Freo's View

CHALLENGING FREMANTLE PORT FUTURE

Posted in city of fremantle, city planning, freight, fremantle ports, maritime, traffic, Uncategorized by freoview on September 19, 2019

 

The protest yesterday by the MUA-Maritime Union of Australia in front of Minister Simone McGurk’s office in Fremantle made me wonder why the union is not engaged in finding solutions.

It is by now well known that Fremantle Port can easily handle many more containers and could remain a working port for another 20-25 years, but that the issues are with how freight gets to and from the port, so has the MUA offered any ideas on how to solve that?

Why does MUA’s Chris Cain not sit down with Fremantle Ports, the trucking and stevedore companies and try to find solutions so that they get the people in North Fremantle and near Leach highway on their side?

I am always skeptical about a layperson offering quick solutions, so my suggestions are merely meant to be the start of a discussion among the experts.

Why not demand, or even enforce, 24/7 freight on road, more after business hours movement, so that there is less congestion during the day time?

Why not encourage or enforce that trucks can not arrive empty to pick up containers, but also have to deliver on the same trip? That might require more computerised collaboration between trucking companies, but it would make freight by road more efficient and hence more cost efficient. A win win for all.

Trucks that can only transport one single container should be banned as it is inefficient and clogs up roads. Coming back from the dentist yesterday I was at a North Fremantle traffic light where I saw nine trucks coming through and all of them just carrying one container. That is silly.

More freight on rail is also helpful but there is an issue with noise and vibration for people in the west end of Fremantle, and the current line cannot handle double stacking, so growth is limited even when a new bridge is built.

Fremantle Port is one of the most efficient ports in Australia so the MUA members clearly know what they are doing, so they should put their considerable experience toward trying to make the freight part of the operation more efficient and less of a burden on the local community.

And one more word to Chris Cain and his threat that the Member for Fremantle will be gone at the next election. Do you really believe that Lisa-I should think before I speak-Harvey and Bill-I must have been absent when God handed out brains-Marmion will be more supportive of the MUA than the current government?

Simone McGurk is a very hard working and excellent minister who has some very challenging portfolios, such as child protection and domestic violence. She does not deserve the MUA threat.

I love the working port and hope it will remain for a very long time, but consideration must also be given to the residents in North Fremantle and along the road and rail freight corridors, so it is a much bigger issue than just jobs for wharfies.  The MUA should be pro-active in investigation which kind of new jobs a new port might have to offer and assist in retraining some of their members.

But there is no need for panic as a new port if built at Kwinana will be a very slow and long process, and Chris Cain will long have retired by then and I will be long dead.

Roel Loopers

MUA WANTS FREMANTLE PORT TO STAY

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle ports, maritime, state government, Uncategorized, unions by freoview on September 18, 2019

 

MUA 6

 

The Maritime Union of Australia-MUA protested early this morning outside the office of Member for Fremantle Simone McGurk in Fremantle’s Market Street.

The MUA is not at al happy that the state government has been investigating through the Westport Taskforce what the future of Fremantle Port will be, with the preferred option a move to a new port at Kwinana.

The loud protest heard MUA branch secretary Chris Cain warn Simone McGurk that she will be gone at the next election.

The MUA is clearly worried about wharfies losing jobs at an automated new port, but the reality is that even if the state government decides to build a very expensive new port in Cockburn Sound it will take at least 15 years for it to be realised and replace our Freo port.

Roel Loopers

 

THE FUTURE OF FREO’S FISHING BOAT HARBOUR

 

The Strategic Planning and Transport Committee of Fremantle Council will on Wednesday consider the City’s position on the Fishing Boat Harbour and probable future development in the precinct.

The Officer’s Recommendation for Councillors to consider is:

OFFICER’S RECOMMENDATION

Council:

1. Adopts the following as a statement of its current position in respect of the future of Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour:

  1. The Council recognises the Fishing Boat Harbour as a vital part of Fremantle City Centre, both in terms of its function as an employment and activity centre and visitor destination, and is supportive of investment and appropriate new development to sustain the harbour into the future. This can be most effectively achieved through the preparation of a comprehensive up-to-date plan for the whole of the Fishing Boat Harbour to guide investment, activities and development.
  2. The harbour should be recognised as a component of the Fremantle City Centre, and as a part of the state’s marine network. It should not be treated as an isolated precinct.
  3. The harbour should continue to operate as an authentic working harbour with fishing fleet-related and other marine industries.
  4. Landside infrastructure and services to support ongoing use of the harbour by a range of commercial and recreational vessels (including boat lifting facilities with no less lifting capacity than current facilities) should be maintained, or suitably replaced if existing facilities/services are affected by development proposals. Review and redefinition of necessary infrastructure in collaboration with the fishing fleet industry should occur.
  5. Management of land uses within the harbour to minimise conflict and contain non-marine uses (such as entertainment and tourism uses) should continue. The harbour ‘zones’ defined in policy DGF10 should be used as a starting point for guiding land use locations, but with some flexibility.
  6. Any proposal to introduce noise sensitive land uses (e.g. short or long stay accommodation) should acknowledge the primacy of the working harbour function, and demonstrate provisions to manage any potential conflict (for example built form noise mitigation measures, management arrangements, title/lease notifications).
  7. Employment-generating uses not directly related to maritime industries and/or needing a harbour location should complement, not draw away, investment in the Fremantle City Centre core. Specifically, retail and office uses should only be supported where they are directly related and/or incidental to the primary marine or tourism related use. Convenience retailing should not be supported.
  1. Built form in any new development should respond to existing context and sense of place, and harmonise with the traditional low profile coarse grain industrial character of the area (whilst still making adequate provision for pedestrians and passive surveillance). Views to and connection with the water from the public realm should be provided. Some additional height beyond the typical height of existing harbour buildings could be entertained on a single key site if a development could demonstrably deliver significant public benefits and amenity in the vicinity.
  2. Any substantial new development proposal (particularly anything large scale) should be subject to formal design review (potentially by the State Design Review Panel).
  3. Coordinated improvement of the public domain to establish a more coordinated and amenable pedestrian and cycling environment is supported. Any redevelopment of the public domain should avoid a net loss of parking (incorporating nodal parking provided at the entrance).
  4. Key connections and vistas should be retained and reinforced. Connection to the Esplanade, Bathers Beach and to the waterfront should be improved and made more legible. Extension of Norfolk Street should be pursued as the primary entrance to the harbour.
  5. Establishment of public infrastructure necessary to facilitate improvement of the harbour and funding and contribution mechanisms to achieve these should occur as a priority to ensure a coordinated and equitable approach. This should involve contribution to Norfolk St extension/relocated railway crossing, public realm enhancements and waterfront access.
  6. Car parking provision and management should recognise the different needs of different harbour user groups. Day tourists and visitors to the harbour should be provided with a consolidated parking venue/s at or near the entrance/s to the harbour (potentially supported by cash in lieu payments for new development) and encouraged to walk into it rather than seek parking within the precinct. Conversely the operational requirements of marine industries and maritime activities need to be accommodated within the harbour.
  7. Any significant expansion of tourism function or introduction of residential uses should incorporate or facilitate a high quality area of open space including green elements.

2. Notes continued officer participation in the process of Fishing Boat Harbour visioning and policy review and in doing so officers will advance Council’s position outlined in (1) above.

Roel Loopers

 

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THERE ARE NO SIMPLE PORT SOLUTIONS

 

 

About one hundred people turned up at the North Fremantle community hall on Tuesday evening to ask questions about the future of Fremantle Port, which were answered by Nicole Lockwood, the chair of the Westport Taskforce, Ports CEO Chris Leatt-Hayter, Curtin university professor Peter Newman and Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt.

In the audience were also members from the Fremantle Inner City Residents Association and Fremantle Society president John Dowson, as well as Fremantle Councillors Jones, Archibald and Sullivan.

Nicole Lockwood told us that the so-called Blue Highway of putting containers on barges to ship them to Kwinana was very common all around the world. It is option 3 on the  shortlist.

It does not matter if the government selected the Roe 8 or Leach Highway options because both are flawed as the problem of the last mile to cross the river and getting freight into port was the problematic one that has not been resolved.

But it will take at least ten years to do anything new at all, and in the meantime we should be getting a new traffic bridge with a dedicated freight rail line on it.

Chris Leatt-Hayter said that Fremantle Ports is supportive of the Westport Taskforce and that it is a rigorous, fair and sound process. Fremantle Port could handle ships of up to 350 metres long and that were the biggest ones coming to Australia currently.

Leatt-Hayter said that the same number of trucks came to the port now as they did ten years ago, because many more containers were transported by rail and fewer trucks came or left empty.

The Port do not take the community for granted and try to minimise the impact of their operations. It has 78% support from the community to continue the Freo working port!

Mayor Brad Pettitt said that the working port is very much part of Fremantle’s identity and who we are and that it is good for our economy and provides thousands of port related jobs, but what happens on land needs to be managed as it impacts on the community. The shift onto rail is the key. “We want to keep the working port as long as we can.”

Professor Peter Newman wants the ASAP solution of having a new port in Kwinana as soon as possible because he believes litheum exports will substantially increase the number of containers.”We need a new technology port.”

The Q&A did not have many specific North Fremantle questions but Leatt-Hayter said that freight on rail had issues because it goes right past the Roundhouse and close to residential apartments.

Nicole Lockwood said a tunnel is far more problematic in the Perth region and even more so at the river mouth and that putting trains through a tunnel would mean they end up somewhere near Rottnest because of the gradient. Cost efficiency was also a major factor.

Aboriginal woman Corina Abrahams said that there was not enough concern for the cultural heritage and that we should not ruin Cockburn Sound. Common sense needs to prevail.

One community speaker said the solution was a dedicated lane for autonomous trucks that could run 24/7 and would create a lot less noise than the diesel trucks.

Nicole Lockwood said the state government needed to do two things at once; planning for the long term and improving for the short term. Significant investment would be needed in the next ten years with at least six major projects to improve the Fremantle Port operations, including widening Curtin Avenue. “Perth just does not have enough river crossings.”

North Freo resident Anne Forma said there had been a lot of talk and a lot of plans but nothing had happened and that the 2010 plans could have been implemented by now. “Investment in Fremantle Port is not a long term solution.”

Roel Loopers

WESTPORT TASKFORCE RESPONDS TO UNFAIR CRITICISM

Posted in city of fremantle, containers, freight, fremantle ports, maritime, Uncategorized by freoview on August 30, 2019

 

The Westport Taskforce has received a lot of criticism from the Liberal party and its PR agency the West Australian and Sunday Times, plus from interest groups, so it is good to see that the chair of the taskforce Nicole Lockwood has responded and rejects criticism that was often not based on facts, as she points out.

Read it all here: https://s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/ehq-production-australia/55a2a28b14ce22b742f8e9aff4526a6ae746b60f/documents/attachments/000/114/622/original/FINAL_Westport_Project_Update_15.pdf?1567142690?utm_medium=email

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE PORT BUSINESS AS USUAL

Posted in city of fremantle, containers, fremantle ports, maritime, Uncategorized by freoview on August 29, 2019

 

port crane

 

The old Patrick’s crane on North Quay in Fremantle Port is being dismantled to make way for a larger crane. A new ZPMC-brand crane will arrive early next year and that will be an impressive sight to see it floating into the harbour.

Fremantle is the most efficient of the five major container ports in Australia and it is not going anywhere for a long time. Think about putting a child into primary school and watch the transition to high school, and then watch it to decide if university is for them. That is the minimum time Fremantle Port will remain a working port, so no need to panic for those who love the port and believe it is significant to Freo’s unique character, as I do.

It is most likely that I will be rotting in hell well before Fremantle stops being our major working port in Western Australia.

Roel Loopers

 

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FREMANTLE SHIPWRECKS MUSEUM 40TH ANNIVERSARY

Posted in city of fremantle, history, maritime, museum, Uncategorized by freoview on August 28, 2019

 

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Come and celebrate the WA Shipwrecks Museum’s 40th Birthday (1979-2019) at a special late night opening event on Friday 6 September.

The Museum will be brought alive for the night with a wonderful range of free entertainment throughout the historic, heritage listed Commissariat building.

Enjoy candlelit tours, roving musicians and performers, children’s giveaways, a series of short and highly interesting curatorial talks, and stay cosy with fire pits and food trucks on the lawn.

Everyone is welcome to this free event—come along and help mark this special occasion. Please RSVP via the website.

The WA Shipwrecks Museum is recognised as the foremost maritime archaeology museum in the southern hemisphere. And it is my favourite one in Fremantle!

Steeped in history, the galleries house hundreds of relics from ships wrecked along WA’s treacherous coastline, including the original timbers from the Batavia (wrecked in 1629), the de Vlamingh Dish, and also countless artefacts from the Dutch shipwrecks Zuytdorp, Zeewijk and Vergulde Draeck.

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PORT DEBATE SHOULD NOT BE POLITICAL FOOTBALL

 

Roe 8

 

It is a shame that the future of Fremantle Port has become a political football with self interest groups battling it out.

There is another attack by the pro Liberal West Australian on Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt today and the Libs have also paid for a wrap around of the Fremantle Herald to tell us all how fantastic Roe 8 would be.

Let’s just pause and be clear about some of the issues here. First of all the Liberal party lost the last state election by a landslide and the Labor party had promised not to build Roe 8. Second is that the Perth Freight Link the Barnett government wanted never made it over the Swan River or dealt with the bottleneck in North Fremantle. It stopped at Stirling Highway and hence was not offering the solutions needed.

Traffic on Leach Highway is mainly general private traffic and not trucks to and from Fremantle Port, and truck movements to the port have decreased significantly the last year or so.

The Town of Kwinana and the Western Harbour Alliance are only promoting a new port at Kwinana for obvious reasons, while Fremantle wants the cake and eat it too by wanting to keep a working port but also developing Victoria Quay while reducing the traffic issues at North Fremantle and not inconveniencing residents along the railway line with more frequent container trains. They can’t have it all!

The MUA is only worried about wharfies losing jobs if a Kwinana Port is built because automisation at a new port would mean fewer jobs for MUA members.

Truck companies whinge about Leach Highway traffic because a new Kwinana Port would be mainly road based freight, according to the recent Westport Taskforce report, so that means more work and money for the road transport industry.

Those who fought for the Beeliar Wetlands seem a lot less concerned about the environmental impact on Cockburn Sound, and in general no one really talks about the impact massively increased freight traffic would bring to the Kwinana region and the residents there.

The political decision about Roe 8 has been made and the voters agreed with it, so the silly push by the Liberal party and West media is ignoring democracy. At the same time the City of Fremantle needs to start being pro-active about where to go when-it’s not if-Freo will lose its working port. It might still be 10-15 years away but it will happen, no matter how much the Mayor talks up the potential for Fremantle Port to handle a lot more containers.

In my opinion Fremantle will be a lot less attractive once it loses the vitality of the working port, but level headed discussions are needed and we need to be pragmatic and realistic about the options and opportunities. Making it all into a political football is silly, immature and unprofessional.

Roel Loopers

IS WESTPORT SHORTLIST PREMATURE?

 

It is predictable that Garreth Parker in today’s column in the pro Liberal Sunday Times claims that the Westport Taskforce is flawed because it did not consider Roe8/9 as a potential solution, but that is for two reasons. There is no potential Roe 8/9 offered that had a solution for the North Fremantle traffic congestions, as the Barnett government experts could not find a way of connecting the last part of the highway extension into the port, and the second reason is that the McGowan government was elected with a landslide on the promise not to build Roe 8/9.

While I believe the Westport Taskforce process has been very good I am surprised they announced the preferred shortlist of options before environmental assessments have been made about the impact a potential new port in Kwinana might have on Cockburn Sound and what impact the mainly land-based transport options would have on local communities away from Leach Highway and North Fremantle.

What if the EPA and other agencies rule that marine life would be far too much threatened in Cockburn Sound and that a new port is not acceptable? Do we start from scratch again and repeat the whole expensive progress without a new Kwinana port as an option?

Public information and transparency are very important, but maybe it was just premature to announce a shortlist of options with a new Kwinana port as the first option before we understand the impact it might have on the very important Cockburn Sound.

Roel Loopers

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CONTINUING FREMANTLE PORT ONLY SECOND OPTION FOR WESTPORT TASKFORCE

Posted in city of fremantle, containers, freight, fremantle ports, maritime, Uncategorized by freoview on August 15, 2019

 

The WESTPORT TASKFORCE has released its shortlist for future port operations and the preferred one is # 1- is the option 23 on the long list that would see a stand-alone land-backed port handling all container freight at Kwinana. The new port would extend from the Kwinana Bulk Jetty to the Alcoa jetty.

Option #2 is the long list Fremantle option 2 plus Kwinana option 24 for a shared port with a new one at Kwinana and Fremantle Port remaining as it is with some road, rail and operational enhancements.

Option # 3 would be as option # 2 but with a so called Blue Highway of shallow barges transporting containers from Fremantle to Kwinana.

From the Westport Taskforce:

While all of the assessment criteria were deemed to be of high importance, the assigned weightings are further explained below:

1. Capital expenditure and land acquisition costs, as a combined criterion, was weighted highest (18.2 per cent) as affordability was considered the most important criterion for the State. It is critical that Westport delivers an outcome that is fnancially responsible for the State.

2. Similarly, operations and maintenance costs received the second highest weighting of 16.4 per cent, as the fnal option must be commercially viable and affordable for the long-term.

3. Land use compatibility was weighted third at 14.5 per cent, as the impacts of expanded road and rail corridors, increased freight movement and/or a new port would be signifcant on nearby residences.

4. Marine environmental impacts were weighted highly at 12.7 per cent as a result of strong community support for this criterion.

5. Terrestrial environmental impacts were also weighted highly at 9.1 per cent, again in acknowledgment of the importance of this value to the community.

6. Net amenity impacts – such as impacts on recreation, visual amenity and beach use – were weighted equally at 9.1 per cent, based on strong community feedback around these issues.

7. The ability to expand the infrastructure (scalability) in the long-term if required and operational effciency was similarly weighted at 9.1 per cent.

8. Other determining factors were deemed to be heritage impacts (5.5 per cent), port and transport corridor access (3.7 per cent) and land availability and complexity of acquisitions (1.8 per cent)

Roel Loopers

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