Freo's View

CITY, CITY BUT LITTLE BANG BANG

Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, local government, politics, Uncategorized by freoview on September 26, 2019

 

The City Ward candidate forum in Tannock Hall of Notre Dame University was pretty good, although very little new came up, and fewer than 100 people attended.

John Dowson said that councillors needed to consider the annual community surveys more and act on them because the community is often angry about issues that do not receive enough attention.

He was also not happy with council selling off assets cheaply, and we need a council that can negotiate on our behalf.

Julie Morgan said that City Ward does not embrace families and that new development also ignored families. Seniors are an unrepresented part of our community.

She was also not happy that council rates kept rising, and said she had been told the FOGO bins would not be rolled out in the CBD, which was new to Councillor Pemberton.

Rachel Pemberton said that Kings Square was a once in a generation development that will renew the inner city and attract families, workers, shoppers, etc.

She agreed that antisocial behaviour was a real problem, but the city had been working closely with WA police.

John Dowson said that Arthur’s Head was one of our most important assets but had been disgracefully neglected, But Julie Morgan said that council probably did not have any money to do anything.

Both Julie Morgan and John Dowson did not believe council was doing enough to combat antisocial behaviour in Fremantle, while Rachel Pemberton said it was a complex issue that needed different ways to resolve it. “We spent $ 2 million a year on it!”

Morgan and Dowson said they would look into rate reduction if elected, but Pemberton said that was unlikely to happen as it was in-line with inflation. Dowson said that because of the new three bin FOGO project rates went up by 2% and that would continue year after year. And Morgan asked why they had to pay for it when they would not receive the third bin in High Street.

John Dowson lamented again that Fremantle assets have been chopped and chopped and sold and sold.

Julie Morgan questioned the number of workers moving into Kings Square, as she had heard the Corrective Services department would no longer move into the Sirona Capital building.

Rachel Pemberton said the city was using its assets to renew the city and that the sale of the Leisure Centre carpark was no longer in the new ten-year plan that will be released for community consultation later this year.

John Dowson said the Fremantle Arts Centre was a stand out gem and that Fremantle did very well with festivals, but let’s bring back a few things that celebrate our heritage.

Rachel Pemberton said the city invested $ 4 million in the arts, including the upcoming Biennale.

John Dowson said growing the Freo tree canopy and putting power underground would make a huge difference, but removing the street lights from his street(Mouat) was not good.

Arthur’s Head and the J Shed artists also attracted attention with Dowson saying it was extremely distressing what was happening as we should be telling the history of place. “It has been seriously neglected and I want the J Shed artists to stay!”

Julie Morgan also said that J Shed had been tragic and she supported the artists and Rachel Pemberton said she understood the predicament as the Bathers Beach Art Precinct has not worked. She had contacted the Roundhouse volunteers group to see how the city can better support them.

Both Morgan and Pemberton said CBD family living and mixing seniors with young people would be a good idea.

The forum was excellently moderated by a gentleman whose name I did not catch, so thank you to him!

 

Roel Loopers

 

DOWSON NOMINATES FOR FREMANTLE CITY WARD

Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, election, fremantle society, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on September 12, 2019

 

The biggest surprise at this year’s Fremantle local council election is no doubt that Fremantle Society president John Dowson has nominated for City Ward and will do battle with incumbent Rachel Pemberton.

Dowson spent four years on Fremantle Council previously, so he knows the ropes of local government.

In a city that is going through a bit of a development boom Dowson’s negativity about most new buildings might not sit well with those in the community who believe change is good and necessary for Fremantle, but I have no doubt that the more conservative voters will see Dowson as a good alternative to the Green-leaning Pemberton.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE SOCIETY PRESIDENT LEAVING FREMANTLE

 

 

It is not official yet, but I was told last night that shock waves are going through the Fremantle Society with their president John Downson indicating that he will soon be relocating permanently to England.

Dowson is said to be deeply frustrated that the Society has been unable to make an impact on Fremantle planning matters and bad architecture, and he is outraged about what he calls the incompetent Fremantle Council, planning department and State’s JDAP and SAT, which approve in Dowson’s opinion inappropriate buildings in our city.

The Fremantle Society committee is very worried that they might not be able to find anyone to replace John Dowson because it has been very difficult over the past years to find members willing to put their hat in the ring and take on an official function, hence FS has now members on committee who don’t live anywhere near Fremantle.

Already during the last two years Dowson has ran FS partly from London, where he bought an apartment in a new upmarket subway station development, and from cruise ships on which he lectures about Fremantle’s history.

I see John Dowson’s departure from Fremantle as a good opportunity for the Fremantle Society to consider how to make the group relevant again and less political and council-bashing. It needs to go with the times and rejuvenate and redevelop itself and not be anti change and anti development. I hope the group won’t falter and collapse in a heap because of the departure of its powerful president.

If the Brits can cope with Brexit and Dowson is another thing, but good luck to John Dowson, who has been very controversial but with his heart in the right place for Freo.

Roel Loopers

 

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BLOGGER ALL ABOUT SUPPORTING FREO, NOT POPULARITY

Posted in city of fremantle, community, fremantle society, Uncategorized by freoview on May 23, 2018

 

Fremantle Society president John Dowson has sent yet another rant to the poor members of FS, accusing me of only wanting to be popular, because the narrow-minded no change advocate does not agree with what I publish on Freo’s View.

Mr President writes: The Heritage Council is a developer’s club, the National Trust is useless as an advocate, the Fremantle Herald cannot lead campaigns on its own, and the very few public commentators like the blogger Roel Loopers are only concerned with being popular.

I started this blog eight and a half years ago as a community forum, that does not create income for me. I spend many hours a week going to council, community and precinct meetings, talk to residents, do research, etc. and I do it because I love Fremantle and I love living here. I want to help make Freo an even better place than it already is for future generations.

Unlike Mr President I don’t try to be in the Fremantle Herald every week with negativity about Fremantle Council, developers, etc.

Unlike Mr President I don’t give negative lectures about Fremantle on cruise ships where I blast Fremantle development and Council.

Unlike Mr President I have written 33 positive reviews about Fremantle businesses and attractions for TripAdvisor, that were read by nearly 16,000 people last month. All because I believe that we all can make a small difference and support our local traders.

Unlike Mr President I don’t drive around in latest model Porsches while wanting the rest of Fremantle to still go by horse&cart, and unlike Mr President I’ll do everything I can to support good change, good development and good progress, because I don’t believe that living in the past and retaining the status quo is fair for future generations.

As for my perceived popularity; some people appreciate what I do for our community and others don’t, and so be it. I gain nothing personally or financially from my community involvement.

I am a volunteer tourist guide at the Roundhouse, unlike Mr President doing paid  lectures on cruise ships where he tries to sell his books.

It’s not about popularity John Dowson. It’s about integrity! You should try it.

Roel Loopers

 

BETTER COMMUNICATION ESSENTIAL FOR GOOD FREO DEVELOPMENT

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle society,, Uncategorized by freoview on December 7, 2017

 

Warders 2

 

The Planning Committee of Fremantle Council last night recommended for approval by JDAP the development of a boutique hotel, tavern and restaurant at the Henderson Street  historic Warders Cottages next to the Fremantle Markets.

The development is valued at $ 3.5 million and the application will be decided by the WA Joint Development Assessment Panel on December 16.

Fremantle Society President John Dowson said hotel accommodation was a good outcome for the cottages, but questioned the size of the tavern and heritage issues such as a two storey walkway at the back of the cottages, which is contrary to heritage policy.

Dowson was justifiably outraged when he spoke again later in the evening that none of the Councillors had mentioned heritage considerations when they deliberated the proposal.

It was good to see Councillor Hannah Fitzhardinge reaching out to the Fremantle Society president, as all Councillors and planning and heritage staff should be doing, because the Society has been very influential for over forty years in protecting Fremantle’s heritage.

Without the interference and protests of FS Fremantle would not have become the tourist attraction it now is, as many of our heritage buildings in the West End would have been demolished, and so would have Victoria Hall.

About eight years ago the Society published an nine-page flyer, which I wrote, in which it was recommended that developers and Council engage the Fremantle Society as early as possible when proposing new development, to avoid frustrating delays and negativity. No one ever took up that offer and it is time for Fremantle Council to revisit that and collaborate more and better with FS and other relevant community groups.

The chair of the new Westport task force was adamant a few weeks ago that only when all stakeholders are engaged and consulted a new outer harbour and all relevant infrastructure will get the best outcomes and community acceptance, and Fremantle City needs to move that way as well and reach out to community groups like FS, instead of dismissing them as NIMBY or negative old farts who are against change.

During the recent election Mayor Brad Pettitt and other elected members acknowledged that community consultation in Fremantle needed to be improved, and the administration is also working toward it, so Councillors need to meet regularly with the Fremantle Society and other groups, so we can work all together for a better and modern Fremantle.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE HERITAGE WALL OF FAME

Posted in city of fremantle, heritage, notre dame university, Uncategorized by freoview on July 30, 2017

 

wall of fame

 

I wonder if the City of Fremantle and Notre Dame University would be interested in collaborating on a Heritage Wall of Fame.

While buildings, builders and architects do get recognition at heritage awards, the custodians of our built heritage rarely get a mention.

I understand that some of our heritage protectors are a bit on the nose with council and developers, but their passionate  and tireless efforts over many years to retain the heritage integrity of Fremantle deserves recognition.

This blank and boring wall in Henry Street would be perfectly suited to put small plaques on that acknowledge such people as Les Lauder, Don Whittington, June Hutchison, John Dowson, etc.

We could start with half a dozen and add a new person every year during Heritage Week.

What about it UNDA Vice Chancellor Celia Hammond and Mayor Brad Pettitt?

 

Roel Loopers

 

HERITAGE FESTIVAL CONNECTS US TO THE PAST

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

 

townhall 3

 

 

The Fremantle Heritage Festival starts today with the unveiling of the sublime conservation work of the Townhall at 11.30 am. All are welcome and a historic group photo will be taken, so come along!

In the 32 years I have been in the west I have never seen the Townhall look so splendid. It is now an eye-catching icon for visitors and locals to enjoy.

When in two years the Kings Square development has been finished our city square will be a modern showcase that embraces the beautiful Townhall.

The Heritage Festival program is extensive so get a printed copy at the library or Roundhouse, or check it on the City’s website and Facebook.

Great historic Freo photos at the relaunch of Old Fremantle, a book by Fremantle Society President John Dowson. They are on display at Kidogo Arthouse at Bathers Beach. Don’t miss it! Perfect coffee table book and good presents for all who love Fremantle and history.

Roel Loopers

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FREO SOCIETY NOT HAPPY WITH WEST END HERITAGE PRECINCT

Posted in city of fremantle, heritage by freoview on February 1, 2016

Arthur Head

 

Fremantle Society president John Dowson has called for a public meeting on February 11 about the proposed State Heritage listing for the West End Heritage Precinct. The meeting will be at Kidogot Arthouse on Bathers Beach and starts at 7 pm.

Dowson writes in his email to FS members that Fremantle council chopped in half the precinct proposed by the West End Working Group, a group made up of members of the community, business and experts. Dowson wrote that the committee recommended to Council to include the whole area including Kings Square be listed, but that appears to be incorrect.

The West End Working Group was given two options, surprisingly neither included Arthur Head and the state’s oldest public building the Roundhouse, and the WEWG decided to recommend to Council to adopt Option 1 with boundaries at Market Street/South Terrace and not Option 2 that went further and included Kings Square as far as Queens Street and Newman Court.

The option recommended by the WE Working Group was unanimously voted for at full Council meeting on September 25, 2013 and subsequently accepted as the area by the State Heritage Office which is now investigating to consider to ask State Government to include the Freo West End Heritage Precinct on the State Register of Heritage Places.

The State Heritage Office and I have made several attempts to talk to each other but have not been successful so far, so will call them back again later today.

I would specifically like to know why Arthur Head is not included in the present proposal.

Roel Loopers

15.45 pm update: I have talked to the State Heritage office and added a comment in the comment box in reply to John Dowson’s comment, so please click there.

 

FREMANTLE SOCIETY LIKE LEMMINGS OFF THE CLIFF

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle society,, Uncategorized by freoview on December 8, 2015

At last night’s AGM the Fremantle Society members decided to go back to the past by electing former Fremantle Councillor and former FS president John Dowson as their new leader. Dowson received about 80% of the votes while the other candidate Chris Lewis received just a fifth of the votes.

It was packed house with over one hundred members attending the meeting, so at least a presidential vote pulled them our of their lethargy.

I believe that the vote for Dowson is one for going back to negativity and anti just about everything and the attitude that Fremantle Council is the enemy. As one disappointed member said “It is like lemmings off the cliff.”

While we might have expected spin from former PR guru Chris Lewis it was John Dowson who did the spin and name dropping when he addressed the members and claimed to have single-handedly rescued the Warders Cottages because he had written a report for “Colin” Forget all the efforts Freo Council put in, all the presentations they made and forget also the submissions about it by the Fremantle Society and other members of the public, including I here several times on this blog.

So Dowson plays tennis with “Colin” but what good has that done for Fremantle? Did “Colin” support Freo Council when Dowson was an Elected Member, I think not.

Dowson will do what Dowson does best and that is make FS a narrow-focus organisation that will get a kick out of negativity and will oppose any major development in Fremantle. Like a political party that opposes anything the opposition proposes, the Fremantle Society will treat Fremantle Council as the enemy and the Brad bashers and Council kickers now have another organisation that will basically be about negativity, unwillingness to compromise and unwilling to collaborate with Council. That in my opinion is not the way forward and it is bad for Fremantle.

The negativity, the smear campaign and the conspiracy crap used by the Dowson supporters paid off, so it is still true in Australia that more people vote for those who run a negative campaign.

While FS members might live the dream that under JD the Society will save Fremantle from modernisation I should remind them that at the October election the voters did not ditch six sitting members to show their unhappiness with Council, and I remind them also that major development is not approved by Council but by State agencies DAP and SAT.

I sincerely hope that my fears are wrong and that the Fremantle Society under JD will try to remain progressive, pro change, willing to collaborate with Council and be a positive force in our city, but I fear the worse. Time will tell, and no doubt so will all the nasty comments that will be posted and attack me.

Roel Loopers

NEW SOCIETY PRESIDENT WILL MAKE NO DIFFERENCE

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

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