Freo's View

FREMANTLE IS NOT FALLING APART

Posted in art, city of fremantle, fremantle festival, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on August 17, 2018

 

Arcs D'Ellipse

 

This is one of the last blog posts I am publishing about the removal issues with the Felice Varini yellow Arcs D’Ellipse artwork in Fremantle’s High Street, until the City of Fremantle has appointed a contractor and let us know the final costs of it.

But with all the negativity at the end of the artwork’s life I want to point out something we should not forget and underestimate in all of this.

There is absolutely no doubt from the many days that I was in the far West End-that is every day of the year-that there was a significant increase in visitors to Arthur’s Head, who were queueing up on the steps to get photos of the great optical illusion.

The expressions of delighted surprise when they ‘discovered’ the artwork were a real joy to watch and business owners nearby noticed a definite increase in visitors, as did the Roundhouse.

The promotion and marketing value of tens of thousands of photos being shared on social media of Freo’s historic High Street are immeasurable and something you just can not achieve with most tourism campaigns.

The High Tide Biennale that was under the umbrella of the Fremantle Festival added a new and very creative dimension to the tired festival and I can’t wait for next year to see what they come up with.

Yes, it is disappointing that there are serious issues with the removal of the artwork, but that is now being professionally addressed by the City of Fremantle. It is a very expensive inconvenience, but not a disaster. Fremantle is not falling apart, we did not have an earthquake like the poor people of Lombok, but we had an outstanding artwork by an internationally renowned artist that put us on the map as a progressive and creative city.  Let’s keep it in perspective!

Roel Loopers

NEW FREO TENDER TO REMOVE YELLOW PAIN(T)

Posted in art, city of fremantle, fremantle festival, heritage, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on August 16, 2018

 

 

A Fremantle building owner in historic High Street informed me late last evening that he had received a letter from City of Fremantle Director Infrastructure and Project Delivery, and acting CEO Graham Tattersall to let him know that the City had not accepted any of the quotes for the removal and make good of the Felice Varini yellow artwork Arcs D’Ellipse and that it would now go to a public tender process.

This delay will most likely mean that the removal and repaint won’t all be completed this year as the City would not want cherrypickers in historic High Street and the loss of parking bays during the Christmas shopping period.

A senior officer told me on Thursday that the quotes had been “all over the place” and that some where open ended because the cleaning and painting companies just did not know how much work would be involved. The officer suggested that more testing, on different buildings, might be required. He was adamant that the City wanted to get it absolutely right and hence the responsibility for the process was moved away from the arts officers and Community Development Department, because it was not their expertise. That makes a lot of sense to me.

The High Street building owner suggested that the public tender was necessary because the City’s own policy demands a public tender process for work over $ 150,000, so he assumed all the quotes/estimates had come in over that amount.

I also got a call from the City’s media officer late afternoon yesterday who said the City would send out a media release sometime today, but I am elsewhere occupied so won’t be able to deal with that till late this afternoon. Stay tuned!

Roel Loopers

BETTER COMMUNICATION NEEDED TO SETTLE THE YELLOW ANGST

Posted in art, city of fremantle, fremantle festival, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on August 14, 2018

art 1

 

Tenders for the removal of the Felice Varini yellow Arcs D’Ellipse artwork in High Street and repair to the heritage buildings closed last Friday, so we should soon be told by the City of Fremantle what will be involved, how much it will cost, and if some or all of the costs will be recovered from the artist.

There is a bit of angst and worry among some of the property owners, with one already talking to lawyers and another one has started a petition for a special electors meeting.

The best way forward for the City  is calling a stakeholders meeting where all the affected High Street building owners get first hand information from the responsible officers, as the present communication is not deemed sufficient.

There is little use in some receiving emails and others not, and that from different CoF officers. That only adds to the confusion and angst, so invite all the property owners to a meeting with CoF officers and experts, so they can be told exactly what is going on and what is planned.

We already hear suggestions of expensive traffic management, loss of parking bays and even road closure, as matching the paint can’t be done at night, so that will have to be done during the day.

From my own observations of seeing cleaning and painting companies trying to remove the foil it looks like it will be a long and slow and careful process that might not even be completed before the end of the year.

I hear six companies looked at the problems and they all tendered, so I hope they added a clause in their tender that fully painting of some facades is not included in the cost, as that will be very expensive.

On a related note I’d like to welcome Destry Puia who has taken over from the very well liked Pete Stone as the Manager Arts and Culture. He has been thrown in the deep end as the artwork removal is now one of his responsibilities to manage.

I hear Destry is a proud Maori man who relocated with his young family from Melbourne, so welcome to Freo, Destry. I am looking forward to meeting you. If I can assist you with anything in settling down here, just send me an email!

Roel Loopers

FRIENDS OF ROYAL GEORGE AGAINST HIGHRISE

 

 

The news that The Friends of Royal George community group has been established in East Fremantle makes sense as it is always important for state government agencies to be aware of the feelings in the community, even when East Fremantle Council’s Royal George scheme amendment only allows for six storey buildings in the area.

Saracen Properties wants to build a slim 15 storey tower on top of a four storey podium, but it is unlikely JDAP or SAT would approve that under the present local scheme.

People point out that a state agency approved 16 storeys on the former Subiaco market site, but that is very different from the East Freo proposal. The Subi site is only metres away from the train station and bus transport and that does not apply to the East Fremantle location that is miles away from the Fremantle railway station and not that close to other forms of public transport either.

While I personally quite like the elegant tall spike designed by Michael Patroni’s spaceagency and do believe a landmark highrise would be appropriate in that location, I also believe that the 19 storey proposal does not adequately address the urban infill requirements of the state government.

When we impose very high buildings on a low rise community the main purpose of the development should be to create many new homes for many people, and not as is the case at the Royal George a mere 40 apartments for a few selected well off on 15 floors.

I am not sure if Saracen Properties will present their proposal to JDAP or come up with a much lower building. The architects told me some weeks ago that they are still looking at it on the computer.

Roel Loopers

 

FREE ELECTRIC CAR CHARGING AT CAPPUCCINO STRIP CARPARK

Posted in cars, city of fremantle, electricity, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on August 7, 2018

 

The new electric car free charging points at Fremantle’s Cappuccino Strip car park are now live.

The four 22 kilowatt charging points are compatible with most electric vehicles, with a one hour charge giving between 18-40 kilometres of driving distance depending on the car.

There are also two standard 240 volt charging points, which means all current electric cars can be charged up using the appropriate cables.

The chair of the WA branch of the Australian Electric Vehicles Association Richard Baird said the new charging points would be greatly appreciated by the owners of electric cars.

“Fremantle has always supported electric vehicles and it’s fantastic that they’ve allocated four electric vehicle charging bays for the Cappuccino Strip and all EVs are welcome,” Mr Baird said.

“Around Perth there are probably about 50 or 60 of these charging points but that’s growing all the time, and as more electric vehicles are sold onto the market we’ll see more charging stations go in.

“Most people charge at home overnight but when you’re out and about doing errands these charging points are fantastic.”

While the drivers of electric cars will still have to pay for parking, charging their cars will be free.

The charging stations are just one of the environmentally friendly features of the new Cappuccino Strip car park, which was built using recycled road materials and also features solar lighting, storm water capture and water-wise native plants.

FREMANTLE’S YELLOW BLUES-CONTINUED

Posted in art, city of fremantle, fremantle festival, heritage, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on August 7, 2018

 

 

The trial attempts to safely remove the yellow foil from heritage buildings in Fremantle’s High Street by all different kind of cleaning and painting companies continued this week, but have not been enormously successful, as these photos show.

On Monday another wall cleaning company tried out hot steam, and that worked partially on certain surfaces, but not on others.

It is interesting to note in this context that High Tide Biennale curator Tom Mueller of PS Art Space has gone into hiding and does not want to know about the problems.

The biennale Mueller created was fantastic and he deserves a lot of credit for it, as he does for making PSAS into a great arts and events space, but mature people take ownership of their successes and failures, so not responding to an email I sent him last Wednesday and crossing the street on Monday afternoon so that he would not have to engage with me and two High Street property owners affected by the Varini artwork removal debacle is unprofessional and silly.

Tom Mueller was very keen to seek my support before the High Tide Biennale, and he was happy to front the media for the Arcs D’Ellipse launch with Minister David Templeman, Freo Mayor Brad Pettitt and fellow Swiss artist Felice Varini, but now he’s gone all silent.

Also missing in action is the Fremantle Herald. While all the main media have reported on the problems of removing the artwork and the damage to the historic buildings, our own local community paper has not published a word about it. Worried about losing advertising revenue from the City of Fremantle, and not caring one bit about what it will cost ratepayers to repair the artwork damage, very tired old Chook?

One thing is for sure, that the removal is going to be problematic and very costly. Traffic management will be required, as might heritage expert advise, cherry pickers will be needed and maybe even road closure of High Street.

What is certain is that building owners will not accept just a patch up job, but will insist on perfection and reinstating what was there before the yellow foil was put up.

Whoever the ‘lucky’ tender winner will be, I wish them good luck. I don’t envy them for the job ahead.

Roel Loopers

TWO FREO COMMUNITY INFO SESSIONS TODAY!

 

A reminder that there are two community informations sessions in Fremantle later today.

From 5.30-6pm you can look at the latest plans for the Woolstores shopping centre redevelopment at the City of Fremantle at Fremantle Oval.

And from 6pm at the Beaconsfield Primary School City staff will explain the options for traffic calming and pedestrian crossing at Scott Street and Hampton Road in South Fremantle.

Roel Loopers

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WOOLSTORES DEVELOPMENT INFO SESSION TOMORROW!

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on August 1, 2018

 

coles-woolstore-six-floors-2

 

An info session about the proposed Woolstores development will be held tomorrow, Thursday August 2 at 5.30pm at the City of Fremantle offices at Fremantle Oval.

Community members can see the floor plans and talk to CoF planning staff about the proposal.

Roel Loopers

WHAT IS FREO’S YELLOW FEVER CURE?

Posted in art, city of fremantle, festivals, fremantle festival, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on August 1, 2018

 

art removal

 

More cleaning and painting contractors were  in Fremantle’s High Street yesterday and today to look at solutions to safely remove the Arcs D’Ellipse yellow foil artwork from the historic buildings.

The photo shows a team of Van Diddens who did quite well removing parts with a heat gun, but it would be a long and tedious job they told me, as there would need to be hot steam cleaning of the facades as well.

Another contractor told a High Street property owner that the job would cost at least $ 500,000 and that did not include if some of the buildings had to be totally painted if the colours could not be matched.

I emailed some questions regarding liability to the City of Fremantle CEO and also to the director/curator of the High Tide Biennale this morning, but have not received any replies from them yet.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE GOVERNANCE COST TRANSPARENCY

Posted in budget, city of fremantle, finances, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on July 31, 2018

 

Governance

 

I always try to keep the words balance and respect in mind when I publish a blog post, so I am happy to now post the reply by the City of Fremantle here in regard to the question I asked on the weekend about what the GOVERNANCE expenditure in the budget was for. Here it is:

Regarding what is included in the $47 million figure under ‘governance’ in the capital expenditure chart in the rates booklet – the vast majority of that ($46.3 million) is the allocation towards the new Kings Square administration and library building.

It also includes $504,500 towards the purchase of our current admin building from the Dockers and $105,000 for the new parking app.

The rest is for things like office furniture, telecommunications equipment, IT equipment (like PC’s, tablets, printers and accessories) fixed and wireless internet etc.

 

Roel Loopers

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