Freo's View


Posted in city of fremantle, heritage, local government by freoview on March 29, 2016

I don’t care that it seems the City of Fremantle has made an executive decision to not comment on this blog any more, but I do care that they do ignore the questions I ask and the maintenance issues I point out.

Several weeks ago I reported on the mess at the newly renovated former Boys School/FTI building, but today it looked worse and the City has no taken any action to prevent the back courtyard to be used as a dump.

Princess May Park is a significant heritage precinct in Fremantle and deserves to be cared for a lot better. Shame on you COF!

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, development, local government by freoview on September 30, 2015

I am not sure at all that the residents of North Fremantle near McCabe Street are going to like this, but the headquarters of the Mediterranean Shipping Company at 15 McCabe Street is for sale. The real estate agent says the 1690 sqm. site has “significant redevelopment appeal” so maybe the locals there are in for another battle to stop highrise buildings in the area.

The MSC staff will relocate to their new building in Cliff Street later this year, and that is a welcome development for the West End of Fremantle and no doubt good for the cafes along High Street.

Another development will be going ahead in the centre of Fremantle soon, with Council giving approval to the Match group to redevelop the former Energy Museum site at Parry Street.

The heritage-listed building will be developed into a Bread in Common-style food and beverage venue and behind it a four-storey apartment building will be built that will house forty 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments. I hope the apartment building will compliment the heritage building with good matching design and not negatively overshadow it.

I am not sure if the initial idea to also have a micro brewery on site has been dropped after protest from residents and St Patrick’s so stay tuned.

I believe a Bread in Common style venue would be great for the East of the CBD and will become a real attraction for the hundreds of people who will move into the area once the Heirloom development is finished in 2017. It would fit in well with the Hilton hotel development, the upgrade of Princess May Park and new tenants for the former FTI building.

Roel Loopers

ROEL FOR FREO! Beaconsfield Ward. Truly Independent.

Written and published by Roel Loopers of 5 Maxwell Street, Beaconsfield 6162.


Posted in city of fremantle, local government by freoview on June 19, 2015

The long-term lease of the Naval Stores at Cantonment Hill to the relatively new and unknown ENKEL group is a bit of a risk for the City of Fremantle, since no one knows if it will succeed and last, while CIRCUSWA who also applied for the lease are well-known and have been successful in the ARTSOURCE building in Phillimore Street for a long time.

ENKEL say about themselves on their website that they:

Provide more relevant and open learning services to the community-at-large, locally and state-wide; through more accessible and adaptive approaches to education and skill-building.

Facilitate and host the discovery, development and implementation of innovative ideas; stimulating the economy and activating the community; through workshops, coworking spaces, cafe and garden.

Empower and Inspire socially innovative and ecologically sustainable enterprise; through networking, skills sharing, ideation, mentoring and transmedia advocacy services.

Engage and activate the local community; through interactive, thoughtful and creative events which cultivate the courage to make more positive changes for the future of WA.

It is disappointing that a group who is so open to new and change could not come to a space sharing arrangement with CIRCUSWA that only wanted a relatively small part of the building to use for their youth education, as it feels to me that is also what ENKEL is about.

ENKEL does interesting workshops and forums and here are a few of them, so you get to know them a bit better: Build your own robot, Foresight cafe breakfast, Handy summer workshop on concrete, u.lab mooc:transforming business, society and self, Enkel ideas clash, Living Labs forum, User innovation-mooc study group, Food future guerilla conference, Homeoffice day, The future of learning and education, etc.

It sounds exciting, new and different, and in a way also very Freo as it is alternative and creative and challenging, but that such a creative and accepting group can not accommodate and work with CIRCUSWA in the same building is very disappointing and might force CIRCUSWA to leave Fremantle.

The call by some Councillors for the City to now start talking with ARTSOURCE to convince them to let CIRCUSWA stay is far too late and should have happened two years ago when the State’s arts organisation expressed they wanted to open a cafe and gallery where the circus school is.

Fremantle has lost too many community and art groups. Kulcha and the FTI are gone, the Fly by Night was forced to move to Victoria Hall, art galleries have closed, and there will be a huge shake up and change at J Shed when Sunset Events build a tavern and outdoor music venue there, with the likelihood that established artists like sculptor Greg James and ceramic artist Jenny Dawson will pack their bags and leave Freo.

Fremantle City needs to deal better with these issues and be more supportive of those who have worked hard to establish themselves in Fremantle, instead of giving preference to new and unknown ventures. CIRCUSWA deserves unconditional support from Council and the administration and a fast solution needs to be found to keep them in Fremantle.

To hear Councillors say you can’t force people to marry and ENKEL to share the Naval Stores with CIRCUSWA is inconsistent from what they decided to do at J Shed, where the established artists did not want a tavern and music venue in the building, but all they got was tough titties and their objections were ignored. Why does that not apply to ENKEL also?

The Cantonment Hill Masterplan is all about activating the area as a community space and CIRCUSWA would be ideal for that, so instead of Council accepting ENKEL’s lack of collaboration, but wanting ARTSOURCE to change their mind, Council should insist on a space sharing arrangement of the Naval Stores, or ENKEL should look for somewhere else in Fremantle where there is plenty of vacant space for their requirements, while CIRCUSWA needs a very heigh space, like the Cantonment Hill shed, to work in.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, heritage by freoview on April 21, 2015

kulcha work

Scaffolding is up around the lovely KULCHA/DOME building on the Fremantle Cappuccino Strip, so it looks like the grande old lady is getting a facelift, or new make-up, and will get painted. Always good to see work on heritage buildings.

Also good that Fremantle Council tomorrow evening will set a management team in place for the old Boys School at Princess May Park, so it can be decided what to do with it after the renovations are done, in case the FTI does not want to move back in, and it is highly unlikely they will want to as their funding has been cut drastically.

Roel Loopers



Posted in city of fremantle, heritage by freoview on January 8, 2015

Boys School

Good to see that heritage conservation works have started on the former Fremantle BOYS SCHOOL at Princess May Park. The City is spending a lot of money on it so let’s hope they will find a new tenant to replace the Film and Television Institute-FTI- which occupied the building for many years. An art film and international films cinema would be nice there.

Roel Loopers



Posted in city of fremantle by freoview on August 26, 2014

Perceptions are dangerous because they kill reputations, and perceptions become reality in the minds of people, so the City of Fremantle needs to start a media blitz on the many negative perceptions about Fremantle. Let me be the Devil’s advocate and name just the ones that spring to mind. I am sure I will have forgotten some:

* There are parking problems in Fremantle and parking is expensive.

* Fremantle is a dump, dirty and not properly cared for.

* There is a lot of violence and crime in Fremantle.

* Art support is just tokenism and the Bathers Beach Art Precinct should get more publicity generated by COF.

* Kulcha, Deckchair, Harbour Theatre, Fly by Night, FTI, should have received more COF support to stay alive and in town.

* There is too much emphasis and money spent on bicycle infrastructure and not enough on making Freo more pedestrian friendly.

* Freo Council is naïve and ignores reality and sets the wrong priorities.

* Council allows mediocre new buildings in their desperation for progress.

* COF is not active enough to retain retailers, hence too many vacant shops.

* BID does what the Economic and Marketing Department should be doing.

* Too much support for Sunset Events is one-sided favouritism for mates.

* Way finding in Fremantle is a real pain and signage is inadequate.

* Planning in Freo is ad hoc and not long-term strategic.

* Dreaming about lightrail stops finding real traffic solutions.

* Fremantle does not embrace tourism enough and offers little to keep visitors in town longer.

* Fremantle is re-active rather than pro-active.

* COF can’t get the basics right, e.g. emptying rubbish bins, looking after parks, heritage buildings, etc.

I am sure this list is not complete, but I surely hope it will trigger some real action, not just  comments to this blog.

And when will we see the report on the Visioning 2029 project that finished last year? Mayor Brad Pettitt said he had seen it, so why is it not been made public, or is there some creative editing going on to make COF look better?


Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle by freoview on July 4, 2014

Clancys 1 Clancys 2


Justin Rogan, the manager of CLANCY’S in Fremantle, showed me around today to point out the improvements they are making to the building. It looks promising!

They are building a whole new kitchen, cool, store, and staff room on the south-western corner, while the old toilet block has been demolished and the toilets are relocated to the former kitchen area.

The alfresco areas on both sides of the building are extended and will be under cover, with heating in winter and cooling in summer.

Clancys is going back to the 80s with booths installed in the room where the stage is, but the interior design will all be in the same Clancy’s style as City Beach, Dunsborough and Canning Bridge. The estimated re-opening time is mid to late August, so not far away at all. If you can’t wait that long, hop on the bus to Canning Bridge or spend a long weekend in Dunsborough.

The whole area at Princess May Park will transform even more with renovations of the former Boys School-FTI building, and the building of the Hilton Hotel on the Point Street carpark site. Good things are happening in Freo, just a bit of patience needed!

Roel Loopers

Comments Off on CLANCYS (slightly) BIGGER AND BETTER


Posted in fremantle by freoview on October 16, 2013

It has been a long time coming, but finally one of Fremantle’s oldest heritage buildings, the Fremantle Boys School Building occupied by the Film and Television Institute (FTI), has received $850k funding from the City for the first stage of its restoration.
Built in 1854 and located at 92 Adelaide Street Fremantle, the building is highly valued for its heritage connections, but given its age, requires significant restoration work to ensure its structural integrity for the benefit of future generations. The first stage of restorative works will include asbestos management planning, chemical analysis of mortar mix to ensure compatibility, stonemason repairs to chimneys and parapets, new gutters, storm water management and the replacement of a portion of its roof shingles. All works will be done in full consultation and collaboration with the City’s Heritage Coordinator.
“The City places great importance on its heritage stock and as one Fremantle’s oldest heritage buildings and given its visible location and usage, the restoration of the FTI-occupied building has been one of our highest priorities,” said City of Fremantle Technical Services Director, Peter Pikor. “Certain aspects of the building have deteriorated over a number of years and following a thorough investigation, it was decided that the best resolution was to use a staged approach to restore the building. This approach will allow a detailed analysis to be undertaken at the completion of each stage to address risk issues and clarify the scope of following stages,” Mr Pikor said.
Stage one restoration works are expected to commence in the second quarter of 2014 with additional stages subject to council funding approval.

The Fremantle Television Institute, FTO, in the former boys school at Princess May park.

The Fremantle Television Institute, FTI, in the former boys school at Princess May park.



Posted in fremantle by freoview on June 12, 2013

It was an interesting Fremantle Strategic and General Services Committee meeting at council chambers this evening, with big items on the agenda. The Bathers Beach improvements recommended by the officers and the working group were largely not accepted so that saga will continue. Councillor Jon Strachan said he could not support more grass in a drying climate. That was supported by Councillor Doug Thompson. To plant two more Norfolk trees was considered the wrong species, although the area already has several of them.

Councillor Doug Thomson said there is no justification for more grass and asked why it was recommended. Councillors Sam Wainwright and Dave Coggin expressed frustration that the master plan for the area had not been considered. A heritage assessment will now be done before full council meeting in two weeks and back to the drawing board.

I was part of the stakeholders group of professional business men and feel we all wasted our time on trying to do the right thing for the Bathers Beach area. Our group was never asked to consider the master plan or look at improvements on the east side of the railway line. Semantics took over tonight and the necessary changes will not be made. That is highly frustrating and a waste of community input and time. Five of us gave up 12 hours of our time for no return. That is not acceptable.

The other big issue was if council should create a business plan to look at the viability of taking over the Warders Cottages from State Government. FICRA spokes person John Dowson questioned if it would be better for Fremantle Prison to manage them and asked if renovation work would be done to heritage values. Councillor Cogging asked whose job was it to protect the cottages; state government, and that council would need to see strong support from the community before embarking on a 6 million dollar renovation project. Councillor Andrew Sullivan said he agreed with FICRA and that the cottages should not become a financial burden for the City of Fremantle and it should be asking for the money from state government.

I believe a no interest loan from State Government or a guaranteed grant from Lotterywest should be negotiated before the C0F commits to taking on this big and expensive project.

The proposal to turn the Esplanade into an A Grade Reserve was not supported and not seen as a priority. FICRA’s John Dowson said the skate plaza had been one of the most upsetting issues of the last 20 years for him and asked when council will be reviewing the Esplanade master plan. The CEO announced that the special Electors Meeting demanded by FICRA will be held on July 2 at the Town Hall.

It was interesting to hear that the Film and Television Institute and the Fremantle Education Center have only been paying peppercorn rent over the last 10 years while other non for profit community groups like Kulcha are being charged rent by the City. Councillor Jon Strachan rightly pointed out this was an equity issue. Councillor Doug Thomson wanted a more strategic use for the buildings, while FICRA’s John Dowson asked if there is actually a management plan for Princes May Park because nothing had been done there for yonkers.

All in all yet another interesting inside on how local government works. It is bloody frustrating and annoying at times!

Roel Loopers



Posted in fremantle by freoview on October 31, 2012

Princess May Park in the east of the Fremantle CBD is causing headaches on two fronts. Anti-social behaviour by drunks who use the park daily is upsetting businesses in the area. Last week a fight there lasted for over two hours and calls to the police resulted in no action for far too long, while Fremantle’s own security staff was powerless to stop the brawl.

A CCTV camera finally installed there has been put smack bang in the centre of the park. The location was probably selected by the same insensitive person who put one smack bang in front of the Round House earlier this year. It was removed after the outcry of residents and heritage groups.

Former Councillor John Dowson is also rightly asking what has happened to the $ 600,000 allocated for improvements on the 1854 Boy’s School at the park, and why council allowed several airconditioners to be installed at the northern face of the building and more around the corner.

John also wants a heritage interpretation of Princess May Park to be done and in light of the council wanting to develop the Point Street carpark site this should be done as a priority.

The east end of town is a mirror image of the west of the city where the neglected heritage buildings at Arthur Head also need urgent attention. Verandas and picket fences are rotting away, exteriors need to be painted, better signage needs to be installed, road surfaces need to be made safe for pedestrians, landscaping in front of J Shed needs to be done, the mess at the Old Port Project at Bathers Beach needs to be sorted before summer starts, etc.

It must be a good feeling at Fremantle council to live the sustainable new green buildings dream, but this can’t be done at the cost of our significant heritage sites and buildings. They need to remain a priority and should be looked after better.

Drunks are not only a problem in the east of town. Arthur Head is also a favourite party destination for backpackers at night and they often leave a mess of broken bottles all over the place. This is another area ignored by our police. It must be too hard to get out of the patrol vehicles during the evening to check on the international  revelers who use the cannon deck and grassed area next to the Round House as a dump.

Progress is great and so is planning a modern future for our city, but looking after what we’ve already got is essential. We need better policing of buildings and of people.

Roel Loopers


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