Freo's View


Posted in city of fremantle, esplanade, local government by freoview on September 6, 2015

grass 2The draft for the Fremantle ESPLANADE MASTERPLAN is on line and can be viewed and commented on here:

Roel Loopers

Facebook: ROEL FOR FREO! Truly Independent – BEACONSFIELD Ward


Posted in city of fremantle, local government by freoview on September 4, 2015

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Hundreds of metres of new grass are being laid at the Fremantle Esplanade Park  and making the surface look great again just in time for summer.

There is no doubt for me that the Esplanade needs to be better managed by the City of Fremantle and that events there have to be limited as the surface simply can’t cope with thousands of feet trampling on it, heavy vehicles driving on it and stages being built on many weekends in summer.

Fremantle City needs to be more clever and rotate events around the city. Smaller events could go to Pioneer Park, Princess May Park, Kings Square and South Beach, and larger ones could be accommodated at Fremantle Park. There might also be scope for a few more daytime events at the Fremantle Art Centre on the southern big lawn.

The Esplanade needs to be treated with more consideration as it is not acceptable that it looks a total mess for many months a year. Common sense needs to prevail here and it is Council’s responsibility to implement and manage that!

Roel Loopers

Facebook: ROEL FOR FREO! Truly Independent.


Posted in fremantle, high-density, living by freoview on December 8, 2014

It was very interesting to read two articles in two newspapers on the weekend about high-density living. In the West Australian Kate Emery wrote that Western Australians don’t have the mentality for high-density housing and that the W.A. Planning Commission(WAPC) is proposing to State Government to change the R30 and R35 buildings codes because there has been a huge community backlash against inappropriate and out of character high buildings being detrimental to the overall community amenity. The WAPC also wants to increase the minimum parking requirements for new dwellings.

In the Subiaco Post renowned urban planner and architect Dr Linley Lutton writes under the headline “Frantic Density Push Is Alarming” that …”experts warnings from those outside the industry are rarely heeded.” And that the warning for a huge population growth in Perth is an unrealistic and alarmist over-estimation of future growth.

We have already witnessed that planning schemes by Local Governments are completely overridden by State Government agencies and are a real worry to especially older suburbs like Fremantle Subiaco, Cottesloe, etc.

Lutton writes “High-density European and Middle Eastern cities work because they provide a diversity in stimulation, convenience and interaction opportunities. The piazzas, squares, courtyards, parks, shops and streets of these cities are where people live and grow. Most high-density development in Perth offers none of these things.”

 The article continues that Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that only 5-7% of people living near suburban train stations actually use the train to go to work. A 2010 study in Australia, Canada and the USA showed that the main users of public transport were those living in the low-density outer suburbs, not those who live in high-density areas with railway access.

Dr.Linley Lutton also warns for health impact of high-density living along main streets near traffic noise, especially on the older population, because poor air-quality and noise trigger mental and physical health problems.

Lutton suggests that self-sufficient suburbs with a variety of housing densities and with ample employment opportunities, and less need to commute far and wide to work, would be a better way to plan for the future, and I could not agree more. In an ideal world no one living in Rockingham should have to commute to Joondalup for work.

Fremantle Council also needs to heed these warning and realise one cannot change a decades-old entrenched culture and lifestyle overnight. Change happens slowly and only when the community embraces it and takes ownership of it. Collaboration and integration is what is needed, not a narrow focus anti-car mentality.

New developments like Kim Beazley and Stevens Reserve offer very little in lifestyle enhancement, with no green lingering nodes between buildings and only a strip of green on the periphery. As Lutton points out, the piazzas, parks, town squares, etc. are needed to create a lifestyle people embrace. Much better and more creative and innovative city planning is required in Fremantle and the ambiance of the CBD needs to be improved with modern seats, shade structures, green areas, more trees, play nodes for children and better and creative lighting.

Higher density living will only be embraced by the community if it supports and enhances the Freo lifestyle and when it allows for diversity.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, local government by freoview on November 25, 2014

The Fremantle Gazette today published an article on a report by VISION 202020 that analysed 139 local governments in Australia. The findings for Fremantle are disturbing and debunk the local myth that Fremantle Council is a Green one.

Vision 202020 found that Freo is the second most hard-surface council in our country. It also concluded that from the 29 local governments measured in Western Australia Fremantle is the second worse for green space.

Many people in Fremantle, including I, have been calling for years for the COF to implement long-term green space and public open space planning when initiating economic development through building high office and residential buildings in the inner city. The need for more green public space will increase with the increasing residential and office workers population and needs to be addressed with urgency.

The new Masterplan for the Esplanade will most likely include a concrete basketball court and bitumen pathways, thus reducing the badly-managed grassed area that looks horrendous. Dozens of mature trees were removed from the Kim Beazley site in White Gum Valley and there are even contemplations to build on Pioneer Park.

Fremantle Council needs to become serious about planning green space and stop the great spin of being eco-friendly, when in fact we are one of the worst cities in Australia for green space.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle by freoview on November 6, 2014

Fremantle Councillor Andrew Sullivan took a bit of a swipe at me and some people who comment on this blog about his ‘green credentials’ and good on him for standing up for himself and boast about his record of preserving many green spaces and planting hundreds of trees. When we criticise Councillors we often do so out of context of what they have done in the past and only concentrate on the issues at hand, so it is good to be able to get balance.

It came up at the Planning Services Committee and the proposed development for Knutsford Street adjoining Stevens Reserve, where the highest building of Fremantle is proposed by Landcorp, and I support it in that location as long as it is a really well designed modern and beautiful building.

Andrew pointed out that previously Landcorp had proposed a horrendous boring McMansion type of development more appropriate for the fringes than for the Stevens site, but he made Landcorp aware of the Green Plan that was the vision of the community some 15 years ago that would allow to retain more green public space while also increase the density, and Landcorp was happy to embrace those ideas.

Councillor Sulllivan also boasted rightly about the hundreds of trees he has personally planted. I know he also spent many weeks snorkling and replacing seagrass in Cockburn Sound, so he deserves credit for that.

As I said in my comments yesterday, it’s not all black&white and as simplistic as some like to portray it.

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 environment, fremantle, urban design by freoview on October 25, 2014

I am very interested in urban design because I believe that if we get that part of developing our cities right it will create a better lifestyle and better health, so it was interesting to hear the concerns about “Urban Heat Islands” on ABC TV last night.

Urban Heat Islands are the areas in cities that have an elevation of temperatures compared to the areas directly adjacent to them and can add up to six degrees to an area. It is often a result of urban design problems, e.g. not enough urban green open space and insufficient trees.

But the colour of roofs and walls of buildings are also important, with dark colours a big no-no in warmer climates like Fremantle. It is important to build more solar-passive houses and enlarge the tree canopy, and there is the need for more green vegetation that is supported by irrigation.

It was interesting to hear that the City of Sao Paulo in Brazil has added 200 square kilometres of green space over the last years to fight pollution and improve the health of the residents. This should be a lesson for Fremantle where we are losing green space and trees and are contemplating to build on Pioneer Park, when we should really be adding new green open spaces in the central city.

In this light the following from the University of Canberra is also important, so please do the survey as it will help all of us to better understand.

The University of Canberra has launched an Urban Wellbeing Survey that is focussed on collecting and providing information about wellbeing and way of life in Australia’s most populous cities.

This survey is distinctive because it covers much more than health and wellbeing; it also covers factors that can have a big effect on wellbeing, such as travel, access to services, community wellbeing and social connectedness.

Here is a summary of what it covers:
§ Socio-demographic characteristics
§ Walkable urban design
§ Travel behaviours and attitudes
§ Building comfort in work and home
§ Access to and quality of amenities and services
§ Neighbourhood cohesion, governance & safety
§ Social participation, inclusion and exclusion
§ Physical activity
§ Connectedness, efficacy and marginalisation
§ Mental health and wellbeing
§ Physical health and health behaviours

The survey is open now through November at: Anyone over 18 can do it and can enter the prize draw if they want to. We also have a facebook page at

The Urban survey is being conducted in tandem with the Regional Wellbeing Survey which covers all of regional, rural and remote Australia, as well as the rural-urban fringe:

The urban and regional versions of the survey are linked so that people can choose whether they go into the urban or regional version when they begin the survey based on where they live.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, skaters, youth by freoview on August 25, 2014


The Fremantle ESPLANADE YOUTH PLAZA skatepark is getting rid of some misconceptions and urban myths about modern youth I hope, because it is a fine example of how well a large group of young people can respectfully engage and have fun.

There is no screaming, no four letter words, no alcohol, no vandalism, but there is a lot of consideration, sharing, learning, teaching and supporting going on. It is how the entire community should be, because the kids at the EYP are far more selfless than a large percentage of grown ups in our society are.

There is no queue jumping, no elbows out to get in first, and ahead of others who have been waiting their turn, and it’s all done with appreciating the efforts of others, complimenting them, or giving tips on how to improve. Although they all come as individuals they have amazing skills at team work.

Roel Loopers



Posted in fremantle by freoview on April 11, 2014

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Just to keep you all in the loop, here the renovation plans for the Fremantle Esplanade CARRIAGE CAFE, that is next to the new Youth Plaza. It’s not a huge change but in my opinion a positive one, so now hoping the City of Fremantle will sign off on it, so it can be done fast. We don’t want another part of the Esplanade to be a building site for too long.

I hope the City will now also prioritise the overall resurfacing and landscaping of the entire Esplanade, that was damaged by events held there in the last few months.

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle by freoview on April 7, 2014

The Fremantle Residents and Ratepayers Association is presenting Valuing Our Urban Green Space, a Free Community Information Forum on Saturday 12 April 2014, 1pm to 4 pm at Replants, 96 Wray Avenue, Fremantle 6160

There will be three expert speakers on why we should preserve trees and green spaces in our city.
Dr Paul Hardisty, Director of the CSIRO Climate Adaptation National Research Flagship: ‘The Value of Urban Ecosystems in a Changing Climate’

Dr Noel Nannup, Nyoongar Elder and Educator

Dr Lisa Wood, Deputy Director, Centre for the Built Environment and Health, University of Western Australia: ‘Play, walk or sit awhile… the health and wellbeing benefits of a greener urban realm’

A short discussion will follow each speaker; tea break approximately 2.30pm-3pm.

Roel Loopers

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