Freo's View

NEW FREO POLICE STATION NOT IN WOOLSTORES

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, city planning, police, state government, Uncategorized by freoview on April 24, 2020

 

Fremantle’s Silverleaf Investments owner Gerard O’Brien is not a happy man, according to the FREMANTLE HERALD, after the WA State Government announced it will be building its own new Freo Police Station, although it was put out to tender and the Woolstores site was shortlisted.

The Herald writes that Police Minister Michelle Roberts declared they have identified a suitable site in Fremantle, which is the good news, however, a state government property won’t have to pay local council rates, so this is not the best outcome for the cash-strapped City of Fremantle.

Roel Loopers

RATES FREE DEVELOPMENT BAD FOR FREMANTLE

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Fremantle Councillor Adin Lang makes some very valid points about a new Freo police station in his Thinking Allowed opinion piece in the Fremantle Herald today.

Although the location for the new police station has not been announced yet by the State Government, the Woolstores development hopes to have the new cop shop there, while the Adelaide Plaza, St John’s site in Parry Street and the Cappuccino Strip carpark next to Fremantle Oval have also been rumoured to be candidates for the new building.

Adin Lang argues that building on the City owned carpark at South Terrace would deny Fremantle much-needed rates, around $ 400,000 per year, and it would delay the building as it would need design, planning approval, etc, while the Silverleaf Investments Woolstores development is ready to go.

The current Covid-19 climate has shown that Fremantle cannot afford to have more rates-free development. Fremantle does not receive rates from Notre Dame University, other educational institutions, churches, etc. and with a small ratepayers base, we need to push toward more regular revenue in Freo, instead on depending so much on parking fees and fines, which will disappear over time anyway because of autonomous cars and increasing use of Uber.

It is necessary that Fremantle Council gets these points across to Police Minister Michelle Roberts fast, before we lose out on more potential rates.

Roel Loopers

WILL KINGS SQUARE ACTIVATION REMAIN A PIPE DREAM?

 

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The Fremantle community should get used to the black hoardings at Kings Square with Sirona Capital announcing in the Fremantle Herald today that the FOMO retail concept will now only open toward the end of this year, so yet another delay for the activation of our city square.

One has to ask if the Fremantle Kings Square activation is just a pipedream based on hope only, because while Sirona blames the coronavirus for the delay, the article in the Herald makes it pretty clear that they have failed to sign up a significant number of retailers for the exciting and innovative FOMO concept, that was lauded as going to be a first in Australia, and a whole new shopping and hospitality experience.

I questioned earlier this week what was going on with FOMO when the West Australian published an article about the Varsity sports bar being the first to sign up for FOMO, and one can get little confidence out of Sirona Capital managing director Matthew McNeilly’s claim in the Herald that five key anchor tenants are in different stages of being signed up. It simply means they have not signed them up yet, although McNeilly told the Herald there was no shortage of interest in FOMO. With all due respect, I take that claim with a grain of salt.

Things will not get better for a long time and many new ventures and developments will stall or falter because investment money will be hard to get because of the Covid-19 crisis. The economy will struggle all over the world, and that will no doubt unfortunately also have a huge impact on Fremantle and our traders.

We can live in hope, but we need to pragmatically and honestly deal with the reality. These are not the times for spin.

Roel Loopers

DEALING WITH FREMANTLE FACTS

 

Fothergill Street resident Vern Reid has a bit of a rant about Fremantle’s Council’s One Day in Fremantle event, and a few other things, in the Fremantle Herald today, and I thought it might create some interest here on Freo’s View when I respond to some of his concerns.

Mr Reid believes that One Day in Fremantle was a ‘vanity project’ and questions if this is driven by Council or by City officers. I thought it was very obvious that this was a Council initiative, that was approved at an Ordinary Council meetings quite a few years ago now. It was highly controversial and reported in all the news media at the time, and again every year after at Australia Day. So being informed helps to stop irrelevant questions.

Vern Reid also wants to know what the commercial arrangements are for the leasing spaces in the new Kings Square development and if the state government agencies, which will be moving in soon, pay commercial rent. The answer to that is that most commercial spaces at Kings Square belong to Sirona Capital, and their commercial lease arrangements have nothing to do with the City of Fremantle. Mr Reid surely is also aware that the commercial vacancies in the Perth area are more than double that of any other state in Australia, at bout 17% compared to just 8% on average in other states. So there is little doubt that lease incentives are expected by tenants and being given by property owners.

Mr Reid asks if Fremantle Council applies its usual ‘planning tourniquet’, or if they fast track some approvals. The answer to that is that Fremantle Council for ten years has been pro-actively encouraging development in Freo, hence we now have an unprecedented development boom. But as is the case with all development approvals in all councils, there are planning laws and rules the City needs to apply, and most large development are anyway being approved by the state government agencies JDAP and SAT,  and local councils can only give a recommendation of approval or rejection for those agencies to consider.

And before anyone attacks me that I am an apologist for Fremantle Council, I have only supplied facts. ; >)

Roel Loopers

ONE DAY NONSENSE FROM FREMANTLE HERALD

 

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I am disappointed that my friends at the Fremantle Herald make the totally unsubstantiated claim on their front page today that only 1,000 people attended the One Day in Fremantle event at Bathers Beach last Saturday. Where did they get the figures from? Who did the foot traffic counting?

I was at the event four times, starting with the Smoking Ceremony at 8am, which attracted around 500 people, and during the day there was a constant stream of people coming and going. It was a great day from 8am till sunset, where people really connected, and that’s what it is all about!

The Chook is keen to quote the Liberal MP for Tagney Ben Morton, who constantly bleats on about Australia Day in large advertisements in the Fremantle Herald, so maybe the front page article is just a quid pro quo to keep an advertiser happy?

By the way, on the four occasions I was at the One Day event, and stayed for considerable time, I never noticed anyone from the Chook. They even used a City of Fremantle photo to support their front page nonsense, because they could not be bothered to attend the Smoking Ceremony.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE HERALD CELEBRATES 30 YEARS

 

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Congratulations to Fremantle Herald owner Andrew Smith and all the staff to the 30th birthday of our own iconic Freo rag.

The Chook is no doubt an institution in our port city and has done itself proud with many exclusives and even more controversial articles over the three decades.

It takes a lot of effort and commitment to publish a community newspaper, especially during the hard times when the advertising dollars dry up significantly, but Smith and his team just kept going.

I too have fond memories standing in for the Chook photographers when they went on holidays or were sick.

All of us in Fremantle need to realise that the Herald can only survive if it gets the advertising support it needs, and we also need to be aware what a great loss it would be for Freo if the Chook were no longer published.

Thanks Andrew, Steve and all the great people who make the Fremantle Herald what it is!

Roel Loopers

Comments Off on FREMANTLE HERALD CELEBRATES 30 YEARS

FREO ART PRECINCT NOT A FAILURE SAY ARTISTS

Posted in art, bathers beach art precinct, city of fremantle, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on October 25, 2019

 

There is a bit of a backlash from Arthur’s Head artists against Mayor Brad Pettitt’s claim in the Fremantle Herald last week that the Bathers Beach Art Precinct concept had failed.

David Giles, Glen Cowans, Greg James, Jenny Dawkins and peter Zuvela all pointed out that they have been very successful up on the Roundhouse hill and at J Shed for many years and that it might just be time for Fremantle Council to acknowledge the success of these artists and support them better.

Roel Loopers

FREO’S LAST TEN YEARS NOT A FAILURE

There is a Not Happy Brad! whinge letter in the Fremantle Herald today by a Keith Manton, who blames the Fremantle Mayor for just about everything that is wrong in our city.

Drug taking, street drinking, begging. Blame the Mayor when everyone by now should be aware that WA Police is responsible for taking care of these issues and crimes and anti social behaviour. They do that pretty well with assistance of the Fremantle community safety officers.

The one point I agree on with Mr Manton is that lack of good quality architecture we are getting, but most of the major projects are approved by the state’s JDAP and not the City.

According to the director responsible for the removal of the yellow foil at High Street comes in under the $ 220.000 budget, so not anywhere near the one million Mr Manton claims it will cost. Can we get an update on that please Director Graham Tattersall. Thanks!

Vacant shops and the cry out for more diversity is nothing new. Retail vacancies are unfortunately happening everywhere around Perth and Australia and Fremantle Council cannot enforce lower rents or dictate to property owners which tenants and businesses to take on, although the economic development team has been trying hard to get more diversity in Fremantle’s shopping.

It was on expert advise that Fremantle Council decided not to renovate the old Civic Center and go ahead with an all new one that will compliment the Sirona Capital commercial development at Kings Square. To say that replacing the ailing building was totally unnecessary is being ignorant of the facts.

Have the last ten years of Fremantle under the leadership of Mayor Brad Pettitt been a failure, as Keith Manton claims? I don’t believe so, as the Kings Square Redevelopment Project will make a significant difference to the economic revitalisation of our city. It will require a bit more of our patience, and no doubt that is very difficult for many of our struggling traders, so let’s support them!

Could Fremantle Council and the administration improve? Absolutely, and I have no doubt they are aware of that.

Roel Loopers

 

GOVERNMENT FUNDING ESSENTIAL FOR HISTORIC ARTHUR’S HEAD

 

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Good to see the Fremantle Herald dedicating the front page to the stabilisation issues at Arthur’s Head and preservation works required at the Roundhouse.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the State Government has taken one of our state’s most significant historic precincts and WA’s oldest public building for granted for far too long. Sure, the City has on occasions received a grant to do work there, but there really should be annual funding for the upkeep of the Roundhouse and surrounding cliff face and buildings.

It was uplifting how many visitors to the Roundhouse yesterday had seen the Today Tonight program on Channel Seven with none of them aware that there is no funding for the tourist destination, and that just 30 volunteers keep the building open 363 days a year on the smell of an oily rag, from the few visitors gold coin donations received.

In an ideal world the Roundhouse would have enough volunteers to do two three and a half hour shifts, so that the building can remain open two hours longer each day from 10am to 5pm, in line with the Shipwrecks and Maritime museums.

Annual funding and marketing support from the City of Fremantle is needed to support the popular building, and State and Federal funding is required to maintain Arthur’s Head as the significant historic site it is!

Roel Loopers

HERALD ARTICLE STRESSES LACK OF GOVERNMENT SUPPORT FOR HISTORIC ARTHUR’S HEAD

 

 

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This Thinking Allowed published in the Fremantle Herald today claims I am “Freo’s most opinionated blogger” so I’ll take that as a compliment I think, well, maybe. 😩

It is important though to stress the fact that the historic Roundhouse and Arthur’s Head do not get any annual funding from the State and Federal governments and that the City of Fremantle does not have the millions needed to properly maintain the heritage precinct.

Also in the Herald the not very good financial state of our city, so make sure to grab your copy of our Chook.

Roel Loopers

 

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