Freo's View

HOW MANY PEOPLE TO CHANGE THE LIGHTS IN FREO?

Posted in city of fremantle, local government by freoview on March 23, 2017

It seemed out of proportion that light pollution at the Shacks car dealer in Queen Victoria Street had to go to full Fremantle council. I appreciate that it must be a nuisance for the residents of the apartments behind the alfresco showroom that the strong lights on high posts shine into their rooms, but why the issue could not be resolved by the administration is concerning.

This is a problem that has a very simple solution and is something camera lighting crews deal with daily when they make movies. One controls light spill by putting flaps around the lights and at Shacks those lights also need to be angled much further downward so that they only light up the cars on displays.

This should not have gone all the way to the Elected Members who have got enough and far more serious and important things on their plate.

Also on the agenda:

It looks like the former KULCHA space above the Dome cafe in the Evan Davies building at the Cappuccino Strip will finally be used again for a music and restaurant venue.

Councillor Jon Strachan expressed his deep frustration that this great space in the centre of the city had been vacant for three years, at yesterday’s Fremantle Council meeting.

Roel Loopers

PROPER PROCESS FOR ABORIGINAL CENTRE

Posted in aboriginal, city of fremantle, indigenous, local government by freoview on March 23, 2017

The lease of the DADAA building at Beach Street and the establishment of a new Aboriginal cultural centre was debated at length at full council of the City of Fremantle last night. I am happy that common sense prevailed and that an amendment by Deputy Mayor Dave Coggin was endorsed by his fellow Councillors.

Coggin said that it was important to resolve the process and then decide on the location of a new cultural centre for the Whadjuk Noongar people.

“I don’t believe we have enough information to understand the needs for a potential new indigenous cultural centre or any other type of indigenous community centre that might be positive in Fremantle. We should be taking a best practice approach to this issue by identifying and understanding the needs, engaging with the community, and identifying potential delivery models, with a focus on governance, funding and management.

Once we have been through this process, we will be in a position to make an informed decision about our support for such a facility, with the full knowledge of why it is needed, what it can achieve, and what is appropriate governance, funding and delivery model.

This report agreed at 1-3 will separate the issue of indigenous cultural centre from the availability of 21 Beach Street. It is likely that the process will take 12 months, and it is not appropriate for a valuable community asset at Beach Street to go unutilised during that time. Furthermore, the availability of Beach Street is currently driving the policy process, which is suboptimal.”

Councillors Hannah Fitzhardinge and Doug Thompson said it was putting the cart before the horse nominating Beach Street as the preferred location, before proper  communication had been done. Thompson also said he was not really sure what a cultural centre means was. “Get Beach Street out of the equation or we might end up with a sub-optimal solution.” But Councillor Rachel Pemberton feared that if the Beach Street property was leased to others ‘We might end up with no location” for the Aboriginal centre.”

Councillor David Hume said there is always another building and that it was a poor concept.

Councillor Jeff McDonald was worried about legal ramifications for the City as far as the equal opportunity and racial discrimination acts are concerned.

Here the full wording of the amendment:

Council endorses a process for officers to prepare a report that reviews and considers all issues in relation to the provision of an indigenous cultural centre in Fremantle.

That this process includes, but is not limited to, the following elements:

Identification and data-driven explanation of local and regional indigenous community needs in relation to indigenous cultural centre/s, community centre/s or other community-related facilities.
A comprehensive engagement plan that: identifies and engages with all indigenous community members in the Fremantle region; obtains advice from South West Land and Sea Council regarding the project and consultation; and, engages with other regional indigenous service providers.
Analysis of the performance of the current WACC since its opening. Identification of external funding opportunities.
Identification of options for potential models, including evaluation and description of potential governance, management and operational elements.

Council approves funding of up to $20,000 be provided through the budget review process to undertake this review.

That Council approve the request for proposal (RFP) process for 21 Beach Street, Fremantle outlined in the report to Finance Policy, Operations and Legislation Committee on February 8 2017, and based the following selection criteria:

Strategic alignment (20%): The use of the building must assist in achieving some or all parts of the following Strategic Community imperatives:

  1. People – Create places for people through innovative urban and suburban design
  2. Green – Develop environmentally sustainable solutions for the benefit of current and future generations.
  3. Health and Happiness – creating an environment where it is easy for people to lead safe, happy and healthy lives

Page 3

Additional Documents – Ordinary Meeting of Council 22 March 2017

d. Create – A dynamic innovative city with a strong knowledge economy and arts sector.

  1. Financial sustainability (15%): the building’s use will be supported by a self-sustaining funding model and/or evidence of sufficient seed funding to enable a sustainable model to be developed – allowing it to operate successfully for the entirety of the agreed lease term.
  2. Precinct integration (20%): The building’s use will integrate and/or compliment the surrounding community facilities and activation of the surrounding Reserve.
  3. Community Development Outcomes (30%): to what extent the proposed use of building delivers community development outcomes.
  4. Capacity (15%): Proposal promotes optimal use of the premises including land/building area utilisation and time frames of use throughout the week.

Roel Loopers

 

 

WHAT IS FAIR PAYMENT FOR MAYORS?

Posted in city of fremantle, councils, local government, western australia by freoview on March 19, 2017

The Sunday Times reports today that seven out of the twenty-eight metropolitan mayors are ‘moonlighting’ and have other jobs.

Local government is not intended to be a full-time job for Mayors and Councillors but the workload is significant as I know from observing the huge number of hours Mayor Brad Pettitt and most Councillors spend on looking after Fremantle.

For the Freo Mayor it is a full-time job with additional local government work at the Heritage Council for which he annually receives $ 9,000 in addition to the Mayor’s payment of around $ 140,000. Correct me if I am wrong as I can’t find the exact amount.

But the City of Swan Mayor does only two days full time at council there and received nearly $ 140,000 per year, while Jim O’Neill, the Mayor of East Fremantle gets $ 43,000 for 25 hours a week and works another 45 hours per week as deputy-principal of the Willeton Senior High School.

I believe elected members should get properly paid as many of them spend the equivalent of full-time job hours on serving the community.

Roel Lopers

WHAT A WHOLE LOT OF JOHNSENSE!

Posted in city of fremantle, local government, politics by freoview on March 7, 2017

The Pauline Hanson of Fremantle politics sent out another rant to the members of his community group.

He had such a great time in Subi where the driver of a red Ferrari told him his car was even more noticeable. Freo’s Pauline drives a late-model yellow Porsche.

Freo’s Pauline then rode around Subi on a $ 2,000 bicycle and got a bargain buying his exclusive French tea leaves.

He who looks down on us Freo commoners even observed how well-dressed people in Subiaco supposedly are when compared to Fremantle.

The rant continues that while Freo’s Pauline was living the high-life in Subiaco a mate went to Target in Fremantle and witnessed a case of shop-lifting. It’s the tale of two cities according to him.

No doubt shop-lifting only happens in Fremantle and not in Subiaco or anywhere else in W.A. and Council is to blame for it, as it is according to Freo’s Pauline for not doing more against anti-social behaviour in Fremantle.

Ooops, Freo’s Pauline totally forgot that crime and anti-social behaviour is the responsibility of WA Police and his mate Colin’s government. He also ignores the fact that the City of Fremantle recently employed more safety officers.

It appears we are just not classy enough here in Freo for the refined taste of Fremantle’s anti everything guru, but as it is the case with the real Pauline not many people take Freo’s Pauline’s rambling nonsense serious anymore.

Roel Loopers

GIVE FREO COUNCIL CREDIT WHERE IT IS DUE

Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, local government, politics by freoview on February 26, 2017

I have once again had an exchange on Freo’s View with one of the readers about the accusation that most Fremantle Councillors just vote with Mayor Brad Pettitt. It is an urban myth that insults and defames our Elected Members and it is not based on facts.

Anyone who has been reading this blog for the last seven years knows that I am not an apologist for Fremantle Council or its Mayor and that I strongly criticise them whenever I believe it is warranted, but it is wrong that those who never or very rarely attend council meetings make these accusations against the very hard and diligent working Freo Councillors.

To claim that Fremantle Councillors most of the time vote en-bloc with the Mayor is absolute bullshit. I specifically use this strong word because this crap has been going on for far too long!

Those who make these accusations should get off their lazy bums and attend Council and committee meetings so that they can actually witness how our Councillors perform and how well they are informed. Listen to the statements they make, the questions they ask and the amendments they put forward.

Having an opinion based on utter ignorance is nothing else than malicious political point-scoring. It’s the kind of stuff Pauline Hanson does and Donald Trump calls ‘Alternative Facts’.

There is no doubt that Freo Councillors not always get it right and that some residents believe they are not listened to. It is a worry to me sometimes that there seems to be a priority on One Planet issues when money could be spent better elsewhere, but after decades of stagnation we finally see significant development happening in the CBD that will make a huge positive long-term economic difference to our city and help our traders.

I too get frustrated and annoyed when Council is inconsistent and when the administration is slack, but the one thing I know absolutely for sure is that all the thirteen Elected Members make up their own mind on how they are going to vote and that the vast majority of them are very well-informed and do their home work. They deserve credit for that, instead of the nasty innuendo that they are mere puppets of the Mayor.

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE OVAL DEAL GOOD FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in city of fremantle, development, local government by freoview on February 7, 2017

Although no formal agreement has been reached between the Fremantle Dockers and the City of Fremantle indications are that it could be a good deal for Fremantle.

Delegated authority is with the CoF CEO and the Fremantle Football Club board will only meet on the 22nd to sign off on the deal, so we are still a few weeks away from knowing for sure if the Dockers will relinquish the long-term lease of Fremantle Oval when they move to Cockburn in April.

My understanding is that the initial demand of $ 7.9 million for the clubhouse has come down considerably and well under $ 4 million, to the point where it actually becomes a pretty good financial solution for the City, and it will avoid a long and costly drawn-out legal battle.

Since the City will  temporarily have to move from Kings Square for at least two years for the development of the new civic building, the opportunity for City staff to move into the Dockers clubhouse seems better than leasing commercial space that might cost up to 4 million over two years.

It will also help to initially rehouse the East Fremantle Football Club until the redevelopment of the Stan Reilly site and Fremantle Oval project start.

It looks like a win-win for all but let’s wait for the fine prints.

Roel Loopers

 

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BETTER BID TO SUPPORT FREMANTLE TRADERS

Posted in city of fremantle, community, local government, retail by freoview on February 3, 2017

The FPOL Committee of the City of Fremantle has an interesting and varied agenda for this coming Wednesday so I hope more members of the public will take and interest in local council governance and turn up to observe it all.

The Youth Council, and  Alcohol Policy are on the agenda and also the important question if the City should continue with the BID-Business Improvement District. It looks like the CoF will do that for another three years and once the Kings Square Project is completed it will reconsider if BID will be needed in a very changed CBD climate.

Changes will have to be made by BID and the announcement that former Chamber of Commerce CEO Tim Milsom will head BID from this year on will no doubt be applauded by the business community.

Come along on Wednesday from 6 pm and see how local government works!

Roel Loopers

 

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FREMANTLE INSOLVENCY CLAIM RIDICULOUS

Posted in city of fremantle, development, fremantle society, kings square, local government by freoview on January 25, 2017

Claims by the Fremantle Society that the City of Fremantle is insolvent were strongly rejected as ridiculous by Deputy Mayor Dave Coggin at the Ordinary Council meeting on Wednesday. Coggin demanded that the Society would send him the report by the certified public accountant they claim had provided the Fremantle Society with the advise that the City was technically insolvent.

Another ridiculous claim by the Fremantle Society was the lack of community consultation on the Kings Square Project.

I don’t know where these people were when Planning Scheme Amendment 49 was debated and the Fremantle Society under my presidency had a scale model in shopping centres to show the proposed heights, which we rejected and wanted lowered, but we did not succeed.

There was also extensive community consultation on the Kings Square development and even a Citizen Jury which I addressed on behalf of the Society, and I went to all the other community meetings to make suggestions. One outcome of that was that Newman Court now no longer will have vehicular access and parking.

Also ridiculous is the expectation that a private developer like Sirona Capital would make the roof tops of the two new buildings accessible to the public. Who is going to pay for security and public liability and how many privately owned buildings in the Perth CBD have public roof top access?

More ridiculousness in the claim that Fremantle Council has a conflict of interest in recommending to JDAP approval for the two Kings Square buildings. The City is not the decision-making authority, and as Councillor Doug Thompson pointed out as a body Council cannot have a conflict of interest or perception of that, but individual Councillors need to make their own decision if they believe they do have a conflict of or financial interest, which none of them declared.

Saying that Council cannot debate the development of a property they have sold would mean for example Council could not make planning approval for the Hilton Doubletree hotel development on the Point Street carpark site the City sold.

Councillor Rachel Pemberton said Sirona Capital was very serious about creating the best possible outcome and had even instigated workshops to improve the building design and enhance the character of the inner city. High calibre people from all sections of the community had attended the Sirona workshops and we will get an outcome we all will be proud of, Pemberton said.

Planning officers told Council and the public gallery that the developers had made significant changes over the last three months in collaboration with the Design Advisory Committee and the DAC now believed the design was at a stage where it was acceptable for them to recommend approval, but more changes would be required and be part of the City’s recommendation to JDAP.

Roel Loopers

GOOD, BAD AND UGLY FREMANTLE 2016

Posted in aboriginal, city of fremantle, development, local government, politics, tourism by freoview on December 26, 2016

2016 has been a big year for Fremantle, so I want to reflect on the good, the bad, and the ugly.

A few things stand out for me and the first one is the national exposure of the Australia Day changes the City of Fremantle made. I believe it is positive that there is now a national debate if January 26 is the appropriate date to celebrate Australia.

The most positive change in Fremantle is seeing so many substantial building sites in the CBD after our city had been in the development desert for decades. The news that state government departments will be moving into Kings Square is huge for Fremantle and so are the Liv, Heirloom, Hilton Doubletree, Quest, Spotlight and other major developments. However, the most disappointing aspect of all the Fremantle development is the mediocrity of most buildings. It’s a shame that planning laws are not stronger and more specific in that regard.

A great win for the community was the rejection by the WA Planning Commission and the State Administrative Tribunal of the proposed tavern at J Shed, but Sunset Events still has a 25-year-lease so we’ll need to wait till July to see if they will take that up and what they will be proposing this time.

Not so positive is the attempt to make historic Arthur Head into the Bathers Beach Arts Precinct. The eviction of residents at Captain’s Lane has resulted in the verandas and backyards of the cottages being used by homeless people at night and most of he new artists studios have done little to activate the area, and neither has the Walyalup Aboriginal Centre which has been a costly failure.

Absolutely fantastic to see the historic Warders and Gunners cottages restored and people living in them again. It has been a long battle by Fremantle City and the community to stop the neglect and we finally got outstanding results.

Also great that historically significant Cantonment Hill will be developed into an attraction for locals and visitors and the old Signal Station being used again by Fremantle Sea Rescue.

Disappointing is the corporate greed of the Fremantle Dockers football club who are demanding a large million-dollar payout from the City of Fremantle to relinquish their long-term lease on Fremantle Oval.

Community negativity has been a disappointing feature of the year and social media is frequently showing the nasty face of keyboard heroes, who often are uninformed and make comments and judgements based on ignorance. I like a good debate and engaging with people who have different opinions, but the nastiness and name-calling is distasteful, unnecessary and inappropriate.

Good community consultation and information is still lacking and makes the interaction between Council and the community often negative. There is too much inconsistency and tokenism. Community engagement happens too late in the process where it inevitably becomes reactive and negative. That needs to improve!

There is no doubt that there is a lot of room for improvement, especially at the basic levels of city maintenance and cleaning, and WA Police need to do a whole lot better addressing the anti-social and crime issues in Fremantle.

The City of Fremantle also needs to start getting serious about the ageing population in Australia and our city and needs to find a better balance between youth interest and that of older people in town.

City expenditure is at a dangerous level and that has to become the number one priority in 2017 for Fremantle Council. There needs to be a more realistic financial approach to what the city can afford because it is following dangerously into the footsteps of the State Government of over-spending.

Fremantle needs to have a debate on what good development for our city is and how we can stop the glut of ugliness we are getting in the the city. The fact that Fremantle Council gets overruled by Joint Development Assessment Panels and State Administrative Tribunal is a worry as we need to retain the unique character of Freo because that is why tourists come here.

Tourism needs to be more appreciated and looked after with more than 60 cruiseliners visiting Freo this summer. The visitors’ numbers at the Roundhouse are significantly up this year, so we need to have more attractions to keep the tourists in town longer. I would like to see a real physical interpretation of the former Whaling Station at Bathers Beach and also a migrant museum.

A mere $ 10,000 for power into the Roundhouse so that a $ 200,000 new display project can be undertaken should be supported by Fremantle City. It’s the sum of money the City has given for a solar parklet in Wray Avenue that will not attract even 1% of the 135,000 visitors the Roundhouse gets.

The selection of candidates for the federal election was a bit of a farce with Liberal candidate Sherry Sufi pulling out, to be replaced by equally unknown Pierrette Kelly, while Labor engaged in the unnecessary and unfair humiliation of Chris Brown who was replaced by former Freo Deputy Mayor, and my preferred candidate, Josh Wilson. Josh is our new MP in Canberra.

port-sunrise

A possible swap at McGabe Street in North Fremantle where parts would go to Mosman Park is interesting in the context of the failed local government reform. It looks to me like piecemeal governance.

The sale of Fremantle Port and the building of the Perth Freight Link will not eventuate should the Labor party form government after the March 2017 election, so it is disappointing that the Barnett government is fast tracking the Roe 8 Highway extension and the destruction of the wetlands instead of waiting for the election outcome.

Heritage protection remains critical and needs to remain a priority for Fremantle Council. It is not necessary to compromise heritage to appease developers. There are many other locations outside the West End that are better suited for higher density and building height. Community vigilance is essential to keep inappropriate development out of the inner city.

I love living in Fremantle and I love engaging with the community. It disappoints me that there is so much negativity in this great city and that so few people participate in the democratic local government process, and I hope that will change in 2017.

We all can make a positive difference to our city and be part of the solution when we respectfully engage with the Elected Members and CoF staff, and they with the community. That is my wish for the New Year. Have a very happy one!

Roel Loopers

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WHO WILL BE BEACY’S NEW COUNCILLOR?

Posted in city of fremantle, community, democracy, elections, local government, politics, western australia by freoview on September 15, 2016

Tomorrow is another historic day for Femantle with the election of the new Beaconsfield Ward Councillor, who will replace Josh Wilson who resigned to stand for the federal election and has been elected the new MP for Fremantle.

If you are among the estimated 65% of people in the ward who have not yet voted and sent in your postal votes, you can still drop them off at the Fremantle Townhall between 8am and 6 pm tomorrow-Friday!

My gut feeling is that Andrew Luobikis will win the election followed by Hannah Fitzhardinge, Fedele Camarda and Peter Cruikshank. But one never knows which section of the electorate bothers to vote and Camarda could get many votes from the Italian community in Beacy and Hilton.

There is no doubt for me that those people disgruntled with Fremantle Council will vote for Luobikis, who has been vocal over the last two years against some Council decisions. The fact that Fitzhardinge is a member of the Labor party might be seen by some that local governments are being taken over by political parties, but women might prefer a third woman on the male-dominated Fremantle Council.

Whatever the outcome, which will be announced at the Townhall just before 7 pm on Friday, we should be grateful to all candidates for putting their hand up and wanting to make a contribution to the Fremantle community, so from me a heart-felt Thank You to all four of them!

Roel Loopers

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