Freo's View

KULCHA GETS A FACE LIFT

Posted in city of fremantle, heritage by freoview on April 21, 2015

kulcha work

Scaffolding is up around the lovely KULCHA/DOME building on the Fremantle Cappuccino Strip, so it looks like the grande old lady is getting a facelift, or new make-up, and will get painted. Always good to see work on heritage buildings.

Also good that Fremantle Council tomorrow evening will set a management team in place for the old Boys School at Princess May Park, so it can be decided what to do with it after the renovations are done, in case the FTI does not want to move back in, and it is highly unlikely they will want to as their funding has been cut drastically.

Roel Loopers

GREAT OPPORTUNITIES FOR CANTONMENT HILL

Posted in cantonment hill, city of fremantle, development, local government by freoview on April 17, 2015

The City of Fremantle CANTONMENT HILL information session last evening was a strange one as the officer did not know if there would be an official period for public to comment on the masterplan for the historic significant area and gateway to Fremantle.

The masterplan is set up in five stages and according to the consultants could be implement over a period of up to 25 years, so that is a long way away for those who just want to go and have a walk, sit on a bench in the shade and enjoy the views over the Swan river, port, Indian Ocean and the city.

Call them concepts or visions, and I am sure within the realm of transformational moves it needs to be all big picture stuff and grandiose, but it might well be better and faster to make the bush park area a community project, like Booyeembara, and let the local people get on with it.

ENKEL will no doubt bring a lot of creativity and new energy to the old Naval Stores and they should get a relatively free hand at designing the space they want to create and the immediate surroundings of the building, so it works best for their use and needs.

I was stunned to see a cafe proposed to the East and above the Naval Stores in the area closest to the street and traffic noise and even more amazed architect Sasha Ivanovich suggests there could even be an outdoor theatre/performance space there, when something like that could have the natural noise protection of the huge Naval Stores and also take advantage of the parkland behind it as a natural setting.

The locals don’t seem to like it, but I think a cafe/restaurant high up on the hill with great views would be good, but the cost for it will probably be prohibitive for a small city like Freo.

Parking is going to be a major problem and the experts’ predictions are rather unrealistic and optimistic in my view. They almost talked down the expected number of visitors to the area as if it would not become a great attractor for Fremantle, so no need to worry too much about the lack of parking. The ludicrous inclusion of Beach Street as a parking destination for those who want to enjoy Cantonment Hill left me shaking my head.

I believe scaling down the project significantly and starting with a really great playground- and even a flying fox- good furniture and shade structures, a few winding paths and Aboriginal heritage interpretation would be a good and achievable start.

While there is a 95 percent chance the Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue will get a long-term lease for the Signal Station, the architect was still showing off plans for a new building behind it that would accommodate a lift and the Australian standard steps required to make it open to the public.

I liked Councillor Robert Fittock’s passion for universal access and him saying that he and Council would not approve anything that does not have disability access. Good on him!

The officers and consultants need to take their coloured glasses off and have a very realistic look at the parking issues before they nail down where new paths will be installed. The one planned from the bus stop to the top looks expensive and might only cater for a handful of people, while the Army Museum car park is locked up because of terrorism issues, so not available to the general public. Maybe the bullet has to be bitten and a small parcel of land needs to be reclaimed for a parking area near the proposed playground on the eastern side of the hill.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE HERITAGE REPAIRS IN PROGRESS

Posted in fremantle, heritage by freoview on March 31, 2015

I am delighted to see scaffolding up and work underway at two of Fremantle’s major heritage sites. At the Married Quarters cottages at Cantonment Hill one can already see some progress, while not much can be seen yet at the Warders Cottages in Henderson Street.

I don’t know what the truth is on the repair status of the Henderson Street cottages with workers telling people they are doing the whole lot, but people in the community saying it is just about repairing the walls and maybe roofs. The scaffolding looks pretty serious so let’s hope the government has found some more money to make substantial renovations there.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE WORKERS CLUB SOLD

Posted in fremantle, fremantle workers club, real estate by freoview on March 25, 2015

workers club

The Fremantle Workers Club in a prime inner city West End location in Henry Street has been sold but the club does not want to divulge who the new owner is until settlement has been reached.

Any new development in the West End of Fremantle has to be extremely sensitive to the important heritage of the area, so it will be interesting to see what the new owner wants to do with it.

Roel Loopers

STATE HERITAGE NEGLECT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE!

Posted in fremantle, heritage, western australia by freoview on March 25, 2015

It’s time to protest loud and clear that the state of disrepair of our heritage buildings is an unacceptable disgrace that shows little respect for Western Australia’s history. Tokenism is the word of the day when it comes to the care of heritage buildings with the State Government barely doing enough to keep the Warders Cottages in Fremantle standing.

Tomorrow-Thursday-morning East Fremantle and Fremantle Councillors and irate residents together with Member for Fremantle Simone McGurk will meet in front of Parliament House to meet the media at 9.10 am. Let’s make it a crowd and shout out loud that we care about our history and heritage!!

Roel Loopers

PROTECT THE ROYAL GEORGE HOTEL PETITION

Posted in fremantle, heritage by freoview on March 19, 2015

neglect 8

Fremantle MP Simone McGurk has started a petition to make sure the heritage-listed Royal George Hotel in East Fremantle is not handed over by State Government to private developers without the guarantee that the heritage of the building will be respected.

The old hotel in Duke street has been under the ‘care’ of the National Trust for many years, who have badly neglected the building whilst promising renovations and occupancy which never eventuated.

Heritage conservation in Western Australia is unacceptable and needs to be addressed by our political parties, because allowing the unique buildings to rot away and to eventually be demolished is unacceptable. History is the roots of our society and needs to be respected and cared for.

Contact Simone McGurk’s office on:  Fremantle@mp.wa.gov.au or call by her office in Market Street to get copies of the petition.

Roel Loopers

A VERY SMALL STEP FOR WARDERS COTTAGES

Posted in fremantle, heritage by freoview on March 18, 2015

Warders Cottages

It is interesting to note that the stabilisation work on the Fremantle Warders Cottages did not start with those closest to the Fremantle Markets, that are most in the eye of tourists.

The photo shot from the Queensgate carpark roof shows how significant these historic cottages are in the centre of Fremantle and how important it is to get them renovated and occupied as soon as possible.

Roel Loopers

CROWD SOURCING TO PROTECT HERITAGE BUILDINGS

Posted in fremantle, heritage, western australia by freoview on March 17, 2015

Neglected heritage buildings in Western Australia are in the lime light again with State Government intending to sell off the Royal George Hotel in East Fremantle and the Warders Cottages in Fremantle.

There always appears to be enough money for anything else but when it comes to looking after our historic buildings the government dismally fails.

The National Trust has taken far too many buildings on and can’t get the funding to do up every building they have in their custodianship. It is quite hypocritical for the Trust’s CEO Tom Perrigo to express concern about the way the City of Fremantle is renovating the former Boys School at Princess May Park, when his own orgnisation is responsible for demolition by neglect situations.

Is private ownership or long-term leasing of heritage the only way out of the limbo or are there other options? It was suggested in a comment to this blog that the City of Fremantle should renovate and move staff to heritage buildings instead of building a new civic centre. Cost comparison  would be interesting because heritage repairs are always much more expensive.

Sunset Events has committed to spending over a million dollars to renovate and move into the Artillery Drill Hall that was home of the Fly by Night Club for many years, money the National Trust obviously did not have, so that a good compromise as long as the renovations are done with respect for the history of the building.

Handing over heritage buildings to private developers is dangerous as they always push the envelope and want more than is allowed in planning and heritage schemes. With local and state governments keen to get things going the likelihood of compromise is a bit too tempting for my liking. Maybe crowd sourcing could create a substantial fund to upkeep our heritage?

Roel Loopers

ROYAL GEORGE HOTEL SAGA CONTINUES

Posted in fremantle, heritage, national trust by freoview on March 13, 2015

The Fremantle Herald reports today that the W.A. government wants to sell the historic Royal George Hotel in Duke Street, East Fremantle, after the National Trust allowed it to fall into disrepair as it failed to find funding to repair it and get tenants for the heritage-listed building.

National Trust CEO Tom Perigo was alway a bit too over-confident that he would just have to ask and Lotterywest would give him the millions he needed to repair all the buildings the government agency took on, but reality was far different. I hear Perigo has now vacated the CEO job and has been appointed a consultant to the National Trust.

The George Street area is very gorgeous and the old hotel is a real feature there that deserves much better than the neglect and vandalism it has received. Time will tell if a private operator will look after the building well enough and make parts of it open to the public.

Roel Loopers

KEEP THE WHALERS TUNNEL GATES OPEN!

Posted in city of fremantle, local government, whalers tunnel by freoview on March 12, 2015

Dear City of Fremantle officers,

Tomorrow, Friday March 13-Black Friday!-SCULPTURE@BATHERS, Fremantle’s biggest art show starts at Bathers Beach. On Saturday the 14th the Captain’s Lane Fest will be on to promote the Bathers Beach Art Precinct. The City invested thousands of dollars to light up the Arthur Head cliff face, and BID invested to light up the heritage facades of High Street.

CAN SOMEBODY AT COF PLEASE TELL WILSON SECURITY THAT THE WHALERS TUNNEL GATES HAVE TO STAY OPEN TILL 10 PM AS A PERMANENT ARRANGEMENT, SO THAT PEOPLE CAN VIEW THE ARTWORKS, ENJOY THE FESTIVAL AND THE LIT-UP CLIFF FACE!!!! IT’S A TOURIST PRECINCT. DON’T CLOSE IT AT 7 PM!

It won’t be good enough to hear next week that someone stuffed up again.

Thanks you very much.

Roel Loopers

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