Freo's View

FREMANTLE RESPONDS TO KWINANA PORT FUTURE

 

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt has responded to today’s announcement by WA Premier Mark McGowan that a new port will be build at Kwinana and operating there from 2032. The Mayor said the council’s position on the future of Fremantle port was clear.

“For more than 120 years the inner harbour has been central to Fremantle’s identity as a port city, and the employment and activity associated with the operations of the inner harbour are a critical component of the Fremantle region’s economy,” Mayor Pettitt said.

“While we recognise the need for an expanded role for the outer harbour at Kwinana, the council has been very firm in its view that the inner harbour should be retained as a working port.

“We will need to take some time to sit down and properly review today’s announcement and consider where to from here, but obviously any move to end container handling at North Quay will have massive implications for Fremantle.

“I’m looking forward to hearing from the state government what they have in mind to compensate Fremantle for the loss of such an important asset and how they plan to support the Fremantle economy during the transition to the outer harbour.”

In August 2018 Fremantle Council reaffirmed a position that container handling should be maintained at North Quay, provided the associated land side transport arrangements had no greater impact on the local community than current port operations.

The council also called for Victoria Quay to be progressively developed for community, tourism and commercial uses, with a focus on improved facilities for cruise ship passengers, and that car imports and other freight shipments coming through Victoria Quay should be transferred to another location as soon as possible.

As I suggested about a week ago the announcement by the Premier today appears to be one to make it palatable for Kwinana and Fremantle, with so many unknown factors still that might change the direction of the government in the future. No jobs are at risk for at least a decade, with promises of thousands of jobs when the new port and roads get built.

 

Roel Loopers

 

THE FREMANTLE CHALLENGES OF COVID-19

 

Business in Freo-Through the lockdown and beyond was the theme of the monthly Fremantle Network meeting at The Local in South Fremantle last evening. The network had been unable to meet for several months due to Covid-19, so good to see around 50 people turning up for it and Steve Grant of the Fremantle Herald for the first time being the moderator.

Piers Verstegen of the Conservation Council said we are lucky to live in one of the most isolated parts of the world and that the WA government’s approach to Covid recovery was different from that of the federal government. It is important to have community-lead projects where we get involved and have input. We need to have a rethink where jobs come from, because that is not the resources industry, with huge opportunities for the renewable, conservation, cultural and care industries.

The pandemic had changed the role of governments and there needs to be a way we can control the economy, and as voting patterns show people are feeling really dis-empowered. “How do we collectively shape where the economy goes? There needs to be a change of attitude.”

It was especially important to consider the impact Covid had on the employment of women, because they worked in a higher percentage in severely affected industries such as hospitality and tourism.

Dave Furness, who owns the Carriage cafe on the Esplanade with his partner Rochelle, and who is also the managing director of  resources engineering company WENCO in O’Connor, said the outlook for 2020 had been great until Covid-19 turned the world upside down. It had been a priority for him to extensively communicate with the 80+ staff, consider cash flow, prepare for the future and consider that there could be another spike in WA in the future, if we are forced to re-open the state’s borders. “At the moment it is a great place and things are in control, but we are still vulnerable, Furness said. “WA is keeping the Australian economy going!”

Councillor Frank Mofflin, who is leading Fremantle Council’s Covid Recovery Group, said he was very optimistic where Fremantle currently is and where we will be in 12-18 months from now. Freo is so well positioned after Covid, but when will that be? The challenges we face now and post Covid are not unique to Fremantle, and many businesses had adapted very well with more on-line trade, take away food, home deliveries of goods, etc.

Great management by the state government and a truckload of luck has put WA in a good position and that is helping us build confidence in our community. We need to market Fremantle as the place that dealt with the virus challenges in the best possible way!

Mofflin said that over 80 per cent of investment in Fremantle has come from the private sector, and that showed they had confidence in Fremantle’s future.

Councillor Rachel Pemberton stood in for Michelle Mackenzie of Shelter Australia, whose mother had died recently, and said that it had been an amazing effort by the WA government and all governments really to cope with the impact of Covid-19. The lockdown was also an inspiring time, where we had time to slow down and think about what is important and about our families. The pandemic is still a risk and it had been disappointing to hear that vulnerable people had been refuses residential leases, because the federal government had ruled that no one could be evicted before November. Many landlords were not happy with that restriction, so preferred not to sign new leases. That meant we noticed many more people living on the street in Fremantle.

The beginning of Freo’s transition and renewal had been delayed because of the pandemic and there was a need for more crisis support and social housing, with a start made with the state’s Common Ground project in Perth. People who never needed any help were suddenly forced to seek support.

The government’s Jobseeker money had made a huge difference and given many people self respect and pride, because they were able to go shopping for new clothes and other necessities they previously could not afford. Pemberton said we can grow the economy without killing the planet. “We need to put people first in our economy?”

There was unfortunately not much time left for the Q&A, but it was sobering to hear Piers Verstegen tell that there are 5,000 people on the waiting list for social housing in WA, but that we are going backwards, rather than making inroads here.

The Fremantle Network are really good community forums and I wonder if it would be possible to live stream them, so that people who don’t feel comfortable going out at night could watch it from the safety of their home.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE CITY FINANCIAL CRISIS

 

There is no doubt that the City of Fremantle is having a very difficult financial time with loss of revenue reportedly at $ 2 million a month, which would mean that if the current Covid-19 restrictions remain in place Fremantle would lose $ 12 million over the next six months and will need to drastically reduce expenditure. Freo City management have already done that on a small scale by reducing staff hours and staff numbers temporarily, but there are concerns that for some staff it might mean permanent loss of employment. Senior management and elected members also have taken a 20 per cent pay cut.

It will be extremely hard to prioritise where costs can be cut, and some of it will not be popular with the Fremantle community, but in these unprecedented times unpopular decisions will have to be made.

Word is out that Council might scrap the $ 800,000 per year CAT bus service and that would be very disappointing, but I have little doubt that especially the festivals, One Day Australia Day event, and major works, such as the traffic calming along South Terrace and Hampton Road, will be considered when the elected members discus how and where to save money. The planned new playground at Kings Square might also be cancelled or deferred.

It is of no help at all then when the Fremantle Society comes up with ludicrous suggestions, such as that the completion of the Walyalup Civic Centre at Kings Square should be deferred and the building should be made into an exhibition centre that would show the City of Fremantle art collection.

Does the Society even have a clue on how much money it would take to change the purpose built administration centre into a proper exhibition space? Do they really believe it is just a matter of not putting staff furniture in there and hang some pictures on walls? How naive and silly! And by the way, the Fremantle art collection is not all that flash, as I noticed when I was assigned to photograph most of it some twenty years ago. I asked the consultant curator then why the city had an art collection of which about 70 per cent is mediocre and of Sunday painter quality that is not worth exhibiting.

We do already have an outstanding Fremantle Arts Center that has great exhibitions, concerts and events, and some of the Freo art collection is regularly shown there in the gallery just past the reception desk.

The Fremantle Society president also suggests to redirect the $ 800,000, if the CAT gets stopped, to the repairs of Arthur’s Head, but the CAT would be scratched to save money, not to use it elsewhere.

Council and the administration can use all the help they can get to make good financial decisions, but simplistic and unrealistic demands are not helpful at all, so there is no hope in hell either that council rates will be reduced by 4%, as the Society president suggested.

Let’s stay calm and be realistic, and let’s not start a blame game about which past Council decisions might have been wrong. No one could even anticipate the global pandemic situation we are in, but we do need to learn from it and the City of Fremantle needs to put away money for unexpected changes in the economy. All it can do now is borrow more money, slash costs, because there is no way they can increase council rates from July. Businesses and property owners are struggling. We all are!

We all need to concentrate on the future and acknowledge that there are councils, such as Fremantle, which need and deserve financial support from the state and federal governments, or a lot of public works will not happen, and we could well lose our festivals and events for some years. That would be absolutely terrible!

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE CRUISE SHIP UPDATE

Posted in city of fremantle, covid-19, cruises, cruiseship, fremantle ports, health, Uncategorized by freoview on March 29, 2020

 

Latest from the cruise ship debacle in Fremantle is that the MSC Magnifica, after restocking, will finally leave our shores, so although there are no reported cases of coronavirus on board that vessel, she will finally leave, as WA Premier Mark McGowan insisted on.

The MS Artania has now 47 infected people, so fewer than the 70 cases reported. They will be cared for at two western suburbs private hospitals.

The Western Australian passengers on the Vasco da Gama will be transferred to Rottnest Island on Monday for two weeks of isolation, while the interstate and overseas passengers will be driven to the Perth airport to fly straight back home.

While there is a lot of criticism of all our governments we need to acknowledge that the Covid-19 is an unprecedented crisis and policy is made on the run, as the issues change and problems increase.

There are no easy solutions, no quick fixes, and this is not a government problem but a problem that all of us as a community, and as the global village need to attack. Stay as home as much as you can. Do physically connect with people as little as possible, and ideally not at all. Go for a healthy walk to get some fresh air, but don’t use it to socialise.

Get a take away coffee, but don’t linger. Stay away from each other when going for an early morning swim, but don’t stay on to sun bake for hours.

Socialise on the phone or via the internet, us Skype and Facetime, etc, but don’t invite friends over for dinner or drinks!

Apply common sense and think of other people!

WASH YOUR HANDS! WASH YOUR HANDS! WASH YOUR HANDS!

Roel Loopers

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CAFES MIGHT SURVIVE ON TAKE AWAY ONLY

Posted in cafe, city of fremantle, cofee, government, health, hospitality, Uncategorized by freoview on March 15, 2020

 

I have a suggestion to make for all our governments, before they might enforce closure of cafes, because of coronavirus worries, which could kill many of those small businesses.

If you believe it is necessary, close the cafes, but allow them to sell takeaway coffee and food through some kind of hole in the wall system, by simply not allowing patrons to enter the cafe, or sit at alfresco tables and seats.

That should be a good and acceptable compromise. Not sure how you can do that with bars, taverns and restaurants though. Beer on the go?

The most important message and attitude we all must have is to not get morose and stop enjoying life, or we’ll end up with more depressions and anxiety sufferers that those affected by the nasty virus. Keep smiling!

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE MAYOR NOMINATES FOR GREENS

 

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt will be nominating for the Greens upper house for the Southmetro state seat, but that will now have to go to the party’s very rigorous preselection process, and it will have to be seen if other members nominate or if Pettitt is the only nominee.

I have no idea how long that process by the Greens will be, but if Pettitt wins the preselection he will probably have to stand down as Fremantle Mayor well before the October 2021 local government election, so might that mean a by-election for Freo?

Time will tell.

Roel Loopers

PROBITY CHECK ON FREO’S CIVIC CENTRE HOSPITALITY LEASE

 

This Wednesday’s Fremantle Ordinary Council meeting will deal with an interesting motion by South Ward Councillor Marija Vujcic. I hope the other Elected Members will support the motion, as it is all about transparency.

ELECTED MEMBER MOTION

That council engage an independent probity auditor to assess the financial, reputational and community risk in the Council’s proposed lease for the civic building hospitality space.

A probity auditor will verify that the City of Fremantle’s processes in regard to the hospitality lease of the Walyalup civic centre triangle are consistent with government law and legislation, guidelines and best practice principles.

I believe it is very healthy to check and double check what our governments are doing, as there is far too much skepticism in the community about proper process.

Roel Loopers

INSULT IS ALL THAT IS GOOD ABOUT FREO?

Posted in city of fremantle, community, politics, social media, Uncategorized by freoview on February 3, 2020

 

The rubbish one has to put up with when one offers a community service and publish a Fremantle blog for over ten years.

Last week I received a comment to my article about the Fremantle Australia Citizenship ceremony that ended with …. Dickhead, so I emailed the person back and told him that I do not publish rude comments on my blog, since then I have received the emails below that have the email address andygreenie.greenfield@gmail.com

Email # 1 Sorry must have got you confused with the Mayor Pettitt. Your are his and the Labor party propaganda machine right?

Greenie………

Email # 2 We are a collective of non binary concerned Fremantle and surrounding residents. We embody all that is good about Freo……………..Do what you must 🙂

We plan to steer the town back to its roots of a non-divisive family orientated community.

Greenie

Email # 3 And your just full of bullshit propaganda for you mates on council and the Labor Party. Go suck Brad Pettitt’s & Brian Smith’s balls…Hahaha

Everyone who has been following this blog knows that I am trying to be as balanced as possible and let everybody have their say. I criticise Fremantle Council and the administration when I believe they deserve it, and when they do the right thing I express that as well.

The whole idea of this blog was to create a forum for respectful dialogue about what is best for Fremantle, and if Greenie believes that his comments to and about me “embody all that is good about Freo” he must be delusional.

As I strongly expressed in my emails back to him he is a coward who does not even have the courage of conviction to send comments to my blog with his full and real name.

Everything I have published on Freo’s View and in letters to editors of newspapers have always been with my full name, and so have the radio interviews I have given.

Sending rude emails and comments is childish, it is immature, and it is not a progressive way forward to debate the Freo issues. Be a man, Greenie, and let us all know who you really are, and don’t hide behind a fake email address, only cowards and bullies do that!

I have warned the person(s) who sent me the emails that I will report him/them to WA Police if they contact me again, and I will!

Roel Loopers

ARTHUR’S HEAD NEGLECT A DISGRACE

 

AH

DSC_7027

The fenced off carpark below the Roundhouse now looks like this. Disgraceful!

 

I reported previously about the state of neglect at the fenced off carpark below the Fremantle historic Roundhouse tourist attraction (2nd photo), with weeds of a metre-high popping up, but now an idiot has thrown down a rubbish bin that belongs to 10 Captain’s Lane, and it looks even worse for all those who walk and cycle by.

Roel Loopers

NEW FREO PUBLIC GOLF COURSE PLANS

Posted in city of fremantle, city planning, local government, sport, Uncategorized by freoview on December 20, 2019

 

191220golfcourseconcept

 

The City of Fremantle has revealed the preferred concept for the reconfiguration of the Fremantle Public Golf Course.

The proposed new nine hole, par 34 layout includes a new opening hole running parallel to Montreal Street from the existing chipping green to existing club house, plus a challenging new par 5 hole, while also retaining the course’s signature finishing hole.

The design utilises most of the existing fairways, although some of the holes have been reversed.

The exact location of tees and greens and the final course length will be determined as part of the detailed design.

“The design team has done a terrific job to come up with a layout that meets all of the council’s criteria on a reduced footprint while minimising the impact on trees,” Mayor Brad Pettitt said.

“Obviously there will be some disruption to the golf course while the reconfiguration works are carried out, but we will continue to work with the operator of the course to make sure this is managed and minimised wherever we can.

The redesign of the golf course is required to make way for the Main Roads WA upgrade of High Street, which will result in the loss of the existing third and sixth holes.

As part of the High Street project Main Roads will fund a program of accommodation works including the reconfiguration of the golf course and the construction of a replacement club house.

The City of Fremantle engaged Perth-based landscape architects Aspect Studios to undertake the project, including specialist golf course designer Richard Chamberlain, landscape architect Stuart Pullyblank and project manager Mal Birch.

Over the past five months the design team has worked with the operator of the golf course to assess a number of design options to refine and agree the preferred concept.

Two public workshops were also held with golf club members to present the various options for input and feedback.

Works have now taken place to provide an interim golf course arrangement utilising the existing club house, with construction of the new course estimated to take place between May and November 2020.

It’s anticipated that from approximately September 2020 until November 2021 the golf course will be open with temporary club house facilities, while the new club house is expected to be completed by December 2021.

The driving range is expected to remain open through the majority ofthe works.

For more information visit the Fremantle Public Golf Course project page on the City of Fremantle website.

 

Roel Loopers

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