Freo's View

WA DESIGN ADVISORY PANEL SYSTEM FLAWED

Posted in fremantle, western australia by freoview on September 4, 2014

There is no doubt the Western Australian Design Advisory Panel system is flawed and one-eyed pro-developers, with the panel frequently overruling local councils when they refuse building applications because of poor design, lack of consideration for streetscapes, unacceptable height and bulk, etc.

There is now a situation where so many high-density residential and mix-use buildings are being approved that there is an oversupply of apartments and REIWA, the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia warns that buying apartments might not be a good investment.

We already know that for every one apartment needed in the Perth metro area, two are being built, and most of those are snapped up by overseas investors.

There is also a frantic approval of high-rise office towers going on although there is a huge vacancy in that market as well, as mining and other large companies have been down-sizing. This could well result in Perth ending up with big white elephants of empty buildings, but that is the elephant in the room the WA government ignores to acknowledge. It’s development at all cost in our state, akin to the eighties when the ‘cowboys’ went on a spending spree, went broke, to jail, etc. but in the meantime managed to wreck Perth to a large extent.

The DAP was introduced in 2011 by the Barnett government and has been very controversial since, as it appears to ignore the unique character of suburbs, hence they approved a sixteen-storey building in the centre of Subiaco, and other unwanted buildings in places like Leederville, Vincent, Cottesloe, Scarborough,  Fremantle, Applecross, etc.

Not only is the local character compromised but local council decision-making is belittled and democracy eroded.

Even the advise by local councils’ well-paid Design Advisory Committees of expert architects and planners, is being ignored by the State’s Design Advisory Panel and that is an intolerable situation. While a local DAC might consider the design of a building not up to the standard required, the DAP can overrule that if they consider the building to be of excellent design, which really is a slap in the face of the highly-regarded and very experienced architects who sit on the DAC.

High-rise high-density buildings are no longer built near transit corridors to satisfy demand for residential apartments, but for foreign investment and speculation, to the delight of developers, most of whom could not care less about the ambience of our councils. Older suburbs will forever be damaged when State Government rides rough shot over local council decision-making and we should be deeply worried about that.

Roel Loopers

EXCESSIVE DEVELOPMENT NOT ONLY A FREO WORRY

Posted in fremantle by freoview on December 14, 2011

Browsing through the Subiaco Post and Western Suburbs community newspapers this morning, it was good to see that we are not alone or backward in Fremantle, and that residents of other suburbs are also very concerned about development and oppose high buildings.

The Keep Cott Low campaign has been going for some time, but now Subiaco and Leederville residents are also opposing highrise in their towns.

It was enlightening to see that Subiaco Mayor Heather Henderson will propose to council to do a complete community survey on height and density. We are still waiting for that to happen in Fremantle, although the community consultation period for the proposed Planning Scheme Amendment 49  has now finished. A survey should have been a priority for the City of Fremantle!

We have seen the negative impact development can have in Claremont, with the new shopping centre more or less killing the ambience of Quinten Avenue and Bayview Terrace, where retailers are struggling and shops are closing, while council is still debating if Bayview Terrace should become one way traffic, have wider boardwalks, etc. Didn’t they have a plan before the development started?

One good initiative in Claremont is the waiving of council fees for alfresco dining for the next two years. Maybe Fremantle could consider something similar, especially for new cafes and restaurants, so it will help them in establishing themselves. Even waiving alfresco fees for only six months would help new hospitality businesses.

Roel Loopers

FREO WEEKEND FUN

Posted in fremantle by freoview on March 5, 2011

No reason to feel bored or sit at home alone (or with the whole family) this weekend, as there is plenty to do all around.

In Fremantle today there is the free music on the balcony at Kulcha from 2-4, and from there it is just a short stroll to King Square to join the Carnevale Children’s Party, which starts at 5pm. You’ve got an hour, so downstairs from Kulcha try out the Red Spoons frozen yogurt. It’s yum!

Tomorrow there is free bluegrass courtyard music at the Fremantle Art Centre from 2-4, and after that,walk over to join the Fremantle JAZ Club concert in High Street, corner Henry Street. Still on your feet? Clancys great tradition, the Zydecats will play from 7.30. It’s a long weekend after all, so why go home early.

The very adventurous could go North of the river to the Skateboard Championships in Leederville or the Hyde Park Community Festival. You will be flogged if you do though.

AND…………………. Watch your speed and road manners. Double demerit points!!!

Roel Loopers

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