Freo's View

FREO TOWNHALL FLAG RAISED AFTER LONG ABSENCE

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on May 26, 2017

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For the first time in ten years the Australian national flag was raised above the Fremantle Townhall at noon today, and the repaired bells were ringing.

A big mob of people turned up for the official unveiling of the Townhall conservation works and were very impressed with the brilliant outcome.

New WA Minister and Member for Fremantle Simone McGurk was present, as was Federal Labor MP for Fremantle Josh Wilson.

City of Fremantle heritage architect Alan Kelsall was clearly relieved and delighted that the effort by a large team of people had all been worth all the hard work.

Roel Loopers

SHIFTING GOALPOSTS NOT COMMUNITY PROBLEM

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on May 25, 2017

Fremantle Council deferred a decision last night on the application by developers Silverleaf to not go ahead with adding more fritted glass screens to the building, as was agreed on in the planning approval.

The planning officers and Design Advisory Committee wanted Council to  reject the application but an amendment by Councillor Rachel Pemberton is trying to find a compromise.

Pemberton said she was concerned and tried to understand the practical reality of not adding the glass screens, but it is the the original approved plans so why wasn’t it done? But there is no harm done to see if a good compromise can be found.

The DAC said it is very disappointed with the amended proposal as it spent considerable time with the proponent, and a number of design outcomes were negotiated and considered necessary components that lead to the DAC’s conditional approval of the building.

The DAC believes the fritted glass screens address the scale and massing by making the detail behind the glass less legible.

Silverleaf owner Gerard O’Brien said the developer had spent more money into details such as tuck pointing the facades in High and Cantonment streets and that he had been advised by the builders that retrospect adding of the fritted glass screens would be difficult.

I don’t mind the building as it kind of floats over the old facades and the fritted glass screens definitely help to give it that appearance of softness, so I would like to see the developer stick to the plans Fremantle Council approved. They made it more difficult for themselves, and probably more costly now, by not adhering to the plans and making unapproved changes as they went along.

I do understand the triple bottom line and Silverleaf at present developing eight major sites in different councils, but at the end of the day if developers move the goal posts during construction that is a decision they have to live with and pay for. The community should not be told that it is too expensive and troublesome now to do what they agreed on in the first place when they applied for planning approval from council.

Roel Loopers

FICRA LACKING VISION

Posted in city of fremantle, community, Uncategorized by freoview on May 24, 2017

 

Mary Rose Baker, the convenor of the Fremantle Inner City Residents Association also spoke at the Fremantle Network event on Monday evening and said her talk had forced the members to focus on what FICRA’s visions and priorities are:

Preservation of significant heritage, support for compatible development, heritage preservation and restoration, preservation of green and public open space, support for Notre Dame University, support unique and distinct Fremantle enterprises and businesses, support for commercial development with good design, no mono-culture of cafes in the West End, security and public order, the City of Fremantle Design Advisory Panel should protect the heritage more.

FICRA is also against the planned tavern at J Shed on Arthur Head and prefers activation through arts and craft. It also supports an ocean pool at Bathers Beach.

I would have liked to hear a few more specific ideas on how to revitalise the West End, especially on weekends and evenings, as it is very much a ghost town during those periods, even when the Cappuccino Strip is full with people.

One thing mentioned on the night is a sign on the corner of Market and High streets to point out Bathers Beach and the diversity of specialty shops along High Street.

I personally am still hoping that one day there will be a small growers market straight under the Roundhouse at Little High Street on Saturday mornings, or an arts&craft market in front of the Pilot’s Cottages.

I would also like to see those cottages lit at night to make them a heritage feature and to deter anti-social behaviour at Arthur Head.

Other small events could be organised there and the Street Arts Festival should have a stage/pitch in that perfect location at Little High Street next to Chalkys cafe that looks like a roundabout

I was surprised to hear that FICRA does not want to attract the high numbers of visitors the Fishing Boat Harbour has to High Street, because families wandering around there window shopping and taking in the history of our city would create vibrancy.

As ANJEL MS fashion shop owner Gaelle Beech said during the event, we need to find a better word than the ACTIVATION buzzword and Fremantle Council and the community should specify what that actually means. E,g. 500 drunks leaving the new J Shed tavern might be considered activation by some, but a bloody nuisance by others.

Roel Loopers

PROMOTE WEST END RETAIL BETTER!

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle network, retail, Uncategorized by freoview on May 23, 2017

 

The monthly Fremantle Network event at the National Hotel on Monday had three speakers, so I will split up the reporting on it and start with High Street retailer Gaelle Beech of the ANJEL MS ethical fashion shop.

Gaelle’s talk was inspiring as it was not the typical whinge we get from too many in the community, but it was more about why we don’t sell the unique beauty of Fremantle and especially the gorgeous heritage High Street better as a shopping destination.

High Street is one of the most gorgeous shopping precincts in Australia that ends at Bathers Beach, so why don’t we promote that better?

“We don’t treasure enough what we have got in Fremantle and forget to show the beauty of it to our visitors” Gaelle rightly said.

The West End is unique but many visitors don’t even know where High Street is and there is no retail map showing the diversity of shopping.

We need West End traders to work together and not individually, and we need you as the community to support us she said.

High Street needs more vibrancy with buskers and art, and traders and City of Fremantle marketing should not assume everyone knows about us.

Gaelle Beech said she loves Fremantle and would not have a shop anywhere else in Perth. She also has an outlet at Fremantle Markets on weekends.

ANJEL MS specialises in ethical fashion and supports young designers in Katmandu, India and Bali, so go and check it out and support our struggling local traders.

“We have an amazing city! Which shopping centre has a beach at the end of it! Gaelle said with passion and I could not agree more.

She got laughter and applause when a Notre Dame University student lamented that it cost them $ 1,200 a year in parking. “You are young, walk and use public transport” she encouraged. Yes indeed!

Roel Loopers

NEW BAR FOR FREO’S WEST END

Posted in bar, city of fremantle, hospitality, Uncategorized by freoview on May 22, 2017

 

 

bar

 

This lovely building at 10 High Street in the historic West End of Fremantle could become home to a new small bar if all goes well.

The people behind the fantastic Strange Company bar in Nairn Street are applying for a liquor license for the High Street premises, as the sign on the  bottom right shows, so stay tuned.

Roel Loopers

RETHINKING AUSTRALIA DAY

Posted in australia day, education, fremantle, notre dame university, Uncategorized by freoview on May 22, 2017

UNDA presentation

 

The Fremantle Heritage Festival starts this week with the unveiling of the Townhall conservation works at 11.30 am on Friday, so come along.

Notre Dame University students are jumping the gun though with two interesting presentations at the Maritime Museum on Thursday between 1.30 and 3 pm.

They will present a professional report titled Recasting Australia Day and and exhibition proposal Country and Conflict at Swan River 1829-1850.

REFLECTIVE FREMANTLE

Posted in city of fremantle, photography, Uncategorized by freoview on May 16, 2017

 

 

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There is not much news around in Fremantle at the moment so I wandered around town for a bit this morning and captured these reflections.

Roel Loopers

FREO ROUNDHOUSE ENLIGHTENMENT

Posted in city of fremantle, heritage, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on May 11, 2017

After some grumpy looks and words from Arthur Head and Freo’s View toward the Fremantle Townhall there has been a bit of action regarding putting power into the historic Roundhouse, so that the volunteer guides can get started on their plans for a big $ 200,000 new displays project.

City staff and electricians came to WA’s oldest public building today to check it out and see what can be done and according to them it should not be a big deal to supply the old goal with power needed for the displays.

Now hoping Council and administration will make it a priority as Lotterywest funding takes a while to get approved. Stay tuned!

Last year 145,000 visitors walked through the door of the Roundhouse, so a significant contribution to tourism in Fremantle and W.A.

Any corporate sponsors out there to help fast track getting the displays up?

Roel Loopers

 

NOTRE DAME APPOINTS WEST END CONSULTANTS

Fremantle Notre Dame University has appointed the recently merged TPG+Place Match group to undertake further independent consultation in regard to the proposed development of a new Nursery and Midwifery School on the corner of High and Cliff streets.

The five-storey  development was rejected for approval by Fremantle Council  because it exceeds the three-storey limit for the heritage-listed West End Precinct, and because of its inappropriate and poor design quality.

The deciding authority for the building is the WA Development Assessment Panel but UNDA adjourned the approval process to make changes to the building after strong community objections.

It will be interesting to see if UNDA will abandon their plans for an, in my opinion un-approvable, five storey building and alter the design to make its architecture more sympathetic and respectful to the heritage streetscape, or if they will go ahead and apply for approval of a five-story building at the DAP.

This from the TPG+Place Match website:

  • Stakeholder and community engagement
  • Place visioning and narrative
  • Strategic and statutory planning
  • Urban design and place planning
  • Heritage and cultural planning
  • Place branding and promotion
  • Community development
  • Place activation 

TPG+Place Match have a track record of working together on several high profile place-led projects, including the Perth Cultural Centre Place Plan, the Curtin University Place Activation project and several regional revitalisation and enhancement projects in Bunbury, Morawa and Esperance.

Since its inception in 2011, Place Match has become WA’s most sought after place making firm, offering niche expertise in place visioning and branding, destination planning, place activation and management.  The firm has breathed new life and added significant value to places across Perth city, suburban areas and into regional WA.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE CONSERVATION WORK GOING TO PLAN

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on May 10, 2017

 

Union Stores

 

Freo’s View reader Kel sent me some photos and complained about the condition of the historic Fremantle Unions Stores building on the corner of High and Henry streets, saying he feared the conservation work the City had conducted was not done properly and the same deterioration might happen to the Townhall.

I asked the Heritage Department of CoF for a detailed response and received this reassuring explanation:

UNION STORES
Since 2012 there has been an ongoing programme of works to conserve the Union Stores, to address various compliance issues and to upgrade services.
– 2013 – A safe roof access system was installed to allow for regular maintenance of the roof, gutters and air conditioning and also for undertaking conservation works in the following year.
– 2014 – Urgent structural repairs carried out to the parapets and gables. Parapets and gables conserved along with the deteriorated projecting flat surfaces of window sills, cornices and parapet copings. Street verandahs (reconstructed 1987) repaired and strengthened.
– 2015 – Electrical distribution board and fire systems upgraded and the rear verandah (1987) repaired and strengthened.
– 2016 – Ventilation of the basement improved to reduce damp and humidity to protect ground floor timbers and reduce problems with rising damp.

These works are part of the orderly process for the conservation and care of the City’s portfolio of heritage assets. The intention is to address building conservation in a manner that considers levels of urgency, economies of scale, correct sequence and good conservation practice. Many of these items of work will not be conspicuous but are vital to the conservation and long-term sustainability of these important heritage buildings for present and future generations.

Future works are planned to continue the conservation of the building facades once the moisture has evaporated from the walls and the damaging salts have migrated to the surface.

2014 Urgent Conservation Works
During 2012 and 2013 the poor condition of the rear of the parapets of the Union Stores was discovered and remedial works were planned for 2014. These parapets had become unstable due to the deterioration of the soft clay bricks – deterioration that had been exacerbated by well-meaning but inappropriate repairs in the 1980s as well as the painting of the building facades from the 1960s onwards.

Like the Fremantle Town Hall, damaging salts and moisture had seeped into the walls through hairline cracks and were trapped in the walls by cement render and plastic paints. The entrapped salts and moisture led to the deterioration of the soft clay bricks and lime mortar of the wall itself and caused embedded iron pins in decorative mouldings and structural bolts and plates to rust and expand causing cracking in the walls. To address this problem the paint and cement renders were removed to allow the walls to breathe and new repairs made use of breathable lime mortars, hydraulic lime renders and lime wash finishes.

However, the construction and condition of the Unions Stores was different to the Town Hall and required a different approach for its conservation. Removing the paint from the parapets was more difficult because the stucco surface was softer and in poorer condition. Also the early use of calcimine paint and lime wash on the building meant that although the walls could breathe well, not all of the pigment could be successfully removed.

The biggest difference however, was the volume of salt escaping from the walls. Almost immediately after the removal of paint and cement render from the parapets of the union stores large amounts of salt began to crystallise on the surface of the parapets. Within the same timeframe there was only a small amount of discolouration from salt at the Fremantle Town Hall. While the appearance of salt on the surface is good because it shows that the walls are healing themselves, when there is a large amount of salt it needs to be managed to minimise damage to the surface of the stucco. For this reason a sacrificial coating of lime wash was applied to the surface of the conserved areas so that the salt would crystallise on the lime wash causing it to decay rather than the stucco. The building was then left to gradually dry out expel the salts before any further works were undertaken.

Now in 2017 the salt crystals and some of the decayed lime wash has been washed off the Union Stores leaving the parapets looking somewhat patchy but in much better physical condition. This means that when further conservation works are undertaken in the future they will not be affected by salt damage.

We expect that the Fremantle Town Hall will suffer some deterioration from escaping salts as the walls breathe again but it will not be as significant as the Union Stores. Also, because the removal of paint from the stucco at the town hall was more successful, when there is some deterioration it will be less obvious as it will be the same colour as the surrounding stucco.

The Fremantle Townhall will officially be unveiled on Friday May 26 at 11.30 am at the start of the Heritage Festival. It looks absolutely stunning!

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