Freo's View

COMMUNITY OUTRAGE ABOUT FREMANTLE HERALD’S F WORD USE

 

The front page of the Fremantle Herald does not have the head line Community Outrage About F Word, but the paper did publish several letters to the editor expressing outrage about last week’s article about the J Shed debate at Fremantle Council.

Editor and owner of the Herald Andrew Smith does however apologise to Aboriginal elder Herbert Bropho for publishing the awful F word headline above a photo of him.

According to Andrew Smith the F word headline reflected the mood of the council meeting and hence it was deemed appropriate by him to publish it.

The Herald then publishes it’s own Thinking Allowed-why not call it an editorial?- in which it claims that most community members miss the main point that Fremantle Council is ‘badly divided, split down the middle’ and argues it is time for a rethink about the activation of Arthur’s Head.

Fremantle Council is indeed divided about a tavern at J Shed but only 4 Councillors voted against it at the last meeting. Councillors Strachan, Pemberton and Waltham were absent and Councillor Wainwright did not vote, as he had declared a conflict of interest.

It is not a factual understanding of procedures to claim Fremantle Council is badly divided, but that probably comes from the fact that the Fremantle Herald very rarely has a reporter present at Council and Council Committee meetings.

The first things that needs to happen before Council can rethink the activation of Arthur’s Head is for the WAPC or the Liquor Licensing Authority to reject the tavern proposal.

While I too would love to see a substantial Whadjuk Noongar presence at J Shed it would be up to our indigenous leaders to decide if that would be an appropriate location for an Aboriginal cultural centre as a tourist attraction.

Roel Loopers

 

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RESPECT THE WAY FORWARD FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in city of fremantle, community, local government, social media, Uncategorized by freoview on May 31, 2018

 

Firewoks Fishing Boat Harbour

 

The editor of the Fremantle Herald must have thought it clever to repeat as a headline the F*** You Brad shout a member of the public made at the council meeting about the proposed J Shed tavern, but what the newspaper did was lowering itself to the standard that has become the norm on social media platforms such as Freo Massive.

Bullying, slander, name-calling, conspiracy and defamation and a total lack of respect for anyone who dares to have a different opinion has become the norm on social media in Fremantle and that is very disappointing.

With WA DAY coming up this long weekend I wish and hope that our community can return to respectful dialogue, and robust but fair debate about the issues we are passionate about.

People who have never met and who know very little about one another make assumptions and accusations, and a large part of the vile debate it just opinionated ignorance by people who refuse to inform themselves before embarrassing themselves by posting utter nonsense.

There is no reason not to know what is going on in Fremantle as all council agenda, minutes, planning proposals etc. are posted on the City of Fremantle website, and other information is out on Facebook, Twitter and through local media.

We often read and hear the accusation of Fremantle Council not following process and community consultation, even when we had lengthy periods of it, e.g Cantonment Hill, traffic calming along South Terrace in South Fremantle, J Shed, etc.etc. The issue is that far too many members of the public can’t be bothered to check what is going on in their own city and then blame council and the administration for their own ignorance.

Respect and courtesy are beautiful things and make life so much more pleasurable and easy. No one wants to be abused or intimidated, and not many people will want to engage in what should be a healthy community debate when they fear abuse and slander.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with anyone having a different opinion. They don’t suddenly become the enemy because they don’t agree with you, and cheap point-scoring and name-calling is not at all helpful to moving forward together as a community.

Good debate can help find new solutions, as long as we show tolerance and respect for the ideas of others. Life is not black&white but complex, and local government is even more so.

Respect for others is the key word for me because we need to accept that whatever we do and say will have a positive or negative impact on others, so think about that before you call someone a @#&*%@# so and so next time. Stick to the facts and let’s have an informed, mature and civil debate.

We are very lucky to live in a unique place like Fremantle and to have such a diverse and unique community. We need to build on that by challenging and rejecting disrespectful social media posts, and we should condemn the headline in the Herald for what it is-immature juvenile Schadenfreude.

Have a happy and respectful WA Day!

Roel Loopers

FIREWORKS at the Fishing Boat Harbour at 6pm this Sunday!

GOOD ENOUGH NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in architecture, buildings, city of fremantle, city planning, development, Uncategorized by freoview on April 28, 2018

 

It is rather strange that the Fremantle Herald front page this week features a letter to the editor about JDAP rejecting the Woolstores shopping centre site development plans, instead of publishing an editorial about it.

There is little reason for the Fremantle Society president to gloat about the JDAP decision because it would not be in the interest of Fremantle if the development plans are abandoned. However Silverleaf Investments also need to be aware that second best and it’s good enough will not be accepted in Fremantle.

To realise Fremantle’s rejuvenation, that will hopefully kick start the economic recovery, we need development investors like the Match Group, Sirona Capital, Silverleaf, and others, but they know Fremantle Council is so desperate for new development that developers think that just about anything will be accepted.

The Fremantle Society during my presidency fought tooth and nail to stop PSA 49 but pressure from the then owners suddenly saw Council approve 11 storeys on the Woolstores site, when Mayor Brad Pettitt had only days before expressed he would not vote for double digit development, so nine storeys would be the maximum.

But PSA 49 was very clearly about only granting additional discretionary height if development was of excellent design quality, and the Woolstores plans, rejected by Fremantle Council and the WA Joint Development Assessment Panel-JDAP, clearly were not.

It appears that developers and architects still have not got the message that the Fremantle community demands creative and innovative design, and sadly Fremantle Council, JDAP and the State Administrative Tribunal also still have not got that point, as they have too often allowed mediocre development that is hurting Fremantle’s unique character. Council is so desperate to achieve rejuvenation of the inner city and economic recovery that it overlooked design flaws, out of fear of upsetting developers.

The new Sirona Capital buildings at Kings Square are not outstanding and neither is the planned and approved Hilton Doubletree hotel development on the Point Street carpark site. The LIV development along Queen Victoria Street is repetitive boredom and the Quarry Street side of it is architecturally so unresolved that it hurts my eyes and soul.

In the development pipeline are also the already approved very boring eight storey development next to the Australia Hotel and the equally uninspiring Little Lane development on the former Spotlight site next to Target.

I do get it that developers want to make as much money as they can and I don’t have a problem with that, but the JDAP rejection of the Woolstores proposal should send a clear message that if you want more money making floorspace and height you will need to offer Fremantle something special and unique.

Not only did Fremantle’s Design Advisory Committee expert panel express that the Woolstores design was not excellent, so did the three architects who spoke for the Fremantle Society, and other architects JDAP panel member Councillor Rachel Pemberton consulted had the same opinion.

I also talked to three well-known local architects in Fremantle who told me the composition and balance of the plans were all wrong and that piecemeal changes to the design would not lift it to the highest architectural standards required to receive the bonus height.

Fremantle wants and needs development. I love modern architecture and am not off the opinion that no new development in Fremantle should be above six storeys, but like most people in the community I want to see the wow factor when it comes to new buildings here.

It is very disappointing, and I agree here with the Fremantle Society president, that the Chamber of Commerce keeps supporting any development plans, no matter how inappropriate and uninspiring. For the Chamber the motto seems to be Any shit will do as long as it is new. I expect higher standards from our business leaders.

The rubbish that is often proposed might not do great harm in Cockburn or Joondalup but it would make Fremantle a lot less attractive to visitors from all over the world. The community will not accept that and developers, architects, Fremantle Council, JDAP and SAT should listen to us!

Roel Loopers

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PROTECT FREO’S UNIQUE CHARACTER!

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on February 24, 2018

 

The Fremantle Herald this week is full with opinions about how to protect Freo’s unique character when it comes to approving new development.

My old North Fremantle mate and former chair of the City’s planning committee Gerry MacGill says that Fremantle’s Councillors are struggling with the concept of exceptional architecture that grants developers discretionary additional height.

MacGill believes Council should not just rely on the opinion of the Design Advisory Panel but that the elected members are eminently qualified to make judgements on how the Woolstores development integrates with the surrounding streetscape and nearby buildings in regard to scale, massing and height.

I too found that at the special planning meeting Councillors and the Chair of the DAP were more concerned about small picture things and semantics like adding more bricks, than about the big picture; if the proposed building actually fits in well with the unique Fremantle character.

Also in the Chook is an opinion piece by architect Carl Payne, who often comments on Freo’s View.

Payne writes that the Manning Building approval shows that we only pay lip-service to heritage and that heritage protection is often not imposed if it affects the building’s owner.

The architect writes that the actions of Fremantle Councillors are not consistent with the Burra Charter heritage ideals and that compromises are made too easily to appease developers.

I am aware that a team from North Fremantle Slavin Architects also had a meeting with Mayor Brad Pettitt talking about their concerns about the often inappropriate architecture Council is approving in the CBD.

But there is more in the Herald with a full page advertisement by the Fremantle Society, which shows photos of buildings they believe ‘work’ and building which do not work. It comes as no surprise that there is not a single high building FS likes.

There is no doubt in my mind that Fremantle Council is bending over backward to accommodate development in Fremantle, and while I absolutely support the rejuvenation of the ugly east CBD Council needs to do a lot more to protect our city’s beauty. The architecture of the planned Woolstores development is not anywhere near good enough to consider it to be of exceptional quality, because it insufficiently addresses and respects Fremantle’s unique character. It’s not the height that worries me most, but the aesthetic incompetence.

Roel Loopers

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IGNORANT CRITICISM OF FREMANTLE MAYOR

Posted in city of fremantle, law&order, local government, retail, Uncategorized by freoview on February 9, 2018

 

I find letters to editors and calls to talk-back radio by people who are ignorant of facts  very annoying. The writers, or callers, often unfairly blame people who can do very little to address the problems they complain about.

That applies to a letter in today’s Fremantle Herald by Steve Grady of Palmyra.

Mr Grady is rightly upset about the recent stabbing of a man in front of his partner and child and that anti social problems in Fremantle are not acceptable.

But to blame Mayor Brad Pettitt and tell him to spend less time on minority groups and bleeding hearts and concentrate on law enforcement is just a show of ignorance.

The Mayor, Council and City of Fremantle are not responsible for law enforcement, but WA police is. The City of Fremantle however has increased the number of  community safety officers and they do longer shifts into the night.

An article in today’s West Australian reports that the rate of crime in Western Australia has risen again, so Fremantle’s problems are not unique.

The correspondent to the Herald also complains about businesses closing down and that the Fremantle Mayor should do something about the rent shop owners have to pay.

There is a world-wide downturn in retail and many shops in Fremantle have closed because of new development, and Fremantle Council cannot dictate how much rent building owners can charge retail outlets, so why put the blame for it to Brad Pettitt.

The headline in the Chook is Brad cops it, yep, but for all the wrong reasons because none of it is his or the City of Fremantle’s fault.

Ignorance is not bliss!

Roel Loopers

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HERALD OWNER ATTACKS EAST FREMANTLE MAYOR

Posted in city of fremantle, east fremantle, elections, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on September 30, 2017

 

east freo

 

Andrew Smith, owner of the Fremantle Herald and former East Fremantle Mayor has attacked Mayor Jim O’Neill in a full page advertisement in the free-range Chook this weekend.

Smith claims that O’Neill refused to fight the proposed local government reform and amalgamation with Fremantle because he supported it, and that O’Neill had put his name up to manage the council merger for the WA government if it went ahead.

Smith says that the Mayor leads a divided council because of factionalism.

Jim O’Neill won’t be able to lead the plans for the future of East Fremantle Oval, Smith claims, because he lives next door to it, and that the town planning under O’Neill has resulted in massive development near the Townhall and that the Royal George Hotel site could go up to 18 storeys. The latter was denied recently on this blog by Deputy Mayor Michael McPhail.

Herald owner Andrew Smith also attacks the sacking of two CEOs, but for transparency reasons should have disclosed that sacked CEO Stuart Wearne is the brother of the Herald’s long-time advertising manager Natalie Hug.

It is clear that the mayoral debates in Freo and East Freo are heated, but that is alright for democracy as long as everyone tries to stick with the facts.

 

Roel Loopers

VOTE ROEL FOR CITY WARD! 

 

DUAL CITIZENSHIP SAGA FREO CONNECTION

Posted in democracy, elections, fremantle, fremantle herald, Uncategorized by freoview on August 25, 2017

 

There is a Fremantle connection with the Federal Parliament dual-citizenhip fiasco, with the West Australian reporting today that former Fremantle Herald sub-editor and now MP for Lyons in Tasmania, might have been an Irish national when elected.

It is beyond me that there are no stricter rules and balances in place in Canberra in this matter. Surely some department should be responsible for checking the citizenship status for all members before they are sworn in, or when nominating, as self checks quite clearly don’t work.

This is a huge waste of time and now money for courts costs and lawyers, and in the meantime we might have a case where government decisions could be challenged because ineligible politicians voted.

Should those who unlawfully were in parliament pay back their wages, and should those who came second in the ballot now have a claim for loss of income?

If anyone thought that the UTOPIA series on ABC TV is a satire, think again. This is how our governments operate and that is a very serious worry!

 

Roel Loopers

NO COMPROMISES FOR FREO’S WEST END

Posted in city of fremantle, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on August 12, 2017

 

The FREMANTLE HERALD was kind enough to publish my Thinking Allowed about the necessary protection of Fremantle’s permanently heritage-listed West End this weekend. In case you don’t get the Chook home delivered or pick up a copy in town, I’ll post it here as well.

The attack by developers on Fremantle’s historic West End needs to be stopped and the City of Fremantle needs more support from State Government agencies to do that.

Applications for five-storey buildings keep coming although architects and developers are well aware that there is a three storey limit in the West End precinct.

There is an option for additional discretionary height of one floor, if it creates a better heritage outcome, or if the architecture of the building is considered to be of exceptional high quality.

What we see though are applications for boring and mediocre concrete boxes which would destroy the streetscape.

Architects show little to no respect for the spatial environment and the history of place, they just want to bang a totally inappropriate modern building in the middle of heritage buildings. This was shown in the recent application for three five-storey buildings behind Customs House in Henry Street going all the way to the former Centrelink site in Pakenham Street.

There was also a five storey application for the former Workers Club site in Henry Street, but fortunately that was rejected.

But even when Fremantle Council rejects development proposals the State’s Joint Development Assessment Panel or State Planning Commission can overrule council decisions, and they often do.

The State’s Heritage Office in my opinion sometimes also fails, as was the case with the now cancelled application by Notre Dame University for a mediocre five-storey building on the corner of High and Cliff streets. The Heritage Office recommended approval of the building, but Fremantle Council rejected it.

If UNDA had decided to go to JDAP with it they might well have approved the building the community and council did not want, on the recommendation of the Heritage Office.

It is only the sense of community and corporate responsibility of UNDA’s Vice Chancellor Celia Hammond that made the university decide to withdraw the plans for the new School of Nursing and Midwifery and start the process from scratch with a whole new design.

I am not against the development of some derelict sites and renovation of buildings in the West End, but there is nothing that can convince me that more than four storeys is appropriate for the heritage precinct. We only want outstanding development in the heritage area and nothing above four storeys!

Fremantle Council approved the five-storey nothingness of the Quest Hotel in Pakenham Street, because according to the planning and heritage officers of CoF it would preserve the interior heritage integrity of the building, but it hasn’t! Walk into the foyer of the serviced apartments buildings and you have no clue whatsoever that this is a heritage building. The blue artwork on the top corner of it is not suitable either.

Developers believe they can get away with murder in Fremantle because we are desperate for economic recovery in the port city. Yes we are, but not at any cost and the destruction of the unique character of our city.

If developers need extra height to please the bottom triple line they can develop in the east of Fremantle, and not even there indiscriminately.

Fremantle deserves more consideration when one wants to develop here and we need more support from State Government to protect the unique qualities of our city!

Roel Loopers

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FACTS ARE ESSENTIAL TO COUNCIL CRITICISM

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle ports, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on May 26, 2017

A letter to the editor in today’s Fremantle Herald:

Dear Brad

Why are you spending millions of dollars on Fremantle Kings Square and leaving our port in such a horrible state for our visitors who arrive. Think twice and see which is more important.

Abelle Wards. Cockburn Rd. Coogee

Dear Abelle,

Fremantle Port is a state agency and not the jurisdiction of Fremantle Council, so the City of Fremantle can do nothing, but ask, beg and plea for upgrades of the Passenger Terminal, etc.

However the City has revealed its South Quay Project plans for the development of Victoria Quay and beyond, but to realise those plans it will need collaboration from state government and Fremantle Ports.

I am making this point not to defend Fremantle Council and its Mayor but because I am getting very annoyed with the often-made ignorant and ill-informed comments about our hard-working council.

It is not very intelligent to not inform oneself and make comments that are baseless.

Yesterday someone posted that Freo Council are naysayers who have no balls, and the truck accident at Stirling Highway somehow could be blamed on them, but Mainroads is responsible for the long-overdue upgrade that was cancelled because of the Perth Freight Link plans. The upgrade at High Street is now back under the new Labor government.

Criticise Fremantle Council and Mayor Brad Pettitt as much as you like, as I regularly do, but base it on facts, not ignorance.

Roel Loopers

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DEVELOPMENT WOULD IRREVERSIBLY DESTROY WEST END

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, fremantle society by freoview on March 24, 2017

 

I don’t often agree nowadays with Fremantle Society President John Dowson but his comment in the Fremantle Herald today that the proposed five-storey development for Pakenham and Henry streets is ‘Insanity’ is spot on!

It would be absolute madness to approve these buildings which would irreversibly destroy the West End.

The proposed building on the Centrelink site  is evil in it’s absolute ugliness, and the beautiful facade of the Customs building on the corner of Henry and Phillimore streets would be destroyed if two storeys stuck out above it.

The problem will be that even if Fremantle Council rejects these inappropriate buildings we will be dependent on the whim of the pro-developers state agencies DAP and SAT and the new State Government need to do something about that very urgently.

The Fremantle community will not allow the destruction of our beautiful heritage West End that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to WA every year!

Roel Loopers

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