Freo's View

UNCONVINCING MAYOR CANDIDATE

Posted in city of fremantle, election, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on April 27, 2017

Interesting to listen to an interview of Fremantle Mayoral candidate Ra Stewart on 6PR’s Perth Live show with Oliver Peterson.

Stewart cited a decline in retail and vacant shops as a Fremantle Council problem, when everyone knows that retail has been in decline for years everywhere in Perth and Australia.

The Australia Day changes were divisive and not the role of local government, Stewart said and that Fremantle had failed to take its position as the jewel in the crown because everybody loves Freo.

Interesting to note in that regard that other councils such as Cockburn, Hobart and others are also considering changes to their Australia Day activities.

Ra Stewart said she would bring Council back to basics, if elected, and implement sound financial management of city assets. I believe that is a fair point as Freo’s finances are not great and could have been handled better.

She also believes Council need to consult with the broader community and find out what their priorities are. The City of Fremantle did that with its Visioning Fremantle 2020 extensive community consultation sessions a few years ago, that lasted nearly a year.

Stewart believes there are lots of opportunities for Fremantle, and when asked about it by Oliver Peterson said that Mayor Brad Pettitt showed a lot of promise in his first term and that “there had been some investment in the city”

That must be the under-statement of the millenium as Fremantle has not seen the kind of enormous investment through development it is experiencing in over thirty years. Some development alright!

Ra Stewart also said she believes she would be able to pull all the community groups together. Anyone in politics knows that this is an extremely naïve statement, because for every person one pleases, someone else will be dissatisfied with government decisions.

One thing I do agree with is that Ra Stewart believes the City of Fremantle should have organised a big celebration of the anniversary of winning the America’s Cup. That is definitely an opportunity lost that the City’s marketing department, and BID, and the Chamber of Commerce, and the yacht clubs all missed.

Anyone who wants my vote to become the next Mayor of Fremantle needs to have realistic and achievable ideas, substance, a long-term vision for our city, and good knowledge of how council works.

The unconvincing interview I heard did not give me the feeling that Stewart would do a better job than the incumbent, so let’s wait and see if more impressive candidates nominate.

Roel Loopers

GREAT LOOKING FREO TOWNHALL REVEALED

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, heritage by freoview on April 6, 2017

 

The clock tower of the Fremantle Townhall is slowly being revealed after extensive conservation works and I am excited how good it looks in the earthy tones.

It has cost a lot of money but I believe it was well worth it.

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE YOUTH SWITCHED ON

Posted in city of fremantle, community, local government, youth by freoview on April 6, 2017

Fremantle’s new youth advisory group SWITCH, is aiming high for National Youth Week 2017 with the first ever Ferris Forum to be held on the Freo Skyview Wheel at Esplanade Park.

This Sunday 9 April groups of five people will enter the ferris wheel cabins for rapid fire, seven minute long discussions about the most pressing issues for young people today.

It’s hoped the short round trip participants will have in the wheel will produce genuine and candid responses other mediums fail to uncover.

Also on is Switch It Up the official closing event for National Youth Week 2017. Presented by the City of Fremantle, Propel Youth Arts WA and the Fremantle SWITCH, the event will build on the popularity of Freo’s Esplanade Youth Plaza and National Youth Week’s aim of celebrating young people of all backgrounds, to offer a range of engaging and fun activities.

The activities include a skateboarding competition run in association with Skateboarding WA, parkour run by Perth Parkour, Game Vault, a silent disco programmed by South Fremantle High School students and guest DJs, an open mic stage run by Catch Music, roving performers, chill out zones and Australia’s most innovative youth forum.

The event also features prominently on Propel Youth Arts WA’s Kickstart Festival calendar.

The SWITCH is running a series of workshops with other Youth Advisory Council’s (YACs) from around the state in the lead up to the event to explore issues affecting young people. The themes developed in the workshops will be used to create the Ferris Forum.

After discussions in the wheel, the results will be collected and made available to state government, youth agencies and other local governments to inform programs policies.

Regional centres including the Shire of Broome, City of Karratha, Town of Port Hedland, City of Greater Geraldton and City of Albany, will take part in the youth forum as well, ensuring the voices of young people in the region are heard.

For those who have not heard about it yet, the Fremantle SWITCH is Fremantle’s take on a youth advisory council.

Since starting in June 2016, with support from the City of Fremantle, 40 passionate young people from 12-25 years old with strong links to Fremantle have been hard at work putting together a structure from scratch and organising activities in response to the needs of young people in Fremantle.

 

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PUBLIC COUNCIL MEETINGS NOT BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, fremantle society, local government by freoview on March 31, 2017

The Fremantle Society continues sending misinformation to their members, now claiming that recent decisions by Fremantle Council were made behind closed doors, as was put in capital letters screaming it out in an email.

Fact is that the one-year delay of the Sirona Capital settlement for the Spicer site development and the Kings Square playground went through the proper democratic process at Council and from public Council committees to public full Council meeting, so nothing of that process was irregular or behind closed doors.

This is part of the rambling email to the Fremantle Society members:

Democracy Dead at Fremantle Council

Major decisions affecting ratepayer assets have been made BEHIND CLOSED DOORS at Fremantle Council.

Giving council’s developer mates Sirona Capital an extra year to decide on the Spicer site, the $550,000 playgound in King’s Square, and major decisions affecting the n ew administration building we dont need, were all made behind closed doors at a sub committee of council and then simple reported at council.

Insipid Media

The media seem disinterested in major Fremantle governance issues like decisions being made behind closed doors.

It is time the Fremantle Society stopped the nonsense of making non-factual claims about Fremantle Council and started to make a positive difference instead of silly political grandstanding.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with rigorously scrutinising Council and severely criticising them when they deserve it, as I myself regularly do here on Freo’s View, but it needs to be based on facts. The issues mentioned in the FS email were not behind closed doors but at public council committees and council meetings I attended as an observer, and they were not ‘confidential items’ on the agenda either, so open to public scrutiny.

Agendas and Minutes of Council and Council Committee meetings can be read on the City of Fremantle website.

Roel Loopers

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

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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

 

 

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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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