Freo's View


Posted in children, city of fremantle, development by freoview on February 12, 2017

The City of Fremantle is planning a nationwide competition for the design of a nature playground at Kings Square as part of the Kings Square Project development.

The area allocated would be to the east of the St John’s church, on land owned by the church, and close to the new cafe that will be part of the new Civic Centre and Library at Kings Square.

It is estimated the design and construction of the playground will cost $ 500,000.00.

A jury which would have members of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, CoF  Design Advisory Committee and Fremantle City officers would decide on the winning submission for the project.

Roel Loopers


Posted in BOOKS, children, family, fremantle, reading by freoview on February 2, 2017


The well-established Moore&Moore cafe and the one-year-old Paper Bird children’s book shop in Fremantle’s Henry Street have combined their talents to create a Nature Play area in the courtyard of the gorgeous heritage Moores building.

The courtyard of the M&MN has always been very Freo and cosy but by linking it with the courtyard of the lovely bookshop is has become even more special, so parents check it out. Nice to have a safe playground away from traffic in the old inner city.

Very good to hear also that the sales of children’s books has increased by 15 per cent in the last year. I have always been an avid reader and love it when children read instead of sitting in front of the TV, X Box or the computer.

Reading inspired me to travel, made me aware of other cultures and gave me a great escape while increasing my common knowledge. It also made me interested in languages and writing. I wrote my very first poem the day John F Kennedy was shot.

Roel Loopers


Posted in children, family, fremantle, nature by freoview on December 20, 2016


The Fremantle Moore&Moore cafe in Henry Street is holding a Kids Nature Play event from tomorrow December 21 to January 20.

There will be a nature play area, market stalls, children’s entertainment, games, craft and more and it’s FREE, so take the kids for some hours of fun in the beautiful heritage building.

The coffee and food at M&M is very good and the staff delightful! They are my mates.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, local government by freoview on July 13, 2015

This Wednesday’s Special Projects Committee meeting of the City of Fremantle is well worth attending with items such as the Cantonment Hill masterplan, the Green Plan and a Princess May Park masterplan on the agenda.

The Green Plan has in my opinion rightly identified the importance of incorporating Nature Play green spaces for children and families to enjoy, away from the standarised, and a bit boring and too safe, normal playgrounds.

The creation of Urban Forest is something many councils around Australia are implementing and Fremantle wants to be part of the trend of creating green lungs and combatting heat zones in the city.

The Green Plan also identifies that there needs to be a focus on the provision of green space within high-density areas to compensate for reduced private open space. Mayor Brad Pettitt reported recently on his blog that in some European cities 30% of new development has to be public open space.

All that is good but it is also essential to retain existing green spaces and tree canopy and not take away those and then replace them with new trees and spaces. A building at Pioneer Park for example would be contrary to what we should be doing in the Freo CBD, instead the space should be beautified with modern seating, shade structures and a children’s playground.

The Princess May Park Masterplan follows on quite well from the Green Plan with emphasis on providing good public amenity, playground, seating and light and the integration of the soon to be built Hilton Hotel bar and restaurant with terraces down to the park, and the possible use of the former Boys School and FTI building as a cafe. That would create a great community hub in the east end of the CBD where residential and commercial development is already thriving.

I recommend to attend Fremantle Council meetings as the community can have a real input and impact, and it is the closest we’ll ever get to democracy. In that context it was intriguing to get feed back from the Notre Dame University student council that “The consensus is that students are not interested in local government and never will be.” Politics and governance affects each and every one of us, so we should participate to make sure the community has a voice, even if we believe we often get ignored.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle by freoview on November 4, 2014

Fremantle Councillors Jon Strachan, Rachel Pemberton and Andrew Sullivan have been appointed along with four expert community members to the City of Fremantle Green Plan Working Group.

The working group will build on the principles of the City’s of Fremantle’s Green Plan (2001) to produce a revised plan to ‘green’ Fremantle and will be asked to look at enhancing green spaces in Fremantle using principles such as:

  • aiming for every resident/worker to be within walking distance (400m) of a public green space
  • the opportunity to apply Nature Play Principles to new and existing Fremantle parks and their upgrades
  • updated targets for tree planting and canopy cover (currently 1,000 trees per year)
  • develop strategy and policy to deliver a range of high quality landscaped environments capable of meeting the often competing needs placed on open spaces
  • improving habitat that supports biodiversity
  • ensuring water sensitive design
  • being responsive and adapting to climate change.

The result will be a Greening Fremantle Plan to empower the community to assist in the delivery of greening programs.

That is quite an interesting choice with Councillor Strachan opposing to grass the dustbowl at Kidogo Arthouse as it was not the right thing to do because of climate change and water shortage, while Councillors Sullivan and Pemberton were all too happy to build the concrete Youth Plaza on a public green open space.

Will a vertical garden be considered a public green space and is artificial grass part of the considerations, because real grass needs water. Just asking.

I wonder who the “community experts” are and why the city did not include their names in the above information.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle by freoview on September 15, 2014

On a photo assignment for the City of Fremantle over the last weeks, I have discovered a few new things about our city. As an old fella I obviously don’t visit children’s playgrounds very often, if I did I’d probably get looked at suspiciously  by over-protective parents.

But have a look at the hidden gem of Salentine Ridge in Beaconsfield just off Lefory Road, and the delightful Valley Park in White Gum Valley.

If the new modern buildings going up in Freo had the same attention for detail, the future of our city would be a bit more promising.

Well done COF for creating artful play places for the kids!

Roel Loopers



Posted in fremantle by freoview on September 1, 2014

I listened to UK filmmaker David Bond of Project Wild Thing in an interview on ABC radio Conversations this morning just before noon. I only tuned in late in the program but even those 15 minutes were well worth listening to.

David has just made a film on how to connect city kids with nature again and get them to play outside more, rather than sitting inside at the computer or XBox.

Wild time is free and it is good for parents and children. Cities need to build more green corridors where kids can roam in and have a sense of independence and freedom away from parents, Bond said.

“I told my children to get to know strangers because they are amazing and we learn so much from others” Parents are too paranoid about stranger danger and kids’ safety, and need to learn to trust and relax more.

In the United Kingdom developers now build playgrounds in basements of highrise apartments to make kids safer. That is crazy!

David Bond also said that councils should make residential areas pedestrian priority where motor vehicles and bicycles have to give way to pedestrians.

That makes all a lot of sense to me. As David said “we create wildlife corridors but not green corridors for children.”

Roel Loopers



Posted in fremantle by freoview on August 26, 2014

skate contest

Spring is in the air at the Fremantle ESPLANADE YOUTH PLAZA skatepark with the Volcom Let the Kids Ride Free-Wild in the Parks contest this Sunday August 31.

There will be competitions for under 15s, over 16s, and females and there are prizes to be won and giveaways.

Registration starts at 9.30 am and the real fun kicks off at 10.30, so make it a family day out, buy some takeaway from the local cafes in the area and watch the kids having a whole heap of fun!

Roel Loopers



Posted in city of fremantle by freoview on July 1, 2014

The City of Fremantle will be establishing a Green Plan Working Group to identify opportunities for new green spaces in Fremantle and recommend options for upgrading existing parks.

The working group is to apply the Nature Play principles in their deliberations, that encourages younger people to enjoy the outdoors more often.

The aim is for every resident and worker to be within a 400-metre walking distance of a public green space.

I think that is a very good starting point, as many in the Freo community have voiced concerns about Fremantle not pro-actively creating new green spaces in an environment of higher-rise office and residential development, when there will be more need for public open green spaces to accommodate the higher number of people, especially in the CBD.

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle by freoview on April 3, 2014

Griff Longley, CEO of Nature Play, columnist of the West Australian and organiser of the Midland Midnight Basketball was guest speaker at the Bendigo Community Bank sponsored FREMANTLE NETWORK at the arts centre.

It was heart-warming to hear Griff passionately speak about the incredible success of getting kids off the street by introducing a safe environment for them to be in with evening basketball. It has been going in Midland for four years and started in Redfern, Sydney, in 2007, and the positive results are quite remarkable.

The kids get a meal before the game and are driven home by bus late in the evening. They also take part in what Griff called “horizon lifting workshops” to improve their self-esteem.

Griff said the improvement in attitude of the kids was amazing and that during the evenings Midnight Basketball was on the number of children being picked up by police in Northbridge had dropped over 50 percent. That is amazing!

Griff Longley also told about some of the children now having found work and apprenticeships and one of the older ones was in the process of buying his first house.

He believed Fremantle could benefit from having something similar, as the city lacks programs and services for at-risk kids.

This would be one of the low-hanging fruit issues placemakers like to talk about and something that could be achieved with volunteers and a relatively small amount of money from the City of Fremantle and sponsors, so let’s get it started. I am happy to offer my time and volunteer! “It makes you feel good” Griff said, so let’s do it Freo!

And talking about feeling good, what about the Bendigo Bank sponsoring so many community events and people. Last night two students each received a $ 5,000 scholarship and the bank donated $ 2,5 million across Australia last year. Pretty impressive!

Roel Loopers

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