Freo's View

PRINCESS MAY PARK HOME FOR CIRCUS SCHOOL

Posted in children, city of fremantle, community by freoview on March 4, 2017

Now here is a innovative approach by the City of Fremantle to try to  accommodate Circus WA.

The community group has been given notice by state agency Artsource to vacate its existing premises on Phillimore Street by 7 April 2017.

Circus WA is seeking approval from the City to licence a portion of Princess May Park to temporarily accommodate its operations. It plans to erect a large tent to the west of the Old Boys School that will allow it to operate for up to three years while it identifies appropriate long term premises in another part of Fremantle.

Nearby businesses DADAA, Clancy’s Fish Pub and The Fremantle Education Centre are supportive of the temporary move.

The proposed licence is for 1 year with two further terms of 1 year each at the City’s approval. This means that the City has the option not to extend for the second or third year should the license conflict with the development of 2 Point Street.

I am not sure how practical this is going to be with the imminent development of the Hilton Doubletree Hotel just west of the proposed location for the tent, and also the security of the tent with Princess May Park being infamous for being a favourite location for homeless people day and night.

Circus WA has been looking for new premises in Fremantle for many years and wanted to share the Naval Stores at Cantonment Hill with Enkel but that fell unfortunately through.

The item is on the agenda for Wednesday’s FPOL Committee.

Roel Loopers

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PERFECT FOR NOTRE DAME SCHOOL OF NURSING

Posted in city of fremantle, development, notre dame university by freoview on March 2, 2017

 

If as I expect the WA Joint Development Assessment Panel next Thursday rejects the application by Notre Dame University for a five-storey development at 3 High Street, the university will have to look at alternative solutions.

The School of Nursing requires a lot of floor space, so a lower three-storey building in the West End won’t be big enough for UNDA I presume.

I found the perfect location for the new Notre Dame building on the corner of Suffolk Street and South Terrace, opposite Fremantle Hospital.

It is a leisurely ten-minute walk from the rest of the UNDA campus, close to public transport and parking and just a ten-minute walk to the railway station.

The vacant site is outside the West End conservation area, so height won’t be an issue and neither would be street level activation.

The City of Fremantle is planning a new carpark at the Stan Reilley site, so no worries about parking either, and Queensgate and Collie Street parking is nearby as well.

Roel Loopers

UNI STUDENTS BACK IN FREO!

Posted in education, fremantle, notre dame university by freoview on March 1, 2017

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What a delight it is to see thousands of Notre Dame University students back in Fremantle’s West End.

The streets and cafes are full with gorgeous and colourful young people. I love it!

I considered doing a photo story on it but I’d probably get accused of being a dirty old pervert photographing young students, so this UNDA promo will have to do.

Roel Loopers

 

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NOTRE DAME UNIVERSITY WOW! DAY

Posted in education, fremantle, notre dame university, students, universities by freoview on February 23, 2017

 

They call it O-Day at Notre Dame University in Fremantle, but today’s Orientation Day for new students was more of a WOW!!!! Day.

It was the biggest number of new students ever at O-Day at UNDA and more than 2,000 paraded through the inner city by the sounds of a drum band.

Live music, food vans and even a licensed bar for the 18+ students were in the historic West End, so no doubt it will have been a fun-filled day and rite of passage for many.

I love having Notre Dame in the West End. I love the energy of the young students and the activation they bring to the inner city. The uni is highly respected and students and staff love it and it is is pretty special that Fremantle can call itself a university city.

Mayor Brad Pettitt said in jest that one day the City will sort the parking issues, but why not start by giving incentives to those students who car pool, as most of them drive all alone into Freo, hence the search for parking near the uni is annoying. Four students in one car instead of just the driver would take some 75% of student cars out of the West End.

Roel Loopers

 

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NOTRE DAME MEDIOCRITY IS NOT VERY FREO

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, heritage, notre dame university by freoview on November 21, 2016

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What frustrates me most about the proposal by Notre Dame University to build a mediocre and inappropriate building in Fremantle’s historic West End is that UNDA are not just greedy developers but educators with a great history department who should know better.

We can witness in Perth what awful damage inappropriate buildings of the 60s, 70s and 80s have done to that city and I often receive comments about that at the Roundhouse from overseas and interstate visitors who are impressed with Fremantle’s heritage but not impressed with the blandness of Perth.

A university does have even more responsibility to be a good corporate citizen than other organisations and that is why it is staggering that the UNDA management accepts such a bland building from its architects.

Universities need to be innovative and push boundaries because they are education our future generations of leaders, so it is not acceptable for them to just put a glass box in a heritage precinct because they need more space for their medical department.

Edith Cowan University in Joondalup builds creative modern buildings there, so why does Notre Dame believe that boring mediocrity is good enough for Freo’s most beautiful precinct?!

Many developers have no respect for the unique character of Fremantle, but I do understand for them it is all about the triple bottom line and that most don’t give a rat’s arse about the beauty of Freo as long as the dollar signs keep flashing and their bank accounts bulge, but that should be different for a university which has a much greater responsibility to the community than ordinary developers.

For those who missed this comment to my blog by renowned award-winning Perth architect Jean-mic Perrine, here it is again:

Roel,

In an age of VIRTUAL everything, it is symptomatic of those who do not actually want the public to understand the true impact of a building to resort to an “artists impression” which is all this submission offered. 

I have dealt with heritage buildings for over 25 years. I say the following for one purpose only and it is not to gloat: From the Commonwealth Bank and GPO redevelopments in Forrest Place to the Heritage award-winning projects of the Leederville Post Office and Box Building, City of Perth inaugural Heritage award winner for interpreting modernity in a historically sensitive manner. Of course I recently completed the celebrated Terrace Hotel in the city, revitalising one of Perth’s oldest residential buildings into a luxury hotel.

I say the above to be able to give context to what I say now.

The proposal by NDU is inappropriate, poorly conceived and disrespectful of a heritage precinct. What is sadder is that it has little original architectural merit and reminds me of the lazy days of the 70’s when this sort of sketch allowed monstrosity to mushroom in our historic precincts.

Roel Loopers

DEEPLY DISAPPOINTED IN NOTRE DAME UNIVERSITY

Posted in city of fremantle, development, heritage, notre dame university by freoview on November 19, 2016

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I am deeply disappointed that Fremantle Notre Dame University has decided to go ahead with the application for approval of a five-storey building on the corner of Cliff and High streets in the historic West End of town, and that they have not made any changes and compromises after the community consultation session last month.

Up until now I genuinely believed that UNDA had the best interest of Fremantle at heart, but it appears that they are just another organisation only interested in making money and not caring one iota about the damage the building will do to the appearance of the heritage-listed West End.

I feel personally taken for granted after submitting ideas for changes to the plans, set-backs, corner, etc. but that has all been ignored, presumably by the architects who believe they know everything better and who show little respect for Freo’s unique heritage character with this boring uninspiring building that lacks creative ideas.

While I appreciate very much that Vice Chancellor Professor Celia Hammond made the effort to attach a personal note to the letter I received from UNDA I do not believe that “We have spent the time since the community session carefully considering all community feedback and comment, re-examining our proposal and reviewing the expert advice received during the design and development stages.”

Fact is that UNDA was unwilling to compromise and will now try to ram through a highly inappropriate building in our heritage precinct, and hence they will lose my support and I will no longer promote UNDA events on Freo’s View or report about them.

I also want to point out to Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt and the Councillors that you can not be prominent in the media all the time saying that you want to protect the West End while creating new density infill in the East End, but then approve buildings like this one by the university. This is an unacceptable proposal and needs to be rejected. Your overpaid Design Advisory Panel should have put the boot in before it progressed so far.

I  am very passionate about Fremantle’s heritage and will personally actively oppose at the October 2017 election the re-election of sitting members who approve this building and will use this very popular blog to make sure we will get people elected on Council who show more respect for Fremantle’s heritage!

Roel Loopers

FIRING THE CANNON AT THE ROUNDHOUSE

Posted in fremantle, heritage, history, tourism by freoview on October 20, 2016

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It was interesting to hear at the Roundhouse today that there are still many people in Fremantle, and some in the tourism industry, who don’t know that the volunteer guides fire the cannon every day at 1 pm.

Cannon firing can be booked as a surprise birthday gift and for anyone. Today a school student from Geraldton fired it in front of her 30 classmates, teachers and another 50 people, as the photo I took shows.

Everyone who fires the cannon receives a certificate. You can book it on the Roundhouse website, where the guides also take bookings for school visits, weddings on the lawn next to the Roundhouse, functions, etc.

The Roundhouse is open every day of the year but for Good Friday and Christmas Day from 10.30 am to 3.30 pm.

Roel Loopers

 

NOTRE DAME UNI SIGNIFICANT FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in economy, education, fremantle, hospitality, notre dame university by freoview on October 19, 2016

I am a big fan of Fremantle’s Notre Dame University but believe the significance of the university to the Fremantle economy has almost slipped unnoticed under the radar of many in our community with some complaining the uni, like every other educational institution in Australia, does not pay council rates.

What UNDA has done is building a very strong brand with high academic acclaim and student satisfaction in the historic West End of Fremantle that attracts more than 6,000 students a year to the campus who are being looked after by around 1,700 staff and lecturers. That is over 7,700 people buying coffee and meals in Freo! It is estimated that the students alone contribute $ 1 million a year to the cafe industry.

When we talk about economic revitalisation we mention a possible 1,200 Housing Department staff relocating to Kings Square, 160 staff the Mediterranean Shipping Company in Cliff Street has brought in and some 200 people now working at the new Atwell Arcade building. That is all great but it also shows how important Notre Dame is for Freo’s hospitality and retail as it alone brings five times more people into Fremantle than those three examples combined.

Most cafes in Fremantle’s West End would not survive without the university, as they and tourism create the numbers that make these small businesses viable. Together with the weekend attraction of Fremantle to suburban visitors this helps make cafes successful all week.

So when you think that Notre Dame does not contribute enough to Fremantle, think about all the people who have jobs in cafes mainly because they get supported by students and staff of the uni, and also have a look at how well they look after the beautiful heritage buildings they occupy.

The one major disappointment for me is the lack of student accommodation in Fremantle and the exodus of students late afternoons. I hope the City of Fremantle and Notre Dame University will collaborate on improving that. What about COF offering UNDA a block of land at the Knutsford Street workshops site for a 49-year peppercorn rent or so, where UNDA can build a student apartment block close to public transport and only a ten-minute bike ride to uni?

Notre Dame does tours of the campus where one can see the stunning adaptive re-use of the heritage buildings, and while there keep an eye out for some outstanding Aboriginal art work on the walls. The free tours are being held every Friday morning. Contact UNDA for information.

Roel Loopers

NOTRE DAME BUILDING WRONG FOR HISTORIC WEST END

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, heritage, notre dame university by freoview on October 14, 2016

I have thought long and hard for the last five days about the development proposal by Fremantle Notre Dame University for the vacant site on the corner of Cliff and High streets in the historic West End and have come to the conclusion that it is not acceptable.

Even with all my good will for Notre Dame and being a supporter of the uni I can’t approve of the bland building proposed that is unacceptably high in the West End Conservation Area, no matter how much I like the UNDA people.

WECA has a four storey limit and just because an incompetent council in the 80s approved the abomination and monstrosity at number 1 High Street-the former Tram building- does not mean we should now allow another five storey building next to it to cover up the ugliness.

If UNDA needs the extra height it needs to move to the east of the CBD, but what they propose can’t be tolerated in our beautiful West End. The design is unsympathetic to the streetscape and entire historic area and the five storey height would squeeze in the surrounding buildings and Roundhouse.

The sweet carrot dangled in front of the community by offering ground level activity with a theatre, function/exhibition space and a bar/cafe is not good enough to compromise and allow a fifth floor on this building, as that is well above the West End Conservation Area planning rules and should never be compromised, not even for my good friends at UNDA!

The only compromise I can see is for a redesigned facade with a set back fourth storey that is pulled back well from the corner of Cliff and High in a 45 degree angle to create a third level roof terrace. That would also create the opportunity of a vertical garden along the fourth floor and an outdoor function and recreation area on the third floor roof.

Notre Dame University have genuinely tried to be a good corporate citizen and be part of the Fremantle community, but they need and can do much better with this building. This is a fantastic opportunity to build a heritage of the future building in this prime location, and they should not let their architects get away with proposing something so average and boring. UNDA must insist on beauty and creativity.

It is a shame I can’t show you the artist drawing of the proposal but they are not yet available to the public.

An information session will be held on October 25 from 5.30-6pm at the City of Fremantle. Enter at the back up the stairs in front of Many 6100.

Roel Loopers

NOTRE DAME REVEALS WEST END BUILDING PLANS

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, heritage, notre dame university by freoview on October 10, 2016

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Notre Dame University today invited the community to have a look at the plans for the development of the vacant site on the corner of High and Cliff streets in the historic West End of Fremantle and unfortunately it looks as if it is going to be controversial.

Fremantle Society president John Dowson said it was outrageous to propose five storeys in the West End Conservation Area as it was not allowed under the City of Fremantle planning rules for the precinct, and I tend to agree with him, but with some reservations.

My biggest worry is setting precedents in the West End for higher buildings as other developers are waiting in the wings for more height in Henry Street and High streets, etc.

But I also acknowledge the reality of the very ugly five storey, plus huge towers at No 1 High Street and the new UNDA building would cover up the back of this monstrosity.

UNDA also wants ground level activation by putting a 220 seat theatre in the building and a bar/cafe, function centre/exhibition space, which would help that end of town a lot as it is a ghost town at night and on weekends.

But should the community compromise on height in the historic old town to cover up another ugly building and to achieve activation? We have a choice to make here that is very important and it’s a difficult one!

The height of the old Tram Building facade is equivalent to four storeys of the ugly No 1 building, as my photo above shows.

I also question the sharp angle of the building as it would have been softer and give more reference to heritage buildings in the vicinity to make the corner of the building at Cliff and High streets round.

The new building would house the nursing school that is getting inundated with applications to the extend that UNDA had to reject some people.

Vice Chancellor Celia Hammond told us the university is doing a complete external audit of its buildings and uses to see if they can be better used and help activation in the West End.

Celia Hammond said the university now has 6,000 students and 1,700 staff and had 24,000 visitors for events. It is estimated that UNDA students spend $ 2.5 million a year on coffee, etc and no doubt the substantial university staff will also support the Fremantle economy.

As I said at the meeting I am getting annoyed with beautiful artist impressions that do not clearly show the reality and impact of planned new buildings and it is time the City of Fremantle insisted on 3D plans for these kind of significant building, so that the community can get a clear and factual impression of what is proposed.

The UNDA building will cost between $ 14-17 million, so it surely is not a big deal to spend a few thousand dollars on 3D imagery.

The present vacant block and the back of the awful No 1 High Street building are an eyesore, so a new building will help improve the area, and a theatre, bar, exhibition space will no doubt make a huge difference as well and connect with the J Shed art precinct, but all parties need to be willing to compromise a little and that is going to be a big ask I fear.

Roel Loopers

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