Freo's View

UNFAIR TO BLAME LOCAL COUNCILS FOR RETAIL DECLINE

 

Kings Square

 

It is rather hypocritical for Bill Marmion to berate Fremantle Council about economic development in his letter in the West Australian on Thursday. Has Mr Marmion forgotten that he was a minister in the Barnett government that created the biggest billions of dollars debt in the history of Western Australia?

Fremantle Council has in fact been proactive for ten years to start the economic recovery with encouraging developers to start building in the CBD, and that is happening with the LIV and Heirloom residential developments now occupied and with four hotels approved at the Woolstores shopping centre, the former Point Street carpark site, the Police&Justice complex and another one at the Warders Cottages next to Fremantle Markets. And the Kings Square Redevelopment Project is on track and will open in the first quarter of next year with a creative new retail concept called FOMO.

A new Destination Marketing campaign for Fremantle was launched two months ago, but retailers must adjust to the changing shopping trends instead of blaming local councils for the decline of retail. Some Freo traders still have boring window displays as if it’s the 1960s and refuse to modernise their shop fronts and customer service.

There is plenty of parking in Fremantle Bill Marmion with over 5,000 bays plus a new carpark coming on line next year in Parry Street.

The world changes, and while Fremantle Council is far from perfect and often frustrates me they are well ahead of other local councils in the economic rebirth game.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE GAZETTE CHANGES PUBLICATION DAY

Posted in city of fremantle, community, media, newspaper, Uncategorized by freoview on July 18, 2019

 

Gazette

 

It has gone largely unnoticed that the publication day for the Fremantle Gazette has changed from Tuesdays to Thursdays.

The Fremantle Herald’s publication day is Saturdays but the distribution of that community paper starts already early on Friday mornings.

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE CHAMBER REJECTS WEST AUSTRALIAN CLAIMS

 

The Fremantle Chamber of Commerce has hit back at The West Australians article that casts doubt on Fremantle’s economic growth potential and position.

In a media release the FCOC wrote:

Unlike many urban centres in Australia, Fremantle is currently experiencing unprecedented investment and renewal underway, with the combined value of private and public investment in the pipeline totaling more than $1.3 billion.

The Fremantle Chamber of Commerce is actively connecting, uniting and assisting in the growth of a successful and vibrant business community that builds on Fremantle’s unique advantage, its heritage and its maritime focus.

Fremantle Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer, Danicia Quinlan said: “Fremantle, like most urban centres, is affected by the current wave of societal change in the way people gather, shop, dine, interact commercially and manage environmental challenges. Learning from other Councils, or even other cities locally,mand internationally, is an important way to navigate our way through these changes. We need Fremantle Councillors and the Mayor to be an active part of trying to find ways to manage all of these complex challenges.”

And more feedback from Fremantle traders:

The damage The West Australian is doing to Fremantle and its businesses far surpasses any perceived damage by council. Fremantle Markets is running at full occupancy with over 56,000 visitors last weekend for the 3 days period. Feedback from traders was “sales were excellent”.

Councils everywhere are going through a difficult time, however, the City of Fremantle Economic Development team and the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce regularly engage with businesses and continue to make many great improvements to the city” .

Natasha Atkinson – Chief Executive Officer Fremantle Markets and Winner Business News 2019 40 Under 40

Our focus is on Fremantle with our affordable and green residential developments. Our projects generally achieve an equity internal rate between 15-30% and we don’t see this slowing. Fremantle business has a great future as we focus on building on our competitive advantage of heritage, environmental consciousness and community spirit”.

Tao Bourton, Fremantle’s Yolk Property Group Director

It is exciting to see so many new businesses have decided to invest their potential in Fremantle not only for today, but for many years to come. We look forward to working together to build a unique and vibrant business community.”

Ivan Dezba, Fremantle Chamber of Commerce President and Managing Director, Benny’s

People more cynical than I am might well suggest the constant attacks on shopping in local councils are a PR exercise to promote urban shopping centres, from where more advertising dollars can be obtained than from the traditional High Street shopping destinations.

One week we read and see that all is wrong and violent in Cockburn, then it is Rockingham, Fremantle, Subiaco, Mount Lawley, Leederville, Perth, etc.

Is it PR, is it political to give less power to local councils, or is it just lazy journalism during slow news cycles?

A West End cafe owner told me that last Friday, Saturday and Sunday had been some of the busiest days they have experienced. Maybe it is time for the West and its sister TV and radio stations to be more balanced and allow Freo’s positive stories to come out in the open instead of always focusing on the negative aspects.

Roel Loopers

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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

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FRE-OH THE COMMUNICATION WAY TO GO

Posted in city of fremantle, communication, community, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on May 30, 2019

 

 

Fremantle people can look forward to the new FRE-OH magazine-Celebrating the City of Fremantle, that will be distributed to residents next week and will also be out in cafes so that out of towners can also read the good Freo stories.

There will be four quarterly-seasonally publications per year and 17,5000 copies will be printed. An E-version is in the making so that people can receive the magazine via email.

It is a vibrant magazine with on the cover one of our city’s most noticeable identities Horatio T Birdbath.

The magazine is a showcase about people, places and pastimes that make Freo unique. It covers a lot of ground about cafes, hospitality, sustainable living and eating, recycling, art, culture, Noongar culture, Fremantle Prison, South Fremantle, the Toy Library, young people, volunteers, etc.

It is a great way of telling Freo’s positive stories, of which there are many!

Roel Loopers

 

IS BIASED NEWS FAKE NEWS?

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle network, media, politics, social media, Uncategorized by freoview on May 27, 2019

 

Tomorrow, Tuesday May 28th the Fremantle Network welcomes special guests Bobbie Mackley, National Secretary of ABC Friends WA and Andrew Porter, Academic Chair of Murdoch University School of Journalism for it’s monthly Politics in the Pub.

The discussion starts at 7pm at The Local hotel in South Fremantle. All welcome!

It’s not an easy time for Australian media, especially its traditional forms. Print journalism in particular has been challenged by the growth of social media and is struggling to retain readership numbers and advertising revenue. The ABC and SBS have suffered from funding cuts for many years now.

Then there are all the allegations of bias. The ABC is under relentless attack from governments and many commercial media for its alleged left-wing bias. At the same time, many are disgusted by what they see as the Murdoch media’s blatant cheering of right-wing conservative politics, totally the opposite what we expect from our media – serious balanced reporting and holding power to account.

Roel Loopers

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POLITICS IN PUBS DEBATES THE MEDIA

 

Fremantle’s Politics in the Pub next week will have a very timely topic after the election about the media in Australia.

Problems in the media: is the solution as easy as ABC?

It’s not an easy time for Australian media, especially its traditional forms. Print journalism in particular has been challenged by the growth of social media and is struggling to retain readership numbers and advertising revenue. The ABC and SBS have suffered from funding cuts for many years now.

Then there are all the allegations of bias. The ABC is under relentless attack from governments and many commercial media for its left-wing bias. At the same time, many are disgusted by what they see as the Murdoch media’s blatant cheering of right-wing conservative politics, totally the opposite what we expect from our media – serious balanced reporting and holding power to account. Fake news, anyone?

On Tuesday May 28th The Fremantle Network invites you to have your say on these issues that are central to the health of our democracy. We are pleased to have a special guest to get our discussion started:

Bobbie Mackley, National Secretary, ABC Friends WA
and
Andrew Porter, Academic Chair, Murdoch University School of Journalism

It is on at The Local hotel on Tuesday May 28. Arrive 6.30pm for 7pm start.

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE WINTER FESTIVAL PORT IN A STORM

 

Fremantle is well served in the West Australian today with a full page interview with Nicole Lockwood the Chair of the WestPort Taskforce which are looking into the future of Fremantle Port and a new port at Kwinana. Good read!

Freo is also getting a wrap about the new winter Fremantle Festival, but strange that info was not released to local media as well, so I’ll ‘quote’ from The West.

The Fremantle Festival will be held for the first time in its 113 years during winter from July 12-22 and it is called 10 Nights In Port.

Freo festival co-ordinator Kathryn Taylor told the West that they “wanted it to be the harbour in a storm” where the community warmth at the fire. That means people will be able to enjoy glasshouses and relax in a steamy hot bath while enjoying entertainment. Sounds corny and a bit like the swimming pools at the Big Bash 20/20 cricket.

The Hidden Treasures music festival in the West End will grow with Future Treasures at Freo.Social to nurture young bands, while the Festival Club will be in the Moore&Moore cafe in Henry Street.

The late Bathers Beach ceramicist Joan Campbell will be honoured with Fired Up, where people will make small vessels at the Fremantle Arts Centre and taken to Bathers Beach where they are fired in an outdoor kiln.

There is a lot of other stuff and I hope there will be plenty of free things to do and not just ticketed events lower income people can’t afford to enjoy.

Roel Loopers

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TODAY TONIGHT FILMING ARTHUR’S HEAD NEGLECT

 

 

A team from Channel Seven-Today Tonight spent most of the morning in Fremantle to film a story about the neglect of historic Arthur’s Head and WAs oldest public building the Roundhouse.

They interviewed a structural engineer about stabilisation solutions for the rockfall problem and a Roundhouse tourguide about the historic significance of the area.

It will be screened tomorrow, Wednesday at 6.30pm so make sure to watch it, and hopefully WA State politicians will watch it as well and put their hands in their pockets and fund the essential maintenance and repairs as a priority.

Send an email to Heritage Minister David Templeman, Premier Mark McGowan, Tourism Minister Paul Papalia and Member for Fremantle Simone McGurk, and urge them to preserve one of Western Australia’s most significant historic precincts!

Roel Loopers

BEAUTIFUL FREMANTLE WITH GREAT COMMUNITY

 

 

There is so much noise and chatter about the negativity of social media currently, with many politicians and those in the mainstream media ignoring they are part of the problem, that it is time to remind ourselves that while not everything is perfect here Fremantle is a very special place to live in with people who have a great sense of community.

So here just a few photos I took yesterday afternoon while trying to walk off my hay fever.

Opening your eyes, heart and mind to beauty is so much better than focusing on the few negative aspects of life. Most people in the world are good people, so let’s not concentrate on the few bad apples.

Roel Loopers

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