Freo's View

FREMANTLE PORT SALE DEAD IN THE WATER

Posted in fremantle, fremantle ports, western australia by freoview on March 23, 2016

port 10

 

The planned sale/50 year lease by the WA State Government of Fremantle Port appears to be all over now that the National Party coalition partners have announced they will not support it.

Not only does this leave Premier Colin Barnett with egg on his face again, but questions now need to be asked how much money has already been wasted on the proposed long-term lease.

At the last Victoria Quay working group I attended late last year we were told that Fremantle Ports was spending huge amounts of money on expert consultants from lawyers to maritime, international, trade, transport, etc. This must have grown into millions of dollars of taxpayers money the government squandered on another failed project.

Roel Loopers

STATE DEPARTMENT MOVE TO FREMANTLE!!

Posted in development, fremantle, state government by freoview on August 5, 2015

office space

WOW! Great news for Fremantle and the revitalisation of the CBD with the Department of Finance advertising for office accommodation in today’s West Australian.

They are looking for A-grade building standard and lettable area of 20,000 square metres no further than 600 metres from the train station with an expected completion by 2019.

I don’t think Kings Square is within 600 metres of the Freo train station, so this might be a build up to sell Victoria Quay and Fremantle port.  I am not sure also if the Atwell Arcade has enough available floor space to accommodate the requirements. Whatever the outcome it will be positive for Freo I hope.

Roel Loopers

COMMUNITY CONSULTATION JUST TICKING A BOX IN FREO

Posted in cantonment hill, city of fremantle, local government by freoview on May 28, 2015

Against the wishes of community consultation and the public members of the Cantonment Hill Working Group Fremantle full Council last night approved a 10+10 year lease for two floors of the Signal Station to the Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue group. Councillor Rachel Pemberton’s very sensible motion to make it into a 5+5 year lease so the City of Fremantle would be able to consider other options in ten years did not get the support from the only eight member council.

It was pointed out by members of the public who addressed Council that the Masterplan was all about the interest of the broader community and that community access to the tower was a prime criterium, and that remarks by Councillors that the lease fulfils all the aspirations for the site could not be further from the truth, but to no avail.

I believe it is naive to think the Sea Rescue occupation will create the required activation of Cantonment Hill. I doubt that the shifts will need more than four people to monitor communication, and those who man the rescue boats will no doubt be on those boats or close to them and not on Cantonment Hill from where it could take up to a twenty-minute drive on festival and event weekends to the Fishing Boat Harbour to hop on the boats.

No doubt the FVSR is an essential service that safes lives and that they deserve support from the Fremantle community, but there are other options and it is quite ridiculous to believe they need to be able to see the river and the ocean to do their job properly.

I do agree with Councillors that the building is far from ideal for an interpretive centre the community wanted there. The whole of Cantonment Hill could become an interpretation centre with modern technology allowing for interactive touch screens, phone Apps, motion triggered sound, etc all over the historic signal hill.

What is most disappointing about Council decision is that yet again the community will feel that they were ignored, as was the case with the Youth Plaza, the tavern at J Shed, etc. Council often gets criticised for being inconsistent in its decision-making but it has shown to be quite consistent in ignoring community input. Community cynicism will only grow because of that.

Roel Loopers

WHO WANTS TO REVITALISE THE OLD KULCHA SPACE

Posted in city of fremantle by freoview on February 22, 2015

Evan Davies building

The City of Fremantle is seeking proposals for the commercial lease of the iconic Evan Davies Building which sits in the heart of the cappuccino strip.

The former KULCHA building above the DOME cafe includes a bar, stage, DJ box, open function space, office, male/female toilets, kitchen and a large balcony.

Proposals should include how it will add value to Fremantle and the community as well as demonstrate strong financial viability and a solid business plan. Proposals close Wednesday 8 April. Visit http://www.fremantle.wa.gov.au/evandavieseoi

Roel Loopers

STAFF WANTED FOR BATHERS BEACH HOUSE

Posted in alcohol, fremantle by freoview on October 31, 2014

BB 1 BB 2

The Fremantle BATHERS BEACH HOUSE, that will open its doors on November 22, is looking for staff and businesses to lease space in the building at the Indian Ocean beach in the west end of the city.

See photos for details or go to http://www.bathersbeachhouse.com.au.

Roel Loopers

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COURAGE AND COMMON SENSE

Posted in city of fremantle by freoview on September 8, 2014

It is true that Fremantle is with its back to the wall and it looks like it might get worse before we see major economic improvement, but we need to hang in there and not despair, and not let the pressure get to us.

Mayor Brad Pettitt is right that it is not acceptable that State Government pours millions of dollars into the Perth CBD and other local councils, but has done very little for Fremantle for decades. WA’s second city has to do it all on its own like and unloved step daughter, without any support from the State’s major political parties. The Liberal and Labor parties, when in government, don’t care much about Fremantle and that needs to change fast!

Early next year 1900 jobs will be lost at Fremantle Hospital and there is no doubt this will affect cafes and retailers in the area. It might even mean hospital staff relocating closer to their new workplace Fiona Stanley Hospital.

The delay of the Kings Square development is not helpful and that is something where Premier Colin Barnett could show that he is serious about supporting Fremantle. It should not take two years to make a decision on a government department moving to the port city and the delay is seriously hurting Fremantle, so come on, Premier, give us some good news!

What Fremantle Council should not do however is panic and allow unacceptable development that disregards Fremantle’s unique character and heritage. It should not bend over backward to accommodate developers who promise the world with unsubstantiated claims of leased-out office floors, major retailers, etc. just so Council will accept mediocre buildings that have no place in our city.

It is about pride, courage and integrity. It is always easier to surrender and give in to demands when one is in trouble, but giving in now to fast track development is going to be damaging to Freo in the long term. And who guarantees that landlords will charge reasonable rents in a difficult economic climate. Retailers are leaving because of high rent demands they can’t afford to pay.

This Council made the right calls that Fremantle needed economic development and resurgence, that it needed to be invigorated with modern new buildings, more inner city residents, retailers and office space, and all the ground work for that has been done. Now it needs to relax and not panic. Fremantle Council needs to remain strong and reject development proposals that will ruin what visitors to Fremantle find so special about this place. Giving in to unreasonable demands of poor building design, excessive bulk and height simply because we are desperate to see new buildings going up, is not good governance and would damage the long term future of our city.

I hope our Elected Members consider this when voting on the Atwell Arcade development proposal at Wednesday’s special council meeting. Only approve the building when all the Design Advisory Committee’s concerns have been met by the proponent. Nothing else is good enough for Fremantle.

Roel Loopers

 

FLY BY NIGHT FUTURE IN LIMBO

Posted in fremantle by freoview on June 11, 2014

The uncertainty about the future of Fremantle’s FLY BY NIGHT music venue is continuing and is becoming unacceptable to the club. They have been advised by the National Trust, which is in care of the building, that they should not be making any concert bookings for after September this year, when the lease for the former Drill Hall building expires. This threatens the livelihood of the venue, as it can’t plan the future operations of the club.

The Fly by Night Musicians Club has been attempting to renegotiate the lease with the National Trust since June 2012, but the Trust has advised them they will be advertising for Expressions of Interest from other parties and that the Fly can submit an application for that. This is the first time the threat of EOI has been given since the Fly leased the building

According to the National Trust, the Fly by Night Musicians Club lease expires in September 2014, but the club argues the lease does not actually expire until the end of February 2015. Clarification on this issue has been requested by the Fly, but to no avail. Requests for meetings with the National Trust have also been ignored.

I believe it is now time for the City of Fremantle to mediate between the two parties, as Fremantle cannot afford to lose another cultural venue, after the loss of Kulcha, Deckchair, the Harbour Theatre, and the Film and Television Institute.

Roel Loopers

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W.A. RATES AND RENT THE KILLER OF RETAIL

Posted in fremantle by freoview on February 5, 2012

A short article in the Sunday Times today reveals that retailers all over Perth are struggling, not just our shops in Fremantle, who are supposedly doing it tougher than in other suburbs, if one believes the Chamber of Commerce and Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt.

Shops in Mount Lawley, Perth, and in shopping centres, are closing because of high rents and high electricity prices, according to the shop operators. The clothing company Rivers for example closed its shops in Fremantle and Garden City. So it are not just the global financial crisis and bad sales, but also the greed of property owners, and the W.A. state government’s relentless rate increases for gas, water and power, that are to blame for the closure of so many retail shops.

Roel Loopers

RETAIL RECESSION

Posted in fremantle by freoview on May 6, 2011

While some people talk up the mining boom in Western Australia it is clear that the retail sector in Fremantle is not doing too well, when one looks at the number of empty shops in the centre of town.

Maybe those who charge extremely high rents for their properties do not realise that only a small part of the population gets paid very high salaries, while a large number of people are struggling to get by. The espresso I drink daily went up by 10% two weeks ago, my last haircut cost nearly 29% more than it did four weeks earlier, a wine bar down the road increased bar snacks by  20%. I could go on and on.

Of course all this is not sustainable in the long run, as many small businesses are clearly suffering and might have to close down as well, unless common sense prevails and property owners lower the rents instead of increasing them. If Fremantle becomes a ghost town no one will want to come here.

Roel Loopers

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