Freo's View






When it comes to the Fremantle Kings Square redevelopment project I am like a child waiting for my Christmas presents, so I wanted to see a bit more of what is happening and asked developer Sirona Capital for access to the site.

PROBUILD‘s Nick Croft showed me around on Wednesday afternoon, but unfortunately the photos I hoped to get, looking down into the big demolition site from the adjacent roofs, were not possible because of health&safety regulations. The hero shot from ground level was one taken prior to my visit by Nick on his mobile phone and I thank him for sharing it here on Freo’s View.

The roof of the former MYER building has now also come down, so that later on two new storeys can be added, and inside the building is stripped back to just its concrete skeleton.

The Queensgate building’s William Street facade is now also being pulled back and in about ten days the facade of the Myer building at Queen Street will come down.

I feel sorry for the traders who are negatively impacted by all this, but sometimes in life we need to acknowledge that the big picture has priority over individuals and individual businesses.

I just hope they can all hang in there and hopefully reap the benefits of a rejuvenated inner city in less than two years from now. Good luck to you all!!

Roel Loopers


Posted in aboriginal, city of fremantle, development, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on December 21, 2017


Christmas is only fours sleeps away and the year has just ten days left, so this is a good time to reflect on what kind of year it was for Fremantle. I do this randomly as important issues come to my mind.

The October local government election was a resounding rebuke for the right-leaning very vocal social media negativity, with all the sitting members re-elected. I find it hard to argue that this is not a vote of confidence in the plans and policies Fremantle Council has implemented. City ward even elected a new Green councillor.

The positivity and negativity of massive planned development is a fine line between a stunning modern Fremantle CBD and an aesthetic disaster that could kill our city’s unique heritage character.

Quite a few new hotels are in the pipeline and that will be good to attract more tourism and for visitors to stay overnight, but the many plans for more taverns in the inner city are a worry.

The Kings Square Project is finally underway and will be the game-changer Fremantle desperately needs, and the new FOMO retail concept by Sirona Capital sounds very exciting.

The change of Australia Day celebrations on January 26 to One Day on the 28th shows Fremantle council is getting more serious about Aboriginal issues, and the funding to investigate a purpose-built Aboriginal centre is also a clear indication that council wants to do more than just tokenism.

The heritage listing of the entire West End is significant and well overdue.

The cancellation of the Roe 8 Perth Freight Link by the new state government, and the Westport taskforce could well open up opportunities for the development of Victoria Quay.

The Long Table Dinner along High Street was a resounding success and raised $ 80,000 for St Pats, so well done Freo community for caring!

Fremantle City took back ownership of Fremantle Oval which opens up opportunities for good development of that precinct. And good riddance to the greedy Dockers!

The development of the South Fremantle Senior High School into Fremantle College and the departure of TAFE also create fantastic opportunities for substantial development in the heart of Beaconsfield.

Well-overdue traffic improvement in the Hilton centre are happening and so is traffic calming in South Fremantle.

The J Shed tavern saga continues and is a stand-off between what the community wants and Freo council stubbornly does not want to accept, while it also fails to concede that the Bathers Beach Arts Precinct concept is a failure.

Notre Dame University listened to the community and scrapped plans for a five-storey School of Nursing and Midwifery in High Street and bought the three-building Customs House complex instead to accommodate expansion.

Fremantle culture is maturing very well with outstanding exhibitions and concerts at the Fremantle Arts Centre and the very impressive and creative High Tide Biennale during the Fremantle Festival. More of that please!

The Cantonment Hill Project is now underway with the opening of the Tuckfield Oval playground.

The City of Fremantle has added three new communication officers, so we should rightly expect much better genuine communication and information from the City. The October election showed that there is a lot of ignorance in the community about what Fremantle Council and the administration do and that needs to be improved.

Well, that’s all that comes to my mind early this Thursday morning, so remind me what I failed to mention and I might do another article on other important issues in a few days time.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, development, kings square, Uncategorized by freoview on December 20, 2017


Kings Square


It is reassuring to finally detect some activity at Fremantle’s Kings Square yesterday, as the delay of the demolition of the Queensgate building is of concern to the Freo community, and it invites the inevitable rumours.

The Fremantle Society claims developer Sirona Capital still does not have the finances in place for the Kings Square Project, and to be fair to FS I have heard this from other sources as well, including a senior City of Fremantle staffer.

Sirona’s managing director Matthew McNeilly assured me some weeks ago though that the delay of the demolition will not impact on the building timeline and that the project will progress as planned, so maybe we should just be a little patient and chill.

I sincerely hope we’ll see a lot of high-vis workers at Kings Square in January and that the demolition and construction will start in earnest, because Fremantle can not afford a delay of our most important development in decades.

Roel Loopers

and here, so everyone is up to date here the comment I just received from Matthew McNeilly, the managing director of Sirona Capital:

Hi Roel

I’m travelling overseas at the moment (looking at some outstanding retail concepts) and have just had your blog forwarded to me. For everyone’s piece of mind, funding was secured back in August. Government takes occupation in April 2020 and we are aiming to lauch FOMO pre Christmas 2019. It’s still only December 2017 and we have a quite short 19 month construction program. So there’s plenty of time and we’ll continue to be meticulous in both our planning and curation, as well as the execution of the project’s delivery. As you have noted, preliminary works are underway with the main building works to commence in the new year. Local retailers and the City have been made aware of this timing.

We are as excited as ever and can’t wait to deliver on the renewal of Freo’s CBD… as everyone appreciates, it’s long overdue!



Posted in bid, city of fremantle, fishing boat harbour, Uncategorized by freoview on December 12, 2017



The Fremantle BID-Business Improvement District has ordered three more electronic people counters in the CBD, bringing the total to seven.

One of them, installed by Fremantle based A Beautiful City, was put up yesterday above the boardwalk of the Fishing Boat Harbour.

People counters inform the business communities, local councils, shopping centres, etc. about foot traffic around the city.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, cruiseliners, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on November 28, 2017


The cruise ship season has started in Fremantle again and tomorrow morning at approximately 8 am the Ovation of the Seas will visit our city with 4,000 passengers on board.

The vessel is one of the largest in the world and has features like a skating rink, bumper cars, a flight simulator, a wave park and robot bartenders.

The Royal Caribbean liner is the fifth largest in the world and the largest cruise ship ever to visit Australia, so it will be an impressive sight to see her entering and leaving port. Departure is at 5 pm.

Last year 160,000 people arrived on 60 cruise ships in Fremantle.

Roel Loopers



Posted in city of fremantle, community, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on October 13, 2017


There were so many posts on Twitter yesterday about placemaking, that I contemplated overnight what the modern buzzword actually means in the context of local government and a small city like Fremantle.

Placemaking should not be about beautifying small pockets of the city, but should be about awareness of the whole and the reality that everything we do impacts on others, either positively or negatively. That really is the big challenge for local government to deal with.

An event will please many thousands of people, but can negatively impact on local residents or traders, as there will be noise, parking and traffic problems, so while it pleases some it upsets others.

At planning meetings we constantly hear people opposing development next to where they live, with claims of loss of privacy, overshadowing, etc. so whichever way council decide it will upset one of the parties.

Traffic-calming in South Fremantle might please most locals, but it could alter the flow of traffic to the CBD and have a negative impact on traders there. What is the right placemaking decision?

Placemaking is about wholeness, and making good choices for the common good, even if that upsets those with a NIMBY attitude. It requires courage of councillors to make the ‘right’ decisions, because the decisions they’ll make will never be right for everyone in the community. That’s the nature of us human beings that we never all agree on everything.

When I hear election candidates naively state that they will do what the community want, my immediate question is which part of the community do they mean, because there will be opposing views in the community. Councillors will have to vote one way or the other, displeasing those who are opposed to it.

It comes down to how much, and how negatively or how positively decisions we make in life impact on others. Loud parties, noise, dog barking, anti-social behaviour, where we park our car in the street we live, etc. it all impacts on others. So to make the right decisions we need to be considerate and constantly aware that our great personal lifestyle might not be considered so great by our neighbours.

What might be a good event that benefits local traders, could well have a negative impact on those who live nearby, and events can also be detrimental for local traders, so how do we find the right balance of placemaking in local government?

The Australian Hotel Association claimed in a survey they sent to local government election candidates that pop-ups negatively impact on their members, but surely that statement is not true for all pop-up events and for all pubs, restaurants, cafes and bars around Fremantle, because many of them benefit from events, even from markets, as they attract many more people to the area than would normally visit.

Should we embrace multi-storey development in the inner city to boost the local economy, or should we preserve the human-scale character of place, even in the run down east of the CBD that looks desolate and uninviting? What is the right placemaking and balance? You will hear very opposing views about that in the community.

Placemaking for me is about being extremely sensitive and understanding that there is no way in the world we can please everyone, and it is about not being selfish, and learning to acknowledge that the common good has priority over individual needs.

I know that it very difficult to accept when it impacts on one’s own life or business, but it is the only way good placemaking can become good governance, and hopefully council can take the majority of the community with them on the very challenging and delicate journey of progress, revitalisation and modernisation.

It is easy to understand that being a local councillor can be a very thankless task, so one has to admire all who nominated for this election.

VOTE to show you care about your community!


Roel Loopers

Vote Roel for City Ward!



Posted in city of fremantle, community, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on September 20, 2017


Fremantle is so much better than a small group of constantly negative individuals on social media want us to believe.

I love Freo because of its great community, the outdoor lifestyle, the music and art scene, the passion and compassion, and the willingness to care.

When I walk the streets I delight in the beauty of the old town and the funky quirkiness that is so very Freo.

I delight in the friendly smiles in cafes and shops and on the streets, where so many people acknowledge one with a smile.

I love the markets and the beaches, the heritage, and all that is good about Freo, and I like  that it is not perfect.

Fremantle has got character and is unique, and it is a very special place to live and bring up children.

Freo’s future is bright with massive development in the inner city and big plans for major projects.

And I am not the only one who thinks that as this post from someone on social media shows. Unfortunately I don’t know who the initial writer of the lovely positive post about Fremantle is.

I’m from Melbourne and I now live in Freo. Over the past 3 weeks I’ve had loads of friends and family come over to visit that had never been here before. They were all SO impressed, with one even moving here later this year after his trip. They all loved how user friendly it was, little traffic, nice beaches, good places to eat, close enough to the city (without being too close) good weather, they found it hilarious my dog could come to the pub and no one said anything, and that International bands were just a short walk from my door. They loved the diverse architecture, the history, they found the service friendly, and the communty vibe quite refreshing. 

It’s evident from reading this feed sometimes that not everyone is so content, and may have forgotten how lucky they are to live in a place like Fremantle. Yes sometimes there is crime, there is everywhere, yes sometimes you’ll get a shit meal, you sometimes have a miss and not a hit, everywhere. It happens. It’s a speed hump, not a land mine, slow down and get on with it. 

My good friend Paz rolled into Freo after riding his bike all the way from Melbourne, through NSW, QLD, NT and the top of WA…..and loved it here. He said Freo was the best town he’d been to. Be as smiley as Paz about living in Freo. You are all pretty lucky

Talking down our city is not going to support our struggling traders and the Fremantle image, and neither is the constant negativity about Fremantle Council during the election campaign.

Support Freo by sending out positive messages about what you experience and tell the world!

Roel Loopers



Posted in city of fremantle, local government, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on September 17, 2017



The rather optimistic prediction by Sirona Capital that the Kings Square Project innovative and exciting FOMO retail concept will double tourism in Fremantle made me think on how we can increase tourist numbers and offer a better tourism experience in the port city.

For reasons I cannot understand there is reluctance to sell the great brand of Fremantle in destination marketing, and our retail marketing is not anywhere good enough. Retail is hard to sell anyway, as Fremantle lacks variety in shopping.

There is lack of coordination between the major players, and I have the feeling there are a few egos in the way. The City’s marketing people don’t really believe BID is necessary and the Chamber of Commerce is also not a big fan of it, and the major players in town are often left out, so everyone does their own bit, instead of working together on major strategies.

There is an assumption of communication, simply because visitors to Fremantle can access the Fremantle Story on-line or go to different Facebook pages about festivals, etc.

Fact is though that there are many people who do not engage with social media and who can’t be bothered to do long searches to see what is available to them.

Why can’t a visitor to Fremantle, who is staying Tuesday and Wednesday night, find out where live music is on those nights, which pubs have got specials on, etc?

At the Roundhouse we are not supplied with information about events. Many of the volunteer guides don’t live in Fremantle, so they do not know what is going on. It should be a matter of routine that the City’s marketing department emails a list of events, etc. every Monday morning to the Maritime and Shipwreck museums, Fremantle Prison, the Roundhouse, etc. but that is not happening.

Every year we have to contact the City to beg for festival programs, flyers, even a small poster about the Winter, Beer, Chilli festivals, whatever, but it is not forthcoming.

The City of Fremantle does not see tourism as a priority and great opportunity to boost the retail and hospitality industries. If thousands more people come to Freo and stay longer they will shop, eat and drink and support our traders, but BID mainly does cutesy things for locals during school holidays and festivals, which already attract people, instead of being a conduit for all the major players, such as developers, Fishing Boat Harbour, museums, etc.etc. come together, and work on strategies for Freo’s tourism.

The majority of overseas visitors are looking for an indigenous experience, but can’t find it. There is an opportunity here for Fremantle, but we do tokenism better that high impact stuff. There is no big picture thinking on tourism.

We light up the Arthur Head cliff face at night, but close the Whalers Tunnel at 7 pm, so there is no direct access from High Street. Why?!

We should have substantial tourist promotion for Fremantle at the airport, in the Perth CBD, and in Kalgoorlie and Esperance for those who drive here, but we preach to the locals mainly.

The Roundhouse volunteers want to improve the displays, but the City is not pro-actively involved in supporting them, and appears quite happy to leave it to the mostly senior amateurs to sort something out, while they could do with good professional advise and financial support.

The City should lobby the Royal Australian Navy and ask them to reconsider putting the planned Sailor monument on the North Mole, and instead put it on Victoria Quay or in Pioneer Park, or even Kings Square, because tens of thousands of visitors to Fremantle will miss out on seeing it. The North Mole is too remote for people who don’t have a vehicle, and riding one’s bike there is a challenge with all the trucks in the area.

The City of Fremantle needs a think tank on tourism, something substantial and outcome based. We have plenty of talkfests and don’t even do those well, because they procrastinate into nothing.

Our traders deserve and demand support, and we need to have a more innovative approach on how we can sell brand Freo, because our promotion is stale, and Fremantle does not get much help from the Perth-centric state tourism promotions.

Many tourists to Fremantle comment on how different we are, and that Perth is just like other big cities, but we do not sell our heritage beauty well, or even our gorgeous High Street that ends up at Bathers Beach.

Fremantle needs creative people who are willing and able to think outside the box, and who don’t do same same every year, time and time again. Fremantle’s marketing is boring, uninspiring and not working!

Roel Loopers



Posted in city of fremantle, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on September 3, 2017


Just a last thought for this Sunday, that we can all contemplate about before falling asleep:

I believe it is good governance when a council gives CPR to a dying city.

Unprecedented development in Fremantle, not seen for thirty years, and that’s a bad thing?!

It is a crime when a city does not progresses, develops and modernises and when its Council does not attempt to attract investment, development, new businesses, new residents, and new workers.

The world evolves every second of every day, and it is good that Fremantle is moving toward an exciting and vibrant city, while protecting our beautiful and significant heritage-listed West End.

Our focus needs to be on the future, as there is little benefit in lamenting the past.


Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, containers, freight, fremantle ports, Uncategorized by freoview on August 29, 2017


I was given a copy of an eight-page flyer The Truth About The Flawed Outer Harbour Plan, written by the Maritime Union of Australia WA Branch secretary and National President Christy Cain.

It’s always good to try to see all sides of an argument, so let’s have a look at the facts the MUA published in the leaflet.

# The MUA claims that Fremantle Port is only running at 50% capacity and that there is no need for a premature costly duplication of the port at Kwinana.

# The MUA supports the long-term vision of an overflow port at Kwinana when it is needed, but say it is not needed yet, and that the volume at Fremantle Port has been falling for some time.

# The proposed cap on Fremantle Port is lower than the current volume and would be anticompetitive, the union claims. It would prevent the current terminal operators to grow.

# 90% of containers to and from the port are on the road between 6am-6pm Monday to Friday. The port operates 24/7 but nearly all containers are handled in just 35% of all the hours available.

# Better coordination of road transport, plus general decline in volume has seen a 11% reduction in truck visits to Fremantle Port over the last two years.

# Rail is underutilised as is handles only 14.5% of containers, while it is designed to carry 30% of container traffic.

# The MUA says that if the outer harbour was built now, 20-30 years before it is needed, it would add $ 10 billion to the construction cost, making it a $ 15-16 billion dollar dud, that would cause a dramatic increase to freight costs.

# Fremantle Port supports 2,000 direct employees and an estimated total workforce of 6,000 direct and indirect employees servicing the port.

# The outer harbour would be automated and would have less jobs than Fremantle Port.

# Government Treasury predicts another 25 years of growth potential for Fremantle Port. It stated that artificial capping would result in earlier capital investment in the Outer Harbour and related road and rail infrastructure-imposing an unnecessary financial burden on the WA Government, container trades and the community.

If you have any questions it is best to contact the MUA as I won’t have the answers.


Roel Loopers

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