Freo's View


Posted in Uncategorized, aboriginal, city of fremantle, australia day, elections by freoview on August 19, 2017


When will politicians finally stop making empty promises during election campaigns?

The West Australian article today on the start of Mayor Brad Pettitt’s campaign and the Fremantle local council election, reports that Mayoral candidate Ra Stewart has promised to restore the January 26 Australia Day events in the port city, should she get elected.

Neither Ra Stewart nor present Mayor Brad Pettitt have the power to make any changes on their own, as they will need at least half of the twelve elected members to vote with them to make any changes, or implement new policies.

The wannabe Mayor is just exhaling meaningless hot air, unless she wants to change Fremantle Council into a dictatorship where she on her own can decided what goes on in our city. I prefer democracy.

I wonder when she will start promising free steak knives to those who vote for her.


Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, election, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on August 18, 2017


Brad slogan


It comes as no surprise that Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt will be trying for another four- year term at the October 19 local government election, as announced in the Fremantle Herald today.

Well, I actually had he scoop last Tuesday, when the Pettitt for Mayor campaign accidentally went live on Facebook, but I deleted my post on Freo’s View after Brad called me and said he wanted to enjoy his maternity leave with gorgeous baby daughter Aoife, before announcing it.

I hope the fact that Brad Pettitt started his campaign on the birthday of my beautiful late father Nico will be a good omen for him.

There is no doubt that the last four years have often been controversial, and Fremantle Council have been accused of being Greens and socialists, but one cannot deny the economic achievements of encouraging unprecedented development in the CBD, which will set Fremantle on the right course for the future, in my opinion.

I have had and still have my doubts about the One Planet priorities, when council should have been more focussed on other matters, but I strongly believe the glass is half full for Freo and that we are growing, so that our traders will benefit soon from more people living and working in the inner city, and more visitors being able to stay here in new tourist accommodation.

I had serious issues in the past with Brad Pettitt, and what I considered to be his stubborn ego, but he has grown into a strong leader, who is willing to compromise, listen, take advise, and change his mind when better outcomes can be achieved.

The City of Fremantle does need to improve though and do all the basic small things better, and the Mayor and Councillors need to demand that from the CEO. Fremantle City  also needs to strongly improve the way it communicates with the community, as far too many people remain uninformed about what goes on at council.

Why for example does the weekly full page in the Fremantle Herald not report all the Council decisions made every week? Just a three liner per agenda item, that people can follow up on line in the minutes of Council and committee meetings. That is very simple and straight forward communication.

Fremante is on the right track and needs Elected Members who understand local government process.


Roel Loopers



Posted in city of fremantle, election, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on August 17, 2017


Good morning Freo!

I had this thought overnight, and am as surprised as you are that I can still remember it in the morning. ; >)

There is no need to swap Brad for Ra as Mayor, because we already have both of them. B-RA-D


Have a brilliant day in one of the most loveliest places on the planet!

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, elections, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on August 13, 2017


Fremantle Mayoral candidate Ra Stewart does not bother much about facts and is happy to continue criticising Fremantle Council with non-factual claims.

On her Facebook page she writes: …..Mayor Brad Pettitt has come out in the last couple of days and proposed changes to the current Council policy by offering free parking after 3:00 pm for Fremantle residences.

But if Stewart had bothered to take the time to inform herself, such as checking the City’s website, she would have known that free residents parking, with the appropriate permit, after 3 pm and before 11 am has been on for very many years. I have eight stickers on my car windscreen to prove it, and had them on previous cars as well, so it must have been implemented over ten years ago.

This is the person who wants to lead our Council and community, but who is not at all interested in facts. Stewart is either very lazy or too arrogant to check facts, and that is not the quality I would like to see in a Mayor.

The other day she claimed the Portuguese Club might be moving to Cockburn, when only two months ago the City and the club signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the club to relocate to the St John’s site in Parry Street.

We are getting a lot of hyperbole and hot air from Stewart but not a lot of substance, and that is extremely disappointing and a serious worry.


Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, family, Uncategorized by freoview on August 11, 2017


A BIG CONGRATULATIONS! to Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt and his partner Emma.

The couple had their first child earlier this week. It’s a girl!!!!

No doubt the parents are as much in awe off their newborn as I am about babies in general. These beautiful little creatures are the true miracles in the world and a blessing.


Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, election, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on August 6, 2017


Here is some interesting news! If the 70+ per cent of voters who did not bother to vote at the local council election two years ago had all voted for me, I would have won the Beaconsfield Ward election. ; >). It shows how important it is for young and old to vote!

In eleven weeks from now we will know what the new Fremantle Council will look like, and if voters go for continuity during the very important and challenging transition period of the Kings Square Project development, and stay with present Mayor Brad Pettitt, or trust candidate Ra Stewart, who has no local government experience.

There will definitely be two new Councillors, for East Ward’s Dave Cogging, who resigned to become and advisor to Premier Mark McGowan, and City Ward where Simon Naber will not contest the election.

Sam Wainwright in Hilton, Hannah Fitzhardinge in Beaconsfield, Andrew Sullivan in South Ward and Doug Thompson in North Fremantle all will need to battle to retain their seat.

The biggest battle for local government though is apathy and getting voters to participate, so I would love to see Fremantle Council run a non-political advertising campaign to urge people to vote.

If you are one of the 70+ per cent who don’t bother to vote you really have no right to whinge about your local council.

You have the chance to make a difference, so grab your democratic right and privilege and vote. PLEASE!!!!

It’s a postal vote so all you have to do is fill out a form, stick it in the supplied envelope and put it in a mail box on your way to work, school, shopping, the train station. Do it!

Election results will be counted from 6pm on October 21 at the Fremantle Townhall.


Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, election, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on August 5, 2017


I am disappointed about the negative election campaign Fremantle Mayoral candidate Ra Stewart is running.

Stewart is a communication professional, so she knows all about the impact of running a negative campaign. That’s what all major political parties do, so why care about facts and fairness.

The latests Rabbish is on the front page of this week’s Fremantle Herald, where Liberal party supporter Stewart blames Fremantle Council for decisions made by businesses and the Liberal State Government. One can hardly call that fair or factual.

The departure of TAFE, downgrading of Fremantle Hospital, departure of Myer and the Dockers, yes it’s all Freo Council’s fault, according to Stewart.

Fremantle Council fought hard to keep Myer and the Dockers in town, with a City delegation travelling over east to talk to the Myer CEO, and Councillor Andrew Sullivan traveled with the Dockers’s board to look at the best AFL club facilities, but unfortunately it was to no avail. Freo City bend over backward to try to accommodate the Dockers, but they wanted to move on, and even get CoF to pay for their clubhouse or they would not give up the long-term lease of Fremantle Oval. Pretty disgraceful really!

Businesses don’t care about communities, they care about the triple bottom line, and the Dockers received financial support from the Liberal State Government to move to Cockburn.

Mayor Brad Pettitt even suggested I start a community campaign, so I set up the Keep Freo in Freo Facebook page when I was president of the Fremantle Society, as the Mayor believed a community push might help Council to convince the Dockers management to remain in town, but it did not succeed.

It is fair game to criticise Fremantle Council for decisions they made and one does not approve off, but blaming them for state or federal government decisions is ridiculous.

According to the Herald, Stewart also promised at her fundraising lunch at Bathers Beach House that she would reinstate Fremantle’s Australia Day celebrations to January 26. That is an empty promise she can’t realise, because should she be elected, she will have no power to implement that.  She should instead have promised that she would try to convince her colleagues on Council that Freo should go back to the traditional Australia Day date, and hope she’ll get a majority of elected members to vote with her.

I am disappointed in Stewart’s campaign to become the next Mayor of Fremantle, as it is all about attacking Fremantle Council, but not offering new, innovative ideas and long-term strategies for our city. Changing half hour free parking to one hour might me popular, but would it be practical?

Her slogan Freo For All is naive, as no politician will ever please everyone in the community or be inclusive of all the groups. Go to any planning meetings and see the disappointment of those whose propsals are rejected, or by neighbours whose opposition to proposals are ignored, and one realises that when one pleases one part of the community one upsets other parts of the community.

Local government is about being a team player and trying to achieve the best outcomes with a majority of votes. Stewart seems to believe however that as the Mayor she would have the power to dictatorially change policies all by herself, and that is total nonsense.

Promises by individual candidates that they will change things are unrealistic and ignorant of local government process, and voters should be aware of that and not get sucked in.

During political election campaigns it is important for voters to have a bullshit detector, because the hot air candidates expel might zap our brains.

Roel Loopers


Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, heritage, historic, Uncategorized, western australia by freoview on July 18, 2017



The new Western Australian Minister for Heritage David Templeman came into Fremantle today, in the company of Freo’s own Minister Simone McGurk, to announce at the National Hotel the official permanent listing of the historic West End in the State Register of Heritage Places.

The Minister said this was the largest single place to be included in the state register. The area of the Goldrush Period includes 250 buildings and 200,000sqm.

Templeman said that the City of Fremantle had played a critical role in the very long process and that the report about it is 574 pages long. It was a process of collaboartion with state and federal agencies, property owners and Fremantle Council and administration.

Fremantle is unique, the Minister said, and the state heritage listing has the potential to increase tourism marketing and attract new bars and eating opportunities.

The listing does not mean however that the place can not be altered and developed, he said.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said he was proud to have been part of the process that took a very long time.

The listing changes the way we understand heritage, the Mayor said, and he quoted CoF heritage architect Alan Kelsall that Fremantle is not a museum and that it was essential to restore and use heritage buildings.

National Hotel owner Karl Bullers said there needed to be more state and national marketing for the historic area and the state listing would be a catalyst to drive heritage tourism to Fremantle.

Heritage and business need to work together as there needs to be a good return on investment.

Heritage is getting quite trendy, Bullers told the audience.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, community, elections, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on May 1, 2017


The Fremantle Mayoral election campaign is under way very early with the launch of Ra Stewart’s campaign launch on Friday evening and the first election advertisement in the Fremantle Herald.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt has yet to officially declare if he will be standing again but all signs are that he believes he still has a job to finish and will try to remain Mayor for another four years.

We are an opinionated lot in Freo, and Councillors and the Mayor have plenty of supporters but also plenty of haters who will criticise just about anything Council does.

I would love to see an election campaign of visions, ideas, innovation and the realisation of how strong local government grassroots is. Only at local government can we come to Council and address our Elected Members. We cannot do that in State or Federal government and we need to take advantage of the opportunity to let our Councillors know what we like and dislike.

It is probably too much to ask the community for fairness and balance and give Council credit where it is due, because we tend to focus on the negative aspects of Council decisions and tend to ignore the achievements.

I have always disliked what happens in politics when opposing parties just slam everything the other party proposes, instead of open-mindedly also acknowledging good ideas their opponents have. I found that childish and immature.

The Fremantle community is very engaged, but reading many of the comments on social media, letters to the newspapers and hearing them on talk-back radio, I am also stunned about the lack of knowledge, and people making complaints that are based on ignorance because they fail to inform themselves.

It is not fair to the Elected Members to assume one knows something and criticise them for decisions they have not made, when it is very easy to find out what has been happening at Council by reading agendas and minutes, or better even, as I do, attend Council and Committee meetings so one can hear what is being debated at Council and observe how good or bad we are represented by our Councillors.

Politics at all levels will find many people disappointed with what our politicians decide, while others will be delighted. That is just how it works and it will never change. Politicians will never ever please everyone and will either be considered too left or too right by the community, whatever our personal preferences are.

When Council approves a new family home it is likely that it upsets at least the two neighbours to the left and right, while the applicants will be over the moon, or if the proposal is rejected the neighbours will be happy but the proponent will hate Council. That is one of the many realities Councillors have to deal with every day and they do their utmost to make the right and fair decisions.

I was very much against Planning Scheme Amendment 49 because I believed it would open the doors for too excessive heights in the CBD, and I still believe those heights should have been restricted to 8-9 storeys only, but when I witness the massive development in the inner city that will see Fremantle’s economic prospects turn around dramatically in the next few years, I have to acknowledge that this is the result of PSA 49 being implemented by Council.

The Esplanade Youth Plaza was hugely controversial and I too believe that it should have been added to the reserve by building it on the Italian Club carpark site, but the enormous success of the skatepark cannot be ignored.

The Australia Day decision was very controversial but has now started an Australia-wide debate if we should change the date of it, and the doom and gloom predictions that it would be a disaster for Fremantle traders did not eventuate.

The Kings Square Project will probably be debated for another ten years but I have no doubt it will help to revitalise the inner city to the benefit of our traders. I find it futile to debate if or if not we need a new civic centre after the decision about it was made years ago, and if it should or should not be erected at our City Square.

What remains disappointing though is that the City of Fremantle still has not made public the full business plan they signed off on with Sirona Capital. We were told before the State Government signed a lease for the offices that it was commercial confidentiality that prevented the business plan being made public, but that excuse is no longer valid.

It is tactically very silly of Fremantle Council to not let us read the Kings Square contracts because it will just give more ammunition to the conspiracy theorists who believe there is something sinister about it all. Transparency and openness should not just be election buzzwords but a given at local government.

We’ll have the chance over the next five months to question and scrutinise the candidates who will step up to represent us and they should all get a fair go. That includes the sitting members because most of them have worked extremely hard over the last four years to do the right thing by the city they love. They too deserve fairness and not the utterly ridiculous and untrue assertions that they are all mere puppets to the Mayor and vote whatever he tells them to vote for. Nothing could be further from the truth, as I have observed personally for around ten years now.

Councillors are very very thorough and they take their responsibilities very serious. The challenge for us voters will be to see through the hot air and bulls… and decide if new contenders will do a better job than those who have the local council experience and knowledge. Be aware that it is easy to make empty promises when one does not understand the process of government.

I will endeavour to act as the Devil’s advocate and Freo’s conscience and report with fairness and balance during the election campaign, as I have done on Freo’s View for seven and a half years.

All Council candidates will get a fair go here and if they send me info about their campaign I will share that with the community, however I will insist on respectful dialogue no matter if you are far left or far right, somewhere in the middle, or just an undecided voter.

Roel Loopers



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

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