Freo's View

MOORES BUILDING CHILDREN’S PLAYGROUND

Posted in art, children, family, fremantle by freoview on February 17, 2017

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Opening of the new children’s playground at the Paper Bird children’s bookshop and Moore&Moore cafe in Henry Street this Sunday February 19 from 9-11.30.

They are launching the new courtyard and joining with the rest of the Moores Building to create an open arts precinct.

Art studios will be open, including the Moores Gallery Studios Resident Artists, and free kids activities: 9am Wild Movement Perth will run a nature play session, 9.30am Story Time, 10am Inkling Art Space open workshop + Great food & coffee from Moore & Moore Cafe. See you there!

 

Roel Loopers

BETTER BID BETTER BUSINESS

Posted in bid, chamber of commerce, city of fremantle, retail, tourism, traders by freoview on February 9, 2017

The decision to continue with the Fremantle BID-Business Improvement District was deferred on Wednesday evening by the City of Fremantle’s Finance, Policy and Legislation Committee because members were not convinced that BID has found its niche yet, in what Chair Andrew Sullivan called the Holy Trinity of BID, the Chamber of Commerce and the CoF. It had five years to find that focus.

New BID CEO Tim Milsom told the Councillors about plans for new events, markets, getting external funding etc. but the elected members questioned if it should be BID’s role to organise events or rather to connect traders better with events the city and outside organisations already put up.

How do businesses, especially retailers, get to benefit from events and what are the programs, outcomes and benefits councillors asked.

Olwyn Williams, the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce spoke against extending the BID contract for another three years.

It was questioned how effective and successful BID could be when relying on a handful of volunteers and staff.

BID has been successful with running treasure hunts during school holidays which attract large numbers of children with parents who stay in Fremantle long, discover new businesses and often come back a second day to do the whole list.

For example the Sculpture@Bathers show could have a fringe events where artists who are not invited to the main show on Bathers Beach exhibit their sculptures in the windows of shops all over Fremantle and walking tours to view them could be organised by BID. Retailers could offer specials to people who come to events and tap into social media more and better.

For BID to want to organise new markets they should realise that there are already too many markets around Perth according to unhappy stall holders. The Friday night market at Princess May Market failed to attract new people and the Fremantle and E Shed markets, and the very successful South Beach food market and Growers Green farmers market cater for weekend visitors already.

The challenge for BID, the Chamber of Commerce and the City of Fremantle is to attract visitors to Fremantle at the start of the week. Freo is doing okay on Fridays and quite well on Saturdays and Sundays, but needs to get busier the first four days of the week. What can be organised to turn Freo from a weekend destination into an all week one?

I think the City will extend BID but it would require that the organisation deeply contemplates its role and find its focus because it has not been able to do that in BID’s first disappointing five years.

If my information is right I understand BID bought the artwork in front of Bathers Beach House and that is definitely not their role.

It should not be up to the CoF to come up with new ideas for BID because the concept is that this independent organisation would cut through red tape and connect with traders. If BID has a lack of concept, focus and ideas than the City’s marketing and economic development department might as well do it in house an use the $ 350,000.00 a year BID has been getting the last five years.

 

Roel Loopers

FOOD MAKES MONDAYS GREAT AGAIN

Posted in food, fremantle, western australia by freoview on February 6, 2017

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The Under The Bridge Foodtrucks organisers came up with the Trumpish slogan Make Mondays Great Again, so I am stealing it from them.

It’s on again today from 5-8.30 pm at the Fremantle East Street Jetty and a lot of fun. It’s also a great spot to watch the sun set behind the port, fall in love, network, meet new friends, take the dog for a walk, or have a quick swim in the Swan River.

Roel Loopers

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STRANGE FREMANTLE PARKLET

Posted in bar, fremantle, hospitality by freoview on February 6, 2017

 

There are parklets and then there are parklets, like the new one at the Strange Company bar in Fremantle’s Nairn Street.

This is not a parklet but a piece of public art that enhances the quite drab street, but is it very functional? I’ll go and see how it is used on the weekend.

Roel Loopers

FREO CHILDREN’S PLAY AND READING

Posted in BOOKS, children, family, fremantle, reading by freoview on February 2, 2017

 

The well-established Moore&Moore cafe and the one-year-old Paper Bird children’s book shop in Fremantle’s Henry Street have combined their talents to create a Nature Play area in the courtyard of the gorgeous heritage Moores building.

The courtyard of the M&MN has always been very Freo and cosy but by linking it with the courtyard of the lovely bookshop is has become even more special, so parents check it out. Nice to have a safe playground away from traffic in the old inner city.

Very good to hear also that the sales of children’s books has increased by 15 per cent in the last year. I have always been an avid reader and love it when children read instead of sitting in front of the TV, X Box or the computer.

Reading inspired me to travel, made me aware of other cultures and gave me a great escape while increasing my common knowledge. It also made me interested in languages and writing. I wrote my very first poem the day John F Kennedy was shot.

Roel Loopers

CANTONMENT HILL PARKING ISSUES

Posted in cantonment hill, city of fremantle, development, TRAFFIC by freoview on January 31, 2017

It no longer comes as a surprise to me that City of Fremantle officers recommend approval for a 185 sqm restaurant and 285 sqm climbing wall for the Naval Store at Cantonment Hill as part of the long-term lease to the ENKEL collective.

More and more we see the non-approvable being recommended for approval by CoF officers and that is disappointing. It is a worry because Councillors take serious notice of the expert advise of the officers, even when common sense appears to be lacking in some recommendations to the elected members.

The ENKEL item is on the agenda of this Wednesday’s Planning Committee but will be decided by the Western Australian Planning Committee.

City officers believe it is an acceptable proposal although there is not sufficient parking nearby and even drop off and pick up points near the Naval Store would be very challenging.

Officers say the lack of parking is made up for by the car park at the East Street jetty on Beach Street, but that would require people to walk up the hill and cross four lanes of the very busy Canning Highway at a dangerous intersection at a bend in the road. How many parents will risk this with their children to get to the climbing wall, and how many elderly people would dare to take the risk to get to the restaurant?

Parking and access is going to be one of the main issues with the Cantonment Hill development because activation will mean traffic concerns for local people and safety concerns for visitors because of the awkward location of the site.

It might have been better to create a car park with trees on the site proposed for a children’s playground just east of the hill, because it is unrealistic to assume that most people will visit the site by bike or on foot. Most will come by car and that has has not been catered for.

Bad call, officers!

Roel Loopers

 

FREE WEEKDAY PARKING IN FREMANTLE?

Posted in city of fremantle, local government, parking, retail, shopping by freoview on January 27, 2017

Deep from the bowels of the Fremantle Townhall comes info that the City of Fremantle is seriously considering introducing free parking days during the very quiet first half of the week.

Fremantle is so much of a weekend destination that on Mondays and Tuesdays it often looks like a ghost town that only a few locals visit, so there are quite a few retailers who are struggling to survive.

The perception of parking problems and the lack of vacant parking spaces has been going on for years and there are still no signs around the city pointing out all day cheap parking options for visitors.

One issue with free parking would be Notre Dame University students, as those who now come by public transport, because it’s cheaper than parking, might be encouraged to also drive into the West End and occupy parking spaces intended for shoppers.

I understand full council will debate this issue in four weeks, so stay tuned.

Roel Loopers

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SMALLER SUNSET EVENTS PUB FOR J SHED?

Posted in arthur head, city of fremantle, entertainment, heritage, hospitality, j shed by freoview on January 19, 2017

Fremantle’s West End is buzzing with rumours that Sunset Events will propose a scaled-down version of the rejected tavern and outdoor music venue at J Shed on Bathers Beach. The music events organiser has a 25-year-lease for the number one studio there.

The proposal for the venue was rejected by the City of Fremantle, the WA Planning Commission and the State Administrative Tribunal, so only heaven knows why the SE directors are still trying for the same, but a bit smaller.

From my memory SAT and the WAPC rejected the proposal because a tavern and live music venue were deemed inappropriate for the A Class Reserve in one of our state’s most historic areas. The number of patrons was not the issue for the two state bodies, but a licensed pub and music venue was.

I have no doubt that should Sunset Events put a scaled-down proposal forward it will again be opposed by Fremantle community groups and end up again at WAPC and SAT. Common sense tells me that these bodies will not change their ruling just because Sunset Events is reducing the number of patrons.

A small bar/cafe and art gallery would be nice there, but anything bigger is not on.

Roel Loopers

COLD MORNING AT FREO RAINBOW

Posted in art, fremantle, photography, summer, weather by freoview on January 6, 2017

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If you thought it was cold this morning for a summer’s day when you woke up you are not wrong. I should have put on a jacket when I went out at 6 am to take photos of the Fremantle Rainbow sculpture.

According to BOM the Perth/Fremantle region had last year the coolest 12 months in a decade and the coldest winter in over 20 years, so stay warm and hug a loved one, or a stranger if you are brave enough. :>)

Alternatively get a nice coffee or tea in one of the many great Freo cafes! I just did at the Moore&Moore cafe where I was served by the lovely Persephone and Hannah.

Roel Loopers

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GOOD, BAD AND UGLY FREMANTLE 2016

Posted in aboriginal, city of fremantle, development, local government, politics, tourism by freoview on December 26, 2016

2016 has been a big year for Fremantle, so I want to reflect on the good, the bad, and the ugly.

A few things stand out for me and the first one is the national exposure of the Australia Day changes the City of Fremantle made. I believe it is positive that there is now a national debate if January 26 is the appropriate date to celebrate Australia.

The most positive change in Fremantle is seeing so many substantial building sites in the CBD after our city had been in the development desert for decades. The news that state government departments will be moving into Kings Square is huge for Fremantle and so are the Liv, Heirloom, Hilton Doubletree, Quest, Spotlight and other major developments. However, the most disappointing aspect of all the Fremantle development is the mediocrity of most buildings. It’s a shame that planning laws are not stronger and more specific in that regard.

A great win for the community was the rejection by the WA Planning Commission and the State Administrative Tribunal of the proposed tavern at J Shed, but Sunset Events still has a 25-year-lease so we’ll need to wait till July to see if they will take that up and what they will be proposing this time.

Not so positive is the attempt to make historic Arthur Head into the Bathers Beach Arts Precinct. The eviction of residents at Captain’s Lane has resulted in the verandas and backyards of the cottages being used by homeless people at night and most of he new artists studios have done little to activate the area, and neither has the Walyalup Aboriginal Centre which has been a costly failure.

Absolutely fantastic to see the historic Warders and Gunners cottages restored and people living in them again. It has been a long battle by Fremantle City and the community to stop the neglect and we finally got outstanding results.

Also great that historically significant Cantonment Hill will be developed into an attraction for locals and visitors and the old Signal Station being used again by Fremantle Sea Rescue.

Disappointing is the corporate greed of the Fremantle Dockers football club who are demanding a large million-dollar payout from the City of Fremantle to relinquish their long-term lease on Fremantle Oval.

Community negativity has been a disappointing feature of the year and social media is frequently showing the nasty face of keyboard heroes, who often are uninformed and make comments and judgements based on ignorance. I like a good debate and engaging with people who have different opinions, but the nastiness and name-calling is distasteful, unnecessary and inappropriate.

Good community consultation and information is still lacking and makes the interaction between Council and the community often negative. There is too much inconsistency and tokenism. Community engagement happens too late in the process where it inevitably becomes reactive and negative. That needs to improve!

There is no doubt that there is a lot of room for improvement, especially at the basic levels of city maintenance and cleaning, and WA Police need to do a whole lot better addressing the anti-social and crime issues in Fremantle.

The City of Fremantle also needs to start getting serious about the ageing population in Australia and our city and needs to find a better balance between youth interest and that of older people in town.

City expenditure is at a dangerous level and that has to become the number one priority in 2017 for Fremantle Council. There needs to be a more realistic financial approach to what the city can afford because it is following dangerously into the footsteps of the State Government of over-spending.

Fremantle needs to have a debate on what good development for our city is and how we can stop the glut of ugliness we are getting in the the city. The fact that Fremantle Council gets overruled by Joint Development Assessment Panels and State Administrative Tribunal is a worry as we need to retain the unique character of Freo because that is why tourists come here.

Tourism needs to be more appreciated and looked after with more than 60 cruiseliners visiting Freo this summer. The visitors’ numbers at the Roundhouse are significantly up this year, so we need to have more attractions to keep the tourists in town longer. I would like to see a real physical interpretation of the former Whaling Station at Bathers Beach and also a migrant museum.

A mere $ 10,000 for power into the Roundhouse so that a $ 200,000 new display project can be undertaken should be supported by Fremantle City. It’s the sum of money the City has given for a solar parklet in Wray Avenue that will not attract even 1% of the 135,000 visitors the Roundhouse gets.

The selection of candidates for the federal election was a bit of a farce with Liberal candidate Sherry Sufi pulling out, to be replaced by equally unknown Pierrette Kelly, while Labor engaged in the unnecessary and unfair humiliation of Chris Brown who was replaced by former Freo Deputy Mayor, and my preferred candidate, Josh Wilson. Josh is our new MP in Canberra.

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A possible swap at McGabe Street in North Fremantle where parts would go to Mosman Park is interesting in the context of the failed local government reform. It looks to me like piecemeal governance.

The sale of Fremantle Port and the building of the Perth Freight Link will not eventuate should the Labor party form government after the March 2017 election, so it is disappointing that the Barnett government is fast tracking the Roe 8 Highway extension and the destruction of the wetlands instead of waiting for the election outcome.

Heritage protection remains critical and needs to remain a priority for Fremantle Council. It is not necessary to compromise heritage to appease developers. There are many other locations outside the West End that are better suited for higher density and building height. Community vigilance is essential to keep inappropriate development out of the inner city.

I love living in Fremantle and I love engaging with the community. It disappoints me that there is so much negativity in this great city and that so few people participate in the democratic local government process, and I hope that will change in 2017.

We all can make a positive difference to our city and be part of the solution when we respectfully engage with the Elected Members and CoF staff, and they with the community. That is my wish for the New Year. Have a very happy one!

Roel Loopers

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