Freo's View

A VERY LONG FREMANTLE COUNCIL AGENDA TOMORROW

Posted in city of fremantle, community, local government, politics, Uncategorized by freoview on November 27, 2018

 

It is hard to argue that Fremantle Councillors are overpaid and underworked when one reads the agenda for tomorrow’s Ordinary Council meeting. Just have a read of all the items that will come before council and realise how much work there must be involved for the elected members to be across all the issues.

  • Tender for three-bin FOGO collection
  • End of lease for FERN
  • Sustainable Events Policy
  • New lease for South Beach kiosk
  • Northbank foreshore stabilisation
  • WA Cultural Infrastructure Strategy
  • Budget Amendment
  • Rates concession for Norfolk Street property
  • Pedestrian crossings Marine Terrace
  • Toy Library Report
  • Lifelong Learning Report
  • Library contribution by Town of East Fremantle
  • Annual Financial Statement 2017/18
  • Internal Audit Update
  • Authorised Purchasing Policy
  • Information Report October 2018
  • Overdue Debtors Report
  • Kings Square Project Public Realm Update
  • Amendments Local Planning Policy for Hilton
  • Administration Reviews and Update on Licensed premises
  • Monthly Financial Report
  • Schedule of Payment for October
  • Monthly Investment Report
  • Award of Tenders under CEO Delegation

……….plus there are two confidential items on the agenda that will have to be debated after all the above. It looks like it might be a very long sitting.

If you want to witness grassroots local government at work, come to the North Fremantle Community Hall. It starts at 6pm.

Roel Loopers

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HISTORIC LAST COUNCIL MEETING TODAY

Posted in city of fremantle, kings square, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on December 13, 2017

 

It looks like the historic last Ordinary Council meeting in the old Fremantle civic centre could be a very long one this evening.

There are many interesting items on the agenda, where members of the community will want to address Councillors about, so I’ll be in for the long haul.

Here some of the items on the agenda:

  • Annual Financial statement
  • Report on Financial Management Review
  • Proposed tavern at J Shed
  • Local Planning Policy for the Beaconsfield and White Gum Valley town centres
  • Planning policy for taverns and hotels in the CBD
  • Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre future
  • South Terrace traffic calming in South Fremantle
  • Safe Hampton Road crossing at Scott Street

City of Fremantle staff will be moving to Fremantle Oval from Monday December 18 and the next Council meetings will be held in North Fremantle and other location until the new Civic Centre has been built at Kings Square.

Roel Loopers

 

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COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT ESSENTIAL FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Posted in city of fremantle, community, democracy, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on August 4, 2017

 

Unlike federal and state government local government is unique by the fact that there is no opposition party in local councils.

There is no shadow front bench, party rooms, whips, or leader of the opposition, so all elected members at local government have a conscience vote on every issue, something we often wish would be the case more at the two other forms of government.

Local government has no oposition, and practically that means that the community becomes the de-facto opposition. That sounds like very good grassroots democracy to me, as long as the community is willing to engage in the process, and that often is the problem.

For a local government like Fremantle Council to perform at its best exceptional community consultation is essential, but that is difficult to achieve because of community apathy.

You can take a horse to water but can’t force it to drink, and that is the case with community consultation where most people don’t bother to engage.

To make local government work community input needs to be pro-active rather than re-active, and it is essential that the elected members treat community input like a discussion in a political party room, with all the respect it deserves.

Unfortunately most people don’t even vote at council elections, let alone engage in the process of consultation, so it is often left to a few who polarise issues and are against most things council decides. That kind of negative engagement is not helpful and divides the community, and both sides are to blame for that.

I believe it would be helpful to get a better understanding of how council works by having regular monthly meetings with community groups, as is already done at the more active precincts around Fremantle.

It would also be helpful if more people attended council meetings, but I have no idea how to achieve that, unless we do live streaming, so people don’t have to leave home to witness the democratic council process.

FICRA, FRRA, the Fremantle Society, the Chamber of Commerce, etc. should all be part of the deliberations and debate and have an input. Not just on one off occasions, but as a matter of monthly routine.

If council engaged earlier and more intensely with the community, a lot of the re-active negativity could be avoided, and positive outcome based dialogue could be had with the community.

That would result in the community being part of the solutions and taking ownership of the issues at hand. It would no longer be us and them, but all of us together shaping the future of Fremantle.

I believe Freo is capable of that kind of mature debate and would love to see it implemented.

The community apathy is happening in most councils in Australia and is not specific to Fremantle though.

While the inevitable future local government reform and council amalgamations might result in more cohesive and effective administrations, there is no guarantee it would result in better community embracing governance.

It could be an interesting project for Notre Dame University students of politics to find creative ways of how to improve local government, how to improve community participation, and how to improve voter participation at council elections.

It is worthwhile to think about this and find ways of accommodating change and progress while respecting our unique city and its history.

Roel Loopers

THE END OF THE FREO’S VIEW BLOG?

Posted in city of fremantle, community, fremantle by freoview on January 21, 2016

I am disappointed that the use-by date for this Freo’s View blog seems to be approaching after I launched it just a bit over five years ago. I started the blog to create a daily community forum, inform Freo people about events, exhibitions, concerts, new businesses, etc. and to scrutinise the City of Fremantle, and I am known for not holding back in my criticism of Fremantle council and the administration when I believe it is warranted.

But this blog was never intended to become the mouthpiece for Freo Council and Mayor bashers who will find any excuse to attack, attack, attack and rarely offer positive comments about anything.

I am not interested letting my blog become the political on-line shouting match for Liberal party supporters and Green party haters, because I am unwilling to think that narrow-minded and black&white.

This blog failed to attract participation from the many people in Fremantle who support what Council has been doing, so it is now one-sided and one-eyed negativity and I am not at all happy about it, as I never intended  it to be like that.

I started this blog to support Fremantle and I mean all of Fremantle, but the comments section has deteriorated into Brad Pettitt and Council bashing that I no longer want to be part of.

I will wait till the end of March to see if this blog can attract comments from people who believe Freo is a pretty good place, people who don’t believe everything Council is doing is shit, just as a matter of course, and I want people who want to be part of the solution, who bring in bright new ideas, who are willing to commit time and effort and attend community and Council meetings, so that we all together can create a better Fremantle.

If I fail to get more balanced comments on this blog I will let it die because the constant negativity has become very repetitive, boring and tiring. I am unwilling to support all that negativity and let my blog become the voice of Fremantle Council haters.

I believe in fairness and balance and if that is not possible than so be it and I will stop publishing Freo’s View.

Roel Loopers

POPULATION GROWTH A BIG CHALLENGE FOR US ALL

Posted in fremantle, housing, planning by freoview on October 8, 2015

A new report by the Australian Council of Learned Academies-ACOLA tells us a lot what we already know but is important to remind us all about it time and time again.

The ACOLA reports says that by the middle of next century the population will be double in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne and that the cost of urban congestion will increase four-fold in the next 20 years to $ 53 billion by 2031.

We all know and understand that urban sprawl is the major factor in this, so ACOLA recommends to reduce and avoid the need to travel through creating economic hubs so people live close near where they work, and to shift to environmentally friendly transport; public, bikes, walking, and improve energy efficiency; electric cars.

The recommendation I like best, and wonder why it is not happening already, is to get all three levels of government, Federal, State and Local to actually coordinate planning.

ACOLA also suggest to establish a planning philosophy where the need for mobility is reduced and the aim of good health and sustainability advanced.

It all makes sense but how do we get the Great Australian Dream of a big house and garden out of the Australian culture?

The W.A. State Government is not exactly rushing to create so called satellite cities around the Perth metro area and move large departments to places like Fremantle, and neither are big businesses keen to move away from their highrise palaces in Perth and West Perth.

One option would be for Landcorp to release less land for single housing and insist on higher density new suburbs, and urban infill needs to increase faster than at the present rate and that is a challenge for local governments as residents are reluctant to embrace it.

Roel Loopers

ROEL FOR FREO! Beaconsfield Ward. Truly Independent.

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

FREO MAYOR NOT A ONE MAN BAND

Posted in city of fremantle, local government by freoview on September 14, 2015

I find the misconception about the role of the Mayor of Fremantle an intriguing one. Critics of Brad Pettitt blame him for everything that goes wrong in Fremantle while his supporters claim everything good done in Freo is Brad’s initiative. That is an unbalanced and unrealistic view of how council operates.

While the Mayor is the public face of Council he only has got one vote, like the other 12 elected members and only when votes are even does his vote become a casting vote, and that rarely happens on Fremantle Council.

Even Committee for Perth chair Marion Fulker unfairly praised our Mayor at Thursday’s Future Freo for being a kind of Freo Messiah when in fact all praise and criticism should go to the entire council and all elected members, because they all have one democratic vote in chamber and Mayor Brad Pettitt can’t make dictatorial decisions on his on.

The substantial increase in building activity in Freo for example comes partly from Planning Scheme Amendment 49 that was signed off by Council some three years ago and allows for higher buildings in the CBD.

It is easy for the Braddie Bunch of Pettitt fans to claim Brad Pettitt does it all and somehow has got power well beyond the power the local government act gives him, and it is too easy also for the opponents of our Mayor to blame him for the things they don’t not like.

The confusion comes because the Mayor speaks on behalf of the City of Fremantle so the public believes he takes egotistic responsibility for all the progress. When COF engages in spin and want to make us believe that the city is heavily investing in development people become cynical because nearly all of the development going on in Fremantle and planned for the near future is done by private investors and developers and not by the City of Fremantle.

The one partnership with Sirona Capital at Kings Square the City is involved in is very much still in limbo and might never proceed, and others might not be going ahead either. A REIWA spokesperson told TV news last night that 30% of planned residential apartment developments will not go ahead in the Perth metro area because of lack of necessary pre-sales.

Let’s all chill a bit and accept that there is a lot of development going on in Freo, that some is less than average, that other might not eventuate, and that none of it is going on just because Mayor Brad Pettitt did it on his own.

Roel Loopers

P.S. THANK YOU FREO! A massive 3759 people read this blog yesterday. Amazing!!

ROEL FOR FREO! Beaconsfield Ward. Truly Independent.

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

PERTH FREIGHT LINK AN EXPENSIVE DUD

Posted in fremantle, perth freight link by freoview on August 19, 2015

A new report by Infrastructure Australia on the proposed Perth Freight Link has concluded that the road will cost more but will deliver less than promised and that it is a substantial risk to Western Australia’s finances.

The initial cost to link Roe Highway with Stock Road in Fremantle were set at $ 1.6 billion with an estimated cost benefit of $ 5.00 for every dollar spent, but the Infrastructure Australia report says it would be $ 1,74 billion with only $ 2,50 cost benefit per dollar invested in building the road.

The report states that 12 options were short-listed but none delivered an integration with a future outer harbour.

Many people have an opinion about the PFL and it has unfortunately been politicised but one thing should be crystal clear to proponents and opponents of the toll road and that is that the planning of it has been an utter shambles akin to what happens in some third-world countries. The people of W.A. will pay for many years to come for a road planned by amateurs who should be kicked out of office for their sheer incompetence.

Roel Loopers

AUSTRALIA LACKS TRUE LEADERSHIP

Posted in australia, fremantle, politics by freoview on July 26, 2015

Is it time for an independent political party in Australia, a truly balanced party that has values and morals and where elected members always have a conscious vote instead of having to vote along party lines?

Many Australians are very disappointed with the major parties. Cynicism about politicians and their egos, arrogance and power lust is increasing daily.

The lack of balance and only wanting to rubbish whatever the opposition parties are proposing is a mind-blowing show of narrow-mindedness and lack of intelligence.

Politicians are not interested what is best for our country, or state, they only want to get into or remain in power at all cost. Any values they or their party might have had in the past have all but disappeared in the greedy grab for power.

The gap between the rich and the poor is getting bigger and those who need society’s support most are being ignored more and more because our politicians look for the lowest denominator when it comes to increasing their popularity. It is much easier to dismiss those irrelevant minority groups, the narcissistic disabled, the always complaining aged and those nasty lazy dole bludgers, than to actually get millionaires pay tax.

Racism is yet again increasing in Australia because of a severe lack of leadership by those who take more and more freedom away from us under the guise of wanting to protect us from all those foreign nasties. Our Christian politicians are happy to implement inhumane laws and policies because they don’t care about people and compassion.

Our leaders are building monuments to show their greatness instead of shelters for the homeless and the poor. There is always money in the budget for impressive projects but less and less for education, health, social services and science.

There are millions of dollars available for a pedestrian bridge to a new and expensive football stadium but not to replace the dodgy Fremantle railway bridge.

I have long given up believing in what the leaders of the Labor or Liberal party promise because all they do is try to win votes at the next election so their hunger for power gets satisfied. I no longer believe that Bill Shorten would be a better leader than the disgraceful Tony Abbott is or that Mark McGowan would to a better job than the arrogant Colin Barnett, and it pisses me off that there are no alternatives and that my vote will be wasted again at one of the next elections, because there are no true leaders with true values who actually care. That is so frustrating and disappointing!

Roel Loopers

INDECENT MONEY WASTING BY POLITICIANS

Posted in canberra, fremantle, parliament, politicians by freoview on July 16, 2015

There is something seriously indecent about politicians generously wasting taxpayers’ money on travel, accommodation claims and many other things that are presumably within the rules, because it sets standards that are well below those the community expects of our leaders.

Our governments should be full of role models we should look up to, with people who show what Australia’s values are, but far too often they rort the system for their own egos.

When the independent speaker of Federal Parliament spends $ 300,000 on travel expenses in her first year in that role then there is something very wrong with the parliamentary system we have created for our society.

Politicians of all parties abuse the system when in government and spend far too much money on so called fact finding missions, that their staff could research on the internet at no costs.

If a member of parliament or their spouse own a second home in the city of parliament they should not be able to claim accommodation expenses and get reimbursed for not living at their residency while parliament sits. It is a rort and nothing else!

For reasons I have never understood society expects sports people to be role models, but why should they be? Why should someone who can kick a football or hit a cricket ball be of exceptional moral values, when the moral standards of many of our elected members are so low? Why don’t we demand from our politicians to show restraint and decency when spending our money and why don’t we tell them that their greed and arrogance in the way they spend our money is not acceptable and in fact indecent.

When footy players take drugs there is public outrage, but when politicians misuse our money for their own inflated ego we say little. That makes me wonder what the Australian values are and what is means when people say that something is un-Australian. Wasting taxpayers’ money should be on the top of the list of un-Australian behaviour.

Roel Loopers

HOW TO MAKE FREMANTLE MORE LIVEABLE

Posted in city of fremantle, development, planning by freoview on July 10, 2015

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt has summarised his fact-finding visit to some of the most liveable European cities on his blog and I have copied it here with my remarks and suggestions in Italic bold. I believe this should be a discussion the Fremantle community needs to have and a think tank would be nice to sit around with a few experts but also lay people like myself who are interested in urban design:

 

Brad Pettitt: Taking the European lessons learned and where Perth is at today I decided to have another go at defining the key ingredients of liveable and sustainable new developments. I think it is not as hard as is often make out and that these key ingredients can be narrowed down to a ten simple ingredients. These ingredients or perhaps commandments, however, are not etched on stone tablets  so I’d appreciate your feedback on what I might be missing: Ten Ingredients for liveable and sustainable urban design:

  1. Gentrification is not the same as rejuvenation. Mandate a diversity of housing types, sizes and levels of affordability.

Roel: Gentrification is the rejuvenation of old run down buildings and in larger buildings, e.g. the Woolstores opposite Clancys, has the opportunity for diverse housing that would rejuvenate that area.

  1. Invest in high quality public parks and spaces for people to meet and recreate in. Make space for spontaneous community to flourish and especially for children to enjoy.

 Roel: Small surprises scattered around the city for children so they can explore and discover and linger and do activities, but not massive playgrounds was something we talked about with David Engwicht when he had community sessions in Fremantle, but nothing has come from it.

  1. Plant street trees and lots of them. Trees are wonderfully generous towards even the dullest modern architecture.

Roel: We have very few trees in the CBD and that should be improved. It breaks up the monotony of building facades and streetscapes. Beach Street and High Street east could be tree-lined welcoming boulevards for example.

  1. Activate the street level with ground level shops and cafes. There should be a different business every ten metres on high streets and these ground floor usages should be diverse, meet local needs and be open diverse hours. This is essential to creating a “cities of short distances”.

Roel: Retail diversity, good shop fronts and window displays are missing in Fremantle, and Notre Dame University still occupies too much ground level space that needs to be activated in the West End. It has been part of the Memorandum of Understanding with UNDA for years now, but they have done little to implement reactivation of their ground level properties. That is disappointing.

  1. Embed sustainability features into the design from the start. Water and fossil fuel based energy is going to be a lot more expensive in coming decades and our designs should plan to be future proof.

Roel: Why can’t we start in Fremantle with a policy that requires all new buildings to have solar energy and rain water collection. It would make a big difference over time.

  1. Embed high quality and high frequency public transport into the development from the start. Preferably light rail or street cars that create investor certainty and influence a denser built form.

Roel: I love trams/light rail, but Fremantle does not have the population numbers for it yet to make it financially viable for private investors. The short-distance shopping experience with more localized deli’s etc. should be encouraged.

  1. Traffic calm streets. Keep cars to fringe of residential developments or at least design them so cars don’t dominate. Local streets are for people so make cars last in the transport hierarchy.

Roel: This is what they do so much better in many European cities. Prioritising pedestrian amenity in local streets and making safe places for kids to play in the streets is the way to go. Laneway access to carports instead of street access would be good where it can be done.

  1. Waste removal and storage needs to be well planned and designed into new developments so high levels recycling can occur and other waste turned into energy not just landfilled.

Roel: Waste removal away from streets and maybe create collection points could be something we should look at.

  1. Greater urban density is essential for our centres to be more liveable and sustainable. Global evidence suggests there is a sweet spot between 4 and 8 floors. There is no need to obsess over the height of buildings though; it’s normally not the most significant amenity factor if you get the rest right.

Roel: Height should not be the main factor of concern, but design and building quality should be. We in W.A. compromise far too fast and approve bland, boring, mediocre, and really unacceptable, design and that does not make our cities more liveable. What we need is diversity, higher density and outstanding design, the heritage of the future we keep hearing about but that is never built. The City of Fremantle Council, the Planning Department and the Design Advisory Panel need to show a stronger front and tell developers that Fremantle does not want mediocre concrete boxes.

Brad: Mandate and integrate the above. This requires risk and leadership but future residents will thank you for it.

Roel Loopers

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