Freo's View

REDLIGHTS FOR FREO’S WEST END

Posted in arthur head, city of fremantle, local government, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on June 21, 2017

 

Imagine Arthur Head

 

We all have them, those Eureka moments in life, when one wakes up and one has found the solution for a major problem, as I did this morning knowing I had found the perfect activation concept for Fremantle’s historic West End and Arthur Head.

Not even Jay Dee the Pres. of Ef Es could have anything against something that is older than heritage, and it is something most port cities of the world have.

My award-winning placemaking brilliance will see Arthur Head transformed into a red light district, mirrored on the famous Reeperbahn in Hamburg and the Walletjes in Amsterdam. It will guarantee 24/7 activation of the dormant West End and substantially add to Fremantle’s port city reputation.

Prostitution is one of the oldest professions in the world, so very heritage, and a port city without a red light district is like a ship without the ocean.

The area has been struggling since all the pubs in High Street were closed and Fremantle Council decided to make the heritage precinct into an arts precinct, and when our elected members thought that a 1,500 patron live outdoor music venue and 800 patron booze barn was exactly what they wanted when they asked in the Expressions of Interest for an art related cafe. They kinda got the wording of the EOI wrong, one has to assume. But no worries, Loopy comes to the rescue!

Imagine the cottages alongs Captain’s and Mrs Trivett lanes, and the Roundhouse all lit up in red at night, and girls offering their beauty behind the windows. Imagine what a fantastic and popular tourist attraction it would be!

I fondly remember the days when my mum insisted dad should take me with him when he delivered cigarettes to the aunties of the redlight district in the Hague. Especially during the Christmas period it was a sight to behold when the aunties lit up their bodies with flashing Christmas lights that wound around their substantial and well-exposed boobs, and to my bewilderment also in a V-shape between their equally well-exposed thighs. It took me many years of growing up to found out what was so special about that V-spot.

I also propose a Swingers Swap Market in the Roundhouse on Friday nights, where couples can exchange partners, or hook up for foursomes, and Sexpos in the old goal once a month there.

If the posts of the Curfew Bell were changed from square ones to round we could also have pole-dancing nights in the historic setting.

Instead of the proposed tavern train wreck at J Shed Sun Sex Erects could transform the Number One unit into a live sex venue with peep shows, striptease and simulated sex acts on stage, and a bar that sells cheap ‘champagne’ for exorbitant prices.

The rhythmic sound of many one hands clapping would go well with the industrial sounds of grinders and power tools coming from the Greg James sculpture studio next door.

I truly believe that this is an award-winning idea and that I have just written the perfect job application to replace the City of Fremantle’s director of economic development and marketing. Sorry Tom!

Someone more famous than I ever will be once said “Let there be Light!” so I’ll steal it from him and say Let there be Redlight Freo!

Roel Loopers

WE ARE LUCKY TO LIVE IN FREMANTLE!

 

SMILE!!!!!

 

Waking up this morning I thought how lucky I am to live in Fremantle. The sun is out and the sky is blue and it is a mild 23 degrees at the start of our winter.

We live in a very special and unique city but sadly there are those who only make negative comments and never see the beauty we have and the special close community we live in.

I don’t suggest for one moment that Freo is perfect and that there is not a lot of room for improvement, but I believe we are doing very well and that our city has a very positive future.

We are seeing massive unprecedented development in Fremantle, not seen in 40 long years, which means in the very near future we will have many more people living, working and staying overnight in the inner city.

That will create confidence for more developers and businesses and we’ll see new shops and bars, new hotels and more investment also from Fremantle council and state government.

But sadly there are those with a political agenda who don’t want to recognise the strategic and long-term planning our elected members have made.

The Kings Square, Fremantle Oval, Cantonment Hall, South Quay projects are huge for our city and so are the private developments of the Woolstores shopping centre, Heirloom, Liv apartments by Defence Housing and many more that are popping up around town or are planned.

Some people in Fremantle treat our democratically elected members as the enemy of the community and more often than not their criticism is based on ignorance.

Many people do not understand the separation between the councillors and administration and blame councillors when the streets are not clean or maintenance not done.

Fact is that council sets rules and regulations in place, makes policies and development approvals, but it’s up to staff to implement them. It is like a footy club where no one would consider the board of directors responsible for the players underperforming.

It is too simplistic, and unfair, to attack councillors and the mayor when it is out of their hands, and I often hear how frustrated too they are when things are not done.

There are the conspiracy people who frequently accuse council of being communists or socialists, but how ridiculous is that when the present council has done more to encourage and support capitalist development in Freo than the councils before them.

I am not a one-eyed supporter of Fremantle council and I don’t have the blinkers on. I also don’t care if councillors are left, right or centre of politics and I don’t socialise privately with any of them, but credit needs to be given where due and criticism handed out fairly. I have been doing that on this blog for nearly eight years and in letters to editors for over 25 years.

Whenever I talk to tourists they tell me how cute, clean, beautiful and special Fremantle is, but far too many locals I talk to only have negativity on their mind.

Many people do not engage with local government and fail to inform themselves adequately, hence there is a lot of misinformation out there and people are blaming Fremantle council for things outside their control and state responsibility.

We live in a community where people really care, where they are willing to stand up and make a difference and where many want to be part of the solution.

But the internet and social media has also created large numbers of people all over the world who are only interested in writing spiteful, nasty, insulting comments that are only meant to be personal attacks and hurt. That to me is not acceptable, hence I will speak out and defend our utterly decent and very likeable councillors, collaborate with them, put suggestions to them for improvement and show them the respect they deserve.

Fremantle is a magic and magnificent place to live. We have the stunning heritage West End, great beaches, markets, lifestyle, festivals, events and we actually care.

Be passionate about Freo, as I am, and stand up for what you believe in. I support anyone who wants to help make Freo a better place, no matter if you vote Liberal, Labor, Green or any other political colour, but please let us engage in respectful and informed dialogue and not ignorant hyperbole and hot air.

Have a brilliant week, Freo and acknowledge how green the grass is on this side of the fence!

Roel Loopers

KINGS SQUARE COMMUNITY INFO SESSIONS

Posted in city of fremantle, development, kings square, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on June 17, 2017

 

The most important city centre redevelopment in a generation is about to begin which will see the heart of Fremantle transformed into a vibrant community, retail and commercial hub in coming years.

Over the coming weeks, the mayor and our local councillors will be heading to the suburbs to show what the $270m Kings Square Renewal project involves, its benefits, how long it will take and what it will mean for you. This is your opportunity to ask questions face-to-face with your local elected members.

The upcoming precinct presentations are:

Hilton: Tuesday 20 June, 6.45 pm at Fremantle PCYC (Arts Space) (34 Paget Street Hilton).
North Fremantle: Thursday 22 June, 6.00 pm at North Fremantle Community Hall (2 Thompson Road North Fremantle).
City: Saturday 24 June, 11.30 am at Fremantle Arts Centre (1 Finnerty Street Fremantle).
South Beach Community Group and South Fremantle: Sunday 25 June, 4.00 pm at The Meeting Place Community Centre (245 South Terrace South Fremantle)
Hilton: Tuesday 27 June, 6.30 pm at Samson Recreation Centre (44 Mc Combe Avenue Samson)
Fremantle Inner City Residents Association: Tuesday 4 July, 7.00 pm at a venue to be confirmed.
White Gum Valley, Gibson Park and Beaconsfield: Tuesday 4 July, 7.30 pm at White Gum Valley Primary School (29 Hope Street White Gum Valley).
Fremantle Society: Tuesday 18 July, 7.00 pm at The Meeting Place Community Centre (245 South Terrace South Fremantle.

FROM THE FREMANTLE FPOL COMMITTEE

Posted in city of fremantle, community, development, Uncategorized by freoview on June 15, 2017

 

Here a few more snippets from Wednesday’s City of Fremantle Finance, Policy, Operations and Legislation Committee.

* Olwyn Williams, the CEO of the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce argued that the statistics published in the agenda were incorrect and that visitors’ numbers and overnight stays in Fremantle had declined, not improved.

She was also not impressed with the place marketing plan update, but when questioned by Elected Members did not say what the Chamber wanted the City of Fremantle to do differently, but that more effort should be made into destination marketing.

Williams argued that the Fremantle Story website did well locally but did not sell Fremantle to overseas and interstate visitors, and that stronger emphasis needed to be placed on marketing Fremantle outside of Fremantle.

* The CEO of the State Heritage Office addressed the FPOL Committee at length arguing that the people who bought the historic Warders Cottages in Henderson Street should get preferential treatment and free parking permits, but the Elected Members did not agree and unanimously voted to reject the request.

I agree with Councillor Sullivan that in the long term parking in the Henderson Street Mall should be abandoned, especially once the Spicer’s site carpark has been developed into a new commercial building.

It would also be substantial revenue loss for the CoF to give away free parking to residents of the 14 cottages. I remember my neighbours at Captain’s Lane at the Roundhouse had to pay close to $ 20,000 a year to have two parking bays on the carpark below Arthur Head.

* Councillor Rachel Pemberton was not a happy person last night, especially about the item of the City signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Portuguese Club, which would like to move to the St John’s site at Parry Street and become part of the Fremantle Park community hub.

Pemberton argued that it would be hypocritical off her fellow councillors if they voted with the item when they had voted against handing over the DAADA building on Beach Street to the Aboriginal community. Pemberton said the same process of a public and open Expressions of Interest period should apply in both cases.

While I can see where Pemberton comes from the process is different because the Portuguese Club exactly knows what they want, while the failure of the Walyalup Centre at Arthur Head has shown that the different Noongar families and elders still have a long way to go in agreeing what a new cultural and community centre for them should be.

* A new parklet in Pakenham Street at a new cafe on the corner of Bannister Street was approved, but Councillors agreed that parklets need to be monitored by staff as some of them are just a waste of space and not frequented enough.

I believe the new parklet will be a traffic hazard as it is already difficult to see traffic coming from the left in Pakenham Street when one drives from Bannister Street into the T-junction. It will be the fourth parklet in Pakenham Street and two more parking bays gone in the West End.

* Last but not least I want to compliment Councillor Andrew Sullivan on the way he chairs the FPOL Committee. While it makes the sittings a bit longer, and at times even a bit long-winded, Sullivan makes a real effort of explaining in detail to the public gallery how proper council process works.

That is very important because so many people in the community do not have an iota of an idea and make presumptions and accusations based on ignorance.

Roel Loopers

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POSITIVE FIGURES FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in accommodation, city of fremantle, local government, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on June 13, 2017

Some interesting statistics in the agenda of this Wednesday’s City of Fremantle FPOL Committee, so here is a summary of the high-level KPIs. The full report is in the FPOL agenda for June that is on the CoF website.

• 58% of customers said that ‘compared to two to three years ago’, they hear either ‘much more about Fremantle’ or ‘more about Fremantle’.
• 58% of customers said that ‘compared to two to three years ago’, they think Fremantle is either ‘much more appealing’ or ‘more appealing’.

• 87% of customers said they were ‘definitely likely’ or ‘very likely’ to recommend Fremantle as a place to go. This is an increase from 71% in 2013.
(Fremantle based and non-Fremantle based customer responses were almost identical)

• Tourism nights (stays) in Fremantle increased by 45% in 2015/16 (1 930 883) compared to the average of the previous seven years (1 332 782), according to Tourism Research Australia (TRA) who conduct research on behalf of the ABS.

• Domestic (intrastate) day trips increased by 69% in 2015/16 (959 286) compared to the average of the previous seven years (565 507), according to (TRA).

• Fremantle Story website usage has increased to 45 000 unique users per month.
• Fremantle Story social media following has increased to 60 000.
• Fremantle Story e-newsletter is distributed to over 10 000 people each edition.

• In October 2015, Fremantle was selected as a 2016 top ten city in the Lonely Planet Best in Travel publication (worldwide). Media coverage reached an estimated 1.2 billion people worldwide.

• In 2014/15, the City’s efforts at promoting Fremantle as a world class visitor destination was recognised with the national gold medal in the ‘Local Government Award for tourism’ category, awarded by Tourism Council of Australia.

KINGS SQUARE GAME CHANGER FOR FREO

Posted in city of fremantle, development, economy, kings square, Uncategorized by freoview on June 8, 2017

 

 

 

It is only weeks until the Fremantle Kings Square Project will get started and a new website is under construction to keep us up to date, so check out www.kingssquarefremantle.com

I had a chat about the game-changing project with the very straight-forward and open City of Fremantle Director of City Business Glen Dougal who was very positive about Fremantle’s future and said it was exciting for staff to be part of such a progressive city.

“Can we afford Kings Square? Absolutely, yes! Do we have to budget for it? Yes” Dougal said. “At the start we will take a bit of a hit but we will trade out of that without a doubt.” It is an investment into Freo’s future and the CoF will have to cut its costs for a while. The debts will be written off in ten years.

“The Kings Square Project is not going to send us broke, but we’ll have to invest wisely and prioritise projects. We will cut costs in the right spots while still delivering what the community expects of us.” Dougal adamantly said.

All the development under way and already approved development to come will see a significant and structural change in revenue for Fremantle and improve the bottom-line. CoF could not rely on the fluctuating revenue base it had to work with in the past. “Improving the rate base is a very good outcome.”

The operating budget will end up with many more millions that will increase from 8 to 10 million dollars in ten years that can be used for other projects. It will mean we only have to raise rates at CPI.

Borrowing money from state government for longer would also be a better short-term gain, but the state kept charging local governments more for utilities and also loans while demanding they cut costs. “The state government only allows us to borrow on the operating budget.” said Glen Dougal.

All the new businesses and residents will increase revenue for the City and that is good because parking and other revenue has gone down.

The community will be consulted on the ten-year budget plans and a new 165-bay carpark will be built at the Stan Reilley site next to Fremantle Oval by the end of this year.

The vacant site for the Hilton Doubletree hotel at Adelaide Street will also be converted into a carpark untl the SKS group is ready to start building and a 120-bay carpark next to the Fremantle Tennisclub in Parry Street is also on the cards.

Glen Dougal shrugged off criticism that Sirona Capital might one day sell off their Kings Square properties saying that most investment money was off-shore and that foreign investment in Australia had been happening all around. He pointed out the SKS group who will build the Hilton is foreign money, as are many hotel groups.

It is always refreshing to talk with Glen Dougal because he is a no-nonsense operator who does not play games and does not get involved in politics. He is very matter of fact and professional and had nothing to hide. He showed me stats and graphs on the computer he will present to Council. He was very positive about the vision and strategic planning of Fremantle Council and said under the good leadership of Mayor Brad Pettitt all Councillors could shine.

I walked away from my meeting with Glen Dougal feeling confident about Freo’s future. Nothing in life is perfect and there are no doubt issues at the City of Fremantle and things that need to be improved by the administration, but I personally don’t believe Fremantle could afford not to do the Kings Square Project as traders in the city are in desperate need of economic recovery. Many hundreds of new people residing in the CBD and thousands working here will make a huge difference, and so will tourists staying in the new hotels.

Good leadership is about doing more than just the populist things and the Kings Square, Fremantle Oval, Cantonment Hill projects are huge for our city, as is all the private investment through development  Council has been encouraging. It will create a vibrant modern east end of Fremantle. One day in the distant future and with the help of the WA government we will also see the South Quay Project go ahead.

I am optimistic about Freo’s future and can’t wait for the official opening of Kings Square in about two years from now!

Roel Loopers

OUTRAGEOUS RANT FROM SOCIETY PRESIDENT

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle society, sirona capital, Uncategorized by freoview on June 4, 2017

Fremantle Society president John Dowson is losing the plot and needs to be reigned in by its members and committee!

This racist rubbish below, that he sent to FS members, is disgraceful and outrageous and it is unacceptable.

Fremantle gets many thousands of Malaysian tourists every months who support our retailers, hospitality industry and economy and Malaysia is a very important neighbour for WA.

Chinese interest in our mining industry are very high and China is a very important export market for our state.

The right-wing rant from the FS president is an embarrassment to the community group and Fremantle.

Roel Loopers

Which Flag Will Fly in King’s Square?

The massive sell off of ratepayer assets by Fremantle Council means that Queensgate, Queensgate car park, and the Spicer site in the heart of Fremantle belong to Sirona Capital, who have hinted the assets may be sold to overseas interests. Does this mean that key strategic assets adjoining King’s Square may soon be owned by Communist Chinese or Islamic Malaysian interests? Both countries are increasingly buying large stakes and large influence in this country.

 

FREMANTLE ARCHITECTURE AND MULTICULTURALISM

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

The controversial and often mediocre development proposals we get in Fremantle made me contemplate what good and acceptable architecture for our city is.

Some people say it is just personal taste, and the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce is quite happy to accept higher and architecturally average buildings in the historic West End than the planning scheme allows, because for them it is all about activation and revitalising the retail and hospitality economy. Will ugliness really achieve that?

Developing a city is much more than just adding new modern buildings and trying to push-start the economy with mediocrity for short-term gain.

Good architecture is like successful immigration and the integration into a multicultural society. It is about respecting and enhancing the diversity, blending in while retaining one’s culture, and making a positive difference to the community one joins. It’s about being considerate and accepting one comes into and adds to an established society, a streetscape, a history.

Architecture should be about respecting and enhancing the streetscape and blending in with what is already there. It is about accepting and respecting the history of place and the unique character a city like Fremantle has.

That does not mean we can’t have iconic buildings that make a statement about how good modern architecture can be, but it should not be about architects showing off their ego and ignoring the heritage significance of place.

It is telling and refreshing that Notre Dame University took the concerns of the community and Fremantle Council serious and will now redesign the new School of Nursing they want to build on the corner of Cliff and High streets. It shows real consideration and maturity, and the willingness to compromise to achieve a better outcome for Fremantle. That is what respect for one’s community should be all about!

Development should not be about trying to ram unacceptable ugly and too high buildings through at the W.A. Development Assessment Panel or State Administrative Tribunal, but it should be about making Fremantle even more beautiful and special, and outstanding modern architecture will do that.

Developers who want to come to Fremantle need to engage architects who acknowledge and respect that our city is different and unique and that there is greatness in detail, diversity of heights and splitting up facades, so that modern buildings do not look too massive in our low-rise environment.

Boring concrete boxes are just not on. They are proof of lazy, disrespectful architects and lack of creativity. We don’t want or need them in Freo!

When we cook we don’t just throw things in a pot and hope that somehow it will become a great meal. We carefully blend ingredients and spices to create the wow factor around the table and impress our guests. That is what architects need to do in Fremantle, because a lamb korma pizza with with mayo, tofu and pineapple, topped with Chinese dumplings won’t impress too many people.

To ignore Freo’s history when one designs new buildings for our city is ignoring that trees can’t survive without their roots. Our past is part of us and shapes our future.

Roel Loopers

NO FREO PORT AND ROE 8 IN SPENDING CHECK

Posted in economy, finances, fremantle, state government, Uncategorized, western australia by freoview on May 15, 2017

I am surprised and disappointed that WA Premier Mark McGowan has not included the cost it has taken to prepare for the sale of Fremantle Ports in the inquiry into the spending of the Barnett Liberal/National government.

A meeting I attended at the Port well over a year ago was told they were spending millions of dollars on lawyers, consultants and experts to make the port ready for privatisation, which will not be going ahead under the new Labor government.

The inquiry announced by the Premier today will be headed by former under treasurer John Langoulant and will investigate 26 projects.

They include: Elizabeth Quay, Perth Stadium and Swan footbridge, land assets sales, Ord River Irrigation Project, Pilbara accommodation, Pilbara underground power project, Ningaloo Centre, Bulgarra sports complex, Wanangkura stadium Port Hedland, Fiona Stanley Hospital, Children’s Hospital, QE II Hospital, Karratha Hospital, St John of God Midland, IT at Department of health, outsourcing of non-clinical services, NurseWest, Muja power station, Synergy billing, Synergy and Western Power contracts, Western Power Woodlands and Vista, Road Safety Commission’s Rugby WA partnership, Buyback Scheme renewable energy, Temporary Personnel Services common use arrangements, Next ICT project.

But not Roe 8 and Fremantle Port and that wonders me a lot. Why were they excluded from the extensive list?

Roel Loopers

MAKE MY ELECTION DAY FREO

Posted in city of fremantle, election, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on May 15, 2017

The Fremantle local government election campaign started early this year with Ra Stewart announcing she is standing for Mayor and Claudia Green contesting the City Ward position that will be vacated by Simon Naber.

Dave Coggin has already left so his seat is available, and four other seats plus the Mayor’s will be up, so it’s going to be a signifiant election.

Because of some critical observations I have made about Ra Stewart there are already people who assume I have something against her, with one West End resident claiming I am the publicist for Mayor Brad Pettitt.

So I want to make a few points that will hopefully stick. I am PRO Fremantle and whoever shows me that they have the vision, long-term plans and solutions, innovation and creativity to lead our beautiful city toward inevitable economic recovery and vibrancy will have my support.

All candidates, including all sitting members, will get a fair go on Freo’s View, but if they make accusations that are unfair or not based on facts I will call them up on that. If all you have is criticism of the present Council but no ideas on how to do it better than I will point that out.

Council bashing alone won’t do and I expect balance and fairness from those who put their hand up and want to be our next community representatives on Council.

I don’t care if my local members are to the right, centre or left of politics as long as they have the best for Fremantle in mind and I will judge them on that.

If you want to put me in a box or drawer and assume you know where I stand, just go ahead with name-calling. I have had heated arguments with Freo’s Mayor and have at times been extremely critical about certain aspects of Fremantle Council, to the point that the former CEO confronted me at a public meeting and told me he was sick and tired of me calling for his head. CoF staff en-masse complained when I finally was given a photographic assignment some years ago, because I was too critical of the City of Fremantle.

I have been called a lapdog of Fremantle Council on social media, and on a promise by the Mayor to get on council, as if a Mayor ever had the power to appoint Councillors.

I have been called an anti-development NIMBY, and the narrow-minded president of the Frraemantle Society called me Adolf and an apologist for bad development, when I have been more vocal against inappropriate development in the CBD than most people.

But I am very much for the modernisation and development of the ugly east part of the inner city because I strongly believe that with more people living and working in the city and tourists staying in new hotels our traders will significantly start to benefit from that in 2-4 years from now. It is the game changer Fremantle needs!

I believe in balance and fairness and expect people who make accusations against our Elected Members to at least give them the courtesy of informed criticism based on facts, not some of the ridiculous ignorant comments I read on social media and in letters to editors.

I am not anti Ra Stewart or anti Brad Pettitt and I am not anti Fremantle Council either. I want the best for Freo and will do my utmost to support those who will make a significant positive difference to the city I love. If you want to attack me for that just go ahead and make my day! ; >)

Roel Loopers

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