Freo's View

HOW TO LEGISLATE FOR BETTER CITIES?

 

 

What can a small city like Fremantle of just over 30,000 residents learn from a mega city like Singapore with over 5 million people? It was a question Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt asked when he went on a study tour with the South West Group and the Mayors of Melville, East Fremantle, Cockburn, Kwinana and Rockingham.

Yesterday at the monthly Fremantle Network event at the National Hotel the Mayor shared his thoughts and some photos, and it was a thought provoking presentation.

Brad Pettitt said that city greening was the extraordinary success of Singapore, as developers were required to create large green spaces on and around new buildings, but there is also a greening of highways, rooftops, walkways and gardens, and road corridors of trees that make large parts of the huge city look delightfully green. That is certainly a lesson we can learn from in Fremantle and in Western Australia, as European countries also do that much better and more intense than we do over here.

The largest vertical garden in the world is also in Singapore, comprising of 57,000 pot plants!

How we can legislate for it is altogether the question though. It probably needs to be done at state level, but there is always a risk that local council then lose control of their city planning.

I have suggested before here on Freo’s View that in appropriate locations Fremantle City should consider a percentage for green space, where developers are granted additional height if they create the equivalent floorspace into a green open space near or within the development.

Brad Pettitt also showed some less desirable and quite ugly highrise development that we definitely don’t want in WA.

The Freo Mayor also mentioned how massive the port of Singapore is with 35 million containers(TEU) a year.

Singapore has over 17 million international tourists a year, compared to WA of less than a million, and it is strongly branding itself as a green sophisticated city. Brad Pettitt thought Fremantle should celebrate its Aboriginal history more and make it part of our brand. We need a major attractor, Pettitt said.

The Mayor said that heritage was highly valued and protected in Singapore and that there is a lot of street activation in heritage areas, something missing in Fremantle, but there was a lack of solar energy use and Singapore was trying to catch up on that.

Brad Pettitt asked if there was a case to be made for greater hight if it helped to create better public realm, because the urban sprawl could no longer be supported in WA. “Get a train to Butler and see what we are doing!”

In that context it is good to note a change of heart by one of Melbourne’s leading urban planning experts Rob Adams, who ten years ago strongly supported densification and urban infill, but now says it has destroyed many streetscapes in the city because the public realm improvements did not eventuate when they started building highrise.

I say it again here that I would love to see a forum about what appropriate architecture, development and density for Fremantle could be, so I hope someone will organise an event that I would love to be part of.

Roel Loopers

FREO’S WEST END CONSERVATION AREA TO BE REDUCED

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, heritage, historic, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on June 18, 2018

 

Fremantle Council is reviewing its West End Conservation Area Policy, with the aim to put it in line with the area included in the WA Register of Heritage Places.

The agenda item on the agenda of the Strategic Planning and Transport Committee reads in part as follows:

The boundaries of the current policy extend well beyond the area commonly known as the West End, and accommodate diverse land use, built form and character. The area commonly known as the West End (Precinct 2 within the current policy) corresponds with one of the distinct areas established by John Septimus Roe in the first (published) town plan in 1833. This reflected both the topography of the area and its intended role within the hierarchy of the town, each area of which included distinctive block shapes and sizes as well as differing orientation, street widths and lot size.

The concentration of investment in the buildings within this area during the gold rush has created a strong built form character which has remained relatively intact, with buildings not only visually harmonious but also reflective of the function and evolution of the town’s early days. The significance of this area and its recent listing on the state heritage register prompt a tailored approach.

The current boundaries include areas of land exempt from approvals under the Local Planning Scheme (namely the Port area, Arthur Head Reserve and the Fishing Boat Harbour) which are controlled by the state, and areas within which the City’s primary control is as manager of the land, as opposed to through the scheme (such as The Agenda – Strategic Planning and Transport Committee 20 June 2018 Page 16 Esplanade and Arthur Head). Furthermore some of these areas, such as Arthur Head Reserve, are separate listings on the State Register of Heritage Places in their own right in recognition of their different (from the West End) character and qualities in terms of cultural heritage significance.

From an administrative perspective, it is recommended that these areas be excluded and covered in separate documents informing the City’s position on the planning and management of these areas, but recognising that the City’s approval under the scheme is generally not required. This has been occurring to a certain extent already, through the development of separate policies and masterplans for these areas, as outlined in Attachment 2. The boundaries of the current policy area overlap with those of Precinct 5 within Local Planning Policy 3.1.5 (LPP 3.1.5) (adopted in 2013) which causes inconsistency and confusion. LPP 3.1.5 recognises (as this policy does) that the Fremantle city centre is made up of a number of inter-related precincts which function as a whole. The boundaries of these precincts vary slightly, depending on whether they are being drawn more from a heritage versus zoning versus land use versus built form perspective, but as there is a relationship between all of these matters, so there are similarities in precinct boundaries. In relation to built form, it is preferable that each distinct area be subject to a single area-based policy. 

The item is on the agenda this coming Wednesday at 6pm at the SPT Committee of the City of Fremantle at the North Fremantle community hall.

Roel Loopers

WHAT DOES THE COMMUNITY GAIN FROM HIGHER DENSITY?

 

A new report by the Property Council of Australia appears to contradict the push for small houses and backyard infill by the City of Fremantle.

Hap-hazard low-density infill presents a major obstacle to coordinated and strategic development, the report claims. It suggests that to prevent this kind of on the hop development councils should introduce a minimum size of 1,200sqm blocks for development.

The report argues that people need to acknowledge that they are getting better outcomes from high-density development, but that shows not to be the case here in Fremantle, where nothing or very little is added to the public realm near medium and high-density new apartment blocks. Where are the new parks, grassed areas, community spaces, children’s playgrounds?

According to the report Perth will have 4 million residents by 2050, with many living in  apartments and townhouses near transport hubs and using trains for transport.

It will be interesting in this context to hear Freo Mayor Brad Pettitt speak about the lessons we can learn from Singapore at the next Fremantle Network event at the National Hotel, coming Tuesday at 6pm.

Roel Loopers

KAYA AND WELCOME TO FREMANTLE WALYALUP

 

The Sunday Times reports today that Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt would “seriously consider” to use Walyalup side by side with Fremantle, to acknowledge the Aboriginal history.

I would welcome that move, and Fremantle Walyalup does sound good, but question why it is taking so long to get more recognition of our indigenous history with more street and place names getting Noongar names.

It makes far more sense to add Aboriginal names than to delete the names of some of the early settlers, so what are we waiting for? The call for more Aboriginal names in Fremantle has been going for three decades, and while we now see Wanju Whadjuk Boodja signs underneath City of Fremantle ones, that is not good enough.

Fremantle Council also needs to be very clear that if it is serious about adding Walyalup to the Fremantle city name, the decision needs to be made before a major destination marketing concept has been developed, so that Walyalup can be included in all promotional material.

Ayers Rock became Uluru years ago, and the Bungles in the Kimberley are now better known as Purnululu, so there are no great obstacles that prevents our leaders to introduce more Aboriginal names for places of significance.

Roel Loopers

FREO INFO SESSION ON KINGS SQUARE FIG TREES

 

ks 2

 

There will be an information session about the health of the Fremantle Moreton Bay fig trees at Kings Square next Thursday June 21, at 6pm in the Fremantle Townhall.

It has been suggested by tree experts that two more fig trees will have to be removed because of bad health and public safety concerns, so if you are passionate about the trees make sure to get all the relevant information about their future, and if they can be saved or not.

Mature replacement trees could cost up to $ 14,000 each, so that would be a considerable cost to ratepayers.

Roel Loopers

NEW FREMANTLE DIFFERENTIAL RATE FOR B&B

Posted in accommodation, city of fremantle, local government, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on June 15, 2018

 

The City of Fremantle is canvassing home owners about charging a differential rate for their homes that are being used as Bed&Breakfast short stay residential accommodation.

The differential rate proposed by Fremantle Council would see an average rate increase of $ 195.00 per year for those who use their property for tourist accommodation.

If this affects you, contact 9432 9999 for more information or/and go to http://www.fremantle.wa.gov.au/strategicdocuments.

Any comments should be sent to the CEO, City of Fremantle. PO Box 807. Fremantle 6959 by the end of business hours today.

I only received the letter of the City of Fremantle, dated June 8, yesterday June 14, so that gives my property owner no time at all to write to the CEO.

Roel Loopers

CHILDREN RULE THE FREO WORLD

Posted in children, city of fremantle, family, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on June 14, 2018

 

Playgrounds

Children are the most important people in the world, so good to see the City of Fremantle is trying to make life a bit more fun for them.

The new playground equipment at these four children’s playgrounds will be ready by the end of July this year.

Roel Loopers

FREO CITY FREE REUSABLE SHOPPING BAGS

Posted in city of fremantle, environment, local government, plastic, shopping, Uncategorized by freoview on June 13, 2018

 

The ban for single-use plastic shopping bags will come into effect from July 1, so supermarkets and other retailers will no longer be allowed to hand out the free plastic bags we have been using for decades.

The City of Fremantle, one of the country leaders in getting the shopping bags banned, will give away free reusable shopping bags. They can be collected from the Visitor Centre at the Townhall and at the temporary council building at Fremantle Oval.

I do have one suggestion to make and that is to decentralise the hand-out of the free reusable bags, as it is not fair to the people of Samson and other outer suburbs to have to come all the way into the city centre for it.

Why not have some of the bags for collection at the Samson Recreation Centre, the Hilton Community Centre, etc. We have become very CBD-centric in Fremantle and Council needs to improve on that!

Roel Loopers

ASIAN TOURISM TARGET FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in city of fremantle, local government, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on June 13, 2018

 

The City of Fremantle has released a new destination marketing video aimed at encouraging more Asian visitors to spend a night or two in Freo.

The video, produced in partnership with regional tourism organisation Destination Perth as part of the City’s destination marketing program, is subtitled in Mandarin Chinese.

It highlights Fremantle’s laid back atmosphere, arts and culture, unique heritage and vibrant café, bar and restaurant scene.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said the aim was to entice Asian visitors to stay in one of Fremantle’s many new or refurbished hotels.

“Fremantle has always been a popular destination for tourists, but the lack of hotel accommodation has meant Freo has been more of a day trip instead of a place to stay,” Mayor Pettitt said.

“This video will be used to target the corporate sector and promote Freo as the perfect destination for business meetings, incentive groups, conferences and events.

“And because we’re in the same time zone and not too far away, Fremantle is an ideal option for Asian business travellers.”

The video will be featured by the City at the South East Asia Roadshow with Perth Convention Bureau next month, and be shared with Perth Convention Bureau’s corporate and incentive team to use in their work to attract corporate and incentive groups to Fremantle.

It has also been provided to StudyPerth to attract international students to Fremantle and will be posted on Chinese social media through the WA Trade Office in Shanghai.

With advice from Perth Convention Bureau, Tourism Western Australia and Destination Perth, the City developed a marketing plan for the 2017/18 financial year.

Actions included developing a Fremantle destination video in partnership with Destination Perth for promotion to interstate and international markets, promoting Fremantle as a destination for corporate business at the Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event in Melbourne and the South East Asia Roadshow and a digital campaign in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur promoting Fremantle as a winter vacation destination.

To watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXWCZuSA8os

 

EARLY START FOR FREMANTLE HILTON HOTEL

 

If approved by Fremantle Council the construction of the Hilton Doubletree Hotel and 99 residential apartments will already start in October this year, and not as planned in January 2020.

The SKS Land group, which owns the site, has applied to start Stage 1 in October, which would see the demolition of the multi-storey Point Street car park and the new ground level car park next to it.

Just over a year ago in April 2017 Council approved the application by SKS for a two year extension for the commencement of the development and created a ground-level carpark, but now SKS wants to immediately start with the demolition and excavation, to construct a two-storey basement car park and the ground level slab.

If the pre-sale target for the 99 apartments is reached the entire development will start, but if not there could be a one year pause in construction.

The development commencement would also force the relocation of Circus WA.

I believe it is very good news that SKS wants to start the development 15 months earlier, but believe they should pay compensation for the exterior painting of the multi-storey carpark and the cost of the construction of the ground-level carpark to the City of Fremantle.

The early construction will not only mean that Fremantle will lose over 300 car bays but also that the City will in 2019 lose out on $ 114,000 in parking fees from the site.

Fremantle is in urgent need of more tourist accommodation and with the Woolstores development on halt it would be positive if the Hilton Doubletree Hotel was erected sooner than planned, but the possible one-year pause if pre-sale targets are not met is a worry.

The request will go before the FPOL Committee of Fremantle Council this coming Wednesday.

Roel Loopers

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