Freo's View


Posted in Uncategorized by freoview on August 28, 2020

The announcement that there will be $ 1oo million off-campus new student accommodation built at Curtin University that will be able to house 900 students is a reminder that Fremantle’s Notre Dame University is not any closer to building student accommodation, and there does not seem to be much interest from developers either.

When Notre Dame bought the huge former Customs House property between Henry and Pakenham streets there were rumours that a possible redevelopment would include accommodation for students, but the uni has not made any significant changes to the buildings at all.

The promoted masterplan for NDA has also not been forthcoming, and trying to get any information out of new Vice Chancellor Francis Campbell is like talking to a brick wall. He rudely does not respond to questions put to him. I am still waiting for a polite acknowledgment that he received the questions I emailed at the start of June to him, but alas…………

Fremantle Council wants many more people living in the inner city and it is an absolute shame to see thousands of students leaving town at the end of lectures every day, when we would like them very much to be part of the Freo community.

Roel Loopers



trackless tram


Lightrail is allegedly popular because buses are deemed to be boring and uncomfortable while trains are sexy, hence TV stations in Perth yesterday showed Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt and CUSP Professor Peter Newman promoting trackless trams through Fremantle and all the way to Murdoch.

“The world is watching us” Newman proclaimed, but the new technology is not that new at all with the first guided systems dating back to the late 1980s, while it has had limited commercial success since the 2000s in places like Rouen in France, Castellon in Spain and Las Vegas, and there is one somewhere in China as well I believe.

Trackless trams look good, I have to agree, and at only $15 million per kilometre are about a third cheaper than trams on rail, but they can get stuck in traffic, like buses and that is not very good for public transport.

The promo video on TV yesterday showed a trackless tram along the Cappuccino Strip and High Street in the West End where traffic often comes to a standstill because of traffic volume or people parking. A trackless tram down the popular Freo strip would also be the end for any parade such as the Blessing of the Fleet and Anzac Day going through there because unlike buses lightrail can’t just be diverted through other streets.

The low gradient for trackless trams is also a worry. Could they drive up to South Street at the Hilton Hill or High Street near Monument Hill?

According to Professor Newman two trackless trains are waiting for a trial in Australia, but Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth also are interested which will make Fremantle unlikely to be the preferred option.

Roel Loopers



The news about substantial development at Curtin University should send a message to Fremantle’s Notre Dame University.

The Exchange Precint at Curtin will create a mini city with more student accommodation, shops, offices and even a hotel.

There has been a lot of talk at NDA about student accommodation and that the university is part of the Fremantle community but they are not walking the walk.

Notre Dame bought the large Customs House ‘precinct’ between Henry and Pakenham streets but we have not heard a single word about what they intend to do with it.

There have been constant promises of street activation of NDA owned buildings, but that too is just an irrelevant signature on a useless Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Fremantle.

The CODA Architects designed activation hubs are nowhere to be seen and there are no seats for all the students who just sit on the grass at Phillimore Street in between lectures.

The suggested creation of a relaxation park, where the carpark is on the corner of Cliff and High streets, has also not been realised, so all we are getting from NDA is procrastination and empty promises.

I have been a big supporter of our Freo uni but the status quo really is not good enough, and the new Vice Chancellor is still six months away, and he will first have to find his feet in the new position, so how much longer does the Fremantle community have to wait until NDA  shows they truly care about being part of our community?

Fremantle is struggling and needs all the support it can get. Student accommodation and street activation are part of that and need to be implemented by NDA with priority.

Roel Loopers



In context to the controversial tavern proposal for Fremantle’s J Shed there is a timely article in today’s property pages of the WEST AUSTRALIAN by Brett Mitchell, who is a lecturer at Curtin University at the School of Design and Built Environment.

The article Past, present populate our cityscape argues that we can no longer treat development sites as terra nullius.

Brett Mitchell writes “Our past history and future aspirations should be entwined as creative starting points for making meaningful places.”

He writes that before moving forward we have to look back first. Mitchell uses the heritage-listed cemetery in East Perth as an example where development dictated the shifting boundaries, and that once important meeting places for Whadjuk Noongar people became surrounded and claimed for expansion.

“With an awareness and retelling of our embedded stories the built environment also offers us a chance to reveal the past within the present” writes Brett Mitchell.

These are the things Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt clearly did not consider when he wrote his block post about the, in his opinion, historic irrelevance of the A Class Reserve at Arthur’s Head that is home to J Shed.

The cliff that was once there was the point of the first lighthouse in Fremantle, probably just about where J Shed now is.

We should never ever try to rewrite history to make political points, because it is flawed and very wrong. Arthur’s Head is arguably the most significant historic site in Western Australia and any development there needs to be done with respect for the past.

The desired activation of  Arthur’s Head can be achieved in better and more creative ways than building a tavern there. It is only Council’s shortsightedness and stubbornness that has prevented better outcomes.


Roel Loopers





Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, sustainability, Uncategorized by freoview on March 21, 2018




Is urban design for sustainability a pipedream or is it something that can be realised, and if so how?

Professor Peter Newman and Annie Matan of the Curtin University of Sustainable Policy-CUSP and Fremantle Mayor Dr Brad Pettitt will address all this at the Urban Design Day next Monday March 26 at the Fremantle Library.

It starts at 9am and finishes at 3.30pm.

Roel Loopers



Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on August 30, 2017


Fremantle LIV Defence Housing apartment development seen from Quarry Street.


There is an interesting article about urban infill in the West Australian today by the president of the Property Council of WA Tanya Trevisan.

Trevisan reports and reflects on a recent collaborative study by the PCA, Curtin University and CODA architects.

The study found that if the state’s infill target was increased from 47 per cent to 60 per cent, WA could save $ 23 billion by 2050.

According to the report supplying infrastructure to greenfield development costs up to three times more than urban infill development.

Tanya Trevisan argues that urban infill, when done well, offers balanced and diversity of housing. She writes that infill creates stronger communities and maximises the effectiveness of existing infill.

There is no doubt for me that the Perth urban sprawl is not sustainable and the Great Australian Dream of one’s own house with front and back garden can’t be sustained in our fast-growing city.

However, due to the mining bust, thousands of people have left the state, and fewer move or migrate to W.A. so our need for extensive residential development is also diminishing for the time being.

There have been serious social issues around the world with high-density living, so not all is good.

I believe there is also the need for new public transport nodes outside the inner character cities, because inner city living is often too expensive for those on lower income, students, etc. Building medium to high density in some outer pockets, where good public transport is provided, is essential as we can’t just stuff our unique centres with large concrete boxes, and destroy their character.

Tomorrow evening at 5.30 there is a Housing Forum at the Moore&Moore cafe in Freo’s Henry Street, so check it out!


Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle, housing, universities, western australia by freoview on April 27, 2016

A report by Knight Frank identifies that there is a shortfall of well over 23,000 Purpose Built Student Accommodation-PBSA in Perth and a staggering near 300,000 shortfall in Australia.

I have long advocated for more student housing in Fremantle for Notre Dame University students and for those at Murdoch and Curtin, as long as the accommodation is built near public transport nodes.

With an oversupply of residential apartments it might now be the time for developers to start thinking about student accommodation and for governments to support it by offering land at reduced prices.

In Fremantle it would be an economic investment to support our traders and the hospitality industry as thousands of students living here would shop and consume here and eat and drink at our cafes and restaurants.  And they would bring that great youthful vibrancy to the city.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, solar, sustainability by freoview on April 13, 2016



The Federal Government’s green energy arm ARENA will be funding $1 million into a micro-grid project in White Gum Valley.

The solar battery technology will allow the apartments on the former Kim Beazley school site to store and trade power. This is the first trial in the world of the micro-grid technology. 

The Landcorp solar energy project that will cost a total of $3 million will have solar panels and batteries installed at four apartment buildings on the WGV development site at Stevens Street.

Strata companies who manage the apartment can sell the electricity to tenants, so they don’t have to buy their power from SynergyIt is estimated that the strata companies would be able to sell electricity to tenants and home owners cheaper, or at the same price as Synergy does, while the owners and occupiers of the apartments will be allowed to sell power to other apartments if they don’t use all the power generated.

The development has received criticism from the White Gum Valley community because nearly 100 trees were killed to make way for the development. Solar energy does not like large trees around buildings as they impact on how much sun light the solar panels receive.


Roel Loopers




Posted in education, fremantle, universities by freoview on April 6, 2016

One of the most rewarding things about publishing my blog and being very involved with Fremantle issues is that I have a lot of contact with university students. Young people are the future so it is important for me to know what they think and that they engage with local government and the community.

I received this message from Curtin University student Samia Scott via Facebook and am happy to support her here.

Hi Roel, I’d like to introduce myself as a student of architecture studying online through Curtin University and during this semester our design brief is for a “market place” at Bathers Beach. After early research, this seems an absurd design idea and I would like your help if you can post on your Facebook page to the community of Fremantle…”what would they like to see most as an addition to Bathers Beach”.. I’m aware the Sunset Markets moved to South Beach and Sunset Sounds although a “nice idea” is detrimental to the environment. I’m also aware of a pre proposed idea of a Public Baths. 

My initial idea is to connect the boardwalk from Bathers Beach House to the area located at the end of Fleet St with a series of interventions along the way enabling cyclists and the disabled the opportunity to access the water.

The reason I’d like to get a quick poll from the community is to better convince my tutors of my decision. As you can appreciate, the realm of tertiary education may not always align with the ‘real world’ needs and as an advocate of Amanda Burdens’ style of designing, I believe the most successful designs are those which consider the people.

If you can help me in this matter, I would be most appreciative.WHAT

Kind regards,

Samia Scott


Posted in city of fremantle, local government by freoview on July 13, 2015

A reminder that tomorrow Tuesday July 14 at 6 pm Professor Peter Newman of Curtain University of Sustainable Policy will analyse the proposed Perth Freight Link.

It will be held at Victoria Hall from 6-7pm and entry is free.

If you feel like a quick bite before the talk I highly recommend the great Indian food from my friends at Zab Salad just opposite the hall!

Roel Loopers


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