Freo's View

LITTLE HIGH ON STREET BEAUTIFICATION

Posted in city of fremantle, community, Uncategorized by freoview on February 10, 2019

 

Little High

 

We don’t always have to rely on our local council to beautify the streets we live in, as this example at Little High Street in Fremantle’s historic West End shows.

This little green triangle is bordered by the railway line and an on-street carpark, but local residents put some street furniture, pot plants and TLC in it, et voila!, as the frog eaters say.

Roel Loopers

BOOYEEMBARA PARK DEMANDS CARE

Posted in city of fremantle, local government, nature, neglect, Uncategorized by freoview on July 9, 2018

 

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It is such a wonderful day in Fremantle today that I went for a walk in the lovely Booyeembara Park in White Gum Valley.

It is a delight to wander around in this under utilised public green space, but it is sad to see the awful neglect by the City of Fremantle of the amphi theatre. That area has been closed off for a very long time because of asbestos, but nothing is being done to remedy the problem and use the amphi theatre for performances, community events, concerts, NAIDOC week, etc.

It is not good enough to just put ugly fences around it and let it rot and being vandalised, especially since the golf course might take up some of the Booyeembara Park because it has to make way for the widening of High Street.

Roel Loopers

 

WHERE ARE FREO’S NEW PUBLIC SPACES?

With so many new residential and commercial development going on and planned for the future in Fremantle, it is essential for the City to look at the creation of new and exciting public open spaces. In yesterday’s West Australian Perth architect Steve Postmus of Carrier and Postmus Architects wrote that “Landscape can shape a community and can be shaped by a community.” 

Postmus also wrote we need to create diverse and creative public spaces with integrated amenities, but to do that local government needs social, urban, ecological and landscape experience. He also addresses something that often riles me, that “streetscape planning is often generic or absent.” and that there is a need to revitalise streetscapes.

The lack of respect for established streetscapes is something city planners don’t seem to care about much, so inappropriate buildings are allowed to be built, destroying amenity and character.

The Town of Vincent has recently created new public spaces including gardens, a piazza and Vincent Mayor John Carey is keen to find land to create a town square. That sounds like a good idea for Fremantle to adopt, especially with increasing apartments dwellers and office workers.

Vincent Mayor John Carey wrote “Great liveable cities are based around people: making streets more friendly for people to walk, enjoy and relax. As the Mayor of Vincent, I have actively pursued new public spaces: the new Oxford Street Reserve & playground in Leederville, Carr St pedestrian area & Mary Street Piazza in Mt Lawley. Here’s a simple but great addition, an unused area on Angove St, North Perth turned into a green space to relax in the sun and enjoy lunch! We are also looking at other areas in North Perth to create a public square!”

So where are the plans for civic spaces at Beach and Queen Victoria streets in Fremantle where extensive development is happening? Will all these people who live in apartments just have to go to Princess May Park or the Fremantle Arts Centre to enjoy a place of relaxation, or will COF actively create new public open spaces? Cantonment Hill is still many years away from becoming a major new green space in Freo, so we need to create other areas.

Fremantle City has never really tried to make Pioneer Park look stunning and inviting to dwell in, or properly landscape that lovely ocean view corner at Bathers Beach in front of J Shed. Just planting a whole lot of new trees, of which the majority will die and  not mature, is not good enough, so let’s see some innovation in public space planning!

Roel Loopers

EQUITY CITIES EQUAL FOR ALL

Posted in development, fremantle by freoview on April 5, 2016

The US based Urban Land Institute reports that developers and cities are creating communities tailored to those who prefer bikes over cars in so-called trail oriented development.

The non for profit organisation which was established in 1936 says these developments benefit people of all incomes as riding, buying and maintaining a bicycle is less expensive that driving a car.

New residential developments in the USA have bike storage, extra wide hallways, bike elevators, repair and cleaning stations, showers and locker rooms and on-site bike rental or bike share.

The proximity to bike trails has raised property values in the USA the institute claims.

There is no doubt that there are health benefits not only for those who cycle but for the entire community, as more cyclists and fewer cars means less air pollution.

I also read a report by Barcelona’s  Pietro Garau about ‘Equity Cities” that is worth considering when we plan our cities. It urges local governments to see public space as a public service and provide access to safe, inclusive and accessible urban green space especially for women, children, older people and the disabled.

Garau says that public space is where everyone can feel equal without showing their social status and ability to consume and he suggests that councils should adopt a public space centered urban strategy. “Public space is important if we want to achieve the equitable city.”

The report also supports learning and networking activities in our public spaces and encourages temporary public space use of vacant land, as I have suggested should happen at the ugly Hilton Hotel development site at Queen Adelaide Street here in Fremantle.

Both reports make a lot of sense to me and are not about enforcing someone else’s lifestyle upon others. It is about offering alternatives and choice to the community and at the end market demand will direct which direction the public wants to go.

Roel Loopers

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HAVE YOUR SAY ON THE FREMANTLE GREEN PLAN

Posted in city of fremantle, green plan, local government, nature by freoview on November 4, 2015
Smoke haze at the Swan River.

Smoke haze at the Swan River.

The City of Fremantle’s draft GREEN PLAN is out for community input so make sure to download it from the COF website and put submissions in to make it a really good plan to protect and enhance our public green spaces, increase our city’s essential tree canopy, create more small green lingering nodes all over Fremantle, protect established mature trees from demolition through new development, etc.

Here is some of what the Green Plan says:

The 2020 Green Plan provides the background, rationale and framework to deliver projects and programs over the next five years. Key initiatives and targets include:

 Every resident and worker to be within walkable distance to public open space.  Progressively increase tree canopy across the city to achieve up to 20% by 2020.  Design adaptable open space that allows for future flexibility as the community and open space function and needs change over time.  Planning for future water security to identify opportunities for best available water sources for existing and new open space.  Develop links that increase the amount of flora/vegetation and increase habitats for native fauna and encourage their movement between green spaces and to increase and improve biodiversity areas.

Key projects over the next five years include:  Investigation and identification for accessing public open space in the priority areas of Hilton, O’Connor, White Gum Valley and Beaconsfield.  Investigation and identify options to improve and/or expand public open space is proximity to future high density areas.  Undertaking an Urban Forest Strategy to manage and guide tree and vegetation population across the public and private realm, to increase canopy and biodiversity and to mitigate the Urban Heat Island Effect.  Undertaking water demand modelling to inform future fit for purpose water supply options.  Prepare landscape concept plans for green links and develop a biodiversity plan.

Public submissions closing date is November 11, so participate and be part of the solutions!

Roel Loopers

REJECTING J SHED MUSIC VENUE BEST OPTION FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in city of fremantle, local government by freoview on October 5, 2015

The City of Fremantle officers suggest that this little green oasis with several mature trees along Fleet Street in the West End could be made into a service access road to the proposed J Shed events venue of Sunset Events, because Fremantle Ports will not allow the events operators to use Fleet street for their delivery trucks and other commercial vehicles.

The question is why Fremantle should lose another green strip to accommodate a private business setting up in an inappropriate location and why should Freo’s ratepayers pay for that new road?

It’s not on and Council needs to reject the proposal for a ‘temporary’ events venue for the next two summers on historic Arthur Head.

Roel Loopers

ROEL FOR FREO! Beaconsfield Ward. Truly Independent. It’s time for sanity!

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

MORE GREEN SPACE PRIORITY WITH FREO DEVELOPMENT

Posted in city of fremantle, election, local government by freoview on September 25, 2015

election 1 election 2

Nice to see the Fremantle Herald today reporting on the percentage for green space idea I have, to make sure that we will have ample public open spaces among all the new planned development in Fremantle. People living in apartments, office workers, hotel visitors and tourists all will want to enjoy green relaxation nodes with creative seating, trees and shade structures, so I believe it is important to put that in Freo’s planning policies.

Also great to feel appreciated and get the support of Little High Street residents who put some election signs on their apartment.

Ballot papers should be arriving from today so PLEASE DO VOTE, as Councillor Ingrid Waltham also promotes in a letter to the Herald today, and embrace your democratic right to elect the person who you believe will represent you and Fremantle best.

Roel Loopers

ROEL FOR FREO! Beaconsfield Ward. Truly Independent.

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

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GREEN SPACES MAKE CITIES LIVEABLE

Posted in city of fremantle, green space by freoview on September 16, 2015

I was made aware by one of the many readers of my blog of this TED Talk by Amanda Burton, the former Planning Director of New York City, on public open and green spaces. You can either view the talk or read the manuscript of it on the link here:

I am passionate about the creation of many small creative green public spaces spread all over Fremantle and would love to see the introduction of a percentage for green public space in our planning policies. If elected on Council I would initiate discussions with planning staff on how practical such a scheme might be and if it could be implemented within Local and State Laws.

There are many interesting observations in this TED Talk and many apply to Fremantle and Perth, so it is well worth reading it. I just copy the last paragraph as a little teaser.

“So you see, no matter how popular and successful a public space may be, it can never be taken for granted. Public spaces always — this is it saved — public spaces always need vigilant champions, not only to claim them at the outset for public use, but to design them for the people that use them, then to maintain them to ensure that they are for everyone, that they are not violated, invaded, abandoned or ignored. If there is any one lesson that I have learned in my life as a city planner, it is that public spaces have power. It’s not just the number of people using them, it’s the even greater number of people who feel better about their city just knowing that they are there. Public space can change how you live in a city, how you feel about a city, whether you choose one city over another, and public space is one of the most important reasons why you stay in a city.”

Roel Loopers

ROEL FOR FREO! Beaconsfield Ward. Truly Independent.

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

ESPLANADE MASTERPLAN ON SHOW TODAY!

Posted in city of fremantle, esplanade reserve, planning by freoview on September 12, 2015

Don’t forget to have a look at and have your say on the proposed new Fremantle ESPLANADE RESERVE Masterplan which will be on display there near the Youth Plaza from 10-12.30 today, Saturday, September12!

The Esplanade has been mismanaged and over used for many years and that needs to stop. Events have to be spread throughout the inner city but also the outer areas like Booyeembara Park, Princess May, etc. And Kings Square should be activated more often as well.

Wayfinding paths, better wheelchair accessibility, and some shade structures would be a good start. It is also essential to put heavy vehicle restrictions on most parts of the Esplanade where strict traffic controls are being enforced on bump in and bump out days of events.

The Esplanade is our major inner city community green space and it needs to be protected.

Roel Loopers

ROEL FOR FREO! Beaconsfield Ward. Truly Independent.

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

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DOES DEVELOPMENT RUSH HARM ORGANIC GROWTH OF CITIES?

Posted in city of fremantle, committee for perth by freoview on September 10, 2015

There was an interesting Future Freo public forum by the Committee for Perth at Notre Dame University today with speakers UWA Professor Matthew Tonts, city development expert and author of Urbanism without Effort Chuck Wolfe of Seattle, COP chair Marion Fulker and Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt.

It is about the “diversity of thought” Fulker said and that is a good base to start from I believe.

Chuck Wolfe is an international speaker but I thought in some ways quite David Engwicht-like, although he did not use the words place making once in his presentation.

City building is acupuncture with lots of little pricks, small achievable projects and goals and the rediscovery of simplicity we were told, and that we need to create places of comfort and scale. That is very much what the Freo community would like to see happen. Even more Freo was Wolfe’s suggestion that we need to recall the historic patterns of our cities and that the fundamental relationships between humans and cities need to be addressed in our planning.

Brad Pettitt presented his thought on the Liveable Cities tour he did a few months ago and observed that they were about density done well, cities of short distances, and that cities should not be designed around cars. In the German city of Freiburg for example car use is only 35 cars per 100 inhabitants while in Perth it is 60/100 so substantially more.

Brad said that higher density is best done when accompanied by green spaces and that the new European suburbs had a diverse range of affordable housing for all ages. It was important to “Building on your uniqueness.”

Marion Fulker compared facts and perceptions and said that crime in Fremantle was about the same as everywhere else in the metro area. The problem with parking was not insufficient parking bays but the accessibility to them, she said. There was also no clear evidence that Fremantle’s environmental role was any more significant than that of other regions.

The education sector is a major employer in Fremantle she told us, and that young people and renters were more satisfied to live in Fremantle than people over 40 and property owners, but that 86% of residents are satisfied to live here.

UWA Professor Matthew Tonts told us there is a steady population growth in Fremantle but it is well below that of the Perth metro. We have a slowly ageing population, are a critical hub for import and export, and have a higher rising unemployment rate than Perth. Freo people are stayers Professor Tonts said with half of the population staying in the same location between 2006-11.

I came out of the forum wondering if over-planning cities harms the natural organic growth of them because we are in such a rush for change, and if we should not let progress evolve and let it simply happen because of inevitable change.

Fremantle is only 187 years old while European cities have often grown organically for centuries, and most have a real connection to the past and past culture. Freo’s latest building have little reference to our heritage and don’t connect with the past. They fill up spaces with density but not with culture and don’t look at all like “density done well’ the Freo Mayor talked about.

Roel Loopers

Facebook: ROEL FOR FREO! Beaconsfield Ward. Truly Independent.

Authorised and written by Roel Loopers. 5 Maxwell Street. Beaconsfield 6162.

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