Freo's View

HOW TO CREATE MORE LIVABLE CITIES

 

There are two interesting opinion pieces in the West Australian today that are well worth reading. They are about the City of Perth, but very relevant to the City of Fremantle as well.

Ben Harvey writes about the challenges of dealing with homeless people and rightly points out that homelessness is not a crime. He also mentions that no matter how many cops one puts on the streets it is impossible to prevent crime and antisocial behaviour from happening.

Move-on notices are useless because people without a home have nowhere to go, so they ‘move-on’ somewhere else in the city. As Ben Harvey write ‘It’s complicated.’

What we need in Fremantle, Perth and elsewhere is many more outreach workers, a larger support system for those in need and that includes ongoing support when homes can be found for them.

Marion Fulker, the CEO of Committee for Perth writes about how we can make our cities more attractive, so that people return to them for their shopping and leisure and points out that it is essential to have more people living in our inner cities, instead of on the outskirts-she calls shoulders-of them. Something Fremantle Council has been very keen on and partly achieved with more apartment buildings constructed in the CBD over the last few years.

Fulker mentions that the retail environment has changed a lot, with on-line shopping and larger suburban shopping centres, which changed the attraction of the traditional high street inner city shopping for many. That is neither unique to Perth or Fremantle, but an international reality.

How do we achieve the critical mass needed to make cities successful and how much of that should be left to private developers? The reality is that most developers are not creating public realm. They want to build big apartment blocks without providing new public spaces, and I believe that mindset has to change.

Many more people on our streets 24/7 will provide a more secure environment, so CBDs have to cater for more than just office workers. The mix of residential and tourist accommodation is essential to have a vibrant city where one feels comfortable to walk through any time of the day and night.

Too many people express they no longer come into Fremantle and Perth because they no longer feel safe, and the many vacant shops don’t make for a great ambience either.

These are serious challenges that local governments alone won’t be able to find solutions for. It is therefor essential that the state and local governments collaborate much more and better to create cities people want to live in, visit and work in. To get that mix right will make a significant difference.

Roel Loopers

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GREETINGS FROM THE BIG SMOKE

 

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Terrible noise from tradies in the unit above me drilling into bathroom tiles evicted me from my own home this morning, but my ears are still ringing after five hours, so proper warning should have been given in advance to protect my hearing.

Anyhow, I hopped on the train to Perth, where I had not been for five months or so and took the photos above.

Pathetic to see the cleaning attempts for Covid-19 by four young women at the Fremantle train station. Each of them with a wet wipe in each hand, but no spray, walking along the carriage and totally ignoring the individual hand loops that hang from the ceiling in the trains. The upright hand bars were also only cleaned as far as they good reach while standing upright. PTA get your act together!

Roel Loopers

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BLACK LIVES MATTER RALLY TODAY

Posted in aboriginal, city of fremantle, community, indigenous, racism, Uncategorized by freoview on June 13, 2020

 

Rainbow projection

 

I dragged this photo of the BlackLivesMatter projections on the Rainbow container artwork off Twitter as a reminder that there will be a rally at Langley Park in Perth today from noon.

The projections were put up last night in Fremantle.

Roel Loopers

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BLACK LIVES MATTER LOCATION CHANGE

Posted in aboriginal, city of fremantle, community, indigenous, racism, Uncategorized by freoview on June 8, 2020

 

The BlackLivesMatter protest for this Saturday June 13 at 12 noon has changed to Langley Park in Perth, so no longer Hyde Park.

I presume that is to be able to accommodate a large number of people while adhering to the social distancing rules.

Roel Loopers

 

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THE BEST PLACE TO GET OVER COVID-19

 

Some people are more anxious than others about the coronavirus and about the possibility of getting it, and we should not try to judge those who react differently than we do, but I want to assure the few who will catch Covid-19 that you will be cared for by fantastic professionals in our Western Australian health service.

Over the last three years I have been in hospital twice, once in Rockingham after and operation and once in Charles Gairdner with pneumonia, and I also did a lot of visits to the outpatients ward at Fiona Stanley.

Let me tell you I never felt more nurtured than those days in the Rockingham and Perth hospitals. Not only were the doctors and nurses highly professional, they were really caring with a smile on their faces, a reassuring hand on a shoulder or leg, and nothing was too much for them to look after me.

With pneumonia in isolation at Charles Gairdner a nurse and student nurse picked up that it was my 70th birthday. Within twenty minutes they came back with a long string of connected flags that said Happy Birthday and stuck that on the big window of the isolation room for me. How special is that!

At the outpatients at Fiona Stanley every single person, be that at the reception, the nurses, doctors or laboratories, have a smile for everyone. I never saw a grumpy face indicating any of the staff had a bad day, they were there to do a job, and they did it with real empathy, great care and absolute professionalism.

Should you be one of the few unlucky ones to get Covid-19 you could not be a in a better place on the planet than here in Perth. Relax! You will be well looked after!

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE NEEDS MORE CREATIVE ARCHITECTURE

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, city planning, development, Uncategorized by freoview on December 30, 2019

 

 

I am a rather simple and modest kind of old fella who does not have too many wishes for the New Year. A bit more money would be good, and having a lot of very gorgeous women throwing themselves at me would be nice too, but I know that won’t happen, so I’ll just keep living within the limitations of reality. What could improve though is what we build in our cities.

I would love to see a lot more creative architecture in Fremantle and the entire Perth metropolitan area, because the blandness and mediocrity of most of the new modern buildings we are getting is very disappointing, hence these inspiring photos from around the world, and I am sure there are many more examples of what great architecture could look like.

Roel Loopers

PERTH WANTS WHAT FREMANTLE ALREADY HAS

 

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It is interesting to note that while a small group of Freo people do not like Notre Dame University in Fremantle’s historic West End the biggest retailers and property owners in Perth have called for more residential apartments and a big university for the inner city there to boost trade and stop the decline in retail.

Many cafes in Freo’s CBD would not survive without the patronage of NDA students and staff and the vibrancy it brings to the West End during the day should not be underestimated.

That does not mean there is no room for improvement and Notre Dame really needs to get serious about providing student accommodation so that more of them will live in Fremantle and become a real part of our community.

The new masterplan they are developing might be a good way forward to activate the street level of NDA buildings and open the courtyards for more community events.

Roel Loopers

 

COMMUNITY NEEDS TO SUPPORT LOCAL TRADERS

Posted in city of fremantle, hospitality, local government, parking, retail, shopping, Uncategorized by freoview on June 7, 2019

 

retail

 

There is a bit of a discussion going on on Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt‘s Facebook page about the decline of retail when he posted the good article by Nathan Hondros on WATODAY about it. Hondros’ article “Striponomics’ The reasons Perth’s main streets are struggling is no big secret is worth a read.

The usual quick fixes are suggested by some readers; free parking and councils forcing property owners to reduce rents, but neither is a solution in a world where retail has been declining for at least five years and where major shopping centres have replaced traditional high street shopping.

I don’t know all the reasons for the decline in Perth, Mouth Lawley, Subiaco and elsewhere but I do know that the City of Fremantle has been trying hard to keep and get a diversity of retail in the city, instead of more and more cafes and taverns.

Fact is that councils can’t force property owners to lower rents and that many retailers are struggling because of rising outgoings such as power, water and gas. More competition might lower coffee prices for patrons but at the end that is not sustainable either for the operators.

Pop-up shops are the flavour of most councils but they are not a long-term solution because most of those who start a pop-up realise they can’t earn enough if they have to pay full commercial rates plus outgoings, so pop-ups do what their name suggest; they pop up and die after three or six months.

The always suggested free parking is not at all a solution because free parking will be taken up all day by commuters from Fremantle to Perth, backpackers, and Notre Dame students, so that would not leave too many bays for shoppers.

There is plenty of parking in Fremantle on weekdays and residents get free street parking before 11am and after 3pm.

Fremantle Council has a small ratepayers base so parking fees and fines are essential income for our city. Free parking would mean higher rates and I doubt property owners would agree that they had to pay for free parking of others. If it happened they would pass on the council rate increase to their tenants.

On very busy Sundays Fremantle might have the occasional parking issue, but surely no one expects Council to cater for weekend parking by creating more parking bays that would be vacant the rest of the week. It is like suggesting we should have 16-lane freeways to cater for rush hour traffic when for the rest of the day six lanes are sufficient.

I love the feeling of a good old high street, where there is a diversity of shops and were shop operators live above or behind their shops, as was the case in my home town of Hague in the Netherlands, where our family of seven lived behind the corner shop my parents ran, the pharmacist family on the other corner lived above their shop, the grocery shop people and the bookbinder next door lived behind the shop, as did the butcher on the other side of the street.

But times have changed and 25% of Australians engaged in on-line shopping last year, and money is tight with too many unemployed people.

There are never easy solutions, but we can all help by shopping local, even when it costs a few dollars more. Councils can not enforce shopping diversity or lowering of rents and we can only keep asking for property owners to keep the rents as low as possible so that our traders can survive and new traders are more willing to take the risk of starting in Freo.

Roel Loopers

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COMPARING SHOP VACANCIES

Posted in city of fremantle, retail, shopping, Uncategorized by freoview on March 23, 2019

 

Retail vacancies

I pinched this graph from Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt’s blog who responded to some of the negativity on social media on his blog. Read his blog post here: https://cofremantle.wordpress.com/

This one is about comparing the retail vacancies in the major shopping streets in the Perth metro area. It is always good to have the facts at hand and it shows that there are a lot of empty shops in a lot of streets.

Roel Loopers

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