Freo's View

NEW LIV AND FREO DIES A LITTLE

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on November 3, 2017

 

 

The Fremantle LIV apartments built by Defence Housing along Queen Victoria and Quarry streets have reached the highest point of the building.

The development should be completed in just over 12 months and will provide a lot of new residential apartments in the inner city.

It is an utter shame that the architecture could and should have been so much better, and that the massive building could have been a inspiring entry statement to our port city.

Boring buildings are not very Freo at all!

It is time the City of Fremantle organised a forum with architects, city planners, the community, etc. to see how we can put better planning rules in place that will ensure better architecture in our city.

 

Roel Loopers

THE FREO ALTERNATIVE HOUSING VISION

Posted in city of fremantle, housing, lifestyle, living, Uncategorized by freoview on November 1, 2017

 

Stage two of the Freo Alternative housing concept is about to start and realising the vision through planning policy.

The first stage of the concept was about generating a shared community vision on the future of housing in Fremantle, and now the City wants to identify how it can change our planning rules to allow for smaller homes in suburban locations, while protecting the things we love about our neighbourhoods..

Through the community consultation process it became clear that eight themes are important to the Fremantle community: housing choice, trees and landscaping, open space, sustainability, community, built form, car movement, and location. 

Fremantle Council would like to hear your thoughts on the proposed planning rules and are holding community sessions in the suburbs.

White Gum Valley | 15 November 2017  4.30 – 6.30pm at Sullivan Hall –  2 Nannine Ave, White Gum Valley.

Fremantle | 16 November 2017  4 – 6pm at Holland Park – Holland Street, Fremantle.

Beaconsfield | 19 November 2017 & 26 November 2017 8am – 12 noon at Growers Green Market – front lawn of South Fremantle Senior High School, Lefroy Road, Beaconsfield.

Hilton | 22 November 2017  4 – 6pm near the entrance to Gilbert’s Fresh – 308 South Street, Hilton.

Samson | 23 November 2017 4.30 – 6.30pm at Samson Recreational Centre – 44 McCombe Ave, Samson.

You can read the proposed planning changes in more detail online and complete the survey by 5.00 pm 2 February 2018.

If you have any questions contact C0F: email: planning@fremantle.wa.gov.au or phone on 9432 9999.

Roel Loopers

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EMBRACING GOOD URBAN INFILL

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on October 20, 2017

 

The Perth’s Infill Housing Future report by the Bankwest Curtin Economic Centre has warned that the urban sprawl will create extreme infrastructure costs and traffic congestion.

It concluded that Perth is missing the vital medium-density housing options, and that forces people to live on the fringes, where property is more affordable.

There are many people who want to live closer to the centres but the housing options are not available to them, because the urban infill target of 47 per cent set by the WA government has not been met and is only at 35 per cent.

The report says that local councils play a key role in facilitating medium-density development and to help identify the right areas in the inner suburbs.

While Fremantle is getting substantial medium-density infill east of the CBD, there is not much happening further out, but there are very good opportunities at the Heart of Beaconsfield, Hilton centre, the Knutsford Sreet precinct, and North Fremantle’s McGabe Street.

One issue the report identifies is the NIMBY approach to higher density where locals just don’t want anything above four storeys. I believe it is not only that, but the boring and mediocre quality of architecture that we are getting in Fremantle.

More people would embrace medium to high density I believe, if we got more creative and visually appealing buildings, rather than square boxes with a bit of cladding around them.

 

Roel Loopers

Vote Roel for City Ward!

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POINT STREET DEVELOPMENT SALES OFFICE

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on October 12, 2017

 

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New signs of things to come in central Fremantle with the SKS Group finally putting a sales office on the corner of Adelaide and Point streets for the ANCORA, the Freo Way of Life planned residential and Hilton Hotel development.

I was surprised and a bit worried to note that there is no reference on the signs to the Hilton Doubletree hotel that is supposed to be part of the development.

It is just up the road from the Little Lane planned development on the former Spotlight, now MANY 2.0 site, and will be opposite the planned new Woolstores shopping centre mixed-use development of commercial, residential and hotel.

ANCORA offers one-bedroom apartments from $ 349,00, two-bedroom from $ 520,000 and three-bedroom from $ 725,000. The sales office will be open on weekends and development is planned to start in early 2020.

The run-down area between Cantonment and Adelaide streets from Queen Street to Princess May Park is in urgent need of modernisation, but unfortunately the boring architecture of the planned buildings is very disappointing and a worry.

 

Roel Loopers

Vote Roel for City Ward!

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NEW SPORTS HUB AT SOUTH BEACH

Posted in beaches, city of fremantle, south beach, sport, Uncategorized by freoview on October 9, 2017

 

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The construction of the new sports hub at South Beach is underway and will hopefully be ready for summer.

The mixed-use court for basketball, futsall and volleyball is just south of the toilets and hugging the dunes.

Fremantle Council went through an extensive process to decide on the right location for the hub, as the initial plan was to put it in the northern carpark or on Wilson Park, but consideration for local residents, who were worried noise from the hardcourt might impact on their peace and quiet, dictated the court should be as far away from residential development as possible.

 

Roel Loopers

 

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IT’S ALL ABOUT POPULATION FREO!

Posted in city of fremantle, lifestyle, living, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on September 27, 2017

 

There were calls at the South Fremantle election forum last night, and we have heard them before, that Fremantle should be like Copenhagen or Amsterdam when planning the future of transport, and that lightrail is a top priority for our city, but is this realistic?

Fremantle is not a European city, but a small port city on the west coast of Australia with a population of just 30,000. It would be considered a country town in Europe. Copenhagen had 583,525 residents and Amsterdam had 821,752 in 2015, so that is a significant and very important difference, because it is all about population numbers.

Shared streets are popular and safe in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Berlin, etc. because of the sheer numbers. When you are in your car at a traffic light behind 200 cyclists there is no way that you are going to consider to sneak passed them. You just stay behind until they turn left or right, or onto a bicycle lane. It’s safety in numbers!

In Fremantle probably fewer than 100 cyclists a day ride through the Cappuccino Strip, and mostly on their own and not in numbers, so some idiot drivers will try to sneak by them, careful not to scratch their car on the planter boxes, so they are dangerously close to cyclists.

Lightrail is not a financially viable option in a city of just 30,000, so we need drastic population growth before the state government or private investors would consider it. It is at least 15-20 years away, like the outer harbour, no matter how often we dream about it.

But why the obsession with European cities anyway? Fremantle is a very unique small city that needs to be nurtured and be allowed to organically grow. It needs sensible and sensitive medium-density infill and strongly improve residential, commercial and visitors’ numbers to help boost our economy, but we’ll never be a huge city like the European cities, and I like that.

European cities have slowly grown, layer upon layer for many centuries and Freo is still relatively young at 188 years old in that regard. Fremantle’s population has only grown slightly from 20,444 residents in 1901 to just 30,000 in 2017, so fewer than 10,000 people in 116 years. And Aboriginal people were not counted in 1901!

Why do some people want to change Freo into a city with a European character, when it is a pretty comfortable place that just needs good adjustments, more eye to detail and a lot of TLC?

Fremantle is a tree that already has strong roots, but that needs some healthy fertiliser in the form of good development, population growth and strategic planning, and some of that has to come from state and federal governments.

We need to lose the inferiority complex and be proud of Freo. We should stop believing it needs to change to a more European model, because we are very different, with a very different climate and outdoor lifestyle, and not anywhere near as hectic as the big European cities are, and our population numbers do not stack up to compare Freo with Copenhagen or Amsterdam.

It is telling that Sirona Capital gets it! They have come to the conclusion that Fremantle is like no other place and that it needs an all new and exciting very Freo retail concept at Kings Square. FOMO does not exist anywhere else in the world and will help Freo’s reputation of having a unique character and lifestyle, and we can build on that.

Let’s assist in Freo’s growth by collaborating better. If we all take ownership of our city we can create something together for future generations that we can be very proud off!

 

Roel Loopers

VOTE ROEL FOR CITY WARD!

LUCKY TO LIVE IN FREMANTLE!

Posted in city of fremantle, community, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on September 20, 2017

 

Fremantle is so much better than a small group of constantly negative individuals on social media want us to believe.

I love Freo because of its great community, the outdoor lifestyle, the music and art scene, the passion and compassion, and the willingness to care.

When I walk the streets I delight in the beauty of the old town and the funky quirkiness that is so very Freo.

I delight in the friendly smiles in cafes and shops and on the streets, where so many people acknowledge one with a smile.

I love the markets and the beaches, the heritage, and all that is good about Freo, and I like  that it is not perfect.

Fremantle has got character and is unique, and it is a very special place to live and bring up children.

Freo’s future is bright with massive development in the inner city and big plans for major projects.

And I am not the only one who thinks that as this post from someone on social media shows. Unfortunately I don’t know who the initial writer of the lovely positive post about Fremantle is.

I’m from Melbourne and I now live in Freo. Over the past 3 weeks I’ve had loads of friends and family come over to visit that had never been here before. They were all SO impressed, with one even moving here later this year after his trip. They all loved how user friendly it was, little traffic, nice beaches, good places to eat, close enough to the city (without being too close) good weather, they found it hilarious my dog could come to the pub and no one said anything, and that International bands were just a short walk from my door. They loved the diverse architecture, the history, they found the service friendly, and the communty vibe quite refreshing. 

It’s evident from reading this feed sometimes that not everyone is so content, and may have forgotten how lucky they are to live in a place like Fremantle. Yes sometimes there is crime, there is everywhere, yes sometimes you’ll get a shit meal, you sometimes have a miss and not a hit, everywhere. It happens. It’s a speed hump, not a land mine, slow down and get on with it. 

My good friend Paz rolled into Freo after riding his bike all the way from Melbourne, through NSW, QLD, NT and the top of WA…..and loved it here. He said Freo was the best town he’d been to. Be as smiley as Paz about living in Freo. You are all pretty lucky

Talking down our city is not going to support our struggling traders and the Fremantle image, and neither is the constant negativity about Fremantle Council during the election campaign.

Support Freo by sending out positive messages about what you experience and tell the world!

Roel Loopers

VOTE ROEL FOR CITY WARD!

GETTING THE OLD AND YOUNG BALANCE RIGHT

Posted in city of fremantle, community, Uncategorized by freoview on September 13, 2017

 

The City of Fremantle has a higher than average of older people living here than the other metropolitan councils, but policy making does not reflect that sufficiently, I believe.

We have a Youth Council, and that is great because we really need to get young people interested in local government, but we should also have a Senior Council, in the old tradition of a circle of elders.

Fremantle Council’s wish to reduce cars in the inner city can’t be dismissed, but it needs to be far more sensitive to the needs of seniors, disabled people, and parents with children.

Parking far away from shopping destinations will deter seniors from coming into town to shop and visit cafes. It”s a safety and a comfort issue for them.

We provide affordable and artist spaces, such as WGV and Nightingale, but we need to create communities for seniors as well. Men Sheds are good, but mainly for men, and many men, myself included, are not interested in handiwork, but would love to hang out with like-minded creative people in senior hubs, that could be inspired by the Fibonacci Centre.

There are opportunities at the Bathers Beach Arts Precinct, and the number one unit at J Shed could have been perfect for a creative community centre, but was unfortunately and inappropriately leased to Sunset Events to start a tavern and micro-brewery.

We also need to create community spaces where seniors can hang out with younger people, so that both sides can share their knowledge.

I personally love engaging with younger people in Fremantle because they often have a different perspective on life and different priorities, and it can be inspiring to listen to them.

In the Netherlands, where I was born, university students are offered free rooms in retirement centres, on the condition they spend a certain number of hours each week communicating with the older residents. A win win for all!

My next door neighbour told me that there are many single women in their 40s and 50s who feel a sense of isolation and are looking for safe housing options that suit them better, but there is not enough diversity of small dwellings available in Fremantle.

There are many people in our society who feel isolated and lonely and we need to reach out to them. Fremantle is the perfect city to do that. We care, we are creative, we are passionate and generous, so let’s work on some ideas and how we can make improvements.

What do YOU think?

Roel Loopers

VOTE ROEL FOR CITY WARD!

LIFESTYLE PROTECTION FOR FREO’S EAST END

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on September 5, 2017

 

 

Freo’s View reader David, who lives in the East End of the Fremantle CBD, commented that my letter in the West Australian last week indicated I had an anything goes attitude to that part of the city, as far as development is concerned, but nothing could be further from the truth.

I strongly believe the entire inner city demands excellent buildings that respect the unique heritage character of Fremantle, and I have expressed this many times here on the blog and in verbal and written submissions to Council.

While there is huge development potential, considerations needs to be given to the heritage buildings and streetscapes in the East End of town, where we have the beautiful Victoria Hall, Basilica, Boy’s School, Railway Station, etc.

And I believe that we need to protect the lifestyle of inner city residents, and Council needs to manage it better.

I objected to the architectural blandness of the Hilton Doubletree hotel, the proposed boring development between the Australia Hotel and St Patrick’s, and the mediocrity of the eight-story Spotlight site development.

When Defence Housing showed their initial plans at Kings Square for the six-storey LIV development at Queen Victoria Street, I suggested to one of the architects that the facade was far too long and needed to be broken up, which was met with a what would you know stare from the tall expert.

It was interesting then to read comments by the City’s Design Advisory Committee a few months later, who recommended exactly what I had done, that the facade needed to be split up. This has now been done with a large gap that creates a community piazza all the way to Quarry Street, but it should have been more with more attention to detail.

I would still have liked to see stronger vertical features on the LIV building, that would juxtaposed more with the majestic verticality of the Heirloom building opposite it.

The Fremantle Society fought under my presidency very hard against Planning Scheme Amendment 49 and the inappropriate height in some of the 13 locations. We had a scale model in the Adelaide Piazza and Woolstores to show the public what would happen, but it was to no avail and now the Woolstores shopping centre site could go up as high as eleven storeys.

The major problem I see with bureaucrats having a broad-brush approach to an area is that it stifles architectural excellence. In the right location and with great design, a cupola feature or something alike on a higher building might well look much better, even when it is a few metres higher than the planning scheme allows.

I don’t have a general objection to height in the east of the Fremantle CBD and believe it should all depend on how creative a building is and how it enhances the spatial amenity and streetscape.

For example the six-storey building on the corner of Cantonment and Parry Street, opposite the Australia Hotel, is good Freo human scale for me, because it has very attractive features, round corners and some tower like structures, instead of a boring flat roof. It does not appear to be too high because of that, but a square boring concrete box of the same height might well have been inappropriate and look too big for that corner site.

The issues with flexibility of course is that it would be very hard for planning departments to work with, developers would try to take advantage, and JDAP and SAT could allow inappropriate buildings because there is no planning scheme that disallows them. That is a big dilemma.

As it stands, the rules and regulations more often than not restrict creative design, because the attitude is that you can’t have a 2-4 metre feature sticking out above the allowed height. Somehow we need to get around that, so that we’ll get more excellent architecture in Fremantle.

Let’s have a symposium about what desirable design for Freo would be, and not just focus on height.

Roel Loopers

WA GOVERNMENT SUPPORT FOR FREO MAYOR

Posted in city of fremantle, housing, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on September 1, 2017

 

 

WA Housing Minister Peter Tinley strongly endorsed Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt and his council at the Housing and the Future event at the Moores building last night.

Tinley urged people to “Vote for Brad!” saying the success of Fremantle’s urban infill was a fundamental guide for the government to use as an example in W.A.

The Minister said that Fremantle Council has lead the change in the metropolitan area with their strategic planning for revitalisation.

The Housing Minister said it was essential for the government to partner with the private industry to offer a diverse range of housing options, and that Housing was a $ 14.5 billion agency that delivered social outcomes.

Tinley said there was a “structural disconnect with affordability” and that 44 per cent of four-bedroom homes have just a single occupant. He said it was important for future planning to consider what the built form contributed to the community.

REIWA President Hayden Groves surprisingly expressed that the urban sprawl was no longer sustainable and said real estate transactions had dropped from 71,000 in 2006 to only 31,000 last year.

He said REIWA was trying to create greater revenue resources for the government through property, and that the bottom of the cycle was here and the real estate market was more stable.

Affordability was a problem, Groves said, with low income earners priced out of the market. The private property sector also needed  to take responsibility for that, not just governments.

The REIWA President said that changes to negative gearing were a problem because it removed the incentives for investors.

Government support for first home buyers needed to be adapted as it supported the urban sprawl, Groves claimed, and that Labor’s Metronet was a fabulous policy.

It is important to offer affordable rent, as well as affordable housing and the Fremantle WGV and Nightingale developments were great.

Mayor Brad Pettitt, introduced as Dad by the MC, said Fremantle Council was passionate about housing, but it was hard for young people to live in the city. It was important to match up people through diversity and affordability and getting the mix right.

He said inner city residents were estimated to increase by 40 per cent by 2070. At present only 721 people live in the CBD. “Fremantle’s problem is that there are not enough people here.” But we are on the cusp of being a more vibrant city with more people living here, Pettitt told the crowd of developers, architects, politicians and real estate agents.

During the Q&A Minister Peter Tinley said that properties were only affordable once-the first time-after that they returned to the market and often become unaffordable.

Mayor Brad Pettitt said that stamp duty was a disincentive to downgrade for older people, and that the State Government should reward those councils who are doing infill, through investment in their infrastructure.

Pettitt said it could be frustrating for local governments to deal with the State, and it had taken 18 months to get a Planning Scheme Amendment approved.

Peter Tinley said that Metronet was the centrepiece of WA’s infrastructure and housing and transport were working together in steering committees. We need to know who the people are who are going to live near near train stations and public transport hubs, because it is all about the communities we create, not just about living in concrete boxes.

In reply to a question from the floor it was disappointing to feel that housing for people with a disability appears to have been put in the hard basket. Accessibility and adaptability were real challenges, the Minister said.

I was surprised to hear that one in five people in WA have a disability. That is not a minority group, so governments need to do a whole lot better to cater for them!

REIWA President Hayden Groves said he is trying to change REIWA’s thinking, as they felt threatened by urban infill up to now, but that was changing as the urban infill was not sustainable and cost too much in infrastructure. It was important for the governments to give incentives for people who wanted to down-size, or right-size as it is now called.

Housing and the Future was a good begin of a very important dialogue we need to have. I believe a more substantial forum on housing should be initiated after all the election hype is over.

 

Roel Loopers

 

 

 

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