Freo's View

CITY OF FREMANTLE FINANCES SOUND

Posted in city of fremantle, economy, finances, Uncategorized by freoview on August 11, 2017

 

A small article in today’s West Australian reported that David Templeman, the Minister for Local Government, had announced that 15 per cent of, or 22 local councils in W.A. were considered to be high risk by the department.

They include the City of Perth, Fremantle, Kalgoorlie, Exmouth, Derby, Carnarvon, etc. but the article did not go into detail as to why these councils are judged to be high risk.

The claim about Fremantle’s finances has been made before, and rejected by the City, but I thought it would be prudent to ask them for a comment. Here it is:

Today’s page 14 newpaper article in The West Australian: ‘More councils high-risk’ has named the City of Fremantle as being identified by the Department of Local Government as ‘high risk’.

The City assumes it was included in this list due to a one-off low Financial Health Indicator (FHI) score for the 2015/16 financial year. The lower than usual score was caused by a combination of factors including a change in accounting methodology used by the City to simplify the way overhead costs are recorded. This change artificially inflated the year-on-year operating expenditure in 2015/16.

With this anomaly addressed in subsequent budgets, the City’s FHI score will normalise back to its long-term healthy trend when the 2016/17 audit is completed.

In previous reports issued by the Department of Local Government the City of Fremantle has not ever been classified as being in any risk category, let alone a high risk.

The City is independently audited each year and no audit has ever indicated any fundamental issues or problems with the City’s medium or long-term financial viability.

I wonder if it should not be a matter of course for the Department of Local Government to notify local councils of their findings and concerns and offer support to them, and clarify how they reached the findings.

 

Roel Loopers

HOMELESSNES A VERY REAL PROBLEM

Posted in accommodation, city of fremantle, homelessness, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on August 4, 2017

 

An article in today’s West Australian by Ian Carter, the CEO of Anglicare WA, should be reminder to us all that we need to do more for homeless people. It is a blight on society that in a rich country like Australia thousands of people have to live on the streets.

Ian Carter writes that only one per cent of rental properties in the Perth area are affordable to people on Newstart or on a pension. That is ridiculously low and not acceptable.

Affordable rent is considered to be no more than 30 per cent of income, hence the latest Census shows we have 9592 homeless people and another 7070 are at risk of becoming homeless, as they live in caravan parks and overcrowded accommodation.

The main reasons for becoming homeless, according to Anglicare, are domestic violence, sexual abuse, mental health, financial troubles, and substance use.

The Anglicare CEO writes in the West Australian that social housing should be near transport nodes and accessible to human services and government resources.

It is important not to see homeless people as an unsightly sight on our streets, but as people who deserve and require our compassion and support. I have no doubt we could do a whole lot better if we really tried.

 

Roel Loopers

 

FREMANTLE CHAMBER ORCHESTRA CONCERTS THIS WEEKEND!

Posted in clasical, concerts, fremantle, fremantle chamber of commerce, Uncategorized by freoview on July 22, 2017

 

FCO concert Emily Leung

 

Young violinist Emily Leung will be playing with the Fremantle Chamber Orchestra at the Fremantle Townhall tomorrow Sunday July 23 at 3 pm.

Beethoven, Bruch and Mendelssohn are on the program so it should be a beautiful afternoon of great classical music.

If you can’t make it tomorrow, or want to listen to the concert twice, they are also performing today at 3 pm at the Perth Town Hall.

Roel Loopers

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VACANT SHOPS A MAJOR PROBLEM

Posted in city of fremantle, economy, hospitality, retail by freoview on April 2, 2017

A report in the Sunday Times today shows that the accusations against Fremantle Council not looking after its retailers well enough and that parking problems keep shoppers away are hot air.

The new Perth Labor MP wants a City Summit because of the dire retail economy in the big smoke, which shows Fremantle’s retail problems are neither unique nor to blame on Council.

Of the 950 shops in the Perth CBD 150 are vacant at a 16 per cent vacancy rate. Along Barrack Street and St George’s Terrace a staggering one in five shops are empty, so it does not look well at all.

We know that retailers in Subiaco and elsewhere have also been struggling for years, so this problems is all over the Perth metropolitan area.

Yesterday the West Australian reported that many restaurants are closing in Perth as well and that shows that we need to do more for tourism, conventions, festivals, etc. and can no longer rely on the patchy mining industry that booms and busts often and lacks the stability our retailers and hospitality industry need.

It is unfair to lay blame for the economy on individual local councils as there is clearly a bigger picture at play well outside the power of local government.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE ART AT ELIZABETH QUAY

Posted in aboriginal, art, elizabeth quay, fremantle, western australia by freoview on February 4, 2017

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It is always good to hear that Fremantle artists are involved in major public art projects so I went to Elizabeth Quay in Perth on Friday to have a look at the water playground designed by Aboriginal artist Sandra Hill with the ceramic work done by Freo J Shed artist Jenny Dawson.

They were testing the water again when I was there at 10 am so no kids enjoying the water spouts.

Roel Loopers

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HERITAGE OF THE FUTURE ARCHITECTURE

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, perth by freoview on November 30, 2016

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I hopped on the train to Perth to listen to the free lunchtime Musical Morsels concert by WASO musicians at the Concert Hall there and on my way took some photos of the new Perth library.

What an exquisitely minimalist and classic building this is that would be a great iconic feature at Fremantle’s Kings Square. It’s the kind of heritage of the future architecture that I would love to see in Freo and it was designed by Freo architects Kerry Hill who also created the new Civic Centre for the City of Fremantle.

And the free WASO concert with cellist Louse McKay was superb and around 130 people were in the audience.

Roel Loopers

PROMOTING FREMANTLE BETTER

Posted in aboriginal, art, city of fremantle, retail, tourism by freoview on November 14, 2016

cannon-fire

 

A disturbing report in the West Australian today about the serious retail problems in the Perth CBD shows that Fremantle’s retail demise is not unique and that it is happening everywhere in WA, Australia and the world.

Perth retailers complain about too high parking fees and anti-social behaviour, as Fremantle retailers do, but Fremantle parking fees are substantially lower than those in Perth.

The unfortunate fact is that the the global financial crisis, on-line shopping and the mining bust have all contributed to the serious decline in retail shopping all over Perth.

I hear from Fremantle retailers that they nowadays often have better sales during weekdays and that retail no longer is weekend trading only and that is a good thing the City of Fremantle needs to investigate and tap into.

From my personal observations Fremantle is the suburban ‘tourist’ destination on weekends for people who like the atmosphere, the cafes, restaurants, fishing boat harbour and pubs, but not many people come into Freo to shop on weekends.

That brings me to another article in the West about tourism and I wonder why the City of Fremantle does not do more in that regard. We still lack international signs around the city and multi-lingual menus in restaurant and that is inexcusable when one knows how easy it is to get translations in this digital internet age.

Imagine restaurants that hand out tablets to guest where all they need to do is touch the logo of the national flag of their country and the menu pops up in Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Russian, etc. Wouldn’t that be a great innovative service for visitors to Freo we could promote.

Heritage is also not well promoted in Fremantle, but very much loved by tourists who often comment on the beauty of the West End. We promote on the new wayfinding signs the Bathers Beach Art Precinct but not the heritage aspect of it.

It does not help either that a long-serving senior member of the City’s marketing team told the president of the Roundhouse guides a few weeks ago they did not know the cannon was fired every day at 1 pm. One cannot promote what one does not know about!

For years we have been asking for more information about festivals and events to hand out to visitors to the Roundhouse. This year again we had no Fremantle Festival programs to give to tourists. Why?!

The other aspect lacking is an Aboriginal experience for overseas visitors. The Walyalup centre failed dismally at offering indigenous culture, music and dance events for tourists and all we now have to offer is two Aboriginal art galleries in the CBD and Aboriginal tours by Greg Nannup.

Tourism is a growth-industry the CoF does not take serious enough. I understand that Fremantle wants to be more than a sleepy heritage tourist town, and we are well under way with new development and modernising the city, but it is wrong to underestimate the importance of tourism and the growth potential of it.

Roel Loopers

EXQUISITE WESTERN AUSTRALIAN WIDLFLOWERS

Posted in fremantle, nature, perth, western australia, wildflowers by freoview on September 17, 2016

I escaped away from Fremantle, council politics, negativity and buildings and spent a few hours just wandering around in Kings Park to enjoy the beauty of nature and life.

The wildflowers are out in abundance and there were heaps of people, the different cultures emulating the variety of colours of the everlastings.

It is exquisitely beautiful in Kings Park at the moment, so go for a trip and leave all your worries behind you for a while!

And my apologies for the images, I am unfortunately not a very good nature photographer. ; >(

Roel Loopers

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DENSITY MUST HAVE PUBLIC BENEFITS

Posted in city of fremantle, community, development, western australia by freoview on September 5, 2016

I received the information below from the Committee for Perth today and since infill and higher density is very relevant to Fremantle I copy it below:

Lunch Learnings: Densifying the Suburbs

At the latest Committee for Perth’s Perth in Focus luncheon, Densifying the Suburbs, Planning Minister the Hon. Donna Faragher opened the event by talking about the soon-to-be released Design WA report.

The Minister said the report would ensure that good design was also cost effective, functional, liveable, vibrant and sustainable and that design review panels would be standardised and prioritised to support DAPs.

Emma Booth, Team Leader Design at North Sydney Council, explained how the council had an on-again, off-again love affair with density since the 1950’s. The council is now focused on creating 12,000-14,000 new residences and 10,000 new jobs by 2031. To achieve this, they spent three years preparing and implementing a design strategy.

The key findings from the strategy are:
Start by mapping urban renewal opportunities.
Do density once and do it well.
Measure the financial uplift of density and capture part of the value to deliver amenity that benefits the community.
Good design is achieved through a design process not a static plan.
Densifying the suburbs also means densifying the land use mix.
There is no point increasing density around train stations without decreasing car use.
Density must be supported by commensurate public benefits.
Value capture is possible with an endorsed strategy.

Keynote speaker, Associate Professor Julian Bolleter, from the Australian Urban Design Research Centre at The University of Western Australia spoke about the findings in his book ‘Scavenging the Suburbs: Auditing Perth for 1 Million Infill Dwellings’.

The book examined how many infill homes could be created by better utilising land around Perth.

Associate Professor Bolleter’s provocative views are that Perth could infill more and contain sprawl if:
Each person in Perth only had 75m2 of garden space instead of the current 132m2 it would create 115,000 infill dwellings.
50% of publicly owned carparks had homes built above them and carparks below it would create 203,000 dwellings.
Freeway reserves were reduced, 50,000 new homes could be created.
10% of light industrial areas were developed for housing it would create 95,434 affordable homes.
The amount of public park space was reduced from 40m2 to 28m2 per person 144,000 homes.
Golf courses were reduced to 9 holes it would yield 86,000 homes.
10% of the foreshore was used for development it would create 62,000 dwellings.

While admitting it was controversial, Assistant Professor Bolleter said that if all of the recommendations were followed it would create 913,879 dwellings, obviate the need for 97 masterplanned communities the size of Ellenbrook and no greenfield homes would need to be built in Perth until 2036.

FREMANTLE WELCOMES CORROBOREE ASIA DELEGATES

Posted in fremantle, heritage, tourism, western australia by freoview on September 4, 2016

 

Fremantle welcomes the over 300 travel agents from all over Asia to the CORROBOREE ASIA industry trade show in Perth at the Perth Convention and Entertainment Centre from September 5-9.

You will no doubt find out during your visit here that the port city of Fremantle is the most beautiful part of Perth, so please do spend some time with us!

If you want a personal FREE tour I am happy to show you around the historic city of Fremantle, where I have lived for 25 years.

I am the Fremantle Citizen of the Year 2013, a photographer and a volunteer tourguide at Western Australia’s oldest public building the Roundhouse gaol, so I can show you all those very special Freo places.

Just email me at roel.loopers@iinet.net.au or text me on 0419 850981 and I’ll take you on a personal tour during the day or evening at absolutely no cost to you. I am just proud to show off this special place.

Roel Loopers

 

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