Freo's View

FREO’S VIEW IS NINE YEARS OLD

 

In October 2009, so nine years ago, I decided to start this Freo’s View blog, and what a labour of love it has become.

I daily wander and drive the streets of our lovely city to look for things to photograph and write about, and I attend most Fremantle Council and council committee meetings, precinct and community consultation meetings, etc.

In the nine years of Freo’s View I have published 9,200 blog posts and close to 30,000 comments by the public, so the blog has become an important community forum.

I started the blog as a community service and don’t make any money from it, because the integrity of the blog is more important than trying to make money through advertising.

There is no political agenda, no agenda whatsoever! I am only interested in getting the best for Freo, the city I love and am very passionate about.

If I know something happens in Fremantle I will blog about it, so keep me informed about new ventures, events, concerts, art exhibitions, etc.etc. Just email roel.loopers@iinet.net.au.

Thank you all for your support, and keep those comments coming!

Roel Loopers

FACTS ARE ESSENTIAL TO COUNCIL CRITICISM

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

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WHO AND WHAT IS RIGHT OR WRONG?

Posted in community, fremantle, opinion, politics, western australia by freoview on August 27, 2016

Right or Wrong

 

This is a reminder for myself and all people who make comments on this blog. ; >)

Roel Loopers

ADVANCE FREMANTLE WITH BALANCE AND FAIRNESS

Posted in city of fremantle, community, local government by freoview on April 17, 2016

I encourage the Fremantle community to scrutinise Fremantle Council and I applaud the tenacity of a small number of people who want to read the fine print of the City’s Kings Square project contract with Sirona Capital, because we should know what is going on. When large sums of ratepayers’ money is being spent Council needs to be totally transparent and accountable and not hide behind cleverness, avoidance and spin.

Having said that, I don’t believe it is helpful that there is so much aggression and negativity from the community and that the attacks on Elected members are quite personal.

The constant cries by a small number of people and community groups to get rid of the Council appears not to be what the electorate of Fremantle wants. At the last Council election only Robert Fittock in North Fremantle was voted out and Hilton got a new Councillor because Bill Massie retired. All other four wards decided to reelect their sitting members, so Rachel Pemberton, Dave Hume, Jon Strachan and Ingrid Waltham did get another four years. That is a sign the community either does not care and is apathetic or that they endorse what those candidates stand for and have achieved in their first four years.

I hear rumours that former Councillors in the Fremantle Society leadership want to become the next Mayor of Fremante. I believe that would be a disaster for our city as developers would turn their back on Freo in a flash and the economic progress that is going on would come to a grinding halt.

There have been many issues Council has decided that I don’t agree with and this Freo’s View blog has ben persistent in scrutinising Council for five and a half years. I personally have written many submissions and emails to Council and have on numerous occasions addressed Council and committees, but unlike some I also give credit to Council and officers when I believe credit is due.

Council bashing as a matter of course is counter productive. Council is not the enemy of the community and things are not as black&white as some on social media want us to believe. Criticism is good but it has to be fair and ideally with some positive suggestions on how things can be done better, just attacking individual members and nearly all Council decisions is unfair and a bit silly.

Fremantle needs change, modernisation and development, more people living and working in our city and more people being able to stay overnight in new hotels. We need new retailers to make the shopping experience in Freo more diverse and exciting. We don’t need people who say they are not against development but who fight most change and modernisation in our struggling city. I can’t support that.

Government is like life, it is all about getting the balance right. I believe that an intelligent Council sometimes should reflect and reposition itself. Stubbornness is not a good advisor and neither is ego. It requires guts and backbone to admit one did not get it right, but it is very liberating when one does it. Most people respect those who admit they did get it wrong sometimes. No one is perfect, not even those who criticise council, I included. I would love our Fremantle Councillors to sometimes say we got ourselves in a bit of a mess here, how can we change that to get the best outcome for our city.

The negative perception about Fremantle Council is akin to the perception that there are parking issues in Freo, so Councillors need to change that perception and show the community that the City is not run on a green mantra but that the decisions which are made are based on sound city planning, financial, economic and community best practice The perception that Fremanle is anti cars is dangerous in a fast ageing population, so let us slow down a bit on the unbalanced investment in bicycle infrastructure and invest more in the maintenance things that rile the community.

Good governance is accepting reality and making sound decisions. At local government policies should not be political decisions based on a narrow-focus philosophy, but catering for the whole community in a balanced way.

We need to have a very robust, very open and very honest debate between the community and our representatives on Council, but it needs to be respectful from all sides. Being dismissive and negative is not a productive way forward and it creates unnecessary resentment. Everyone of us has got passion and love for Fremantle and we all want the best for our city. We need to realise though that we will never agree on how we can best achieve that and decisions made by our Councillors will at times be controversial and even questionable, but that is the reality of life, and after all we voted them in to make the hard and unpopular decisions.

Change is inevitable. The world is not the same as it was yesterday and tomorrow won’t be the same as today. We should embrace good change and change bad change into good.

Roel Loopers

MAKE YOURSELF HEARD!

Posted in city of fremantle, community by freoview on March 30, 2016

criticism

If you want to make a difference to the future of Fremantle you have to participate and voice your opinion. Don’t ever think your opinion does not matter or that it will be ignored, because in the long run that is not true.

Most good changes come from the people and not top down from those who lead us, because politics replace leadership as soon as community leaders get into a position of power.

Yell, scream, cry, stand on your head, run through town naked, whatever you do, make yourself heard!

Roel Loopers

PARTICIPATE IN STREET ARTS FESTIVAL SURVEY

Posted in city of fremantle, street arts festival by freoview on March 30, 2016

The City of Fremantle is doing an on-line survey on the Street Arts Festival. I found it on Twitter but can’t find it on the City website or SAF Facebook page.

Two questions that are not asked, but in my opinion would have provided some important information are were you on your own, with friends, family with children, and also how many days did you come to the SAF?

But there is a strangely worded question, which gender do you consider yourself? I did not think I have an option as my birth certificate and my pass state that I am male, even if I consider myself an exceptional and unique species with a brilliant mind and better than perfect. ; >)

Anyway, if you manage to find the survey do participate and more importantly find a way of sharing it with people who are not from Fremantle.

Roel Loopers

WISHING YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle by freoview on December 24, 2015

high street magic

 

 

I want to wish all the readers of Freo’s View, the entire Fremantle community, and my friends all over the world a VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

It has been an amazing year with the Supreme Court win against the Roe 8 highway extension being a highlight that shows that people power still matters.

Being involved in the local government election was exciting. It was disappointing for me to receive so few votes but far more disappointing was the overall lack of voter participation. Around 25 per cent is not acceptable and it should become compulsory to vote for local councils.

It is a worrying trend to see the State Government wanting to diminish the power of local councils and the State’s Development Assessment Panels and State Administration Tribunal basically rubber stamping development applications against the wishes of local councils and communities. We need to fight that with all our might because the unique character of communities is being destroyed by uncaring bureaucrats.

There is a real feeling that Freo’s fortunes are turning with a lot of development all over the CBD. In five years from now many more people will live and work in the inner city and that is very positive. It is also positive that we are building more tourist accommodation, so that visitors can stay in Fremantle overnight and spend their money here and not in Perth. There has been a steep increase in tourism to Fremantle from the eastern states and the City of Fremantle should take note of that.

The Freo community likes to have a whinge about all the things that are supposedly wrong here but interstate and overseas visitors love it and rarely have a bad word to say. If at all it is about how expensive Fremantle is, so maybe we can learn from that as well. If one cafe can make an excellent Espresso for just $ 2.50 I don’t know why others charge nearly $ 4.00 for a tiny cup of hot brew.

I love Freo. I always have and I always will. We are a unique and opinionated mob who deeply care, who want to be part of change and solutions and who are willing to give up our own time to help others, to volunteer, to be part of community groups and to fight what we believe is wrong.

While I sometimes despair about the negativity of the comments on Freo’s View I am delighted I have created a public forum where the general community and the decision makers have their say, so keep it coming and keep sending me information about events, exhibitions, development, etc.

Have a relaxed and outstanding Christmas!

Roel Loopers

SPEAKING OUT FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in depression, fremantle, travel by freoview on July 9, 2015
Photo by Bob Sommerville

Photo by Bob Sommerville

Twenty years ago in June 1995 one of the most defining moments of my life started when I went on a seven months, 58,000 km solo journey through Australia. I had sold my lovely home in Fremantle’s Bolton Place and most of my belongings as I did not know if I would return to Freo, but of course I did because I always felt a special connection with this place.

A huge life-threatening depression forced me to make the drastic decision to try to stay alive by changing my life. If all I had did not make me happy I might as well let go off it all and travel and find out who I am and what I want from life.

After seven months of rollercoaster emotions from deep satisfaction to deep despair and seeing some of the most stunning and remote parts of Australia I returned to Fremantle, and what a good decision it has turned out to be.

On return I had my very first article published in the Fremantle Herald in mid 1996 about the discrimination against Aboriginal people I had witnessed during my trip, and I became an avid writer of letters to editors of newspapers on all kinds of issues. I had found my voice and the desire to engage deeper and more publicly with the community I lived in. I engaged with the Walyalup Reconciliation Group, the Fremantle Society, Roundhouse tour guides, the arts industry, local government, events and markets, and many more things, to try to be a positive influence for Freo’s future.

Over the last twenty years Fremantle has grown on me and we are now like an old couple living very comfortably together but not without having the odd quarrel. Freo sees all my shortcomings and good bits and I see hers. That is not a bad thing because it is based on mutual respect and the desire to make our world a better place.

My trip had taught me that I should not just be an observer but a participant and that if I could find the courage to speak out I could make a difference.

I am now in the last quarter of my life and I have no intention to leave Fremantle as I really love this city. My intense and passionate engagement will continue because I believe I can help make Freo an even better place. Not everyone appreciates what I write on Freo’s View, but that is good because it has inspired many people to take part in the community debate and speak their mind, and that is great for Fremantle.

I am so glad and grateful I returned to Freo after my trip because there is no other place I feel more comfortable in.

Roel Loopers

DO YOUR COMMENTS GET THROUGH TO ME?

Posted in blog, fremantle by freoview on May 15, 2015

Has anyone over the last 12 months sent comments to this blog that have not been published? I need to know as Graham Morgan of the FreoRamble blog claims I have not published the comments he has been sending to this blog. But I have not received them and when they don’t appear in my comments box I can’t approve them.

I know Diana Ryan had an issue some time ago getting comments to this blog, but it had something to do with her own computer system and not with mine, or any unwillingness on my behalf to publish comments, even when I don’t agree with them.

The only comments I do not post are those that I deem to be defamatory or racist but everything else will appear no matter how controversial.

If your comments don’t come through, email them and I will put them up. roel.loopers@iinet.net.au

Roel Loopers

CHALLENGING LOCAL GOVERNMENT REFORM

Posted in fremantle, western australia by freoview on September 17, 2014

There is a good opinion piece in the West Australian today about the local government reform process and the fact that so many councils do not want it to go ahead, or want it but with different boundaries. The question is if the WA State Government will be brave enough to push through the controversial forced amalgamations, which would constitute another broken election promise for the Barnett government. It could well become a huge election platform at the next election with the likelihood that many communities would be very angry with the Liberal Party for implementing boundary changes they don’t want.

Especially in the Liberal stronghold western suburbs this could become a real issue and while that might not personally affect Colin Barnett, who is unlikely to continue, it would make it much harder for his predecessor and his party to win another term in government.

I see great benefits for a Fremantle merger with East Fremantle and strategic parts of Melville and Cockburn, but to combine seven or nine western suburbs would be a far more challenging process, especially since most of them are against it. But even further east Bayswater is not happy to go with the City of Swan, or whatever.

The whole process of getting more submissions to more proposed changes to council boundaries is starting to look more like a shambles, that the National Party does not want to be part of.

Local Government reform will fail anyway because State Government is not brave enough to also want to implement it in the country where amalgamation probably would be very effective for the smaller councils.

Can we anticipate that the Barnett government will keep delaying the implementation of the reform in fear of an election backlash? If so, what would that mean for the individual councils who really can’t engage in long-term strategic planning unless the time line for amalgamations is firm and definite. Investors and developers would also want to know where they invest their money, so an indefinite delay is unacceptable.

Let’s see what Local Government Minister Tony Simpson will announce in a few weeks from now.

Roel Loopers

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