Freo's View


Posted in advertising, blog, city of fremantle, social media, Uncategorized by freoview on July 22, 2018




In case you wonder seeing this advertisement on the bottom of my blog posts, it is unpaid promotion for my good mate Henty, who has supported me a lot over the last few years.

I have resisted paid ads on this blog to make sure no one can question the integrity. I can’t be bought. ; >)

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, community, local government by freoview on March 21, 2016

One of the relentless Fremantle Council bashers, who shall remain unnamed, claims that the Fremantle Society under my and Henty Farrar’s presidency was influenced by council.

He wrote “I see that the Fremantle Society now it’s out from under council influence, which will be another step forward for the community, much better having an independent voice for the community than another manipulated one.

I find it extremely insulting that someone who is an FS member and who took part in several FS committee meetings accuses Henty and I of being manipulated by Fremantle Council. Like former presidents before us we held monthly meetings with the Fremantle Mayor and were keen to be listened to one on one, rather than grandstanding in the local papers or hold public shouting matches in the Townhall.

Henty and I believed that respect and collaboration might get us further than the almost autistic negativity by people who want to gain political milage by being against everything Fremantle Council does. They are the people who believe that if you don’t like their opinion you are the enemy and that you do deals behind closed doors.

During the many meetings I had with Brad Pettitt on behalf of the Fremantle Society I was often accompanied by former Councillor June Hutchison, now FS Vice President Don Whittington also took part in some of these monthly meetings, as did other FS committee members who are now on the present committee. We had nothing to hide and those meetings were reported to committee and are part of the minutes.

It is absolutely laughable and outrageous that we are now being accused of having been manipulated, whatever that means, by Fremantle Council. The accusation is even more laughable when one considers that this Freo’s View blog has been one of the main critics of Fremantle Council for over five years.

The Fremantle Society under Henty and I worked hard and diligently for Fremantle without fear or favour, gave many interviews to the mainstream media, organised events in collaboration with Notre Dame University and tried to get a better council amalgamation outcome than becoming part of Melville. We often felt frustrated and not listened to but we never gave up and definitely were never manipulated by the City of Fremantle.

We were a very dedicated group of volunteers fighting for our community and no one at the City of Fremantle ever tried to influence us. It is defamatory to claim we were manipulated by elected members and officers.

I suppose it is much easier to just write nasty comments on this and other blogs,  and pretend to want to stand for Council, but then pull out at the last minute because someone offers big bucks overseas, and Fremantle is suddenly less of a priority. Get a life mate and stop your conspiracy crap. It’s not a sign of great intelligence!

Roel Loopers



Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle society by freoview on November 15, 2015

The announcement that former Fremantle Councillor John Dowson has nominated to become the next president of the Fremantle Society made me contemplate how effective community groups in our city have been in recent years.

When I became the president of FS I wanted to get rid off the us and them thinking, with some committee members believing Fremantle Council was the enemy of FS. I believed we could achieve more with respectful dialogue, getting into the ears of the elected members, push for changes to development applications and policies and collaborate with the City of Fremantle. President Henty Farrar who took over from me, and I as vice president, very much continued that way, but I believe it has been a failure.

But it is not only the Fremantle Society who has failed to make any impact, and the demise started well before Henty and I were in charge, but the Fremantle Residents and Ratepayers Association and the Fremantle Inner City Residents Association also fell onto deaf ears when approaching Council.

According to Fremantle Council there is a large silent majority in our community who exactly want what all of us who speak up and participate in community consultation oppose, so we really have Buckley’s of finding any consideration for our views. That will not change under a Dowson lead Fremantle Society, it will just become more black&white and us versus them and more negativity. I don’t believe that is good for Fremantle, but neither was the previous respectful and collaborative way of dealing with the City, because our views were disrespectfully ignored.

A lot of blame should go to those who did not bother to vote at the last local government election, and contrary to some opinions I read it is not an endorsement of the sitting members or a rejection of those who nominated, but it was a vote for apathy, so Freo gets the Council it deserves because 75 percent of voters could not bother to vote.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt has turned from a community leader into a manipulative politician whose word can no longer be trusted. He will tell you face to face that black is black but will argue at Council that black is white and gets away with it. Pettitt has a lot of influence behind the scenes and uses that power to push his own sustainability agenda. While Pettitt believes he can demand respect as Mayor of our city he and Council have long stopped treating the community with respect. They treat community consultation as a necessary nuisance, a mere box that has to be ticked under local government laws.

In my opinion it will not make one iota of a difference if John Dowson or Elvis Presley becomes the president of the Fremantle Society because we are trying to communicate with people who have earmuffs on to stop that annoying noise the community makes.

Roel Loopers


Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development by freoview on September 7, 2015

quest 2george 2

I have been thinking about how we preserve heritage and also had a talk about it with Fremantle Society president Henty Farrar. Our concerns are that developers are allowed to remove existing heritage to make new development easier and presumably faster, and hence cheaper, and then reinstall the former heritage parts. Is that really preserving heritage or is it pretend preservation?

Both the Fremantle Pakenham Street Quest hotel and the East Freo former Lauder&Howard buildings were gutted and only the facades left standing, but we have been assured the developers will replace some of the heritage features. Is that good enough? I personally don’t think so.

Columns and roof trusses, heritage timber parts, etc. are removed and put back in but no doubt this will happen with modern means like welding, nail guns, new mortar, and so on.

City of Fremantle heritage architect Alan Kelsall replied to my queries about the Pakenham/Short Street development with this: “All the columns and roof trusses had to be removed for buildability reasons to allow excavation and construction of the new structure. The portion of columns and roof trusses that are to be reinstated will be done so in their original locations. The remainder of the structure is to be permanently removed as per the planning approval.”

Whilst I am realistic enough to acknowledge this is more practical for the developers, I believe the COF planning rules should change and heritage aspect of buildings that are to be kept have to remain in situ while the building activity is going on, otherwise we end up with mock heritage preservation and that is not a good thing.

Roel Loopers

P.S. I am the Vice President of the Fremantle Society

Facebook: ROEL FOR FREO! Truly Independent.



Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle society by freoview on October 23, 2014

Freo Forever 2


I know I am biased as the Vice President of the FREMANTLE SOCIETY, and it is probably bad manners to blow one’s own trumpet, but too many people have a negative opinion about the very active lobby group, so we deserve credit for our hard work in light of yesterday’s Local Government Reform announcement by W.A. Premier Colin Barnett.

From the very start the Society showed great leadership. When we first heard about a proposed amalgamation with the City of Melville, committee immediately decided to take action and try to retain Fremantle’s unique character and identity.

President Henty Farrar and I had a meeting with Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt and suggested a community campaign, which Brad supported as a good idea to have a two-fold approach to State Government. But we wanted to make it a positive campaign that embraced amalgamation, however wanted different-and better-boundaries for our city.

Our first action was a full-page Sock It Colin! advertisement in the Fremantle Herald and the action grew from there, with many young locals, such as mural graffiti artist Lady Bananas, skaters, etc. wanting to be part of it, as was David Settelmaier, staff member of Member for Fremantle Simone McGurk. FREMANTLE FOREVER was born!

We wrote submissions, created a printed and on-line petition and volunteers were out and about at the train station when Dockers games were played at Subi, we were at the Growers Green and Bathers Beach Sunset Food Market, cafes, the Fremantle Markets, the High Street Mall, etc. and we had a large number of signatures that were presented to Parliament.

And all the time we liaised closely with Mayor Brad Pettitt, who shared most of the Fremantle Forever campaign meetings.

Both Fremantle Forever and the City of Fremantle asked for the same boundaries that would be at Stock and Phoenix roads and that would see East Fremantle merge with Fremantle. Our sister city is dear to us and most of us see it as part of Fremantle, so merging with East Freo made sense.

Yesterday we got the great news that is a milestone for Fremantle. Our population will double, we will have control over development along the southern beaches and the City of Fremantle will remain. The brand Freo will grow even stronger thanks to outstanding leadership and collaboration between the Fremantle Society, the Council and the community. We did very well and should be very proud of our efforts. I am!

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle by freoview on June 10, 2014

Freo Forever A

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt, Fremantle Society President Henty Farrar, opposition spokesman for local governmet David Templeman, and the Member for Fremantle Simone McGurk in front of the Western Australian Parliament House, showing the nearly 5000 signatures received to oppose a Fremantle amalgamation with Melville, and suggesting alternative boundaries that would see Fremantle expand along the coast south and up to Stock Road, taking in parcels of Melville and Cockburn.

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle, history by freoview on May 18, 2014

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Although there was some heavy rain at the start of Sunday morning, a lot of people attended the Fremantle Heritage Festival events that were on.

At the Moore&Moore Cafe Fremantle Society president Henty Farrar started the Discover.Cafe.Cycle. bicycle tour, taking a group of caffeine enthusiasts around town from Bread in Common, the Attic, XWray, Vespa, Tasty Express, Roasting Place, the Blinco Street Cafe at the Fibonacci, and the Art Centre Cafe, to name a few.

In the West End of town Notre Dame University history professor Deborah Gare and lecturer Dr Shane Burke took a group around to tell the stories of Fremantle from 1829 to 1900.

It has been a very good and diverse Heritage Festival, but events need to be better coordinated so they don’t clash or duplicate each other. The distribution of programs needs to be looked at again as hundreds of programs are wasted because they are not used. They need to be delivered to homes and if that is too costly the program needs to be printed in the local papers, so more people know about events. Only a small percentage of the Freo population visits the City’s website or Facebook pages. We need to do better next year as far as promoting the Heritage Festival goes and that especially applies to schools.

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle by freoview on April 1, 2014

The City of Fremantle announced today that it has entered into a contract for one year with Relationships Australia to help improve communication between the City and the Fremantle community.

RA will provide counselling and mediation services between Elected Members and community groups and individuals and will facilitate community workshops.

Fremantle Council has been criticised for not listening to the community on controversial issues such as the Youth Plaza, J Shed and Planning Scheme Amendment 49.

 Mayor Dr. Brad Pettitt said that while he approached all issues with an open mind, there was always room for improvement on how the City communicated with its residents, but he cautioned that the community should also learn to listen to its Councillors.

Relationships Australia have healed many almost broken marriages and we in Fremantle are at a point where we need to start a healing process with the community before it gets much worse. Mutual respect is essential to achieve that, Dr Pettitt told Freo’s View.

Most Councillors support the idea of trying a new way of communication, but Cr. Andrew Sullivan said we should not be too precious about it, as one could well argue that Councillors were elected to know what is best for the community.

FICRA spokesman Dick Baynham said residents groups had felt for a long time that their genuine concerns were not listened to by the City. FICRA would be happy to attend counselling sessions if that helped improve the listening skills of the decision makers.

President Henty Farrar of the Fremantle Society told me he supported the new holistic approach that suited the alternative Fremantle community. He stressed that the success of Fremantle Forever for better amalgamation boundaries, showed that when Council and the community work together better outcomes are achieved.

While I am all in favour of trying new ways, I don’t believe the RA idea has much merit, as it requires Councillors to accept ordinary citizens of all ages as equals. As long as Elected Members claim they listen to and act on the wishes off an imaginary silent majority, nothing will improve as far as community consultation is concerned. But that of course is only the narrow focus view of an older person, so probably rather irrelevant as far as COF is concerned.

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle by freoview on February 2, 2014

Fremantle Society President Henty Farrar came up with a novel idea to say  HAPPY 100th BIRTHDAY to the Fremantle Workers Club. The creative President made an old-style telegram that he sent in together with flowers on behalf of the members of the over 4o year-old club.

Fremantle has an impressive history and stunning heritage buildings, and no matter how much we want progress and activation of the City, it can’t be done at the cost of diminishing our past.

Roel Loopers




Posted in fremantle by freoview on December 10, 2013

Henty Farrar was re-elected as Fremantle Society President at the AGM at the Town Hall today, reaffirming that he modern society wants to be positive and progressive, and that members support the direction committee has taken. The attempted coup d’etat by John Dowson and his followers was defeated, with 37 out of the eligible 64 votes going to Farrar, while Dowson received 27.

This is a satisfying triumph for our committee which has been receiving some flack for being positive and collaborative, instead of negative. I am personally delighted that all our hard work has been recognised and that we can continue with it for another year, hopefully helping to make Freo a better place.

Tom Griffiths, the City of Fremantle Economic Development and Marketing manager was the guest speaker and did a positive presentation about our city’s future.

Roel Loopers

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