Freo's View

WELCOME NEW TOURIST INFO SIGNS

Posted in city of fremantle, local government by freoview on December 10, 2014

tourist info

Nice to see that the damaged tourist informations signs at Fremantle Bathers Beach have finally been replaced. I have complained about the awful sight of them a few times over the last couple of years, so good to see the City of Fremantle taking action.

A shame that one of the Manjaree trail signs next to Kidogo Arthouse was damaged on the weekend, but one has to wonder why they were not made out of more sturdy material like steel, knowing that vandalism occurs often in Freo.

Roel Loopers

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WHEN IS PUBLIC SPACE PUBLIC?

Posted in city of fremantle by freoview on November 28, 2014

BBH 1 BBH 2

I do’t think anyone can question my support for the soon to open Bathers Beach House in Fremantle, but I have had many questions from the Freo community why the City of Fremantle has allowed the operators to intrude so far into public open space and the historic Old Port Project the City has been so protective off. Around 200 square metres of the black tar area have been handed over for the largest alfresco area on public land in the city. It is my understanding this was in lieu of the developers paying for the sewer upgrade.

People rightly asked if the operators of the BBH will have to pay alfresco fees for all the tables, as all other hospitality operators in Fremantle do, or if the in lieu also includes no alfresco fees for the duration of the lease, which is about 20 years.

The second complaints are over the intruding sunroof that covers half of the narrow boardwalk and makes the experience claustrophobic some claim.

The Bathers Beach House will open on Monday December 8 and will no doubt become a great attraction for locals and tourists. It’s a great spot to sit and watch the sun set over the majestic Indian Ocean, so go and support the new local business.

Roel Loopers

FAILED FREMANTLE ART PRECINCT

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle by freoview on October 8, 2014

Round House 1

 

 

The Fremantle BATHERS BEACH ART PRECINCT  is one-year-old and has failed to do what it set out to do; activate the area. That only comes as a surprise to those naïve Councillors who came up with the flawed concept that artist studios would be huge attractors to the Freo community and tourists. They were never going to be and the small residential heritage Pilot’s Cottages were never going to attract top W.A. artists, simply because they are unsuitable and too dark for studios and too small for serious art galleries.

The BBAC is also always flawed because it tries to incorporate three significantly different areas. There is the top of Arthur Head at Captain’s Lane, the J Shed down at Bathers Beach, and Kidogo Arthouse at the Old Port Project. The historic significance of the area was ignored because some young Councillors decided it would be perfect for an arts precinct. It never was and never will be.

The only business that has worked up at Captain’s Lane is the Glen Cowans Photography Gallery, and one only has to walk in to see why. The place just oozes professionalism and class. This is as good a gallery as one can get in a tiny cottage, with great displays, furniture and outstanding photos, all printed and framed to very high quality. Wander next door though to the Wild Twig artist collective and one is in a different world. Yes, they try hard but they lack the style and class the Cowans gallery has.

Next door to that Mutima tried very hard and had a lovely gallery but their concept was bewildering because they also sold clothes. But at least they did have music and movie events that actually attracted new people to the area.

The Aboriginal Cultural Centre is also struggling to attract sufficient visitors’ numbers to warrant existence and I am not surprised about that. It was always just Wadjela-white people- patronising tokenism to put something as significant as our City’s indigenous centre in a shitty little residential cottage that formerly was the office of the harbour pilots. Our Nyoongar brothers and sisters deserve something much better and more prominent, in a better inner city location, and I feel sorry for the delightful Brendan Moore who is trying to make the Centre a success.

It shows how serious the City of Fremantle is about our Aboriginal Centre that the yearly funding for it is less than the money spent on the once a year four-hour Wardarnji Festival. Appalling!

J Shed at Bathers Beach has housed successful professional artists for over twenty years, so why was there suddenly the eagerness that sculptor Greg James and his artists in residence, and ceramic artist Jenny Dawson and her collaborating artists had to become performers, open to the public? These are professional business people who work throughout the year on public and private art projects worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, but that was not good enough for those who don’t understand the arts industry.

The main attractor at Arthur Head is the Round House, our State’s oldest public building. More than 110,000 people come through the door there every year.

It is kept open by less than 40 Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides, who have an office, lunchroom, kitchen and toilet in a small cottage at Mrs Trivett Lane. These mainly elderly volunteers open the Round House-hail or shine-363 days of the year from 10.30 to 3.30 and fire the cannon at 1 pm, but that is not good enough for the COF officers who have told them that to get a new lease on the cottage they will have to share it and one of the rooms of the cottage needs to be activated and opened to the public. Why?!

Before the Bathers Beach Art Precinct started there was 24/7 activation of the area. The Harbour pilots did their day and night shifts, the Crookes family kids brought friends home from Lance Holt school to play on the grass, the family had friends over and barbeques and engaged with passing tourists. Many overseas visitors were introduced by the kids to our local bush tucker when the lilly pilly were in abundance.

The Fremantle Society held their meetings, let other organizations use the cottage, created heritage festival events at Arthur Head, community Boche nights, Australia Day fireworks BBQ, etc. and I lived there as the care-taker, but they, like the Crookes family and Fremantle Port Pilots, were not good enough for the City of Fremantle. The area needed to be reactivated with artists studios, and what a flawed concept that is.

Where are the activation events of BBAP? Where is the art market, why is Wardarnji not held up there but at the Fremantle Arts Centre, why are the community Boche nights in collaboration with FICRA not re-introduced?

Instead of activation of the area we now have a nightly ghost town up there that attracts anti-social behaviour. Most cottages are only open from 11-5 Thursday to Sunday, the Aboriginal Centre is not open on weekends, and on weekdays only from 9am to noon. On the long Queens Birthday weekend only the highly professional Glen Cowans Photo Gallery was open on the Monday, and of course the Round House.

Activation does not happen, it has to be inspired and organised and real money has to be spent by the City of Fremantle to make it work. Why not have a pop-up bar one evening a week as they do in Lemon Lane in Claremont, for example.

The one summer event that really and highly activates the area is the Saturday Bathers Beach Sunset Food Markets. It attracts many thousands of people who are all loving it, and it is of course a private enterprise because at Freo Council they wait and see and do the same old, same old festivals each and every year, and none of these festivals embrace the west end of town with any significance.

I love art and I have been advocating for an indigenous centre in Freo for many years, but unfortunately the Bathers Beach Art Precinct is another one of Council’s  flawed ideas. And now the new silly idea is to put a live music venue and micro-brewery at J Shed. Yep, let’s ignore the heritage significance, yep, let’s ignore it is an art precinct, let’s now try an entertainment precinct instead. Do you have any more bright ideas, Freo-thought bubble-Council?

Roel Loopers

Disclosure: I am a volunteer guide at the Round House and also involved in the Bathers Beach Sunset Food Markets.

FREO’S OLD PORT SIGNS ARE BACK

Posted in city of fremantle by freoview on May 30, 2014

bb 1 bb 2 bb 3 bb 4I am delighted to report that the interpretive history signs at the Fremantle Old Port Project are back. They were installed at Bathers Beach this morning by Compac Marketing.

It was only yesterday I complaint on this blog about them being missing for a year and a half, so it is good to have them back. It makes me wonder though about the lack of communication by the City of Fremantle. When all over the world companies and governments engage in pro-active PR, the City could not be bothered letting me know the signs were in the making and the approximate time of installation. Had they done that, I would not have had to write negative articles about the missing signs and the CoF.

Roel Loopers

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FIND YOURSELF LOST IN FREMANTLE

Posted in fremantle by freoview on April 30, 2014

I walked through Perth yesterday and was impressed with the large number of tourist information signs all over the inner city. It is something that is severelty lacking in Fremantle and no matter how often I blog about it, nothing much seems to be done about it.

The tall, slim obelisk-like info signs in Perth point out all the important sites and also have maps so one can understand the layout of the city. Fremantle needs that, if the lost look on the faces of many tourists is anything to go by.

There are still no good pedestrian signs pointing from e.g. the Fishing Boat Harbour to Victoria Quay and the Maritime Museum, or up near the Round House pointing out all the tourist destinations around town.

With increasing cruise liner visits to the port it is essential that Freo offers visitors a better tourism experience and way finding signs are essential for that.

That brings me to the point of the historic interpretation signs at the million dollar Old Port Project. The signs were vandalised over a year a go and removed and still have not been replaced. That is just not good enough! It should not take a year to get new signs made and installed and the Old Port Project now does not make sense to visitors because there is no explanation about the history of Bathers Beach.

If the Youth Plaza is supposed to help with connectivity, proper, modern, easy legible signs are surely better to find one’s way around our city. Tourism is big, City of Fremantle, so time to start spending good money on good signs and prioritise it!

Roel Loopers

MAKE DUST DEPRESSION DUST REPRESSION FOR KIDOGO

Posted in fremantle by freoview on November 8, 2013

Dear City of Fremantle,

It hasn’t rained for a couple of weeks now, but the winds have been very strong and created havoc inside the Kidogo Arthouse galleries, where sand gets blown in, and onto the artworks. Could we now please see the urgent application of the dust repellent the City wants to try out, because we can not allow this to go on any longer. It is disrespectful to the artists and their art that they have to put up with sand inside the galleries.

From my recollection the City was also going to build low walls as sand breaks that can be used for seating at the same time. Will this all happen before the Bathers Beach Sunset Food Markets starts in two weeks from now?

$ 150,000 has been allocated to upgrade that part of Bathers Beach, please use it wisely and prioritise correctly. The dust bowl has been a nuisance for too long, it needs to be addressed NOW!

Roel Loopers

FREO THE LOVE OF MY LIFE

Posted in fremantle, photography by freoview on August 28, 2013

I have had a few ‘loves of my life’ but Fremantle is one of the deepest and longest lasting ones. My longest relationship was with Brigitte, the woman I migrated to Australia with, and lasted 20 years, which is almost as long as I have now lived in good old Freo.

I took these sunset photos at Bathers Beach the other day. Life is pretty good at the Indian Ocean!

Roel Loopers

Bathers Beach Old Port Jetty sunset

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FREO OLD PORT PROJECT WINS AWARD

Posted in fremantle by freoview on July 23, 2013

It is interesting to note that the controversial Fremantle Old Port Project has won the Western Australian Architecture Award in the Urban Design category for architects Donaldson and Warn. The project has a great feature in the boardwalk, but had serious problems with the heavy mobile sun lounges that were a public liability risk and were damaged by vandals. It  has also been severely criticised for the so called dust bowl that makes Kidogo Arthouse a sandpit, had showers removed which were in the wrong location, etc.

One could say it was a far from perfect development. The council and community are still bickering on how to improve that Bathers Beach area and will spend and additional $ 150,000 to make it better.

I have never been a great fan of awards as they often reward creativity but don’t consider the practicality.

Roel Loopers

MORONS VANDALISE FREMANTLE HERITAGE INTERPRETATION

Posted in fremantle by freoview on January 26, 2013

Congratulations to the moron(s) who created their moron magic by vandalising all six information panels at the Fremantle Old Port Project at Bathers Beach. The idiots obviously thought it was funny to smash a rock through the glass and they, or someone else, also did the same with the glass of the bottom light inside the Whalers Tunnel. What a shame there is no CCTV camera in that part of town.

Roel Loopers

moron magic

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FREO OLD PORT PROJECT WORK

Posted in fremantle by freoview on January 10, 2013

There is quite a bit of activity at Bathers Beach this morning and I hope this means the City of Fremantle is finally addressing the dust bowl problems in front of Kidogo Arthouse which were created with the development of the historic interpretation at the Old Port Project. FICRA and Kidogo owner Joanna Robinson have complained about this for many long months, so hopefully we’ll see some improvement to the surface soon.

Roel Loopers

Bathers Beach

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