Freo's View

THE BEST THING ABOUT PERTH IS FREMANTLE

Posted in city of fremantle, community, local government, perth, photography, Uncategorized by freoview on July 16, 2019

 

ferry shadows

red light

seated

escalator reflection

 

I rarely go to Perth because the big city just does not interest me, but today I thought I needed to broaden my horizon a bit and jumped on the train to the big smoke.

It did not look anywhere near as bad and vacant as the media has been screaming about and during my two hours walking around I only noticed four beggars, so that ain’t too bad.

I thought to share these photos with my Freo readers. The top photo are shadows at the ferry terminal at Elizabeth Quay, the second one is more shadows at the traffic lights in Wellington Street, the third one is of arty seating at Rain Square, and the last one is a reflection at the escalators at Forest Place.

After having to endure standing next to Mathias Cormann at a pedestrian light for three minutes I was happy to return to good old Freo and am more convinced than ever that the best thing about Perth is Fremantle. 😍

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE COUNCIL RATES EASY PAY

Posted in city of fremantle, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on July 4, 2019

 

The City of Fremantle is making it easier for people to pay their rates by introducing new direct debit payment options.

Until now Fremantle ratepayers could only pay their rates in one up-front payment or by four instalments.

City of Fremantle Director of City Business Glen Dougall said people now have the option of paying by direct debit, with weekly and fortnightly instalments deducted straight from their bank account.

“Previously if people found it difficult to make the four instalments the only option was to enter into a special payment plan, but unfortunately that came with additional administrative charges,” Mr Dougall said.

“Now with the direct debit options people can choose to pay in smaller, more manageable weekly or fortnightly payments, plus have the convenience of having the instalments automatically deducted from their account.

“The cheapest way to pay your rates is still to pay the full amount up-front, but the direct debit option does give more flexibility and will help people avoid the bill shock that comes with large one-off payments or instalments.”

More information on how to pay your rates by direct debit will be included with your rate notice.

Fremantle ratepayers can also register to receive their rates notices electronically by email or through BPay View.

Signing up for e-rates saves paper and helps to reduce carbon emissions. It also means there’s no chance of the rates notice getting lost in the mail and it’s accessible at anytime from anywhere.

To receive this year’s rates notice electronically you must register before 15 July.

Register for e-rates on the e-rates page on the City’s website.

WILL LOCAL GOVERNMENT REFORM CREATE BETTER COUNCILLORS?

Posted in city of fremantle, council reform, councils, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on June 28, 2019

 

Landmark local government reforms passed by State Parliament will bring councils into the 21st century as the first reforms resulting from the Local Government Act review. But will the new WA Local Government Reform create better Councillors through inductions and training?

I have been amazed for many years that many of those who nominate for a position on local council do not even bother to do the basic homework of attending Council and Committee meetings, so when elected they come in unprepared and for some of them it takes very long to understand local government process, so let’s hope the reform will improve the level of local governance we are getting.

These reforms target key priority areas identified by the community and local government sector to better prepare council members for their challenging role, strengthen governance, empower councils to communicate with residents using modern technology and expand the amount of information available to the public online.

Commencing at the 2019 ordinary local government elections in October, all candidates will be required to have completed an online induction. This free, online module will be available on the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries’ website in July.

Building the capacity of council members further, all council members will be required to complete a training program following their election covering key areas such as conflicts of interest, understanding financial reports and budgets, and serving on council.

Reforms will also:

  • Improve standards of behaviour through a mandatory code of conduct for council members and candidates;
  • Introduce new standards for CEO recruitment and performance management to help elected members select a CEO and assess their performance;
  • Provide clarity for elected members to manage real and perceived conflicts of interest related to gifts; and
  • Require local governments to publish information on their website such as local laws, approved council policies and all documents contained within a meeting agenda allowing instant access to council information for everyone 24/7.

 

Roel Loopers

 

Henty ad

Comments Off on WILL LOCAL GOVERNMENT REFORM CREATE BETTER COUNCILLORS?

EAST FREO Z CARD FOR HERITAGE TRAIL

 

Heritage card

From the Town of East Fremantle: We recently launched a new Heritage Trail map with watercolour depictions of the local architecture around town.

You can pick up a Z-CARD from Town Hall or text the word ‘Heritage’ to 0475 111 222 for a digital copy.

Thanks to the team at Z-Card PocketMedia Solutions for working with us on this project!

This should inspire the City of Fremantle to do something similar. The Freopedia QR codes on building which were started by the Fremantle Society were unfortunately not continued and the East Freo smartphone Z-Card is an even better idea, so what about it This Is Fremantle?

Roel Loopers

Comments Off on EAST FREO Z CARD FOR HERITAGE TRAIL

COMMUNITY NEEDS TO SUPPORT LOCAL TRADERS

Posted in city of fremantle, hospitality, local government, parking, retail, shopping, Uncategorized by freoview on June 7, 2019

 

retail

 

There is a bit of a discussion going on on Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt‘s Facebook page about the decline of retail when he posted the good article by Nathan Hondros on WATODAY about it. Hondros’ article “Striponomics’ The reasons Perth’s main streets are struggling is no big secret is worth a read.

The usual quick fixes are suggested by some readers; free parking and councils forcing property owners to reduce rents, but neither is a solution in a world where retail has been declining for at least five years and where major shopping centres have replaced traditional high street shopping.

I don’t know all the reasons for the decline in Perth, Mouth Lawley, Subiaco and elsewhere but I do know that the City of Fremantle has been trying hard to keep and get a diversity of retail in the city, instead of more and more cafes and taverns.

Fact is that councils can’t force property owners to lower rents and that many retailers are struggling because of rising outgoings such as power, water and gas. More competition might lower coffee prices for patrons but at the end that is not sustainable either for the operators.

Pop-up shops are the flavour of most councils but they are not a long-term solution because most of those who start a pop-up realise they can’t earn enough if they have to pay full commercial rates plus outgoings, so pop-ups do what their name suggest; they pop up and die after three or six months.

The always suggested free parking is not at all a solution because free parking will be taken up all day by commuters from Fremantle to Perth, backpackers, and Notre Dame students, so that would not leave too many bays for shoppers.

There is plenty of parking in Fremantle on weekdays and residents get free street parking before 11am and after 3pm.

Fremantle Council has a small ratepayers base so parking fees and fines are essential income for our city. Free parking would mean higher rates and I doubt property owners would agree that they had to pay for free parking of others. If it happened they would pass on the council rate increase to their tenants.

On very busy Sundays Fremantle might have the occasional parking issue, but surely no one expects Council to cater for weekend parking by creating more parking bays that would be vacant the rest of the week. It is like suggesting we should have 16-lane freeways to cater for rush hour traffic when for the rest of the day six lanes are sufficient.

I love the feeling of a good old high street, where there is a diversity of shops and were shop operators live above or behind their shops, as was the case in my home town of Hague in the Netherlands, where our family of seven lived behind the corner shop my parents ran, the pharmacist family on the other corner lived above their shop, the grocery shop people and the bookbinder next door lived behind the shop, as did the butcher on the other side of the street.

But times have changed and 25% of Australians engaged in on-line shopping last year, and money is tight with too many unemployed people.

There are never easy solutions, but we can all help by shopping local, even when it costs a few dollars more. Councils can not enforce shopping diversity or lowering of rents and we can only keep asking for property owners to keep the rents as low as possible so that our traders can survive and new traders are more willing to take the risk of starting in Freo.

Roel Loopers

Comments Off on COMMUNITY NEEDS TO SUPPORT LOCAL TRADERS

WHAT IS GOOD TASTE IN BUILDING DESIGN?

 

I think all of us who often complain about the mediocre new architecture we are getting in Fremantle should be delighted that the new DESIGN WA guidelines will apply from today on, but I am quite skeptical about the impact it will have, because good design is like good taste. It is very personal and hard to quantify.

Often when I have slammed the design of buildings others have commented they liked what I believed was atrocious architecture, so why would expert panels be any different in their different taste and preferences? Who dictates what good taste and good design is?

The new DESIGN WA guidelines are all about aesthetics and a review panel of 50 people will decide which planning proposal is in good taste and which one is not. The design review panel comprises of people from architecture, urban design, planning, and landscape architects plus more from heritage, public health, sustainability and engineering. It will be near impossible to reach consensus in such a big group I fear, so Chair Geoff Warn, who is the WA Government Architect, will have a big job ahead of him.

DESIGN WA has got rid of the controversial R-Code system applied up to now, so I wonder if Fremantle and other local councils will also do that. I’ll ask the Fremantle Planning Department if changes will be made in that regard.

I believe that our cities and communities deserve much better design than what we largely have been getting lately, especially for substantial apartment and office buildings. Retaining the tree canopy or providing significant numbers of trees and plants and creating much better streetscapes and public realm will be a very positive step forward. Let’s hope it can all be realised.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE EAST FREMANTLE MERGER TALKS

 

The City of Fremantle and Town of East Fremantle have started secret negotiations about a possible amalgamation of the two local councils.

East Fremantle residents rejected the proposed amalgamation during the Colin Barnett government local government reform process, which failed.

East Freo residents only succeeded stopping the merger because people in favour of it also voted, and hence they reached the required 50% of eligible voters minimum. Had pro amalgamation people not voted the merger would have gone ahead.

I hear that East Freo Deputy Mayor Michael McPhail, who was pro merger from the beginning, initiated the secret talks.

This is very interesting news and would make a lot of sense in my opinion, so let’s hope both councils can agree on the details.

It is timely also to receive a media release from the City of Fremantle today that Fremantle will create its own time zone and introduce daylight saving time next summer

Mayor Brad Pettitt said

Fremantle changing the time within its municipal boundaries to daylight savings time will reduce the time difference to two hours and give our businesses a competitive advantage compared to their counterparts around WA.”

 Mayor Pettitt acknowledged the decision may generate some controversy as people will need to adjust to Freo Time as they come and go. But he was confident the benefits would far outweigh any potential inconvenience.

 Residents and visitors alike will have longer evenings to enjoy our great beaches, café and bars,” he said.

 Digital screens will display Freo Time on all major entry points into Fremantle while the City’s parking officers will also assist people to adjust their watches. Clocks displayed in public places will be adjusted to Freo Time.

Bob Dylan was right many decades ago that the times they are changing.

Roel Loopers

AUSTRALIAN DAYS TO CELEBRATE INCLUSIVENESS

 

So what is the fuss about again about Australia Day? It was all over the news yesterday but there is very little new in what ScoMo and other politicians said, besides a new dress code for those who receive the citizenship certificate, which is soooooo un-Australian.

Already last year local councils were told by the Federal Government that citizenship ceremonies had to be held on January 26 and the City of Fremantle obliged, but also held the One Day event two days later on Sunday the 28th.

This year again we will have the very good One Day event on Sunday the 27th in Fremantle and the citizenship ceremony at Fremantle Oval on the 26th, and then we have the Australia Day Monday to do whatever we like.

And after we heard all the political stuff about how sacrosanct Australia Day supposedly is, it turned out that the ScoMo government only wants to introduce the changes in 2020, when they are most likely no longer in power. What a waste of time!

And just for the sake of the argument, why isn’t the Australian of the Year announcement on Australia Day, but the day before, and what actually is Australian Citizenship Day on September 17 for?

Personally I am looking forward to being at the citizenship ceremony in Freo because as a migrant myself I know how special and important that is, and I am very much looking forward to the Smoking Ceremony on Bathers Beach at 8am and the all day One Day event on the 28th. There is something for everyone. It is inclusive and it should not offend anyone to celebrate that way together!

Roel Loopers

 

Comments Off on AUSTRALIAN DAYS TO CELEBRATE INCLUSIVENESS

EAST FREMANTLE COUNCIL MORALLY ILLITERATE

 

Fremantle Councillors last night expressed their dismay about neighbours East Fremantle pulling out of the library services and stopping their $ 200,000 a year contribution to the Fremantle Library at the end of this financial year.

Councillor Andrew Sullivan, who sits on the joint Library Committee, said the members were gobsmacked when it was announced by the Town of East Fremantle, and when the two East Fremantle members of the committee simply no longer turned up to debate it.

“We were hoping East Fremantle Council would recognise it is morally wrong and change their mind”

Sullivan said it was not relevant how many East Fremantle people used Fremantle, Melville or Cockburn libraries. “In Fremantle we just celebrate that people are using the library and are not counting the numbers of which councils they come from” Sullivan said. “I won’t be as polite to them next time I see East Fremantle Councillors”

Councillors Doug Thompson and Bryn Jones pointed out that the Town of East Fremantle is one of the wealthiest councils in the metropolitan area and would be the only one that would not financially contribute to library services.

Councillor Rachel Pemberton said that after the last failed council amalgamation attempts she believed councils would work closer together, but instead the divide is getting wider. “No one from East Fremantle turned up at the last three Library Committees!”

The CEO confirmed that even if they stopped paying their contribution East Fremantle still could send two representatives to the Library Committee who would be allowed to vote. It would take Fremantle Council to change the local law to change that officially.

Mayor Brad Pettitt said he had the impression that the East Fremantle Mayor wanted to bring the issue back to his Council and reconsider their position.

Roel Loopers

 

Comments Off on EAST FREMANTLE COUNCIL MORALLY ILLITERATE

WE DEMAND OUR SAY IN CITY PLANNING!

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, city planning, development, Uncategorized by freoview on November 17, 2018

 

46279508_1259196154220573_2298890492248588288_n

 

This letter to the editors of the West Australian by Ian Kerr of Mt Lawley makes so many valid points about the failures of our planning process that it deserves to be spread around, so that more people can read it and comment on it.

The rights of local communities to have a proper say on city planning have been eroded over the years by giving more power to the Joint Development Assessment Panels(JDAP), SAT and the WA Planning Commission, which often overrule local council decisions and approve inappropriate high and bulky buildings in character suburbs.

Main Roads is all about moving vehicles, with often scant regard for pedestrians and other road users, and JDAP is all about building bigger buildings and higher density, and not about amenity and aesthetics. That needs to change.

Great letter, Ian Kerr! Keep up the good fight!

Roel Loopers

 

%d bloggers like this: