It was about three years ago I think that I addressed Fremantle Council on behalf of the Fremantle Society and objected to the proposed additional height for the Quest hotel development on the corner of Pakenham and Short streets.
When the agenda item was debated the then Director of Planning Phil StJohn specifically addressed the issues I had raised and convinced me that by granting discretionary extra height the interior heritage identity of the building would be best preserved.
Having had a look inside the just opened serviced apartment hotel I now believe I got sucked in with empty promises, as there is little evidence of heritage preservation inside the building.
The foyer is modern and bland and has no reference to heritage that I could see, while the courtyard has a few of the old metal pillars reinstated, after the building was gutted for the development, but it shows nothing of the former warehouse character.
The huge glass entrance door and the oversized Quest sign in Pakenham Street are also disrespectful of the heritage building.
The ‘Manning’s Folly’ blue artwork on the facade is out of character and the wrong colour for the building. The concept behind the work is irrelevant when it does not compliment the rest of the building.
Is this the best we can do when we talk about heritage preservation, and what again what the reason for the additional-and inappropriate!-height allowance?
It is all Ho Ho Ho at the historic Fremantle Roundhouse today with volunteer guide Ken dressing up as Father Christmas while guides Phil, Frank, Robert, Steve and James dressed up as Santa’s not so little helpers.
By the way, Ken drives all the way from Darling Downs every Friday to be a tourist guide at the Roundhouse!
The iconic North Fremantle dingo at the former Dingo Flour Mill is back at Stirling Highway but painters are still working on it.
Nice to see a young man taking time lapse photos for days to show the progress of the work. A big commitment to sit there day after day and take a photo every 30 seconds. Maybe the City of Fremantle can purchase the final work to reward the man’s dedication to recording it?
A photo I took around sunset yesterday of gorgeous Fremantle High Street.
I am getting more and more convinced that the lunatics are running the asylum and that officialdom, red tape, and nanny state patronising have taken over our once sensible world of common sense.
After the great news of the state heritage listing of the Fremantle West End this morning I walked in to the Roundhouse to discover two bloody green exit signs that totally spoil any photos taken of the part of the building where the warders lived and that give a great view to High Street.
We now also have three, yes THREE! fire extinguishers in the Roundhouse that is 95 percent built with limestone and only has some small wooden ceilings.
This is ridiculous officialdom in a building that only has one exit and where fire danger is next to nil. It would also be safer to stay inside the building at the back wall if fire broke out in the entry.
This is rubbish City of Fremantle and these signs need to be removed in our State’s most significant and oldest public building!
W.A. Heritage Minister Albert Jacob announced this morning at Kakulas Sisters that the entire historic Fremantle West End has been State heritage listed. The boundaries are Market St, Collie St, Marine Tce, Little High St, and both sides of Phillimore Street.
I assume this means both sides of Marine Terrace are listed as it does not specify that in the media release.
This is the biggest single place heritage listing in Western Australia.
The Minister said it had been hard work by the State Heritage Office who had to liaise with 400 individual property owners and that WA had lost many heritage buildings during the 60s and 70s but Fremantle had done well preserving so many of its historic buildings.
The reason for the boundaries were to target the Gold Rush aspect of the West End and other significant buildings are already on the State Heritage Register, including the entire Arthur’s Head.
Mayor Brad Pettitt said it was significant day for the Fremantle that the council had been working on for decades. We wanted higher density and infill in the East End but make sure that the West End is protected, but adapted and used, the Mayor said.
Michael Finn, the owner of the Princess Chambers building said that traders welcomed the infill in Fremantle and that density becomes diversity, but that progress had negatives and positives
This coming Wednesday is deck decision day for Kidogo Arthouse when the State Administrative Tribunal will decide if the unauthorised large timber deck at the heritage-listed building on Fremantle’s Bathers Beach will have to be dismantled or if it overrules the Western Australian Planning Commission’s decision and allow it to remain.
It is a real shame Kidogo owner Joanna Robinson did not follow proper planning procedure and decided to build the deck without planning approval as she had received approval to build a small toilet block in that location.
Joanna has a great positive can-do attitude and creativity and her occasional Kelp Bar has been a big success with locals and tourists, but it appears that this time she broke the rules.
I hope some sort of compromise can be reached as it cost over $ 30,000 to build the deck, and it will cost a lot of money to dismantle it, but one cannot ignore planning rules, especially at such a significant historic location, and Joanna Robinson should have known better than just go ahead without approval from the State Heritage Office and City of Fremantle. Maybe a smaller deck is acceptable to the heritage people?
It was interesting to hear at the Roundhouse today that there are still many people in Fremantle, and some in the tourism industry, who don’t know that the volunteer guides fire the cannon every day at 1 pm.
Cannon firing can be booked as a surprise birthday gift and for anyone. Today a school student from Geraldton fired it in front of her 30 classmates, teachers and another 50 people, as the photo I took shows.
Everyone who fires the cannon receives a certificate. You can book it on the Roundhouse website, where the guides also take bookings for school visits, weddings on the lawn next to the Roundhouse, functions, etc.
The Roundhouse is open every day of the year but for Good Friday and Christmas Day from 10.30 am to 3.30 pm.
I have thought long and hard for the last five days about the development proposal by Fremantle Notre Dame University for the vacant site on the corner of Cliff and High streets in the historic West End and have come to the conclusion that it is not acceptable.
Even with all my good will for Notre Dame and being a supporter of the uni I can’t approve of the bland building proposed that is unacceptably high in the West End Conservation Area, no matter how much I like the UNDA people.
WECA has a four storey limit and just because an incompetent council in the 80s approved the abomination and monstrosity at number 1 High Street-the former Tram building- does not mean we should now allow another five storey building next to it to cover up the ugliness.
If UNDA needs the extra height it needs to move to the east of the CBD, but what they propose can’t be tolerated in our beautiful West End. The design is unsympathetic to the streetscape and entire historic area and the five storey height would squeeze in the surrounding buildings and Roundhouse.
The sweet carrot dangled in front of the community by offering ground level activity with a theatre, function/exhibition space and a bar/cafe is not good enough to compromise and allow a fifth floor on this building, as that is well above the West End Conservation Area planning rules and should never be compromised, not even for my good friends at UNDA!
The only compromise I can see is for a redesigned facade with a set back fourth storey that is pulled back well from the corner of Cliff and High in a 45 degree angle to create a third level roof terrace. That would also create the opportunity of a vertical garden along the fourth floor and an outdoor function and recreation area on the third floor roof.
Notre Dame University have genuinely tried to be a good corporate citizen and be part of the Fremantle community, but they need and can do much better with this building. This is a fantastic opportunity to build a heritage of the future building in this prime location, and they should not let their architects get away with proposing something so average and boring. UNDA must insist on beauty and creativity.
It is a shame I can’t show you the artist drawing of the proposal but they are not yet available to the public.
An information session will be held on October 25 from 5.30-6pm at the City of Fremantle. Enter at the back up the stairs in front of Many 6100.