Freo's View

BEACY COMMUNITY MEETING WITH MAYOR

Posted in city of fremantle, community, council, democracy, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on May 1, 2018

 

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Fremantle Council quite often, and often unfairly, gets accused of not communicating and consulting with the community, so tomorrow morning Beaconsfield residents and business owners can chat with Mayor Brad Pettitt and some Councillors at Davis Park from 11.30am.

The Mayor in the Square has been taken to the suburbs for a while now, so that community members do not have to come to Kings Square on Wednesdays to meet the Mayor.

Your local councillors and City staff are always available to answer queries, so don’t hesitate to contact them. They are there to work for us!

Roel Loopers

GREAT $2,2 MILLION NEWS FOR FREO CANTONMENT HILL PROJECT

Posted in cantonment hill, city of fremantle, western australia by freoview on April 2, 2016

 

The Fremantle Cantonment Hill open day started with the very good news this morning that Lotterywest has granted the important City of Fremantle  project a $ 2,2 million grant and work on stage one will start in the second half of this year.

The Volunteer Sea Rescue organisation also received the keys for the Signal Station today and they will start moving brand new equipment in soon as well.

The move of innovators and incubators ENKEL into the former Naval Stores is just a matter of time and fine tuning the fine print of the long-term lease with the City.

Cantonment Hill will be a fantastic project for Fremantle that will become a very important tourist attraction because of its stunning views over the river, port and city, but also because of its very significant Aboriginal and British settlement history.

I was less than impressed by some local residents who claimed to have absolutely no knowledge of the project at their doorsteps and who already started complaining about losing views.

This project had extensive community consultation and coverage in the local media, City of Fremantle PR and even the West Australian, plus on social media and blogs, and the Friends of Cantonment Hill did do house to house letterbox drops with information, but the poor locals must have been asleep for the last three years and never heard of it all. Pathetic really! Don’t blame the process for your own ignorance but take part in the community you live in and inform yourselves.

The Cantonment Hill project is very important for Fremantle and will be another feature for our city.

Roel Loopers

RESPECTFUL DIALOGUE WAY FORWARD FOR FREO.

Posted in city of fremantle, elections, local government by freoview on October 19, 2015

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt wrote a blog post The Freo Election Wash Up that invites ideas from the community. Brad wrote it is a good time to take stock for Council and see how it can perform better, prioritise and consult. He also put a comment on my blog hoping that the us and them arguments would stop, and I am all for it.

We need to start with mutual respect first Brad, and I don’t believe it was necessary for you to mention on your blog the nasty comments made by some candidates. That does not help to get rid of the us and them situation. The election is over and we should all leave it behind us, and see the new term as a new start where Council needs to work better and more respectfully with the community.

It is quite insulting to the active members of the community, who come to Council and committee meetings and information sessions and who write submissions and address Elected Members, to feel ignored. When Council debates items it rarely refers to the spoken submissions just presented to them, as if no one has been listening. That needs to be improved and Councillors need to engage better and include the public gallery, and not like Councillor Dave Hume sit with his back to them. It is basic courtesy to acknowledge residents in the gallery. Especially Councillor Sam Wainwright does that well and so do Councillors Sullivan and Wilson.

I am all for a new start and working collaboratively with all Elected Members but you need to show the active residents more respect and not ignore our input. Honesty instead of clever spin would be good progress.

It is deeply frustrating to give Council feedback that is constantly being ignored, and it is pretty disrespectful to indicate there is a silent majority that wants exactly the opposite of the hundreds of submissions Council receives.

It are not the bloggers and people who comment on blogs and in newspapers who create the us and them battle, but Council itself. You cannot expect respectful dialogue if you do not genuinely listen to the people who are willing to engage with you, because the frustration of not being taken seriously will come to a boiling point. It is also disrespectful to dismiss submissions as NIMBY attitude because often good alternatives are presented by members of the public that council totally ignores.

The community has not made it into a youth versus old, anti progress against revitalisation, etc. debate but proponents and Council have. The community was not against the Esplanade Youth Plaza but just asked you to relocate it a hundred meters to the south. The community is not against a small bar/cafe/function centre at J Shed but believe historic Arthur Head is an inappropriate location for live outdoor concerts. The community wants Council to make better decisions, not stubborn ones.

The reason why there is so much aggression in comments to this blog is out of utter frustration, because the community feels Councillors have stopped listening. I would love to receive and publish more positive comments and I would love to write a whole lot more positive articles about Fremantle’s revitalisation, but we need to engage deeper and more respectfully with each other, Brad, and it needs to start with you. I have always tried to be fair and respectful to you, until you recently deeply and unnecessarily disappointed me, and you will need to earn my trust again.

I have no sour grapes losing the election. I have nothing against any of the Elected Members or City officers, but I do expect you to be honest and not engage in spin. I want the best for Fremantle and so do those members of the public who try to engage with Council, and I am confident that is also what all Councillors want.

I am all for good modern development. I am for more small bars and entertainment in the inner city. I am for more tourist attractions in the city. I am for more good retailers, more people living in the cbd, more offices, more hotels, more of all the good things in life that make small cities like Fremantle great. But I am not for Freo becoming like Perth, Melbourne, Sydney or Amsterdam, because that is not what Freo is about.

Let the number one priority be respectful dialogue with the community, deep and genuine listening and giving credence to those who engage with Council. That would be a great start to improve the relationship between us all and I am willing to make a real effort toward that.

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE ESPLANADE MASTERPLAN ON LINE

Posted in city of fremantle, esplanade, local government by freoview on September 6, 2015

grass 2The draft for the Fremantle ESPLANADE MASTERPLAN is on line and can be viewed and commented on here:

http://mysay.fremantle.wa.gov.au/fremantle-esplanade-masterplan?preview=true

Roel Loopers

Facebook: ROEL FOR FREO! Truly Independent – BEACONSFIELD Ward

NORTH FREO MCCABE STREET HIGH DENSITY

Posted in city of fremantle, local government by freoview on August 26, 2015

It has taken years and bloody hard and dedicated work by Fremantle Councillors and officers and members of the North Fremantle community, but Freo Council finally signed off tonight on the Mc Cabe Street/Stirling Highway Local Planning Policy 3.11 and agreed to cap height at 33 metres.

Can I just say from my own observation that COF officer Paul Garbut deserves a medal for being such a down to earth and outstanding community liaison person. His matter of fact approach took a whole lot of negativity and aggression out of the process, so well done, Paul! (When the pay rise comes you can buy me a beer. ; >)

A few community speakers were still critical of the process, and that irked Councillor Andrew Sullivan who had put a lot of thought and work into it, and he lamented that in Fremantle “It is always about height!” This will not be the perfect and the best solution, Sullivan said, and he was disappointed that Councillors and the public did not get to view better 3D modelling. (It is something I have been critical about for years!)

Councillor Sam Wainwright rightly asked why Council wanted to relax the 15% affordable housing policy and said Council needed to be consistent with it, but Councillor Bill Massie said it was an impediment to developers.

Councillor Rachel Pemberton said Council could learn from the intense community consulation process and that it should be implemented more often, and I totally agree with that!

At the end I believe this is a good compromise that will please some and irate others. Everyone involved tried their best and the North Freo community can be proud that they kept fighting.

Roel Loopers

ROEL FOR FREO! Truly independent

WHAT DOES THE COMMUNITY WANT AT THE ESPLANADE?

Posted in city of fremantle, esplanade reserve by freoview on June 10, 2015

I had a wander around the Fremantle Esplanade Reserve this morning to get a better idea of what the draft new Masterplan for the reserve is all about and until I have seen detailed drawings I am not convinced that the proposed location for a so-called ‘park hub’ that would require the relocation of the long-established Carriage Cafe, is in the right spot between the ferris wheel and skatepark.

I walked it out and the distance from the path at the railway crossing into the Fishing Boat Harbour to the Youth Plaza is only 30 metres long, and it would only be a 20 short metres from the railway line that might well see more frequent container transport and double stacked containers to accommodate Fremantle Port. Is that the appropriate location for a cafe and shade structures where people would sit next to the very noisy trains and deal with dust, etc? I don’t think so!

When one looks south from the ferris wheel the triangular grass area to the right along the railway line will be developed into a half-size basketball court, so the noise of bouncing balls all day long is not a great invitation to sit and relax nearby and have a meal.

I talked to Carriage Cafe owner Kel Smith who told me he owns the structure and, as a structural engineer, he does not believe it can be moved without doing serious damage to the cafe, so have the officers and consultants considered that in their draft proposal?

The other issue is the extension of Norfolk Street to Mews Road. It would require Mainroads to do that and the PTA to create yet another railway crossing in the area. They spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on new railway crossings that were supposedly needed for the millions of spectators for the ISAF world sailing championships, who never arrived.

Will the PTA be willing to close one railway crossing to open up another one at considerable costs, and will State Government be willing to invest in extending Norfolk Street?

Extending Norfolk Street would likely increase traffic along Parry Street substantially, but the City of Fremantle has also flagged they want to use Fremantle Oval more often for events and concerts. How are we going to address thousands of people coming to a major event having to negotiate heavy traffic along Parry Street?

Moving events from the Esplanade is not going to happen fast as the Jerome Laneway festival received a 10 year lease, if I am correct. I don’t know what the arrangement with the Chilli and other festivals are and if they are long term, but the ice rink has a five year agreement as well.

So far for me the best thing in the draft Masterplan is to create to pedestrian crossings on Marine Parade. they are long overdue and I welcome them.

The proposed new Esplanade Masterplan needs a lot of thinking about details and consequences and it needs a very long period of real community consultation where Council will actually listen and implement what the inner city residents want on the Esplanade. There is still a lot of bad blood about the EYP and Council needs to do better this time.

Roel Loopers

ARE OVERSEAS IDEAS BETTER THAN HOME GROWN?

Posted in city of fremantle, housing by freoview on June 3, 2015

I enjoy Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt’s blog posts on his fact finding trip to liveable European cities, as there is always something we can learn. But I wonder why something from elsewhere always makes a bigger impression and people like our Mayor say we should do this in Fremantle. Take Brad’s blog on Hamburg for example.

The Mayor raves about affordable housing projects in the German city of Hamburg, where like-minded people get involved to create the environment they’d like to live in. I suggested something along those ideas in one of the many Freo Future 2029 workshops I attended, but it was not even mentioned in the elaborate document the COF published.

My idea at the time was to create affordable housing projects for e.g. artists and other creative people, with shared meeting and dining areas and open green spaces, maybe even sharing cars, scooters, bikes, washing machines, etc. Each project specifically designed for the needs of that specific group, so they take ownership of the creation.

I think this is a pretty good example of governments not listening well enough to the community, but spending a lot of money on overseas trips to get exited about ideas overseas, that locals at home also had, but went unnoticed.

It reminds me all a bit too much of when I hear people say that  WA artists can’t be very good if they have not had exhibitions in the eastern states and overseas. Believing that the best is elsewhere shows a lack of confidence in the place one lives in.

Roel Loopers

COMPLAINT CHOIRS INSTEAD OF COMMUNITY CONSULTATION

Posted in choirs, city of fremantle by freoview on March 6, 2015

The times of just having a whinge on talkback radio, blogs or in letters to editors is over with the introduction of COMPLAINT CHOIRS all over the world. An innovation ideally suited to the grumpy, but creative and musically talented, Fremantle community I believe.

Complaint Choirs were conceived in Finland, made their way to Birmingham in the UK, and there are now 11 of these negative noise groups in Korea.

The Freo community, that feels ignored by Fremantle Council, would probably start a concert with All We Need Is Love, followed with an adaption to the Dylan song For Freo Council Needs a Changing and They’re The Devil in Disguise.

The lack of community consultation could see the revitalisation of the Pat Boone Song Lost Letters In The Sand, but FRRA could prefer Cauldron of Hate by Canibal Corpse or Def Leppard’s When Love and Hate Collide.

Freo Council under conductor Brad Pettitt could respond with its own Choir and sing the Bicycle Song by Red Hot Chilli Peppers, or Bike Ride to the Moon by The Nits. It only takes an additional word to make The Golden Bike Path a new version of the Chemical Brothers rendition.

The possibilities for great complaint concerts are endless and they could in time replace the boring community consultation session local governments run.

Roel Loopers

RESIDENTS’ TSUNAMI AT FREMANTLE COUNCIL

Posted in city of fremantle, local government by freoview on January 29, 2015

The public gallery was packed at last night’s Fremantle Council meeting and there was a tsunami of public speakers, mainly on such issues as the North Fremantle McCabe Street and Arts Precinct Burt Street developments. Councillors listened for one hour and 45 minutes to public speakers before they could start debating the agenda items.

It was positive to hear many thanking the Planning Department staff for very good community consultation, and the North Freo residents would have felt delighted and listened to when a motion by Councillor Doug Thompson carried to extend community consultation to get a proper traffic management plan in place there.

The residents around Burt Street would feel less than happy with Council approving the Department of Housing development there that will have considerable parking, traffic and social impact on the area. Councillor Bill Massie was on the side of the residents, saying that it needs a lesser scale development and that Council should listen to the community on this, while Councillor Sam Wainwright said it would be a Berlin-style development that would be o.k. as long as traffic management considered bicycle and pedestrian priorities.

Robby Lang of the Fibonacci Centre in Blinco Street can also finally go ahead with the changes to the centre after having compromised and listened to the neighbours, but the COF should create better parking in the area that is now being developed for more residential use.

Leasing the Signal Station on Cantonment Hill to the Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue organisation did not sit well with one resident, but he was promised community consultation. Councillor Josh Wilson believed it is an fantastic opportunity too good to say no to and it would be a debacle if the City lost that opportunity by delaying a decision.

The City of Fremantle will spend $ 275,000 on upgrading the High Street Mall and the three major business owners there will together contribute $ 50,000 as well, but not all Councillors approved of it with Councillor Bill Massie saying the CBD urgently needed a toilet first. Councillor Rachel Pemberton said Council should put money where its mouth is and practice what we preach.

Toilets were also on the mind of Michael Martin of the Fremantle Residents Beach Users who complained about the state of the change rooms at South Beach. To that should be added the lack of a public toilet at Bathers Beach.

Having been to many Council and Council committee meetings over the last years it appears to me that there is scope for improvement on the planning process of major developments, that would see less need for residents to speak at Council and try to stop what they believe is inappropriate development. Community-led design from the very early beginning of a project would save developers money and time and would give Councillors less headache. The Fremantle Society suggested this years ago and asked for very early involvement before detailed plans were drawn. It takes negativity and protest out of the process and empowers the community to be part of positive outcomes. Fremantle is different and Council should be willing to try something ground breaking to initiate a better and more positive planning process.

Roel Loopers

THE YEAR OF GOVERNMENT AKRASIA

Posted in city of fremantle, local government by freoview on December 30, 2014

The year 2014 has been the year of akrasia, as there have been too many mind-boggling decisions made by our local and state governments. Stubbornness has crept into politics, where not many elected members seem to care about long-term implications of their short-sighted decisions.

State Government keeps overriding local government planning decisions with little regard for the communities who do not want dramatic changes to the character of their suburbs and lifestyle. High density commercial and residential is the way forward no matter that office buildings in Perth and West Perth are empty and that Sirona Capital seems to be unable to sign up major tenants for the Fremantle Kings Square development. There is enormous competition from Joondalup, Midland, Cockburn, etc. but up we go and the DAP will just sign off on high buildings to please developers.

Residential units are on average $ 80,000 more expenisve in Freo than when one buys them in Perth, so why bother moving to the port city when it costs a decent year’s salary more than elsewhere?

The Roe Highway truck toll road is pure madness because it means all these fast-moving trucks will end up in long queues at North Fremantle. One has to ask also why Fremantle Ports built a million-dollar rail loop and extended the train terminal, when State Government wants to move away from rail and more containers transported by road.

While State Government blames the drop in commodity prices for its bad financial state, fact is that W.A. lost its Triple A credit rating well before the price of iron ore dropped. It’s not just the low GST return that made our state be in the financial mess it is in, but basic bad decision-making is to blame. Instead of building light rail through north Perth and linking universities and hospitals we are building rail to the airport and a truck freeway through the Beeliar wetlands. Akrasia and stubbornness are the probable explanations for that. The Elizabeth Quay project and new Burswood stadium are other clear examples of that.

Fremantle Council has been all over the shop with inconsistent decision-making. Community consultation is sheer tokenism, as especially the Malcolm Street decision showed, that will change the tight-knit community there forever. There is little respect for community sentiment and it is dismissed as NIMBY mentality.

In February we will see the launch of Fremantle Transitions, but I have given up all hope that it will be of any substance after the lengthy Visioning 2029 project that ended with a rubbish document.

The City of Fremantle has no real vision for the future and suffers from naivety and mediocrity. It makes little difference to produce new master plans and so-called integrated vision plans, when they are not outcome based. It’s all about making the community feel good about community consultation and gives and air of professionalism to what basically is a shambles. Let me ask some questions here: What is the City’s Plan B for the Kings Square development? What is the City’s vision to attract more tourists and give them more attractions? What is the City’s realistic vision to improve retail and make Fremantle a shopping destination again? Why did the COF sign off on a very expenisve new civic centre when it was known that East Fremantle would amalgamate with Fremantle and that the EF council chambers and administration offices would become available to the bigger City of Fremantle?

I am all for looking after the planet but let’s be realistic about the impact on our economy of being a One Planet, Carbon Neutral city. Does any of it improve the plight of our local retailers, the homeless, those looking for affordable housing?

The Fremantle community no longer believes it is listened to and those of us who consistently attend workshops are very disillusioned and believe we wasted our time, because against better knowledge the elected members will often vote against the wishes of the community. When elected members are on record saying that they are happy to extend community consultation on highrise at McCabe street in North Fremantle but that they will not change their mind on it, that smells of incredible arrogance that the community will not tolerate.

The best outcome for Fremantle will be the amalgamation and that we can vote a whole new council in, a council that will hopefully have more common sense and vision for the future than the present one had displayed. To move Fremantle forward we need broad-minded visionaries without green goggles on Council who can see a realistic bigger picture for our city, so that’s my wish for Freo for the New Year.

I wish all Freo’s View readers around the world a very happy 2015. The blog was read by over half a million people in 136 countries this year. I posted 1,252 posts up to now this year. This one is number 1253. It has been a labour of love for Freo, and your participation has shown you appreciate my commitment to the city I love and care about.

Roel Loopers

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