Freo's View

HAVE YOU VOTED YET? DO IT TODAY!

Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, elections, Uncategorized by freoview on October 12, 2017

 

If you have not voted yet for the Fremantle local government election, do it today and definitely before 6 pm on Tuesday, as your ballot paper might otherwise not make it in time!

Local government is real grassroots democracy, so make sure you’ll get the best possible representation and select the candidate that will deliver.

 

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FREMANTLE LIGHTRAIL NOT A PIPE DREAM

Posted in city of fremantle, lightrail, transport, Uncategorized by freoview on June 25, 2017

 

How nice to hear local councils in the Fremantle area working together for a change, instead of viewing each other as competition.

They could not agree on local government reform, council amalgamations and the Roe 8 highway, but now the South West Group of Cockburn, Fremantle, Melville, Kwinana, East Fremantle and Rockingham are planning ahead together for light rail, according to a report in today’s Sunday Times.

A Fremantle to Murdoch lightrail corridor is a high priority according to the report, but also a loop with Rockingham and the coast.

There is no doubt in my opinion that lightrail from Fremantle to Rockingham would be used extensively by locals and tourists alike and connect the two cities.

The South West Group report also considers lightrail from Fremantle to Canning Bridge and linking Cockburn and Fremantle.

Long-term planning by local councils for lightrail and traffic corridors is essential to pin point where new residential and commercial development should be encouraged so that planing schemes can be introduced to accommodate that.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt told the Sunday Times that local councils had a role to play in planning transit systems as they would need to rezone areas for transport hubs.

Lightrail has been on Fremantle’s wish list for a long time but low residential figures make it difficult to build a sound business case for it. However the development boom in Fremantle and Cockburn and along to coast to Rockingham is starting to make lightrail a very good option for the not too distant future, and we need to plan for that now.

Roel Loopers

 

FREMANTLE STAFF NOT WALKING THE COUNCIL TALK

Posted in cars, city of fremantle, local government, parking by freoview on February 28, 2017

Some Fremantle residents have suggested that the age of entitlement for Councillors should be over as far as free parking is concerned. Councillors receive one year free parking for every year they have been on Council, e.g Councillor Doug Thompson will get twenty years of free parking for his twenty-year service as Councillor should he decide to leave in October or not get re-elected.

The argument was that free parking was introduced when Councillor were volunteers but now that they get paid for doing the work they should no longer receive that perk. It was pointed out that the federal government has recently scrapped the life-long free travel pass for former MPs and Senators.

One can also question if a Council that strongly works toward increasing bicycle use and discourages cars in the CBD should give free parking to ex Councillors.

In that context one also has to wonder why on average 115 City of Fremantle staff park their car for free at the Queensgate carpark daily. That is one-quarter of CoF staff receiving free parking! Why does CoF encourage staff to come to work by car instead of walking the talk and promoting bicycle and public transport use?

One of the requirements for the Department of Housing to move to Kings Square was that the new offices had to be in walking distance to a train station and other public transport, and that is also one of the promoted attractions for inner city high-density infill.

CoF Manager of Economic Development and Marketing Tom Griffiths says that staff parking at Queensgate came at no cost to the City but once Sirona Capital takes possession of the carpark CoF will be looking for alternative free staff parking arrangements that will not take up parking bays that could be used by visitors, and that will have a minimum financial impact on the City.

However a recent CoF financial report stated the City had lost over $ 700,000 in parking revenue due to the sale of Queensgate, so did Sirona Capital provide free parking for the 115 City staff as part of the Kings Square Project contract last year?

There are plans for new public parking at Fremantle Park in Parry Street and the Stan Reilly Centre next to Fremantle Oval, as the inner city will be losing the Point Street carpark as part of the Hilton Doubletree development and also sold the carpark on the corner of Pakenham and Bannister streets for residential development.

Roel Loopers

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FEDERAL GOVERNMENT BULLIES FREO COUNCIL

Posted in aboriginal, australia day, city of fremantle, federal government, local government by freoview on December 2, 2016

I find it quite amusing to read that the Federal Assistant Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke has threatened Fremantle Council that the government could revoke Fremantle’s ability to conduct citizenship ceremonies because it will no longer have an event on Australia Day on January 26, but instead a big concert on January 28.

The Ass. Minister said council could not politicise the national celebrations of Australia Day.

Citizenship ceremonies all over Australia are held on days other than Australia day, so I see no reason why the City of Fremantle should be forced to hold one on January 26.

I would also like to know how many WA councils and shires celebrate Australia Day with events other than citzenship ceremonies. Has anyone in the commercial mass media bothered to check?

Roel Loopers

 

 

FREO CITY NEEDS TO PRIORITISE SPENDING

Posted in city of fremantle, economy, finances, local government by freoview on November 10, 2016

It appears the dire financial situation of the City of Fremantle has shocked some elected members with Councillor Doug Thompson even questioning at the FPOL Committee if the City needed to spend the relatively small sum of $ 54,000 on the first stage of a new club building at Parry Street for the Fremantle Workers, Tennis and Bowling clubs, which is a financial collaboration of the Workers Club, CoF and Department of Recreation and Sport.

Becoming financially more prudence is clearly required and Councillors and officers need to sit down and prioritise expenditure and find savings.

Councillors might have to reconsider the purchase of one or two of the Warders Cottages as community benefits for that are questionable since the cottages are tiny and have limited community use and hence will create limited income for the City but constant expenditure.

While the sale of the Knutsford Street depot will create a big sum of income for the city it might want to reconsider building a new administration building at Kings Square and compromise by extending the present one.

The present building boom will over time see a substantial rate increase for the City with more people buying residential and commercial property in Fremantle, but that is still many years away from making a positive impact on the City’s finances.

Fremantle is in a transformative state of substantial development that will see the City grow and prosper with more tourist, residential and office accommodation. That will also boost the retail and hospitality industries, but council expenditure needs to be more focussed and that can start with the administration increasing its performance in most areas and reducing the costs of external consultants, etc.

It is fantastic to have big plans and dreams for Fremantle, but financial reality has to come first so let’s put a focus group together that will make recommendations to Council on how to improve the City’s financial performance.

Roel Loopers

CITY OF FREMANTLE FINANCES A CONCERN

Posted in city of fremantle, economy, finances, local government by freoview on November 8, 2016

The City of Fremantle’s financial position is not very good according to the latest CoF Financial Year 2016 financial statements prepared for the Audit & Risk Management Committee, which includes comments made by the auditor on financial ratios.

A significant loss has been recorded for FY16 and well below budget, and there are pretty unflattering comments about CoFs’ financial ratios.

Assets Sustainability Ratio is below regional & state level, Debt Service Ratio which indicates ability to service debt is limited and declining, and Operating Surplus Ratio has continued to trend downwards and is below both regional and State averages.

The reports states ” …To help alleviate the continued erosion of ratios both the Council and management will need to consider ways to improve the operating position either via increasing revenue or by decreasing expenditure (or combination of both).”

I wonder how much of the expenditure is for personnel cost as there appear to be new people on big salaries popping up regularly at the City of Fremantle. Maybe it’s time for new CEO Phil StJohn to stamp down on expenditure and make his mark as this downward trend is a worry.

Roel Loopers

KINGS SQUARE FREMANTLE CITY CENTRE MASTERPLAN

Posted in city of fremantle, kings square, local government by freoview on October 13, 2016

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After a very busy day as volunteer guide at the Roundhouse I am going to be a lazy bugger and just copy the latest media release by the City of Fremantle about the Kings Square and Central City Masterplan below:

The City of Fremantle is progressing with detailed planning work ahead of construction of the $220m Kings Square Project which will transform the heart of Fremantle into a vibrant civic, retail, commercial and community hub.
The current focus for the City is the development of a coordinated masterplan to link public spaces in Kings Square with other key parts of the city centre.

The masterplan will include upgrades to the Kings Square public spaces as well as enhancements to connecting areas including Queen, Adelaide and Point streets and the development of a new public square at the Fremantle Train Station.

“The Kings Square project is a catalyst project with a far greater flow-on benefit for Fremantle than just the development of buildings in the Kings Square precinct itself,” said acting Mayor Dave Coggin.

“The project has always been seen by council as a way to reconnect public spaces in central Fremantle which have become disconnected from the city centre over several decades.

“The current work is focused on how best to upgrade surrounding areas which flow towards Kings Square to ensure the entire city centre is well-connected and a more attractive place for visitors, workers and businesses.

“Sirona has entered commercial negotiations with the Department of Finance, which is the next stage in the state government’s Fremantle office accommodation process and this is very positive and encouraging for the project’s future delivery.

“The current master planning work being undertaken will enable us to deliver what will be a game changing project for Fremantle as soon as possible after these commercial discussions are finalised,” Mr Coggin said.

Kings Square and City Centre Masterplan

As part of ongoing work, the City will develop an over-arching masterplan for the public realm in key city centre precincts. This masterplan will guide the detailed design and sequencing of the individual projects which will see parts of the city upgraded with better roads and footpaths, new street furniture, bike lanes, hard and soft landscaping, public art, lighting and CCTV.

The focus areas in the Kings Square and City Centre Masterplan are:

• Kings Square public realm upgrade
• a new city square at Fremantle Station Precinct
• Queen, Adelaide and Point street upgrades
• City Centre Northern Gateway: Proclamation Tree, Queen Victoria and Parry Street intersection upgrades.

The masterplan also recognises two important public open spaces: Pioneer Park and Princess May Park.

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VISIONS FOR FREMANTLE NEED TO BE INCLUSIVE

Posted in city of fremantle, communication, community, local government by freoview on October 2, 2016

As someone who only has approximately 15-20 years left to live I have been wondering for quite some time why society does not tap into the experience and wisdom of older people more and why it is that here in Fremantle council is very keen to engage with younger people and create a youth culture, while older people are ignored and often dismissed as being negative and against change.

We have a Youth Council in Fremantle, so why not also a Circle of Elders, a select group of older people who engage and want to contribute, people who come up with constructive new ideas. I don’t mean whingers who tell us everything that is going on in Fremantle is wrong, but I also don’t mean shoulder clapping one-eyed supporters of what Fremantle Council has been doing.

Personally I believe change is essential to move forward and progress in Fremantle, but change needs to be sensible and restraint, as it is often challenging and can even be confronting for many in our community who would like to hold on to the status quo.

I believe the if it ain’t broke don’t fix it attitude is wrong because often things can be improved, and I believe councils have a duty to make positive changes and long-term plans, and I believe the community can and should constructively contribute to that. Fremantle Council needs to get over its fear of being criticised, that is part and parcel of being in government.

We can start better community involvement by being more inclusive about who speaks at the monthly Fremantle Network events, because there is in my opinion an imbalance there that needs to be adjusted. I for one would like to hear Olwyn Williams the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce’s vision for Fremantle, and also that of Celia Hammond the Vice Chancellor of Notre Dame University. I would also like to hear constructive ideas from Fremantle Society president John Dowson on how his group believe we can move forward together and make Freo an even better place to live, and I like to hear from independent people who are not part of community or political groups.

There are many people in Fremantle who really care, who want to share, who have new innovative and realistic ideas and who want a positive debate about the future of our great city, so why don’t we embrace those, even when they sometimes are critical of Fremantle Council, why don’t we get to hear their stories, their dreams and visions?

I love engaging with young people as it is refreshing to hear their ideas, even if they are sometimes not that new and a bit naive. I enjoyed listening at the Fremantle Network to the very bright Liam Carter of the Youth Council and to the people of Soup. It’s great to see the enthusiasm and the willingness to get involved with local issues, but we need to engage all sections of our community, the left ‘loonies’ and the right ‘loonies’ and the old and young ones, and everyone in between.

If we can create real positive and respectful engagement between the community and the elected members and staff of the City of Fremantle we can truly make a difference, so let’s give it a go!

Roel Loopers

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IT’S A BLOODY COUNCIL MEETING COMRADE!

Posted in city of fremantle, hospitality, local government, retail, western australia by freoview on September 28, 2016

Ordinary Council of the City of Fremantle sat this Wednesday evening well chaired by acting Mayor Dave Coggin. The AM made one minute mistake only by not acknowledging the Noongar people, but only a pedantic Dutch imperfectionist would pick up such minor detail.

Interesting that the item for an eight storey building on the former Spotlight site at Adelaide Street was removed from the agenda without giving any reasons for it, so I wonder what is happening there.

The small bar at the old Weighbridge was on and opposed by Fremantle Society’s David Hawks who said the proposal was so ludicrous that it was almost laughable. He also pointed out that Council had approved the J Shed tavern, that was rejected by the WA Planning Commission on planning grounds.

A very interesting point I did not know about is that the proponents of the bar said they were invited by Fremantle Council to create a bar there, so that is a wee bit weird.

Councillor Strachan said he was concerned about traffic issues but not comfortable approving the lease but then not the planning proposal.

Brand new Councillor Hannah Fitzhardinge said that small bars were self-regulation and the risk of heavy drinking there was minimal as the responsible service of alcohol was easier to manage in a small bar environment.

Councillor Rachel Pemberton said that Council decided three years ago this was an appropriate use of space (as they did with a tavern and live music venue at J Shed!). She said the intersection at Cliff and Phillimore streets was a disaster but had nothing to do with the proposal. This is about creating activity in the area and making use of a heritage site, she said.

Councillor Dave Hume appeared to want to show off to the new female Beaconsfield Councillor by being very macho and using the word bloody a lot in his support for the bar and questioned what it was the Fremantle Society actually wanted. “People who complain about the bloody trains should go and live somewhere else” Hume thundered.

Councillor Andrew Sullivan said the bar was all about the vision Council has for the area, but apart from the word activation I don’t believe the community actually knows and understands what Council wants to achieve in the West End, with the Bathers Beach Art Precinct not working, the Walyalup centre being a flop and the J Shed tavern debacle a pure shambles, so please enlighten us braindead commoners about Council’s great vision for the area!

The limitation on fast food outlets came back to reality and that it was actually all about creating more retail diversity. Acting Mayor Coggin said Council needed to consider what a retail mix should look like for a vibrant city and that it was a show of confidence when large franchises like McDonalds wanted to come to Fremantle. I tend to agree with that.

I very much enjoy attending Council and Committee meetings of the City of Fremantle as it makes one understand the difficulties the elected members and officers face. It’s a whole lot more interesting than most so-called reality shows on TV, so go and see some Fremantle reality at the next Council meeting instead!

Roel Loopers

 

BEACY’S BIGGEST LOSER

Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, election, local government, western australia by freoview on September 19, 2016

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Facebook likes to rub it in and reminded me today that this leaflet was dropped in letterboxes in the Fremantle Beaconsfield Ward last October, when I attempted to become the next Beacy Councillor, but sitting member Dave Hume won comfortably.

As it turned out I became Beacy’s Biggest Loser and received the fewest votes of all three candidates, so just a little support from me for the three Beacy candidates who did not win the council election last Friday, when Hannah Fitzhardinge took the trophy.

Good on you Andrew Luobikis, Fedele Camarda and Peter Cruikshank for putting your hand up. You did yourself, your family and your community proud for showing your willingness to step up.

There is no shame whatsoever in not winning. Well done to you all and a big thank you from me!!

Roel Loopers

 

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