Freo's View

BE PART OF FREMANTLE’S BRIGHT FUTURE

Posted in city of fremantle, development, politics, property, Uncategorized by freoview on July 17, 2017

 

property-council

 

There is a lot of hot air in politics, and one-eyed blinkered judging of the other’s failures and one’s own greatness. In local politics one can add parochial polemic to it that is not helpful to get a balanced view of the facts.

It becomes understandable why many people don’t really now what is going on in Fremantle, because for some it is all positive while for others it is mostly negative.

I prefer facts over fake news, misinformation, and political point scoring.

It is often good to hear the opinion of out of towners and see how they assess the performance of Fremantle Council, as the promotion for a sundowner does.

According to the poster for an event of the Property Council of Australia with Mayor Brad Pettitt and Deputy Mayor Ingrid Waltham, Fremantle is undergoing its biggest revitalisation with unprecedented levels of public and private investment underway.

The PCOA also writes Most importantly, find out about the current and imminent investment opportunities. Be part of Fremantle now as its future is bright.

The Sundowner is on Friday July 28 from 3.30-5.30 pm at the Perth Convention and Entertainment Centre. It costs $ 135.00 for non-members and $ 90.00 for members.

 

Roel Loopers

FREO DESERVES SUPPORT NOT NEGATIVITY

Posted in city of fremantle, community, local government, Uncategorized, western autralia by freoview on July 7, 2017

 

It appears that Fremantle has a new ABB, no, it’s not a typo. It stands for Anyone But Brad. Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt and the sitting members who are due for election in October might as well not bother to nominate if the relentless-and often uninformed-social media attacks on Council are any indication.

Some people only want to be negative and ignore all facts of progress and a positive Fremantle future. On social media one of those residents, who has not had a good word to say about Freo Council for many years, claimed that Fremantle is rudderless.

This is an amazing statement when one considers that the present Council has done more to encourage substantial development in the inner city than councils over the last 40 years. Facts do not seem to matter when one only wants to be negative.

Leadership is not about making populist decisions but about long-term planning and strategies that will see Fremantle grow and prosper, and in my opinion the present Council has done that well.

Governments never please everyone, that is simply human nature. We all have our political preferences and different views on where Freo should be heading. But it does not mean there is no leadership just because one doesn’t agree with the decisions the democratically Elected Members make.

Yes, there is no denying they have also made mistakes and made decisions I don’t agree with, but my score card is more positive than negative. Because of that I have recently been accused of Council bias. I, and no doubt many at CoF who hate my guts, find that very funny. All I try to do is create a fair balance on social media against anti-Council bias, and point out facts rather than engaging in one-eyed polemic.

Let’s talk about the P-Word again! Parking in Fremantle is not outrageously expensive, as some claim, but only $ 2.80 per hour. After 5pm the maximum amount one has to pay is $ 5.50 for unlimited time. For Fremantle residents parking before 11am and after 3pm is free on weekdays. That is 20 hours daily of free parking, five days a week. On weekends parking is free for residents with a permit at the Beach Street carpark. Street parking in Perth is $ 4.00 per hour by the way.

Notre Dame University students complain that parking cost them thousands of dollars a year, basically because they are too lazy to walk ten minutes from the Point Street carpark where they could park all day for just $ 9.00, instead of paying well over $ 20.00 a day by parking in West End streets. Silly really!

I don’t believe at all that Fremantle Council is rudderless and lacks leadership. Fremantle Council has respectfully and protectively kept one eye on our heritage past while having a strong focus on the future.

The Kings Square Project, Cantonment Hill Project, Fremantle Oval/Stan Reilly Project, State Heritage listing of the West End, the futuristic South Quay Project, Princess May Park masterplan, Esplanade masterplan, lobbying State Government to relocate government departments to Fremantle, and zoning changes to encourage residential infill and small housing, and planning changes, that now see unprecedented commercial and residential development in the inner city, show that the present council has strong strategic thinking.

In my books that is good future-focussed leadership that should be consolidated in the next challenging years. The many projects on the way and in the pipeline require thorough knowledge and people with local government experience.

They are well thought-out long-term and strategic plans by Fremantle Council to help our city grow faster, to get more people living and working in the CBD, to get more visitors to stay overnight and to boost the retail and hospitality economy. Cutting red tape so that more small bars and businesses can be established in the West End is also good leadership.

It is unlikely that Mayor Brad Pettitt and I will ever be friends and that is fine, but that does not mean I don’t respect him. I really don’t care much what the Mayor or anyone else at the City of Fremantle think off me.

I am at this beautiful end stage of life where I don’t have to prove anything anymore to anyone, or even myself. I am involved in Council and community business because I want the very best for Fremantle, not because of my ego and wanting to be right.

Anyone with good new and positive ideas for Freo will have my support. Anyone with solutions will have my unbiased ear, but those who are hell-bent on talking our city down will receive little sympathy from me.

Fremantle is an outstanding place to live. Fremantle has a really good and exciting future ahead and will be one of the great vibrant destinations in the metro area in just a few years from now.

We will have many more people walking the streets day and night, who will be supporting our local traders, and we will have a modern new East End of town that will well juxtapose the beautiful historic West End of Fremantle.

What we need to be most aware of is that developers are trying to push five-storey buildings into the heritage West End and we can’t let that happen. It is disappointing that this is actively supported by the Chamber of Commerce. Approving high and massive buildings in the historic area is unacceptable because it would negatively change Fremantle’s unique character forever. We can’t let that happen ever!!

Fremantle is on the right track, but it is a marathon. Right now we need to be patient and supportive, not negative!

Roel Loopers

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ANOTHER FREO ELECTION CANDIDATE

Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, election, Uncategorized by freoview on July 1, 2017

 

Election candidates for the Fremantle local government election in October are slowly making their candidacy public.

I was contacted late yesterday by FEDELE CAMARDA that he will be nominating for Beaconsfield Ward.

This will mean opposition for sitting member Hannah Fitzhardinge, who has been doing a good job after she took over Josh Wilson’s seat. Wilson of course is splendidly representing Fremantle in Canberra parliament.

I hear there will be many candidates in most wards but need to wait till I hear from them.

Fedele Camarda attempted to get onto Council two years ago, so this is his second attempt.

Roel Loopers

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BACK TO THE FUTURE FOR FREO COUNCIL?

Posted in city of fremantle, election, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on June 30, 2017

 

It could be a case of deja vu all over again and back to the future with two former Fremantle councillors attempting to get back on at the October 2017 local government election.

Last week Katie Anketell announced she would be nominating, and I hear former Freo Mayor Jenny Archibald is also going to put her hat in the ring.

I wonder who else will be nominating and when/if Mayor Brad Pettitt will officially announce that he will be trying to get another term.

Roel Loopers

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WITNESS GRASSROOTS DEMOCRACY AT FREO COUNCIL

Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on June 27, 2017

 

It is just over four months until the Fremantle local government election so a good time for those who want to nominate to start doing their homework and attend council meetings, so that they do understand the process and complexities of local councils.

On Wednesday there are some interesting items on the agenda, so perfect to see democracy at work and hear our Elected Members deliberate and their thinking behind why they support or reject items.

There are plans for a five-storey backpackers at the Mills Record site at Adelaide Street, and that is significant in the context of the Kings Square Project development.

The planning compliance of the new Kings Square Civic Centre building is also on the agenda.

Sunset Events’ request to delay the start of their J Shed lease is another interesting item that no doubt will attract speakers from the public opposing it.

And there is an item to be debated about a scheme amendment for small infill development. It has a lot of merit but there are also people in the community opposing it.

The solar farm at the South Fremantle infill site is also an agenda item, but it is confidential, so the public won’t be able to sit in on that.

Local government is fascinating and grassroots democracy so inform yourselves and see how diligent our Councillors and officers are.

The Ordinary Council meeting starts at 6 pm, Wednesday June 28. Enter from the back stairs.

Roel Loopers

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LOCAL COUNCIL VOTE IMPORTANT!

Posted in city of fremantle, elections, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on June 22, 2017

 

While the Fremantle local government election in October is still months away I urge everyone to make sure they are registered on the Electoral Roll. This is especially important for young people who have just turned 18 as YOUR vote is so very important.

Councils make decisions for YOUR future and you have the power to vote for the people who YOU believe will best represent you and youth issues in general.

While we have a vast-ageing population the future is with younger generations, so governments need to make decisions that are progressive and look at the long-term implications.

I was told a few years ago by university students that they are not interested in local government and that is a real shame because local government is the closest we can get to grassroots representation.

In Fremantle we have easy access to our Councillors and Mayor, so we can influence their decisions. But it means we need to participate and we need to understand how local government works.

Council and council committee meetings are not boring. They give a real insight into how the democratic process works and how complex it can be.

Councils need to do far more than putting the motions in place for street cleaning and maintenance, they are responsible for long-term strategies and policies.

We are witnessing how long-term Council planning is slowly making a very significant impact in Fremantle, with unprecedented investment through massive development in Fremantle, and a whole lot more is in the pipeline.  That was very deliberate action by a Council which realised it needed to be pro-active on trying to turn the economic downturn around and revitalise and activate the city.

But we need to have plans that will make sure that we have affordable student accommodation and for young people to live in the inner city and only when young people care to vote will they be represented by Councillors.

Fremantle does have a Youth Council, but it works in the dark and I have no idea what they are doing and how they influence the elected members. I also don’t know if many young Freo residents know about the Youth Council and how to contact them, and I don’t understand why that council is not more in the public domain.

VOTE! Get yourselves enrolled and take part in the very important democratic privilege!

Roel Loopers

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GRASS NOT ALWAYS GREENER ELSEWHERE

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

Interesting to hear that the FRRAemantle Society committee has decided to not support former Fremantle Residents and Ratepayers Association convenor Claudia Green for the City Ward council election. FS Committee voted to support Michael Finn, one of the Kakula’s Sisters owners instead.

I have no doubt that many FRRA members will not at all be happy about that and now regret the recent merger with the Fremantle Society. FS president John Dowson endorsed Ms Green, so that will make for uncomfortable Society committee meetings.

I would welcome some small business owners on Fremantle Council as that expertise is missing and most people cannot imagine what it is like to run a small shop or cafe.

These small businesses are often not well represented at local and state government levels since they cannot afford to become a member of the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce, and it is mainly Fremantle BID that tries to look after and promote them.

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

FREMANTLE COMMUNITY GROUPS MERGER

Posted in city of fremantle, community, local government, politics, Uncategorized by freoview on May 4, 2017

 

The long-established Fremantle Society and the relatively new Fremantle Residents and Ratepayers Association have merged to combine forces for the Local Government election in October.

From what I gather FRRA will be swallowed up by FS and the groups will operate under the Fremantle Society name.

Many members would have been part of both groups, so it makes sense to reduce administration and duplications.

I hope a larger FS will make a more positive contribution to Fremantle and become part of the solution, instead of only being relentlessly negative and one-eyed about Fremantle Council.

It would be transparent if the larger Fremantle Society would now disclose how many paid members it does have, to substantiate its claims that it represents a large percentage of Fremantle residents.

Community groups are very important and can be hugely influential when they are willing to engage in respectful dialogue with Elected Members and Council staff, so I hope new Society members will push for that and stop the anti everything attitude of its president.

Roel Loopers

FREO FAIRNESS ELECTION CAMPAIGN

Posted in city of fremantle, community, elections, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on May 1, 2017

 

The Fremantle Mayoral election campaign is under way very early with the launch of Ra Stewart’s campaign launch on Friday evening and the first election advertisement in the Fremantle Herald.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt has yet to officially declare if he will be standing again but all signs are that he believes he still has a job to finish and will try to remain Mayor for another four years.

We are an opinionated lot in Freo, and Councillors and the Mayor have plenty of supporters but also plenty of haters who will criticise just about anything Council does.

I would love to see an election campaign of visions, ideas, innovation and the realisation of how strong local government grassroots is. Only at local government can we come to Council and address our Elected Members. We cannot do that in State or Federal government and we need to take advantage of the opportunity to let our Councillors know what we like and dislike.

It is probably too much to ask the community for fairness and balance and give Council credit where it is due, because we tend to focus on the negative aspects of Council decisions and tend to ignore the achievements.

I have always disliked what happens in politics when opposing parties just slam everything the other party proposes, instead of open-mindedly also acknowledging good ideas their opponents have. I found that childish and immature.

The Fremantle community is very engaged, but reading many of the comments on social media, letters to the newspapers and hearing them on talk-back radio, I am also stunned about the lack of knowledge, and people making complaints that are based on ignorance because they fail to inform themselves.

It is not fair to the Elected Members to assume one knows something and criticise them for decisions they have not made, when it is very easy to find out what has been happening at Council by reading agendas and minutes, or better even, as I do, attend Council and Committee meetings so one can hear what is being debated at Council and observe how good or bad we are represented by our Councillors.

Politics at all levels will find many people disappointed with what our politicians decide, while others will be delighted. That is just how it works and it will never change. Politicians will never ever please everyone and will either be considered too left or too right by the community, whatever our personal preferences are.

When Council approves a new family home it is likely that it upsets at least the two neighbours to the left and right, while the applicants will be over the moon, or if the proposal is rejected the neighbours will be happy but the proponent will hate Council. That is one of the many realities Councillors have to deal with every day and they do their utmost to make the right and fair decisions.

I was very much against Planning Scheme Amendment 49 because I believed it would open the doors for too excessive heights in the CBD, and I still believe those heights should have been restricted to 8-9 storeys only, but when I witness the massive development in the inner city that will see Fremantle’s economic prospects turn around dramatically in the next few years, I have to acknowledge that this is the result of PSA 49 being implemented by Council.

The Esplanade Youth Plaza was hugely controversial and I too believe that it should have been added to the reserve by building it on the Italian Club carpark site, but the enormous success of the skatepark cannot be ignored.

The Australia Day decision was very controversial but has now started an Australia-wide debate if we should change the date of it, and the doom and gloom predictions that it would be a disaster for Fremantle traders did not eventuate.

The Kings Square Project will probably be debated for another ten years but I have no doubt it will help to revitalise the inner city to the benefit of our traders. I find it futile to debate if or if not we need a new civic centre after the decision about it was made years ago, and if it should or should not be erected at our City Square.

What remains disappointing though is that the City of Fremantle still has not made public the full business plan they signed off on with Sirona Capital. We were told before the State Government signed a lease for the offices that it was commercial confidentiality that prevented the business plan being made public, but that excuse is no longer valid.

It is tactically very silly of Fremantle Council to not let us read the Kings Square contracts because it will just give more ammunition to the conspiracy theorists who believe there is something sinister about it all. Transparency and openness should not just be election buzzwords but a given at local government.

We’ll have the chance over the next five months to question and scrutinise the candidates who will step up to represent us and they should all get a fair go. That includes the sitting members because most of them have worked extremely hard over the last four years to do the right thing by the city they love. They too deserve fairness and not the utterly ridiculous and untrue assertions that they are all mere puppets to the Mayor and vote whatever he tells them to vote for. Nothing could be further from the truth, as I have observed personally for around ten years now.

Councillors are very very thorough and they take their responsibilities very serious. The challenge for us voters will be to see through the hot air and bulls… and decide if new contenders will do a better job than those who have the local council experience and knowledge. Be aware that it is easy to make empty promises when one does not understand the process of government.

I will endeavour to act as the Devil’s advocate and Freo’s conscience and report with fairness and balance during the election campaign, as I have done on Freo’s View for seven and a half years.

All Council candidates will get a fair go here and if they send me info about their campaign I will share that with the community, however I will insist on respectful dialogue no matter if you are far left or far right, somewhere in the middle, or just an undecided voter.

Roel Loopers

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