City of Fremantle has appointed new members to the Design Advisory Committee that advises the Council on development matters. They are:

Members
Mr Eamon Broderick (4 year term ending 30 June 2022) – new member
Ms Jennie Officer (4 year term) – new member
Mr Dominic Snellgrove (4 year term) – reappointment of previous member
Mr Sam Klopper (2 year term ending 30 June 2020) – new member
Mr Geoffrey London (2 year term) – reappointment of previous member

Deputy Members
Mr Patrick Kosky (4 year term) – reappointment of previous member
Ms Melinda Payne (2 year term) – reappointment of previous member

The appointments have been made in accordance with revised Terms of Reference for the DAC approved by the Council in May this year. One of the amendments to the terms of reference was to alter the length of time members will serve for, so that half the membership of the DAC will change every two years, rather than all members ending their term of office at the same time as has been the case up until now. The City believes this new arrangement will achieve a better balance between the benefits of experienced members who provide continuity of advice whilst also providing opportunity for new members to bring fresh points of view and different experience to the work of the DAC.

The DAC appoints its own Chair, and this will be done at the first meeting of the new committee on 30 July.

Roel Loopers

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WHY POSTPONE FREMANTLE PROJECTS HALF WAY?

Posted in city of fremantle, city planning, development, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on July 12, 2018

 

Fremantle Councillor Andrew Sullivan had a grumpy old evening at the FPOL Committee last night, and he had valid reasons for it.

Sullivan said he was not happy at all that the planned Esplanade hub was pushed back by up to three years and that the Naval Stores at Cantonment Hill renovations would only be done in half.

“It frustrates me that almost always we postpone big projects halfway” he lamented. In three years time we will agains spend hundreds of officers’ hours and community consultation to start all over again.

It is fair to wonder why this happens when the 2018/19 budget also allows for a new $ 25,000 concept plan for a city square at the railway station. When Alannah MacTiernan was a WA government minister more than ten years ago I walked with her from the port building to the railway station looking at plans for the upgrade of Phillimore Street, a new square at the station and a new roundabout at Cliff Street.

Three years ago CODA architects created plans on behalf of Fremantle Ports for the Victoria Quay development that also included detailed plans for the relocation of the busport and a town square, so why do we need more experts and spend more money on what already has been done?

The masterplan for Princess May Park was approved two years ago, but nothing has eventuated, so why the community consultation and all the hours of creating it?

Even more years ago then Councillor John Dowson complained that the City wanted to do a masterplan for the reactivation of the West End. Go to the library he said and look at the glossy document the City did on this only 2-3 years ago. Why reinvent the wheel again?

For an outsider it all looks self serving so that that someone who might be called a special projects officer, who is hidden somewhere among the hundreds of city staff, will have a reason for his/her job, so they are given useless tasks and repeat projects that have already been well investigated. It’s a waste of time and money.

Councillor Sullivan was rightly frustrated and Fremantle Council needs to learn to prioritise better and stick with the projects they have approved, not pushing them down the line of priorities when something else that also looks worth doing comes up.

Roel Loopers

 

WA PLANNING GREEN PAPER BUT NO ARCHITECTS

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, city planning, development, Uncategorized by freoview on July 6, 2018

 

The WA state government has released a green paper of changes to the planning process. It is 81 pages long, so too long to blog it all, but below the most important aspects of it.

Fremantle architect Tobias Bush already remarked on social media that the word architect has not once been used on all the 81 pages, and that is a rather remarkable oversight, and a slap in the face of those professionals who create the future of our cities.

 

  • Local governments to have up-to-date local planning strategies, including one for housing, through which the community has a say in how their neighbourhood will be developed.
  • Make strategic planning for sustainable development the purpose of planning in Western Australia.

Make the planning system easy to access and understand

  • A single concise State Planning Policy framework with common elements for State, regional and local plans and policies.
  • A comprehensive local planning scheme will be available online for each local government including a local planning strategy, the statutory scheme and local planning policies.
  • Reduce red tape by standardising commonly used zones.

Open up the planning system and increase community engagement in planning

  • A Community Engagement Charter with a focus on up-front community involvement in strategic planning.
  • Re-balance Development Assessment Panel processes including recording meetings, providing reasons for decisions, and undertaking more comprehensive investigation and consideration of complex proposals.
  • Local governments to report annually on their planning responsibilities.

Make the planning system well-organised and more efficient

Refocus the planning system to deliver quality urban infill

  • Revise the WA Planning Commission (WAPC) to include 5-7 specialist members and increase their focus on strategic planning and policy development.
  • WAPC to delegate more statutory matters to the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage and accredited local governments.
  • Rethink administrative processes that add unnecessary time and cost to approvals processes.
  • The State Government, WAPC and local government to collaborate on the planning and delivery of key centres and infill locations and forward planning of infrastructure.
  • Develop a state planning policy focused on delivering consolidated and connected smart growth.
  • Provide for coordinated land use and transport planning of key urban corridors.

 

Roel Loopers

COLOURFUL HILTON TOWN CENTRE

Posted in city of fremantle, hilton, pedestrians, traffic, Uncategorized by freoview on July 4, 2018

 

H 3

 

The Hilton town centre has become a bit more colourful and traffic changes hopefully will make it safer as well.

It looks quite cute, although the low fence-like structures could have been at least a metre high.

The no right turn out of Paget Street onto South Street was ignored already as the tall photo I took this morning shows.

Roel Loopers

WANTED: NEW IDEAS FOR WHITE GUM VALLEY

Posted in city of fremantle, development, local government, residential, Uncategorized by freoview on July 4, 2018

 

wgv 1

wgv 2

 

The sustainable WGV development project in White Gum Valley is progressing well with two new multi-storey buildings nearing completion.

The City of Fremantle is looking for ideas of what to do with the area of the former Men’s Shed, which needs to be demolished, and is doing community consultation about that.

Check the CoF website for details.

Roel Lopers

HOW TO LEGISLATE FOR BETTER CITIES?

 

 

What can a small city like Fremantle of just over 30,000 residents learn from a mega city like Singapore with over 5 million people? It was a question Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt asked when he went on a study tour with the South West Group and the Mayors of Melville, East Fremantle, Cockburn, Kwinana and Rockingham.

Yesterday at the monthly Fremantle Network event at the National Hotel the Mayor shared his thoughts and some photos, and it was a thought provoking presentation.

Brad Pettitt said that city greening was the extraordinary success of Singapore, as developers were required to create large green spaces on and around new buildings, but there is also a greening of highways, rooftops, walkways and gardens, and road corridors of trees that make large parts of the huge city look delightfully green. That is certainly a lesson we can learn from in Fremantle and in Western Australia, as European countries also do that much better and more intense than we do over here.

The largest vertical garden in the world is also in Singapore, comprising of 57,000 pot plants!

How we can legislate for it is altogether the question though. It probably needs to be done at state level, but there is always a risk that local council then lose control of their city planning.

I have suggested before here on Freo’s View that in appropriate locations Fremantle City should consider a percentage for green space, where developers are granted additional height if they create the equivalent floorspace into a green open space near or within the development.

Brad Pettitt also showed some less desirable and quite ugly highrise development that we definitely don’t want in WA.

The Freo Mayor also mentioned how massive the port of Singapore is with 35 million containers(TEU) a year.

Singapore has over 17 million international tourists a year, compared to WA of less than a million, and it is strongly branding itself as a green sophisticated city. Brad Pettitt thought Fremantle should celebrate its Aboriginal history more and make it part of our brand. We need a major attractor, Pettitt said.

The Mayor said that heritage was highly valued and protected in Singapore and that there is a lot of street activation in heritage areas, something missing in Fremantle, but there was a lack of solar energy use and Singapore was trying to catch up on that.

Brad Pettitt asked if there was a case to be made for greater hight if it helped to create better public realm, because the urban sprawl could no longer be supported in WA. “Get a train to Butler and see what we are doing!”

In that context it is good to note a change of heart by one of Melbourne’s leading urban planning experts Rob Adams, who ten years ago strongly supported densification and urban infill, but now says it has destroyed many streetscapes in the city because the public realm improvements did not eventuate when they started building highrise.

I say it again here that I would love to see a forum about what appropriate architecture, development and density for Fremantle could be, so I hope someone will organise an event that I would love to be part of.

Roel Loopers

WHAT DOES THE COMMUNITY GAIN FROM HIGHER DENSITY?

 

A new report by the Property Council of Australia appears to contradict the push for small houses and backyard infill by the City of Fremantle.

Hap-hazard low-density infill presents a major obstacle to coordinated and strategic development, the report claims. It suggests that to prevent this kind of on the hop development councils should introduce a minimum size of 1,200sqm blocks for development.

The report argues that people need to acknowledge that they are getting better outcomes from high-density development, but that shows not to be the case here in Fremantle, where nothing or very little is added to the public realm near medium and high-density new apartment blocks. Where are the new parks, grassed areas, community spaces, children’s playgrounds?

According to the report Perth will have 4 million residents by 2050, with many living in  apartments and townhouses near transport hubs and using trains for transport.

It will be interesting in this context to hear Freo Mayor Brad Pettitt speak about the lessons we can learn from Singapore at the next Fremantle Network event at the National Hotel, coming Tuesday at 6pm.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE MAYOR LESSONS FROM SINGAPORE

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle network, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on June 13, 2018

 

Pettitt talk

 

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt is the next speaker at the monthly Fremantle Network event next Tuesday June 19 at the National Hotel at 6pm. He will share his impressions of Singapore with us and what Fremantle can learn from this modern city.

The Freo Mayor went on a study tour to Singapore with representatives from the South West Group, that comprises of six local councils.

On one level Singapore and Fremantle seem very far apart. A high density metropolis of over 5 million that’s at the crossroads of global trade, in contrast with our relatively small and isolated port city.

But there are some important lessons, both good and bad, that Freo can learn from Singapore, be that city greening, density, heritage, affordable housing, tourism, and multi-modal transit investment.

Roel Loopers

FROM THE FREMANTLE PLANNING COMMITTEE

 

The Fremantle Council Planning Committee met in North Fremantle last night with an agenda of interesting items.

The two storey additions to a house in Thompson Road received the normal for and against public speakers and was deferred to full council.

The four-storey mixed use development of tourist accommodation, residential and restaurant at Parry Street, that has interesting architecture, was sent on for approval to JDAP, and the Wild Bakery will be able to relocate to the corner of Scott Street and South Terrace, although nearby residents were worried about parking issues.

An alteration in Hale Street was hotly debated but Councillors believed it should have a chance to be modified and  it will go to full council.

The awning at the new FOMO retail building on Kings Square received criticism from the City’s Design Advisory Committee, but Councillors agreed with Sirona Capital managing director Matthew McNeilly that the whole FOMO concept was about fun, impermanence, and transitional, and thus self-invigorating, and that the awning most likely would be replaced or modified to keep having a a visual attractor, and respond to the changing functions of the area.

Councillor Adin Lang needs to get his act together as he is embarrassing himself. He twice voted last night opposite from what he wanted to vote for and the Chair had to ask for the members to vote again, so that Lang could change his vote. This has happened before, so that is not good enough.

Councillor Lang unfairly makes himself look as if he is not the brightest light on a Christmas tree, but I believe it is either a lack of concentration by the young Councillor, or not doing his homework, and studying the agenda and attachments properly. He has been on Council for seven months, so he should understand process and procedure by now.

Roel Loopers

 

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