Freo's View

A NEW PORT OR A PIPE DREAM?

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle ports, Uncategorized by freoview on November 20, 2017

 

The outer harbour forum at Fremantle Victoria Hall was an interesting event and the hall was packed full, so there is clearly strong community interest in finding solutions for a better way on how WA deals with freight and port related transport and issues.

I was impressed with the presentation of Nicole Lockwood, the independent chair of the newly created WESTPORT.

She said the Kwinana outer harbour and issues related with it would be one of the longest planning exercises in WA, as the outcome would be looking after the State’s freight for the next 50-100 years.

The reference group was very broad and inclusive and relied on participation, input and ideas from all levels of the industries, government departments and community.

It is about planning a modern port, land and transport plans, assessing commercial aspects, identifying industrial opportunities, and maximising compatibility.

There is huge land access at Kwinana and Bunbury that can be utilised.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said it was good to have a rational conversation on how to transition part of the port activity to Kwinana as there is an opportunity to rethink the south side of the harbour.

There needs to be a better port to city connection and either upgrade the passenger terminal or build a new one further west with better access to the city.

Pettitt said Fremantle Council wanted to keep Fremantle as a working port as long as possible.

Infrastructure advisor Cameron Edwards said WA needed to offer a competitive international product and that a new outer harbour would create significant value to pay off the State’s debt.

Fremantle Port was a ‘stranded asset’ and the rail link under-utilised. Kwinana would be able to handle much longer trains than Fremantle, where the maximum length is only 690 metres.

The creation of a large industrial park and special economic trading zone at Kwinana would stimulate the WA economy. Kwinana is where the money is and that has significant advantage, Edwards said.

Fremantle deserves world-class facilities and there are great examples around the world how well we can rejuvenate old ports.

A new port would create 18,000 new jobs while the status quo would not create any new jobs.

Professor Phil Jennings spoke at length about serious environmental problems in Cockburn Sound in the past and that there are still areas where seagrass is dying and the pollution is bad, but with proper conditions and management in place the outer harbour could be acceptable.

Professor Peter Newman said we should create Lithium Valley at Kwinana as we have already eight lithium mines in WA and it is a growth industry. We should not just be exporting our lithium though but build the batteries here in WA.

Nicole Lockwood said it was going to be a huge jigsaw puzzle and a dynamic exercise to understand the constraints and opportunities of a new outer harbour.

I walked away wondering how realistic all this is, as we just had Fremantle Port wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars planning for the sale of the port, now the new Labor government is changing that all around with absolutely no guarantee that a future Liberal government will not scrap the plans again.

The reality will be that the construction of an outer harbour will not start in the next ten years because Fremantle Port is not anywhere near capacity and WA is broke. The ‘overflow port’ won’t really be needed for another 15-20 years. 

Building lithium batteries in WA is highly unrealistic because labour costs here are far too high to be internationally competitive.

And keeping a working port at North Quay while developing Victoria Quay is unfortunately also unrealistic because of the buffer zones at the port and safety and security issues. That means there can’t be residential or hotel development, so all that could be done is commercial activity of retail and offices.

While strategic long-term planning for our state is important it is essential to be extremely realistic about what can be achieved and what will remain just another pipedream.

 

Roel Loopers

KWINANA PORT FORUM ON TODAY

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle ports, Uncategorized by freoview on November 20, 2017

 

There is a forum on the planning of a Kwinana Port TODAY, November 20 at Victoria Hall in Fremantle. It is on from 7pm-9.30pm.

The Kwinana Outer Harbour has been in the pipeline for over twenty years and was the solution to freight hitting Fremantle long before the Perth Freight Link was dreamed up. The new Westport Task Force was recently formed by the State Government to finally make it a reality.

Nicole Lockwood, Chair of Westport will talk of her plans,  and Fremantle Mayor Dr Brad Pettitt will speak on the opportunities this opens up for Fremantle.

Infrastructure adviser Cameron Edwards will speak on why a Kwinana port will lead to jobs growth and massive economic potential for WA, Professor Philip Jennings on the environmental considerations, and Professor Peter Newman on transport planning and why this all makes sense.

A Q&A will follow presentations.

The Western Harbours Alliance purpose is to help establish new partnerships between community, government and business to create the opportunities and overcome the barriers to building a new 21st century port in the Perth Metropolitan Region, bringing great economic, employment and social benefits for the people of Western Australia. WHA is a member of the Westport Reference Group.

http://www.westernharboursalliance.com

THE PLANNING OF KWINANA PORT FORUM

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle ports, perth freight link, Uncategorized by freoview on November 17, 2017

 

PFL protest

 

There is a forum on the planning of a Kwinana Port this coming Monday, November 20 at Victoria Hall in Fremantle. It is on from 7pm-9.30 pm.

The Kwinana Outer Harbour has been in the pipeline for over twenty years and was the solution to freight hitting Fremantle long before the Perth Freight Link was dreamed up. The new Westport Task Force was recently formed by the State Government to finally make it a reality. 

Nicole Lockwood, Chair of Westport will talk of her plans,  and Fremantle Mayor Dr Brad Pettitt will speak on the opportunities this opens up for Fremantle.

Infrastructure adviser Cameron Edwards will speak on why a Kwinana port will lead to jobs growth and massive economic potential for WA, Professor Philip Jennings on the environmental considerations, and Professor Peter Newman on transport planning and why this all makes sense.

A Q&A will follow presentations.

The Western Harbours Alliance purpose is to help establish new partnerships between community, government and business to create the opportunities and overcome the barriers to building a new 21st century port in the Perth Metropolitan Region, bringing great economic, employment and social benefits for the people of Western Australia. WHA is a member of the Westport Reference Group.

http://www.westernharboursalliance.com

UNION TRUTH ABOUT FREMANTLE PORT

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

FREMANTLE CITY TO ADJUST SPEEDHUMPS

Posted in city of fremantle, local government, traffic, Uncategorized by freoview on July 11, 2017

Although the recently installed speedhumps in Fremantle were installed after extensive community consultation and City of Fremantle liaison with the WA Mainroads Department, some adjustments will be made after members of the community objected to the number of traffic calming devices and the height of some.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt just announced the adjustments that will be made immediately:

Ord Street, Fremantle

At Ord Street the intention of the traffic calming was to improve pedestrian safety at crossing points for the Arts Centre patrons and High School students and also to deter container trucks and heavy vehicles to the Fremantle Port using Hampton Road as a short-cut.

After receiving community feedback, the  City has reassessed the installation and has arranged for the angle of the speed humps to be softened and also two of the central sets of speed humps (not directly associated with the pedestrian crossings) to be removed.

Wray Avenue, Fremantle

At Wray Avenue, the idea was to slow traffic as this was a major cycle route and the original design included treatment at five locations. Unfortunately while this was reduced following community consultation the original design was installed in error. As a result two of the speed humps will now be removed but there will be enough to keep speeds down we believe.

South Terrace, South Fremantle

South Terrace has been subject to traffic, road and streetscape improvement discussions for some time, with local residents and business owners keen to see progress in the area.

The City has commenced a program of works to start improving the road environment. The current batch of speed bumps were installed as SHORT TERM TREATMENT to calm traffic and assist in the creation of a target 40km/hr speed environment. This initial phase is in preparation for a series of permanent raised pedestrian platforms at key intersections along South Terrace.

The first of these platforms is being planned for installation at the intersection of Little Lefroy & South Terrace within this financial year. As you may be aware this was a key point where the community wanted to see traffic slowed and crossing made safer.

The City accepts there now are too many speed bumps along South Tce and some aren’t at a key nodes as envisaged. So in response to community feedback will reduce the number of these temporary speed bumps from 15 locations to 10 locations. The removal of speed humps at five locations has been planned to try and ensure the intent of the traffic calming and slowing along South Tce remains.

Officers will also address the effectiveness of the treatments by adjusting the width of coverage to reduce the incidence of motorists swerving to avoid the speed humps.

 

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CONTROVERSIAL FREO TRAFFIC CALMING

Posted in city of fremantle, freight, TRAFFIC by freoview on June 23, 2017

 

The new speed humps along Ord Street in Fremantle are already receiving criticism on social media with people claiming they have created traffic jams during peak hours.

Speed humps were installed between Queen Victoria Street and High Street to deter trucks going to Fremantle Port from using the suburban road and use Stock Road instead. Time will tell if the humps have any effect on it at all.

Four new speed humps were also installed in Wray Avenue, so there are now six in total in that short stretch, and more speed humps are planned along South Terrace between South Street and Douro Road to create traffic calming local residents and businesses have asked for, to make it safer for cyclists and pedestrians.

I am not a big fan of speed humps but can see the need for them in some streets. We need to deal with the reality that most people want to drive their car and no matter how hard governments try to change our attitude, riding bicycles and using public transport will remain only a second option for the majority of people.

Those who claim on social media that this is just another example of Fremantle Council wanting to ban cars should inform themselves better as this has been a lengthy process and not just a mad loony thought bubble.

It is insulting to the diligent City of Fremantle officers to claim no thought has been put into this. The fact is that this all need to be approved by Mainroads and they don’t like change or slowing down traffic much.

The South Fremantle traffic calming comes on demand from local people and has been through a long community consultation process for over a year. I have personally attended three South Fremantle Precinct meetings with City officers.

Roel Loopers

GRAIN TRUCK OVERTURNS IN FREMANTLE

Posted in city of fremantle, freight, fremantle ports, Uncategorized by freoview on May 25, 2017

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A large 12-wheel grain truck overturned this morning in Fremantle on its way to Fremantle Port at the notorious intersection of High Street and Stirling Hiwhway.

Traffic was diverted for many hours as two big tow trucks tried to get the grain vehicle back on its wheels.

The intersection has been overdue for an upgrade and State Government has held community sessions, but nothing has been done to improve the intersection, and that needs to be done with priority now by the new Labor government which stopped the Perth Freight Link.

Roel Loopers

STIRLING HIGHWAY TRAFFIC OPTIONS

Posted in city of fremantle, containers, freight, fremantle ports, Uncategorized by freoview on May 13, 2017

Media release from the office of W.A. Minister Rita Saffioti:

Options for High Street and Stirling Highway to be developed

  • Upgrade options for Stirling Highway and High Street to be discussed
  • Solution will tackle congestion and improve road safety
  • McGowan Government delivering on election commitment

The McGowan Government is developing a number of options towards addressing traffic concerns along Stirling Highway and High Street.

The State and Commonwealth governments recently reached an agreement on a substantial $2.3 billion road and rail infrastructure package for Western Australia.

As part of the agreement, an amount of $118 million was dedicated to an inherited proposal to upgrade a section of Stirling Highway and High Street, as outlined under the previous government.

The McGowan Government is now keen to work with the City of Fremantle to develop the best solution to address traffic issues in the area.

The investigation of new options is in line with the McGowan Government’s election commitment to deliver a comprehensive alternative to the Perth Freight Link.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti will be meeting with stakeholders in coming weeks to discuss strategies.

Various options for upgrades are being developed and will be presented for discussion with the local council and community in coming months.

Comments attributed to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:

“We understand the community interest in the future of these roads and will be developing options towards relieving congestion and improving safety.

“There will be a range of options considered that will relieve congestion and improve road safety.”

Minister’s office – 6552 5500

 

LET’S HAVE A ROE 8 EXHIBITION!

Posted in community, democracy, election, fremantle, perth freight link by freoview on March 13, 2017

The Save Beeliar Wetlands and Roe 8-Perth Freight Link community protest has been so successful that I believe there should be an exhibition of photos and videos of what happened over the last years.

Thousands of photos were taken and hours of video recorded and that should not be lost but end up in the Fremantle history library, but first in a big exhibition at the Moores building.

People power had a big impact on the W.A. election on Saturday and there is no doubt in my mind that Labor’s Lisa O’Malley won the seat of Bicton because of the Roe 8 issues.

Saturday’s election was not so much about the Labor win but more about democracy and how we all can make a difference when we stand up for what we believe in. It takes guts to do that and I greatly admire those who never protested before but who took on leadership because they wanted to leave their children a better place.

Forget all the politics and parties and all the negativity and see the very positive message the Roe 8 community protest has delivered. It is about us the people! We are not numbers. We are passionate people who care about our environment and community and we know we are just the custodians for a short time. That brings with it a great responsibility to look after our planet for future generations.

Well done all and a great strong and deep message for all politicians in Australia.

Let’s have that exhibition!

Roel Loopers

WONDERFUL FREO COPENHAGEN A LONG WAY AWAY

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle ports, harbour, tourism by freoview on March 10, 2017

 

Fremantle Councillor Rachel Pemberton suggests in the Fremantle Herald today that we should import Danish logic and develop Fremantle Port like the port of Copenhagen, but it is essential to be very realistic about the idea of developing South Quay into a residential estate and a tourist, markets, entertainment hub, because this is very, very long-distant vision.

Fremantle people need to be aware and pragmatic about the fact that Fremantle Port will be a working port for decades to come, even if the new state government started building an outer harbour at Kwinana on Monday when the election results are in.

The outer harbour plans for Kwinana have always only been about an overflow port when the inner city Freo port reaches capacity, so State Government planners will still have to find better ways of getting freight in and out of Fremantle for the next twenty years or so.

The Perth Freight Link is not the solution because the last link is missing and won’t get trucks into Fremantle Port faster and better. The existing railway line through the West End can’t handle double-stacking and the PTA is reluctant to mix passenger and freight rail, so a new railway line would have to be built to get the rail capacity anywhere near the maximum 30 per cent.

Short-term jobs will come with building a new outer harbour, but also with building the Roe 8,9, 10, or building a new railway line, but long-term jobs will be lost for wharfies once Kwinana port is built because of automation of the new modern port.

While we have heard a lot of election promises from everyone we need to be very aware of the fact that W.A. is closing in on a debt of over $ 40 billion dollars, so there really is no money to spent big on big projects and many promises will have to be broken because of lack of cash, no matter who wins tomorrow.

I wish, hope and pray that Mark McGowan will not find out on Monday that stopping the Roe 8 highway and Perth Freight Link project will cost the State millions of dollars it can’t afford to spend on buying out contractors, or huge legal costs

The development of South Quay will not happen in my lifetime. It is a great very long-term vision by Fremantle Council but one that will not be realised in the next twenty years or more. Up till then we need to find better ways of moving freight and some of that could be achieved by more trucks to port at night time when the roads are empty.

Big dreams are great but we need to be realistic and deal with the problems at hand.

I took the photos above in Fremantle Port this morning. There is also a navy ship in and I noticed another two off the coast.

Roel Loopers

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