Freo's View

FREO MAYOR NEEDS MORE THAN RA RA RA

Posted in elections, fremantle, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on May 8, 2017

It is very disappointing that Fremantle Mayoral candidate Ra Stewart is engaging in cheap political point scoring.

This from her Facebook page: Why does Fremantle Council insist on focusing on issues beyond local government’s remit instead of those that truly impact on Fremantle like the loss of workers from Freo Hospital, the cleanliness of the city, decline in retail and the loss of cruise ships to Freo Port…?

I was expecting a lot more class, substance and fairness from Ra who was the Chair of the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce for many years and who should know how local government works.

Ra is no doubt well aware that there is a (inter)national decline in retail and that shops are vacant all over the Perth metro area and around Australia.

Ra is no doubt also aware that Fremantle Council has no power whatsoever to direct WA government agency Fremantle Port or can influence the state government to do something about the ports of Broome, Geraldton and Exmouth. They are the main reasons P&O cruiseliners will no longer call Fremantle Port home!

Fremantle Council lobbied State Government for years to keep Fremantle Hospital and the emergency department going, but Ra could not be bothered to attend Councils meetings until she had her overnight calling to stand for Mayor.

Cleanliness can be an issue in Fremantle on weekends and festival days, but many overseas tourists at the Roundhouse tell me how impressed they are about how clean Freo is. Subjective. I know.

Very disappointing Ra and you are losing me fast!

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE, VISIONS, PORTS AND MUSHROOMS

Posted in city of fremantle, community, fremantle ports, western australia by freoview on June 6, 2016

Kwinana to Freo

 

There are two interesting events on Tuesday evening that are worth attending.

At 6 pm Ryan Creed will give us his vision for Fremantle at the National Hotel in the monthly Fremantle Network speakers series. Creed is the co-founder of Life Cykel, which collects used coffee from cafes and uses it to grow mushrooms. Just hoping Creed’s vision for Freo is not a dark place. ; >)

At 7 pm all interested in Fremantle Port and a new outer harbour should come to Victoria Hall where the Mayors of Fremantle and Kwinana will be speaking together with Dave Parks, the former president of the WA Farmers Federation and Chris Oughton, who is a director at Kwinana Industries.

No doubt the presentation Kwinana to Freo will also discus the proposed Perth Freight Link.

Both events are free and also good opportunities to network, so come along!

Roel Loopers

 

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DAVE COGGIN NEW FREO DEPUTY MAYOR

Posted in city of fremantle, local government, western australia by freoview on May 26, 2016

East Ward Councillor Dave Cogging was this evening elected the new Deputy Mayor of the City of Fremantle in a contest with Councillors Jon Strachan and Rachel Pemberton.

Councillor Coggin has been an astute, no nonsense member of Fremantle Council since 2009 and serves on the Strategy and Planning Committee, the Finance, Policy, Operations and Legislation Committee and on the Library Advisory Committee.

The election became necessary after Josh Wilson resigned from council to contest the Federal seat of Fremantle for the Labor party.

Congratulations Dave!

Roel Loopers

FREO MAYOR LIBERAL FEDERAL CANDIDATE

Posted in elections, fremantle by freoview on April 1, 2016

In a sensational announcement the Liberal Party will today endorse Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt as their candidate for the seat of Fremantle for the Federal election. This is a huge surprise and no doubt a shock to Sherry Sufi, Perette Kelly and Philip Mercer who had all indicated their desire to be nominated.

My Liberal party informant told me that Premier Colin Barnett pulled rank and demanded Brad Pettitt be the candidate. It has been known for a long time that Barnett and Local Government Minister Tony Simpson are big fans of the Freo Mayor and the way he has cranked up development in the port city.

The announcement will not please the Greens, who nominated lawyer Kate Davis as their candidate, but it was known Brad Pettitt was not impressed the Greens did not nominate him, although he put a brave face to it and told the media he had not finished with his job at the City of Fremantle and there was still a lot to be achieved.

It will also see the Mayor battling for the seat against Maritime Union heavyweight Chris Brown, who defeated Deputy Mayor Josh Wilson as the preferred Labor candidate, so the knives are out.

The seat will become vacant after Melissa Parke MP retires, and while Fremantle is still considered a safe Labor seat it is clear that the Liberals believe they have a real chance of winning it with such a high-profile candidate as Brad Pettitt.

I don’t believe anyone should underestimate Brad’s chances, as he has a very large number of followers in Fremantle and a very high public profile, far more than Brown and Davis together.

It looks like we are going to have a very heated election campaign that will challenge traditional Liberal voters, who mostly dislike the Fremantle Mayor because of his Green credentials and pro-bike, anti-car policies. To run the party line they would have to vote for someone they can’t stand, so will they do that?

Fascinating times ahead for Freo. I can’t wait for the public debates!

Roel Loopers

STATE DEVELOPMENT PANELS THREATEN LOCAL DEMOCRACY

Posted in city of fremantle, councils, development by freoview on March 11, 2016

Communities, councils and planning experts are getting more and more vocal against inappropriate infill, higher density, and the role the State’s Development Assessment Panels and State Administrative Tribunal play in it.

Already four local councils, including the big City of Vincent, have expressed their dismay about DAPs and want the state government to scrap the process or make it more democratic, because it has a pro-developers bias. The two Councillors on the panels are outnumbered by three public servants, and while developers have the right to challenge the DAP decisions, local councils have not. That is undemocratic.

The Mayor Brad Pettitt Facebook page has a discussion going on about infill, and highly-respected city planner and architect Dr Linley Lutton will argue on Wednesday at UWA that inappropriate infill is destroying communities.

It is disappointing that the  WA Labor party has remained silent on this subject, although I believe it would win them a substantial number of votes if they abandoned the Direction 2031 Liberal party infill targets for more density and the disliked DAPs.

In my personal opinion there is nothing wrong with higher density and higher buildings in the right locations, but the push to have it all happening close to railway stations and public transport corridors is a threat to the lifestyle and unique character of older suburbs such as Fremantle, Subiaco, etc.

It is outrageous that the State agencies overruled Subiaco Council and approved a 16-storey-building on the former market site at Rokeby Road, when council only wants buildings up to eight storeys. Imagine the DAP would have allowed the Atwell Arcade building in Freo to be twice as high and eight storeys instead of four!

The problem of setting indiscriminate infill targets for all local councils is that high density building are popping up in the wrong locations, where they do a lot of damage to the amenity and streetscape and severely and negatively impact on the community. That needs to change!

It is wrong for older suburbs that infill needs to be within walking distance from a train station, when on the outskirts of the CBD there is ample opportunity for higher apartment buildings, and bus routes could be adapted to accommodate more residents in those areas.

I welcome the very substantial development along Fremantle’s Queen Victoria and Beach street and other important new buildings in the CBD, but there is a whole lot more to come with the development of the Woolstores shopping centre site to a possible ten-storey-high mixed use, rumours about the Marilyn New-owned woolstores site at Clancys also talk about substantial height, and the corner of Henry and High street is also on the cards to be developed in the near future, together with the former Workers Club site opposite it.

There is no doubt for me that Fremantle needed development and to modernise and attract more residents to the CBD. It is also essential we build more tourist accommodation in town and I hope that will stop the mad rush of people signing up their homes with Air B&B because that is negatively impacting on neighbours.

It is very good that there is a serious social and mainstream media debate going on about all this, and that some councils are now putting their foot down and say enough is enough, because DAP and SAT are undermining local council democracy, like dictators do with human rights, and that needs to end!

Roel Loopers

 

FREO MAYOR HAS APPETITE FOR MORE

Posted in brad pettitt, city of fremantle, elections, local government by freoview on March 5, 2016

Fremantle Mayor Dr Brad Pettitt has dismissed on his blog, what he describes as rumours, that he wanted to put his hand up for the Federal seat of Fremantle for the Greens or that he had announced he would not seek another four-year-term as Mayor of our city in 2017.

Pettitt wrote “I am still loving the challenges of the mayoral role and there is still so much to do. In fact, it is only in the last few months that it has it really felt like all the hard work of recent years is starting to bear fruit. Amendment 38 which was passed around 5 years ago is only recently leading to a building boom in the East End. And there are some exciting opportunities potentially opening up around the South side of port and around Fremantle Oval I am keen to advocate for. Importantly, I also I still have around 20 months still to go in this term as Mayor and despite further rumours that I will not run again I can honestly say I have not made up my mind yet.”

Should the Labor party be silly enough to not nominate Deputy Mayor Josh Wilson as their candidate for this year’s Federal election it might well be that Wilson would also want the Mayoral job as he would lose his employment with Melissa Parke and it is unlikely his party opponent Chris Brown would keep him on.

There is no doubt inner city residents who have been very vocal against our Mayor would vehemently oppose him staying on as Mayor and would put up their own candidate(s) and I hear rumours that Councillor Rachel Pemberton is also contemplating trying to win the top job.

It’s still 19 months away so a lot will have happened in Fremantle by then.

Roel Loopers

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LAWYER KATE DAVIS GREENS CANDIDATE FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in elections, fremantle by freoview on March 4, 2016

The Greens have selected Freo lawyer Kate Davis, who also stood in 2010, to contest the federal seat of Fremantle now that Melissa Parke MP will retire.

Kate Davis is a lawyer at Tenancy WA and was at the Women’s Law Centre before that. She has been a member of the Greens since the age of 13.

This means Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt will not be in the running for the seat for the Greens, so will he try for another four years as Mayor, stand for State Government, or move back to academia?

We will know in due course if the Labor party will do the sensible thing and nominate Deputy Fremantle Mayor Josh Wilson or take a huge risk with MUA honcho Chris Brown to contest the Fremantle seat, that can no longer be seen as a safe seat.

Roel Loopers

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BRAD VERSUS BROWN FOR FEDERAL FREO?

Posted in elections, fremantle by freoview on February 19, 2016

It probably comes as no surprise to anyone in Fremantle that the West Australian reports today that Freo Mayor Dr Brad Pettitt is contemplating nominating for the federal seat for the Greens if Maritime Union of Australia organiser Chris Brown gets the nod of the Labor Party. Pettitt would not contest the seat if Deputy Mayor Josh Wilson gets the Labor party’s approval.

I believe it would be extremely foolish for the Labor party to believe they will win the seat with just anyone and that the quality and profile of the candidates does not matter. A strong campaign by the Greens and a very good Liberal party candidate will threaten the seat and will make it very hard for the Labor party to hold on to it. Brad Pettitt has a very large supporter base in our city and while it seems unlikely the Greens could win the seat they might just get enough votes to make Labor lose the seat

Fremantle demographics have changed considerably and even a weak candidate like Matthew Hanssen received a substantial percentage of votes for the Liberals at the last election, so the warning lights should be flashing at Labor HQ and they should be very careful to not let internal factional wins become party losses.

With the threat of an early election as early as July it is questionable if Labor would manage to improve the brand awareness and raise the public profile of the largely unknown Chris Brown, while Josh Wilson has been a household name around town for many years and is very well known and respected.

Roel Loopers

 

WILL FEDERAL ELECTION BE BATTLE OF FREO MAYORS?

Posted in election, fremantle, politics by freoview on January 25, 2016

I wonder if we could see Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt and Deputy Mayor Josh Wilson battling it out for the federal seat at the election later this year now that MP Melissa Parke has announced she will retire from politics.

Pettitt told the Fremantle Herald last year that he would not continue as Freo Mayor after the 2017 local government election, so what are his plans for the future and would the Greens endorse him?

Will the Liberal party try to find a new candidate or will three-times unsuccessful candidate Matthew Hanssen be given another chance? It could be the right time for former Chamber of Commerce CEO Tim Milsom to step up as he does have political aspirations and he is well-respected and liked in Freo.

It is important for the Labor party to support someone with a high-profile because Fremantle is no longer a safe Labor seat and it is likely there will be a few independents putting their hand up as well.

Roel Loopers

PERTH FREIGHT LINK NEW YEAR SOLUTIONS?

Posted in city of fremantle, perth freight link by freoview on December 30, 2015

pfl

 

Fremantle Mayor Dr Brad Pettitt is on the job 24/7, even when on holiday in Esperance with his beautiful partner Emma, as today’s opinion piece in the West Australian newspaper shows.

Brad argues that the twin crisis of the WA State’s $ 3,1 billion budget deficit and the Supreme Court ruling about the invalidity of the Roe 8 highway gives the Barnett government the opportunity to reconsider its priorities and that the Property Council, Regional Development Australia, the Kwinana Industries Council and local councils Fremantle, East Fremantle, Kwinana, Cockburn and Armadale all want the Outer Harbour at Kwinana built as a priority.

Brad Pettitt writes the outer harbour has wide environmental and community support and that there would be direct and indirect employment for 75,000 people working on the project, which the government estimates would take up to 20 years to complete.

A very valid point the Freo Mayor makes is the excessive cost of the planned Perth Freight Link at an estimated cost for the tunnelled section of $ 4 million per 10 metres of road constructed. The entire 5.5 kilometre long PFL is estimated to cost between 400-500 million.

I think all points the Mayor raises are valid but we do know that the start of the outer harbour would not mean the end of Fremantle Port activity as the Kwinana port would only be an overflow port, so how would we deal with increased truck traffic to the inner city port without better road connectivity to it?

While everyone would like to see an increase on freight by rail the possible capacity for it is estimated to be only 30 per cent, which means more than 70 per cent of freight to Freo port would come by road.

The second point I want to make is the severe environmental impact on Cockburn Sound if an outer harbour is built and I doubt the environmental groups who oppose the Perth Freight Link would just sit back and let the Sound being negatively affected without protest.

It appears there are no solutions that will not have negative impacts on the environment and on affected communities and while Professor Peter Newman’s suggestion of putting it all on conveyor belts and underground might sound so simple one would have to ask what additional cost there would be for double handling of containers and if we would be prepared to pay more for imported goods to help protect the environment and our lifestyle.

There is no doubt the outer harbour will be needed in the not too distant future and that the Perth Freight Link planning has been an utter mess of incompetence, but there is the need to stop traffic chaos in North Fremantle and elsewhere in the immediate future.

While the concept of the PFL might be a federal government idea it will be counter productive to make it simply a political football where Labor, the Greens and environmental groups bash the Liberal Federal and State governments. It would be much better if they all connected in a think tank and try to find practical solutions instead of political grandstanding.

Roel Loopers

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