Freo's View

JOIN THE ECOBURBIA TOUR

Posted in fremantle by freoview on January 2, 2016

I received the message below from my mates Shani and Tim of ECOBURBIA, so want to share it with you:

Want to check out Ecoburbia? During this tour you will have the rare opportunity to see around the entire property – inside and out. After a short chat about the vision for this place, Shani will lead a quick walk around to get a feel for the various spaces before talking in more detail about the structure of the garden, the goats, chickens and her precious compost!

A cuppa will follow before Tim shares some more in depth information about the various power, water and transport systems.
The cost for this tour is $25. Numbers for each session will be restricted to 20. 

You can book here ECOBURBIA TOUR TUESDAY JANUARY 5th -5pm

FREO ESPLANADE LOOKING GOOD

Posted in city of fremantle, esplanade, local government by freoview on October 22, 2015

esplanade

The Fremantle Esplanade Reserve has not looked this good for many years and the challenge for the City is now to keep it that way and don’t let the expensive surface upgrade be destroyed by too many large events.

It is also important to get the new Masterplan for the Esplanade right, and also the one for historic Princess May Park.

Connectivity and way finding are the buzz words that have substituted placemaking, and instead of looking well after our parks we are getting so called parklets with a few plants.

Planned paths through the Esplanade and Princess May should not be the cheap and common concrete ones but creative paving, maybe even some cobblestone at Pioneer Park?

I do understand that we all want to keep our green areas but I also accept that in our hot climate large grass areas are difficult to maintain and need a lot of water. There is a need for compromise and that should be more trees, more shade for people, more protection from the sun for grass, and trees and large bushes create a nicer overall amenity than just vast areas of lawn.

It did cost a hell of a lot of money to make the Esplanade look great again, so let’s see if it will be protected better or if the City of Fremantle just wasted ratepayers’ money by letting it be damaged again.

Roel Loopers

TREE PRESERVATION ESSENTIAL FOR GOOD CITIES

Posted in fremantle, trees by freoview on September 16, 2015

There is an interesting article on WA Today on-line by reporter Emma Young on the tree canopies of our cities and what they mean to keep temperatures down in our suburbs.

WA Today reports that five Perth Councils engaged Dr Paul Barber of Arbor Carbon, who is also an adjunct professor at Murdoch University, to do a study.

It shows we are not doing very well in the planning department with the modern trend toward smaller blocks with bigger houses and often granny flats, where in the past we had bigger blocks with smaller houses and more green and trees in our gardens.

It is also a worry we cut down mature trees when developing and replace them with younger ones, but that is not the same according to Dr Barber. He said that a mature large tree has a canopy cover of 100 square metres but replacing it with three small trees would provide only 3 metres of cover.

In 2014 evidence collected by the Sydney University of Technology, that ranked Australia’s Councils’ tree canopy, found that the Fremantle, Belmont and Canning areas scored the lowest in Perth for tree cover with around only 10 per cent each.

With Councils failing to take heat islands and the preservation and management of our green spaces serious, and not planning substantially more small green public open spaces, it is no wonder that URBAN TREE NETWORKS are being formed by communities all over Perth.

We just have to become smarter about our urban design and the City of Fremantle need to make the retention of mature trees in new development part of their planning policy.

Roel Loopers

ROEL FOR FREO! Beaconsfield Ward. Truly Independent.

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

FREMANTLE ESPLANADE MASTERPLAN ON LINE

Posted in city of fremantle, esplanade, local government by freoview on September 6, 2015

grass 2The draft for the Fremantle ESPLANADE MASTERPLAN is on line and can be viewed and commented on here:

http://mysay.fremantle.wa.gov.au/fremantle-esplanade-masterplan?preview=true

Roel Loopers

Facebook: ROEL FOR FREO! Truly Independent – BEACONSFIELD Ward

HIGH DENSITY LIFESTYLE QUESTIONED

Posted in fremantle, high-density, living by freoview on December 8, 2014

It was very interesting to read two articles in two newspapers on the weekend about high-density living. In the West Australian Kate Emery wrote that Western Australians don’t have the mentality for high-density housing and that the W.A. Planning Commission(WAPC) is proposing to State Government to change the R30 and R35 buildings codes because there has been a huge community backlash against inappropriate and out of character high buildings being detrimental to the overall community amenity. The WAPC also wants to increase the minimum parking requirements for new dwellings.

In the Subiaco Post renowned urban planner and architect Dr Linley Lutton writes under the headline “Frantic Density Push Is Alarming” that …”experts warnings from those outside the industry are rarely heeded.” And that the warning for a huge population growth in Perth is an unrealistic and alarmist over-estimation of future growth.

We have already witnessed that planning schemes by Local Governments are completely overridden by State Government agencies and are a real worry to especially older suburbs like Fremantle Subiaco, Cottesloe, etc.

Lutton writes “High-density European and Middle Eastern cities work because they provide a diversity in stimulation, convenience and interaction opportunities. The piazzas, squares, courtyards, parks, shops and streets of these cities are where people live and grow. Most high-density development in Perth offers none of these things.”

 The article continues that Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that only 5-7% of people living near suburban train stations actually use the train to go to work. A 2010 study in Australia, Canada and the USA showed that the main users of public transport were those living in the low-density outer suburbs, not those who live in high-density areas with railway access.

Dr.Linley Lutton also warns for health impact of high-density living along main streets near traffic noise, especially on the older population, because poor air-quality and noise trigger mental and physical health problems.

Lutton suggests that self-sufficient suburbs with a variety of housing densities and with ample employment opportunities, and less need to commute far and wide to work, would be a better way to plan for the future, and I could not agree more. In an ideal world no one living in Rockingham should have to commute to Joondalup for work.

Fremantle Council also needs to heed these warning and realise one cannot change a decades-old entrenched culture and lifestyle overnight. Change happens slowly and only when the community embraces it and takes ownership of it. Collaboration and integration is what is needed, not a narrow focus anti-car mentality.

New developments like Kim Beazley and Stevens Reserve offer very little in lifestyle enhancement, with no green lingering nodes between buildings and only a strip of green on the periphery. As Lutton points out, the piazzas, parks, town squares, etc. are needed to create a lifestyle people embrace. Much better and more creative and innovative city planning is required in Fremantle and the ambiance of the CBD needs to be improved with modern seats, shade structures, green areas, more trees, play nodes for children and better and creative lighting.

Higher density living will only be embraced by the community if it supports and enhances the Freo lifestyle and when it allows for diversity.

Roel Loopers

FREO 2029 VISION TO CREATE A BETTER PLACE

Posted in city of fremantle by freoview on December 3, 2014

Tomorrow, Thursday December 4 from 6-7 pm Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt will launch the FREO VISIONING 2029 report at Victoria Hall. Doors open at 5.30.

Visioning 2029 consultant James Best held  a large number of workshops that covered all aspects of the community, so the report should be a very interesting read and is substantial, the Mayor told me this morning.

I don’t want to steal Brad’s thunder, so here just a view points of the report to wet your appetite and entice you to come to the event tomorrow evening.

The KEY ISSUES that were brought up at the workshops were:

* slowing traffic, making city better for pedestrians and cyclists

* supporting independent small businesses and the creative sector

* protecting and enhancing the natural environment, green spaces and the heritage features of the city

* improving connection to the waterfront

KEY THEMES that emerged from the workshops were:

# People: a welcoming place for all people

# Prosper: a diverse and unique local economy and a recognised centre of excellence

# Plan: a liveable city that serves its residents’ needs

# Green: a city that values its environment and heritage

# Create: a dynamic, innovative city with a strong knowledge economy and arts sector

# Decide: a collaborative and connected community with a shared vision and good governance

Roel Loopers

A FREMANTLE PHOTO

Posted in city of fremantle by freoview on December 1, 2014

Very Freo

No words needed for this Fremantle photo.

Roel Loopers

MAKE FREO BEAUTIFUL SO IT WILL BECOME WALKABLE

Posted in city of fremantle by freoview on November 14, 2014

It’s kinda cute to read Fremantle Councillor Rachel Pemberton’s gushing about so called walkable cities in today’s Fremantle Herald.

I am all for less cars in inner cities and for more equal rights on roads for pedestrians and cyclists but the approach to achieving that in Fremantle needs to be based on reality and integration.

Fremantle has one of the most boring malls in High Street that does not attract anyone because of bland pavement, awful benches, and an overall untidy and an uncared for look. We also have inner city parks the City of Fremantle should have made more attractive with creative seats, playgrounds, public art, etc. Pioneer Park and Princess May Park and the grassed area next to the Round House all deserve urgent beautification.

Fremantle as a walkable city also needs to be realistic about the fast-ageing population of Australia, so carparks on the periphery should not to be too far away to discourage older people coming to Freo’s CBD. I realise there are younger people who believe age is just something that stops progress and change in Freo, but they too will grow up one day.

Lowering traffic speed is only a half measure and there needs to be road features which discourage drivers from going faster.

Let’s start with making the inner city more attractive with great and creative lingering nodes everywhere. Let’s create small pockets for relaxation all over town. Don’t wait for commercial operators to build parklets, let the City and BID do those kind of things!

Roel Loopers

THE GREEN THUMB COUNCILLOR

Posted in city of fremantle by freoview on November 6, 2014

Fremantle Councillor Andrew Sullivan took a bit of a swipe at me and some people who comment on this blog about his ‘green credentials’ and good on him for standing up for himself and boast about his record of preserving many green spaces and planting hundreds of trees. When we criticise Councillors we often do so out of context of what they have done in the past and only concentrate on the issues at hand, so it is good to be able to get balance.

It came up at the Planning Services Committee and the proposed development for Knutsford Street adjoining Stevens Reserve, where the highest building of Fremantle is proposed by Landcorp, and I support it in that location as long as it is a really well designed modern and beautiful building.

Andrew pointed out that previously Landcorp had proposed a horrendous boring McMansion type of development more appropriate for the fringes than for the Stevens site, but he made Landcorp aware of the Green Plan that was the vision of the community some 15 years ago that would allow to retain more green public space while also increase the density, and Landcorp was happy to embrace those ideas.

Councillor Sulllivan also boasted rightly about the hundreds of trees he has personally planted. I know he also spent many weeks snorkling and replacing seagrass in Cockburn Sound, so he deserves credit for that.

As I said in my comments yesterday, it’s not all black&white and as simplistic as some like to portray it.

Roel Loopers

FREEDOM OF CHOICE, NOT FUNDAMENTALISM

Posted in city of fremantle by freoview on September 21, 2014

In an interview about PARK(ing) day on WA Today Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said that the heart of the city should be for people and that parking should be on the periphery. I wonder how many inner city traders agree with that philosophy, that appears to want to make the CBD into a car-free shopping centre.

My problem with some of the sustainability philosophy is that it seems to replace reality. And I am not the only one, as newspapers are full with letters where people complain about the lack of common sense of their local councils.

Sustainability is the new bible for a few, the new religion, and like most religions it attracts righteous zealots who tell us we’ll end up in sustainability hell unless we do what we’re told. These sustainability fundamentalists do not want to hear any arguments because it is their way or the highway. They know what is best for us, so the community will simply have to change their lifestyle and follow the belief of the sustainability church. Forget God, Allah and the reverend Fred Nile, the Lord of sustainability is more powerful than anyone and only his teachings are right and relevant to this new world.

Parking in the inner city? Come off it, people can park on the outskirts and walk into town, or hop on public transport. You want car bays at new residential, office and hotel development? You must be kidding. What’s wrong with hopping on a bike, walking or using trains and busses? (Interesting to note in that regard that the WAPC is considering changing the rules and demanding a minimum number of parking bays at new buildings).

According to the new religion people don’t need to have a car, no matter how old or disabled they are or that they have a family. Everyone should just join the happy sustainability congregation that is more concerned about the environment tomorrow than the people today. In CUSP they believe.

It does not matter to them that what Freo’s 30,000 residents do is less than a drop of water in all the earth’s oceans and that the real environmental efforts should be coming from the powerful industrial and over-populated nations. Stick that argument in a plastic back to take home. Oh, I forgot, you are no longer allowed to use plastic bags in good old Freo, or should that be renamed Sustainability Heaven. Time to stop plastic bottles as well, as a US city just implemented?

We are dealing with a PR spin machine that doesn’t like green, but it loves a good bit of bitumen and concrete. They replace public green open spaces with vertical hanging gardens, so unless your children are monkeys they really have no grass to play on. They plan for high-density buildings but not for public spaces. They want more people to live and work in the CBD, but don’t plan for relaxation, lingering nodes, playgrounds, picnic and BBQ spots, and grass to kick a footy on.

But hey, that’s progress and economic development for you, because all those people deprived of inner city car bays will spend a lot more time walking through the city and that will be good for the economy, because what else can they do but shopping and having lunch.

We must assume that drones will then fly our sustainability-approved, soy latte, free-range, gluten-free, organic, degradable shopping bags to our cars that are parked some kilometres away on the periphery, but that is not something our forward looking council has thought about much yet. And to paraphrase Treasurer Joe Hocking, old and disabled people don’t go out a lot anyway, so why should COF be concerned about their parking needs. As for kids, home detention replaces nature play for  generation ME.

The future of the progressive city of Fremantle will be a lot of irate and unhappy people living in a healthy environment. Freo could become a ghost town for bike-hugging sandal lovers, as shoppers will stay away in droves, but that’s life. One person’s hell is someone else’s heaven. Halleluja and amen, or whatever they say in that new religion.

For the record, I believe that looking after the environment is essential and extremely important. I know that everyone means well, but I can’t stand dogmatism, hence my sarcasm, for which I apologise right now.

The point I am making is that it might be better for my health for me to become a vegetarian and teetotaller and exercise more, but I don’t want anyone to force me to that, and the same applies to all the above. Do not force your lifestyle and belief upon others. Your exorcism will be wasted on me.

Roel Loopers

 

 

 

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