Freo's View





Wake up Freo and get out and about while the weather is fine. There is thunder and rain forecast for late afternoon and the evening, so make the best of it!

The Freo Farmers Market is on from 8am till noon, the cafes are open and need our support, so have a nice breakfast somewhere, and then stroll around our beautiful city and support our retailers, restaurants and pubs, who need a bit of TLC.

Roel Loopers





The findings of the investigation into the City of Perth council are disturbing and raise questions about how good Western Australia’s other councils are.

Already we have had retiring Liberal politician Mike Nahan calling for an investigation into Fremantle council, and of course relentless council critic and Liberal party supported John Dowson has jumped onto that bandwagon.

But councils should not be about party political issues. In my perfect, utopian and totally unrealistic world local government should be A-political, neither far to the left, nor far too the right. Fremantle Council is not going to be better by just replacing all the left leaning Councillors with right leaning Councillors. Good government is about balance.

It is a fallacy of course to believe that Liberal governments, be that at local, state or federal level, are better at financial management, as the biggest debt in WA’s history left by the Colin Barnett government shows, but Fremantle’s financial management has not exactly been something to write home about either.

Councillors are human beings, who have likes and dislikes, political, economic,  environmental and personal preferences and interests, and like all of us they are not perfect, and neither are the administrations of our local governments, so who is keeping an eye on it all?

The yearly audit of local councils appears to just be a financial one, CEO’s get judged on their performance by Councillors they work with, and often the relationship between the administration and elected members is just a bit too comfortable, and that could create problems when assessing the CEO and administration.

It is too costly to believe the WA state government could or should investigate every council to check if they could perform better and more efficiently and professionally, but the standards somehow need to be raised and there need to be more checks in place to make sure that everything is above board.

As someone who has observed and scrutinised Fremantle Council for well over a decade  I have no fear that anything untoward has happened here, but there are many things that could be improved.

For some planting 50,000 trees is more important than preserving historic and neglected Arthur’s Head and the Roundhouse, for others creating more bike paths is a priority over repairing grumbling footpaths and doing essential maintenance.

The solution lies somewhere in the middle, but that means leaving ideological blinkers at home and be a good elected administrator of council business, instead of a party pushed politician.

Unfortunately it is well known that all political parties want to push for more political power at local governments, so things will get worse, until we wake up and call the whole lot of them out at the ballot box and vote more and more for independents.

What happened at the City of Perth needs to be a wake up call for all local governments and there should be a real desire to improve greatly.

Roel Loopers





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





A late item about the new Fremantle traffic bridge was added to last night’s Fremantle Council meeting agenda, at the initiative of Mayor Brad Pettitt. This is very important because Freo Council and the community need to be proactive on this, to make sure that we not only get an outstanding new bridge of great creative design, but also that the old heritage-listed bridge will be preserved for the community.

The community wants a significant say in this and at the very early stages of planning, because we don’t want this project delayed by being presented with plans that are finalised and not negotiable. The bridge will be a new entry statement into Fremantle and hence needs to be attractive, maybe even one tourists can climb on to and get ggreat views of Fremantle Port and the Swan River, like the Sydney Harbour Bridge

  1. Welcomes the Federal and State funding commitment of $230m for the Swan River Crossing project, a project that will see major infrastructure delivered that will have an asset life in excess of 100 years;
  2. Adopts the following principles to assist with the City’s analysis and feedback to Government as the project unfolds and develops:
    1. PLANNING–That the StateGovernment provides clarity around how this project supports the long-term strategic planning scenarios for the region and how transport planning is fully integrated within this, and specifically how options will address:
      • the recommendations of the Westport Taskforce in relation to the future of the Inner Harbour of Fremantle Port;
      • land use, traffic, freight and passenger rail planning options for the areas on the north and south of the proposed new crossing;
    2. ALIGNMENT & CONNECTIONS – That the new bridge alignment(s) are optimised in terms of:• long-term planning scenarios;
      • uninterrupted flow / connectivity of the state’s Principle SharedPath (PSP) to Fremantle and North Fremantle Rail Stations. • low-speed cycling and pedestrian connectivity and amenity; • cultural heritage and place-making, in particular, impact onFremantle Traffic Bridge.
    3. DESIGN–That the Swan River Crossing demonstrates excellence in design – delivering infrastructure through a multi-discipline design process that celebrates contemporary bridge design and creates a memorable gateway experience and a place for people.
    4. HERITAGE – That a significant portion of the Fremantle Traffic Bridge is preserved at both ends – especially on the southern end – and adapted in a manner that:• retains pedestrian and cycling functions on its top deck;
      • retains a section over Beach Street, including its abutment andarchitectural embellishments;
      • is activated, connected and generates a destination for peopleon the foreshore;
      • remains an asset of the State Government.

5. CULTURE–That the Aboriginal significance of this rivercrossing/ location is clearly understood, respected and interpreted in the design and deliverables. This could be a major component of the % for Art program associated with this project.

  1. PUBLIC REALM & PLACE – That all public realm either created or modified by this project is safe, attractive, connected and inviting – with the potential to be extended and further connected with future riverside enhancements and developments – specifically, that increased curtilage is created in front of the Naval Stores building on Canning Highway to assist with activating this building and connection to foreshore.
  1. Requests that MRWA commence community engagement as soon as possible, and that this engagement process includes a full and transparent evaluation of design options and bridge alignments that respond to the principles noted above;
  2. Determines a final position on the various aspects of the Swan River Crossing in light of the comments and results that arise during the community engagement process.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, gardening, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on June 24, 2020


Boo planting


Come along for a few hours of planting at Booyeembara Park this Saturday. It will be from 9- 11.30am near Sullivan Hall in Stevens Street.

All equipment provided, but bring water, food and gardening gloves.

Roel Loopers



Posted in city of fremantle, community, education, men, mental health, social services, Uncategorized by freoview on June 22, 2020



The Freo Men’s Shed is not at all a meeting place for grumpy old men, but instead a real community hub were people gather, relax and do handy and community work together.

Of the 330 members the shed has 50% are under the age of 50 and there are 50 female members among them. I heard there was a meeting in Booyeembara Park yesterday to start a women’s shed.

I had a chat with president Mark Thomas and lifelong member Bill Johnstone on Friday and they told me about the many things the Freo Men’s Shed has been involved in, from woordworking classes for Christian Brothers College students, to looking after the organic vegetable gardens, helping out at the women’s health centre, supporting the Hilton PCYC, doing handy services for single women who need support, making a book tree for a local school, assisting with mental health programs for youth, music jam sessions, etc.

There are wood and metal workshop spaces, a music space, and they are happy to help out and give handy tips

They also have a team removing non spray graffiti every Tuesday around Fremantle, and told me they are very disappointed about the bad and incorrect press they have been getting lately.

The official name is the Fremantle Men’s Community Shed, and one can see why, because the shed is a place to hang out, meet mates, help out in the community, tend to the gardens.

They also make beautiful woodwork for the shop, which is in an old railway carriage, so if you are looking for great handmade cheese or cutting boards, etc. make sure to visit the shop.

Find out opening times by emailing or give them a call on 9337 8614


Roel Loopers




At the Ordinary meeting held on 16 June 2020, East Fremantle Council endorsed a new Master Plan for the precinct north of Preston Point Road, overlooking the Swan River, to guide the site’s future development.

The vision includes improvements to facilities for community services, local sports and passive recreation.

The Town thanks everyone who contributed to the Master Plan, made possible through the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries CSRF Fund.

Where to from here? The proposed elements will be mapped for monitoring and review, along with seeking funding partners to enable implementation.



Posted in city of fremantle, community, covid-19, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on June 13, 2020






As flagged on Freo’s View last weekend Fremantle Council wants to scrap half of the free CAT bus service, to make necessary budget savings.

On Wednesday evening Councillors agreed to ask the Public Transport Authority for a variation in contract and scrap the Red CAT that runs a loop from the Maritime Museum to the Fremantle Arts Centre.

Fremantle Council also wants to reduce the frequency of the Blue CAT that loops from the railway station to South Beach from one bus every ten minutes to one every 20 minutes.

If the PTA agrees to the contract changes it would save Fremantle $ 432,000 per year. The PTA pays 40% and the City of Fremantle 60% of the service.

Roel Loopers


Posted in aboriginal, city of fremantle, community, indigenous, racism, Uncategorized by freoview on June 8, 2020


The BlackLivesMatter protest for this Saturday June 13 at 12 noon has changed to Langley Park in Perth, so no longer Hyde Park.

I presume that is to be able to accommodate a large number of people while adhering to the social distancing rules.

Roel Loopers



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