Freo's View

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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RESPECT CREATES A BETTER COMMUNITY

 

There is a lot of hypocrisy gong on in the mainstream media and from politicians in the wake of the white supremacist terrorist attack on two Christchurch mosques.

Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon to play the blame game about irresponsible social media without taken responsibility for their own contributions.

Mainstream media has moved so far right that it is not funny, with the West Australian newspaper becoming the mouthpiece for the Liberal/National Federal government and right-wing  columns by  Andrew Bolt, Paul Murray, Gemma Tognini and others.

Federal politicians have been engaging in fear mongering about Muslims and refugees, while the ultimate hypocrites must be Sunrise which puts Pauline Hanson on a weekly panel to sprout her racist nonsense, but suddenly attack her for those views after the Christchurch massacre.

There is no doubt though that social media has created a terribly negative community conversation that spreads hatred, ignorance, racism, innuendo, conspiracy and name-calling and where all respect for people with a different view point has disappeared, and that also happens on a local level here in Fremantle.

I want to believe that Australia is better than that! I want to believe that we are still the fair-go and tolerant multicultural country, where every law abiding person from all over the world can make a new home and where we welcome those who need a safe haven away from war, violence and abuse.

But we all need to be more aware of what we are writing on social media and try not to engage so dismissively and angrily when we don’t agree with posts of others, and the mainstream media needs to start to be more considerate and respectful as well and understand how damaging sensationalist reporting can be to individuals. The Jesse Hogan story of the Fremantle Dockers is such a case. This young man does have a mental health issue and he does not need to be humiliated in the media for that. Leave him alone and let him heal!

We should all take a lesson from New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. What empathy and compassion, what dignity, strength and integrity, and what outstanding leadership!

Roel Loopers

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COPS ON THE BEAT NOT MEDIA BEAT UP IS WHAT FREMANTLE NEEDS

 

While the concerns of the Fremantle retailers about antisocial behavior, violence and shoplifting are genuine and need to be much better attacked by WA Police, it is not at all helpful for their businesses to get a silly tabloid headline such as “Is Fremantle On Its Knees?” on Channel 7 Today Tonight and negative articles on line in the West Australian and Perth Now/Sunday Times.

Big negative headlines in the media will no doubt have an impact on visitors and shoppers and while retailers claim shoppers stay away from Fremantle because they don’t feel safe, it is more likely they will stay away because of the negativity in mainstream and on social media.

The City of Fremantle does extremely well when one considers all the CCTV around town and the Community Safety officers patrolling the streets daily from early till late, but at the end it is the State Government that will need to demand from the Police Commissioner that we will get a regular and constant number of officers on foot, on bike and in cars in Fremantle, and not just for a few weeks after bad press.

Bad press is not helping Fremantle! We have read for years that parking supposedly was an issue, but it wasn’t really, and we had a former CEO of the Chamber of Commerce who loved to be photographed in front of vacant shops complaining that retail was declining-as it did everywhere else-and now we have the outrage about homeless people, vagrants, foul language, abuse, etc.

I do totally get the frustration of those who have to deal with this shit daily and are victims of it, in and in front of their shops, but it is much better to put pressure on the Police Commissioner, the Minister for Police and the Premier of this state to let them know that it is not good enough, no matter that incidents such as we have in Fremantle also regularly occur in Cockburn, Midland, Perth, Northbridge, etc.

Our traders, shoppers, tourists, residents, workers and everyone who comes into Freo deserve to have a good time. Feeling unsafe might just be a perception for many, but that makes it a reality for them and that needs to be stopped. Now! We want and need more police on the beat each and every day and indefinitely to prevent all the unacceptable and unlawful incidents happening, not to write reports after the event!

Roel Loopers

MAYOR’S REASONS FOR NEW FREO CIVIC CENTRE

 

Interesting to read on page 3 of the Fremantle Herald the explanations given by Mayor Brad Pettitt for the building of the new Civic Centre and the Kings Square Redevelopment Project.

The Mayor responds to some of the criticism the development has received and points out that a previous council in 2003 saw the need to replace the ailing and outdated former centre.

An expert report in 2012 noted that it would cost the City of Fremantle $ 28 million to meet minimum standards plus another $ 50 million to add needed extensions to the building and upgrade and refurbish it.

Dr Pettitt points out that the new Civic Centre is much more than just a new home for Councillors and staff and that it will have a big library, double the size of the previous one, with courtyards, a library lounge, a better history centre, computers, gaming consoles, etc.

The former library attracted 14,000 people a month, so one can imagine this will increase when the library has more to offer.

The Mayor states that the $ 41.3 million civic centre project will be funded over the next four years, so it won’t be, as some critics allege, a financial burden on future generations of Freo ratepayers.

All I see is that some people disagree with the City’s expert officers and consultants, so who is right? I suppose the future will tell us.

Now that the contract with Pindan has been signed we need to move on and hope that it will all work out and that Fremantle will be an amazing and vibrant city again in a few years from now.

Roel Loopers

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