Freo's View


Posted in architecture, fremantle, home, housing, living, Uncategorized by freoview on July 12, 2017




Congratulations to Fremantle architect DAVID BARR who won the LandCorp Step Up competition for sustainable medium-density housing with their ‘passive haus’ design for North Coogee.

Here the reasons why the judges believe they deserved to win:


The winning design delivers a cost-effective build process, but also addresses the ongoing cost of living in the home through sustainability measures and shared facilities.

Featuring an active edge, with integrated planter boxes on balconies and gold-finned window frames, a roof garden and shaded back verandah, the design offers a balance of privacy and community and will deliver an attractive, landmark development.

The project will be Western Australia’s first apartment building to achieve an average 9-star NatHERS rating. It employs climate-responsive design and will be a Zero Energy building, meaning it will generate more energy than it consumes annually.

The project will use a prefabricated ‘passive haus’ construction system, the first of its kind in Western Australia, which allows a rapid build process and significant savings on construction costs.

A PV system supported by 42kWh of energy storage will allow energy generated on-site to be used on-site, reducing peak demand by 30%.

A shared underground rainwater tank and above-code water efficiency measures are expected to reduce average water use by 60% and cut household water bills by up to $180 a year.

Construction waste is dramatically reduced as a result of the prefabricated ‘passive haus’ system, and any waste created during the build will be recycled. The project includes space for green waste composting and a ‘swap space’ allowing residents to offer items they no longer need, but which may be useful to someone else.


Posted in city of fremantle, development, local government, property by freoview on February 27, 2017

The sale and development of the City of Fremantle Knutsford Street depot site is a bit of a conundrum for the City as ratepayers will rightly expect the best financial return for it, especially in light of the City’s very tight financial situation.

Council wants specific sustainability outcomes under the One Planet Living Framework, but experts indicate that might have a negative impact on the value of the property.

There are additional costs involved for developers and Landcorp, and they cite the WGV sustainable development and others as examples for that.

There are questions if the property market can bear the additional costs of OPLF development and still be competitive in a very tight residential market.

It is essential that Fremantle Council is totally transparent about this with the community as we can’t really afford to lose a few million dollars for ideological reasons.

Roel Loopers


Posted in architecture, building, city of fremantle, development by freoview on December 15, 2016


The WGV Baugruppen demonstration project at the former Kim Beazley School site in White Gum Valley is well underway.

The innovative sustainable medium density residential site in Fremantle will be using renewable green energy and aims to create an affordable community.

I took a couple of photos there on Wednesday to show a bit of the progress of the development.

Roel Loopers


Posted in architecture, development by freoview on October 16, 2016



The Fremantle WGV development on the former Kim Beazley school site in White Gum Valley has won the Australia Award for Urban Design, Policies, Programs and Concepts – Small Scale for Fremantle architects CODA, Landcorp, Urbis and Josh Byrne.

The Jury citation states that “White Gum Valley aims to realise a diverse, highly sustainable infill development that reflects and enhances its suburban surrounds. The highly collaborative process embraced multiple entities and disciplines and has initiated a new nationally significant model for higher density infill development. The project incorporates and celebrates sustainability across ten ‘one planet living’ principles, and ties this to the creation of a thriving, resilient and diverse community. WGV at White Gum Valley is a project of genuine innovation and leadership.”

It says about the entry that as an “Innovation through Demonstration” project, WGV demonstrates the economic and social benefits of sustainable development and creates a blueprint for the planning and development of small infill sites within an established suburb. The success of WGV is testament to the collaborative and forward-thinking approach of its multi-disciplinary design team.”




Posted in city of fremantle, development, environment, housing, western australia by freoview on August 3, 2016

wgv 1


The development of the former Fremantle Kim Beazley school site in White Gum Valley is going ahead well and will be an interesting new housing site there. The development is a collaboration between Landcorp and the City of Fremantle.

The Men’s Shed on the site has to be relocated and a big new shed is nearly finished at the Hilton Bowling Club.

Every time I drive past the WGV site I am disappointed that a sustainable development of this kind saw the need to clearfell the area before starting development, at a loss of nearly 100 mature trees. Trees should be relocated to make way for development and not destroyed. It takes years for trees to mature and we need to do a whole lot better to preserve them.

Roel Loopers


Posted in development, fremantle, planning, western australia by freoview on May 13, 2016

The sustainable Fremantle White Gum Valley project by LandCorp, CODA and Urbis was awarded the ‘Best Planning Ideas Small Project’ at the 2016 National Awards for Planning Excellence in Queensland.

There were 15 awards giving in 13 categories and the judges said about the WGV project:
“WGV @ White Gum Valley exemplifies a unique urban infill project that was achieved through the collaboration between a developer, the local government and the community. The project is an excellent example of extending beyond current subdivisional and development practices, creating a best practice blueprint for other infill sites.
The project is exceptional for its ability to demonstrate the economic, environmental and social benefits of sustainable development. It provides a range of affordable and inclusive living options, incorporates elements of the natural environment and retains a connection with the sense of place for the existing local community. All this was achieved whilst transitioning to a contemporary urban form.
This project showcases a highly innovative and environmentally responsible approach to improving diversity of housing opportunities in urban areas, with an exciting outcome from engaging different partnerships to get the best out of sustainability at an affordable price.”


Posted in city of fremantle, solar, sustainability by freoview on April 13, 2016



The Federal Government’s green energy arm ARENA will be funding $1 million into a micro-grid project in White Gum Valley.

The solar battery technology will allow the apartments on the former Kim Beazley school site to store and trade power. This is the first trial in the world of the micro-grid technology. 

The Landcorp solar energy project that will cost a total of $3 million will have solar panels and batteries installed at four apartment buildings on the WGV development site at Stevens Street.

Strata companies who manage the apartment can sell the electricity to tenants, so they don’t have to buy their power from SynergyIt is estimated that the strata companies would be able to sell electricity to tenants and home owners cheaper, or at the same price as Synergy does, while the owners and occupiers of the apartments will be allowed to sell power to other apartments if they don’t use all the power generated.

The development has received criticism from the White Gum Valley community because nearly 100 trees were killed to make way for the development. Solar energy does not like large trees around buildings as they impact on how much sun light the solar panels receive.


Roel Loopers




Posted in city of fremantle, development, fremantle by freoview on February 20, 2016


I had a walk through the new Landcorp development at the corner of Amherst and Blinco Street yesterday because I believe the area has huge potential to become one of the major urban infill projects in Fremantle and WA and is in need of a collaborative masterplan between the City of Fremantle and WA state government. It needs Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority style planning and management because the potential area is huge from Blinco to nearly Stevens Street and from Wood to Montreal Street and the golf course.

The area could become a showcase for urban development and higher density living that is just a ten-minute bicycle ride from Kings Square.

At present there are the 2-3 storey boxes designed by architect Michael Patroni, but a State Government that demands that local governments increase density the next step to the south surely must go up with higher buildings between 4-8 storeys.

Once the City of Fremantle has built its new works depot in O’Connor the Knutsford Street site on the corner of Montreal Street will also become available for development, so the whole area needs serious long-term planning and not just ad hoc development.

The potential to make this the new suburb for all income earners is huge. You could have 16 storey landmark spikes with penthouses with sweeping 360 degree views, but also student, low-income and Homeswest accommodation.

Busses come through Amherst Street and many more through Leach Highway/High Street so the new residential suburb would be close enough to public transport corridors to make it a desirable location for young and old, the well-off and the less-affluent. And it would only take twenty minutes to walk to the CBD.

With such high numbers of residents there would have to be retail outlets for cafes and delis, good public open and green spaces would have to be planned for, and part of the enormous development area could also have small office accommodation.

What it needs to create an outstanding new suburb is intensive long-term urban planning and consistent governance. The State should not demand higher density living from councils when it does not build it itself. Simply releasing land to developers to build single houses is short-sighted financial gain only. I am surprised the new buildings that are already occupied are only 2-3 storeys high, because there is not a lot of community amenity and lifestyle in danger in what was basically a semi-industrial area, so the area is well-suited for higher and more substantial buildings.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, development by freoview on November 10, 2015

The Planning Institute of Australia last night awarded the Fremantle White Gum Valley project the Best Planning Ideas-Small Project and Planning Minister’s Award.

The project is a collaboration between Landcorp, Freo’s CODA architects, URBIS and the City of Fremantle.

The judges said the development exemplifies a unique urban infill project through collaboration between a developer, local government and the community. It was praised for its ability to demonstrate the economic, environmental, and social benefits of sustainable development.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, development, western australia by freoview on October 30, 2015

It is interesting to read Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt’s call in the media today for the State Government to introduce cut off boundaries for development to stop urban sprawl, which Brad Pettitt says is unsustainable. The WA government already has an infill policy but that is contested at almost every local council.

The Cambridge Mayor who supported infill was defeated at the recent local government election by someone strongly opposing it, while the City of Nedlands also believes it should be exempt from infill to preserve it’s character and identity.

The Property Council claims that infill development is more expensive and that stops it from building affordable housing in established suburbs. That contradicts what the Fremantle Mayor is claiming about Freo’s inner city development and that  “It is about offering real good housing choice.” There is no proof though that Fremantle is doing any better at providing more affordable and social housing than other councils.

I agree that urban sprawl is not sustainable, but the Great Australian Dream of a house with garden is still very much alive and part of our culture, so who is going to force people into inner city apartments when most of them are not suitable for families, or for couples who want to have children, and most apartments don’t allow pets either.

New development on the periphery should also include medium and high density and not just blocks with single or two-storey homes, as that would start helping reduce the urban sprawl. At the end of the day we are all paying for the infrastructure to the outer suburbs, so maybe people willing to live in inner city apartments should get cheaper housing or rates, or those who want the Great Aussie Dream need to pay a premium to live the dream.

I am expecting the Fremantle Mayor  to give us a detailed, and hopefully factual, account on how well Freo is doing with affordable housing soon, as he promised to do it by the weekend in response to a previous blog post here earlier this week.

Roel Loopers

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