Freo's View


Posted in city of fremantle, hospitality, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on June 23, 2017


FBH sunning


Those only interested in spewing negativity about Fremantle should take notice of the comments from overseas and interstate travellers who visit us.

The British Telegraph newspapers published an article stating that Perth was one of the coolest travel destinations in the world and mentions eclectic Fremantle that has undergone a huge transformation.

Food and drinks at the Coast on Port Beach and the East Freo Sweetwater rooftop bar are mentioned, and so are the Segway tours, Fremantle Markets, Maritime Museum and Arts Centre, and The Telegraph suggest to enjoy a swim at Bathers Beach.

And of course the Little Creatures brewery also got a mention.

I count my blessings daily that I live in Fremantle. We are so lucky to live here!

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle ports, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on May 26, 2017

A letter to the editor in today’s Fremantle Herald:

Dear Brad

Why are you spending millions of dollars on Fremantle Kings Square and leaving our port in such a horrible state for our visitors who arrive. Think twice and see which is more important.

Abelle Wards. Cockburn Rd. Coogee

Dear Abelle,

Fremantle Port is a state agency and not the jurisdiction of Fremantle Council, so the City of Fremantle can do nothing, but ask, beg and plea for upgrades of the Passenger Terminal, etc.

However the City has revealed its South Quay Project plans for the development of Victoria Quay and beyond, but to realise those plans it will need collaboration from state government and Fremantle Ports.

I am making this point not to defend Fremantle Council and its Mayor but because I am getting very annoyed with the often-made ignorant and ill-informed comments about our hard-working council.

It is not very intelligent to not inform oneself and make comments that are baseless.

Yesterday someone posted that Freo Council are naysayers who have no balls, and the truck accident at Stirling Highway somehow could be blamed on them, but Mainroads is responsible for the long-overdue upgrade that was cancelled because of the Perth Freight Link plans. The upgrade at High Street is now back under the new Labor government.

Criticise Fremantle Council and Mayor Brad Pettitt as much as you like, as I regularly do, but base it on facts, not ignorance.

Roel Loopers



Posted in fremantle, fremantle ports, perth freight link, western australia by freoview on September 18, 2016

W.A. Transport Minister Dean Nalder, who yesterday resigned from Cabinet, has told the Sunday Times that Premier Colin Barnett’s decision not to go ahead with the Perth Freight Link tunnel between Stock Road and Strirling Highway would cost the state $ 1,1 billion.

In the “exclusive” by reporter Joe Spagnolo Nalder says “The Premier has instructed me not to proceed with the second phase, the Fremantle Tunnel, and only proceed with the Roe 8 section.”

The handling of the PFL at State and Federal level has been shambolic, as there are still no firm plans for the link to connect with Fremantle Port, although that is the initial reason for the project and funding from the Federal Government.

With the sale/49-year lease of Fremantle Port also still in limbo it looks like WA has been wasting a lot of money on two projects that might never proceed as the WA Labor Party will not go ahead with either of them should they win the election in March next years.

The finances of Western Australia are in an incredible mess due to wasteful spending by the Liberal/National party.

Roel Loopers


Posted in environment, fremantle, plastic, seafarers, western australia by freoview on July 31, 2016

The Town of East Fremantle is trying to ban the use of plastic shopping bags, what the City of Fremantle unsuccessfully tried twice and was refused to implement by the WA government, so maybe a more achievable compromise would be to demand that retailers charge a fee for plastic bags, as they have done successfully in the United Kingdom according to The Guardian.

I quote a section of The Guardian’s recent article below:

# The number of single-use plastic bags used by shoppers in England has plummeted by more than 85% after the introduction of a 5p charge last October.

# More than 7 billion bags were handed out by seven main supermarkets in the year before the charge, but this figure plummeted to slightly more than 500 million in the first six months after the charge was introduced, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said.

# The data is the government’s first official assessment of the impact of the charge, which was introduced to help reduce litter and protect wildlife.

# The charge has also triggered donations of more than £29m from retailers towards good causes including charities and community groups, according to Defra. England was the last part of the UK to adopt the 5p levy, after successful schemes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Good to see charging for the plastic bags did not become another profit making exercise but that the money was donated to good causes.

Unlike  retailers such as IGA and Peaches in Fremantle the big supermarkets do not offer cardboard boxes as an alternative to plastic shopping bags, and that also needs to be encouraged as it is a good way to recycle the boxes the goods arrive in at the shops.

Roel Loopers



Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, fremantle, western australia by freoview on July 31, 2016

An article about young architects and city development in today’s Sunday Times magazine has me wondering about certain facts in the article.

Journalist Jade Jurewicz mentions successful architect Nic Brunsdon, who among many innovative things such as Spacemarket and MOANA also started the Many 6160 retail and design incubator in the former Myer building at Fremantle’s Kings Square.

The article claims that Many pumped $ 1.7 million into the Fremantle economy since it opened in 2013 and because of Many there has been a 25 per cent reduction in vandalism in the area.

Where do these figures come from? Many is only open for four days a week, so I doubt it has a severe impact on the reduction of vandalism at Kings Square and I doubt it is highly successful as a retail environment as one rarely sees shoppers in the building.

I like fresh new innovative ideas, but the fact is that many mini retailers tried Many and left because it was not financially successful for them. Many is more or less a slightly more upmarket weekend market where presumably many traders have more secure income on weekdays to support their Many shop income, so how it has pumped $ 1.7 million into Fremantle, as the reporter claims, I’d like to know.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt is also quoted in the article and rightly says that cities develop in layers. Archeologists will no doubt also agree with our Mayor, but while the layers of innovation, development and progress are good, the physical layer of boring and mediocre new buildings in our city will have a long-lasting negative affect on the character of Fremantle. At present it looks more as if we are trying to put layers of manure on top of fields of beautiful roses. That is not acceptable!

Roel Loopers



Posted in election, fremantle, politics, state government, western australia by freoview on July 29, 2016

It is interesting to read in the Fremantle Herald this morning that Subiaco Councillor Julie Matheson has told them she will stand as an independent in Fremantle for next year’s state election.

Matheson stood for the senate in the recent federal election and she founded the Scrap the DAP movement that is calling for the abolition of the highly controversial WA Development Assessment Panels.

I am disappointed though to read the platform Matheson will try to get into parliament on as it is quite naive.

Matheson told the Herald that all that is needed is to put a new passenger terminal at Fremantle Port to boost tourism and there will be no need for container and sheep transport at Fremantle as that all can be moved to Kwinana.

According to state government, Fremantle Ports, and experts though a new Kwinana Port would be an overflow port only and Fremantle Port would be needed for container freight for at least another 25 years.

While I agree  a new passenger terminal closer to the railway station would be good, it also has to be acknowledged that the vast majority of passengers hop on buses to the Pinnacles and Swan Valley and don’t spend a lot of time and money in Fremantle.

After extensive community consultation plans have been drawn up by Fremantle Ports for the development of Victoria Quay and they don’t involve moving the terminal, so that too is unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future.

While the DAP is controversial in the Perth metro area the Labor and Liberal parties support it, so whatever the outcome of the state election it is unlikely the DAP system will be scrapped.

I admire Julie Matheson for being very active in the Subiaco community and beyond, but hope she will make more informed statements about Fremantle Port if she stands as an independent for Fremantle in March next year. Just shifting Freo port to Kwinana is not going to happen in my life time, but as I have expressed many times before a Kwinana port needs to be a priority for the WA government as it will take a very long time for it to become a reality.

Roel Loopers


Posted in cars, city of fremantle, local government by freoview on February 12, 2016

Fremantle resident Andrew Luobikis’ Thinking Allowed in the Fremantle Herald today is worth reading as it makes some important factual points about electric cars and the City of Fremantle investing $ 130,000.00 in an electric vehicle charging station at the Esplanade carpark.

I have pointed out in previous blogs how low the use of electric vehicles in Australia is, but Luobikis, who works in the auto industry, adds a few more facts to that. There are only 170 registered electric cars in WA and the sale of electric cars is going down. According to Luobikis 100,000 cars were sold in 2015 but of that there were only 73 electric ones, so that is an extremely low percentage to justify the $ 130,000 outlay for a charging station hardly anyone will be using. In Australia more than one million vehicles were sold in 2015 but just 890 electric vehicles, Luobikis writes. I think that gets the point across very well.

Fremantle Council has been spending large amounts of ratepayers money on low hanging, low-impact, fruit that has no major benefit for the general community and is pure tokenism to minority interest groups. Have they even asked themselves why so few local governments on earth have signed up for One Planet, probably because more mature and realistic councils see it as a gimmick that wastes money that could be spent on far more worthwhile projects?

Roel Loopers


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

The Thinking Allowed article in the Fremantle Herald by Tony Toledo is important because it asks our Fremantle and other Councils to be more transparent and implement the State Government’s requirement for a gift and travel register.

I believe Tony makes a valid point to ask that the relevance of Elected Members traveling to conferences, etc. at ratepayers’ expense needs to be examined more closely. Often flying there could be avoided because all the information is on the internet, and for a Council that boasts its Green credentials often it should fly less to keep the carbon footprint down, and that also applies to consultants who fly in from the eastern states while they could take part in a video conference instead that would cost a whole lot less money.

The core business of Fremantle Council has to be to look after its ratepayers and residents and after local businesses. It should not try to become a pseudo state or federal government by taking on issues that are far too complex for a small local government with only 30,000 residents. Do the basics well, get the details right, and be consistent, so the community is less disappointed about the performance of the City of Fremantle.

Council transparency is what Tony Toledo calls for and I have no doubt everyone agrees with that, and it would help enormously to stop the ridiculous conspiracy claims we far too often hear in Fremantle. Disclosure about contacts with developers, consultants, agents, lobbyists should be a simple matter of course as in reality there is very little to hide. I see it as the duty of the Mayor, Councillors and officers of our city to meet often with those who are willing to invest in Freo’s future. There is nothing sinister about that! But what becomes a problem is when the City hides behind commercial confidentiality when it comes to the Kings Square business plan. Even State politicians and the national media complain about commercial confidentiality used too often to hide details of projects, e.g. Perth Stadium, Elizabeth Quay.

I agree with Tony and would love to see our ‘Green Council’ give rebates to those willing to install rain water tanks, solar power and grey water recycling, and I hope financially supporting gimmicks will become something of the past.

Fremantle is in a development phase and I personally delight in seeing so many new building going up along Queen Victoria Street, although I would have preferred better quality design. But a building boom on its own is not economic recovery, so Council needs to be careful to not put all its eggs in the one basket. We need to invest in the growth industry tourism and promote Freo’s unique assets and lifestyle better to the world, we need to attract some major retailers and even more innovative boutique businesses, we need to develop the Fremantle Oval precinct so it connects Wray Avenue with the Cappuccino Strip, and we need to support the West End better and promote the delightful Bathers Beach heritage area.

Political parties are infiltrating local councils and I am not impressed with that as the independent community voice at local level is extremely important. I don’t know how we can legally stop it though.

I don’t think anyone could accuse me of being an apologist for Fremantle Council but I have to say that from my observation many of the comments I read about our Council are made in ignorance about the process. It is simplistic to claim secret meetings are being held and that the process is flawed and I highly recommend that people attend Council and Council committee meetings to actually observe how diligent our Elected Members go about their business. Like everyone else I sometimes don’t agree with the outcomes and decisions, but I am most certain that their is no corruption or unlawful business and dodgy deals. Councillors get it wrong sometimes because of naivety and Green philosophy, not because developers bribe them, and they get is wrong because they are too keen to approve inappropriate development to kick start the Freo economy.

Roel Loopers




Posted in beer festival, city of fremantle, drinking by freoview on November 16, 2015

So much for the City of Fremantle responsible alcohol policy and allowing large booze events in our city. WA TODAY reports that two young men in their early twenties were bashed unconscious on Sunday night as they were leaving the Fremantle Beer Festival on the Esplanade.

Friends who visited last year’s Beer Fest reported that many people were mindlessly drunk as early as 5 pm so maybe it is time for the City to say no to events that only attract large crowds because it is about drinking alcohol.

Having fun does not mean getting pissed!

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle, lonely planet, tourism by freoview on October 29, 2015

It is always good when Fremantle receives positive media coverage but I do agree with former Fremantle Herald and now WA Today reporter Brendan Foster that the placing of Freo as one of the top ten tourism destinations in the world is flabbergasting, and so are some of the other top ten choices. Maybe the Looney, err, Lonely Planet judge enjoyed a bit too much of our great WA wine or readily available dope while here.

I love Freo, that’s why I moved here 25 years ago, and my love for this special city has only grown since, but so has my frustration. But is Fremantle a better tourist experience than Berlin, Rome, Barcelona, Prague, Bratislava, Vienna, Amsterdam, Split, Hvar, Paris, the Kimberley, Coral Bay, Hamburg, Vancouver, Leipzig, New York, Venice, Colombo, Bangkok, etc.etc? I think not.

But what Fremantle has to offer is special, our Street Art Festival, Blues&Roots, Festival Parade, Blessing of the Fleet, the Bathers Beach Sunset Food Markets and Growers Green Market, the working port, the Swan River and the Indian Ocean, to name just a few.

There is enough beauty and quirkiness that makes Freo unique. There is a lot of heritage, lifestyle and character underneath the superficial first impression of a tired uncared for city to make it work for me and many thousands of people who visit each year.

We have Bread in Common, Strange Company, Mojos, The Mantle, Little Creatures, Mrs Brown, Bib&Tucker, the Moore&Moore, PS Art Space, the Fremantle Arts Centre, great beaches to watch kite surfers, and we have that sameness comfort of too many Italian cafes. What we don’t have is cobblestones along High Street west and the Cappuccino Strip, although that would definitely slow down traffic and make the streets look a whole lot better than boring bitumen, and we only have one outstanding modern building in the Maritime Museum. And we have outdated and archaic drinking laws where it is illegal to have a romantic sunset glass of wine with your lover on the beach.

The majority of the over 100,000 a year visitors to the Roundhouse tell us guides how special and beautiful Fremantle is and they often compare it with boring Perth, so Freo does well in that comparison, but with all these kind of silly lists of most liveable, most attractive, best tourism cities, etc. it all comes down to personal taste, and that it is impossible to judge what the best tourist destination in the world is. Is wild water rafting in Africa less attractive than swimming with the whales at Coral Bay, is experiencing the silent beauty of the Bungles better than the great historic feel of ancient cities? Who would want to be a judge on that?

What Lonely Planet did is basically the same silliness as those who claim Australia is the best place on earth. There is not such a thing as the best place, or best person, best artist, as it is all very subjective and comes down to personal taste.

I want Fremantle to be attractive to tourists, but I don’t want it to become one of the major tourist destinations in the world because tourism kills local character, as we can witness in Bali and all over the world. Freo is just Freo. Individual, unique, untidy, irreverent, far from perfect, very loveable and extremely annoying. It’s the place where I want to live till I die.

Roel Loopers

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