Freo's View


Posted in city of fremantle, kings square, local government by freoview on November 16, 2015

Although the City of Fremantle is still hopeful the Department of Housing will commit to moving to Kings Square, project partner Sirona Capital are developing alternative plans according to Freo City CEO Graeme McKenzie.

McKenzie writes in the City of Fremantle Annual Report that “The City is confident that the Kings Square Project will proceed. Sirona has been developing alternative plans for the development of this precinct and that plan is rapidly maturing to a point that should see contractual obligations met and this major catalyst development project in the heart of Fremantle proceed.”

I find it strange that the City would not keep the community and business community in the loop on this and tell us what the alternative plans for our City’s major development project are. Will Sirona go away from the plan to only develop commercial and retail in the former Myer and Queensgate buildings and now add residential or even tourist accommodation because it can’t sign up major tenants for their commercial floor space? I am sure everyone in Fremantle would like to find out what the new plans are and if they will come back to community consultation.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle society by freoview on November 15, 2015

The announcement that former Fremantle Councillor John Dowson has nominated to become the next president of the Fremantle Society made me contemplate how effective community groups in our city have been in recent years.

When I became the president of FS I wanted to get rid off the us and them thinking, with some committee members believing Fremantle Council was the enemy of FS. I believed we could achieve more with respectful dialogue, getting into the ears of the elected members, push for changes to development applications and policies and collaborate with the City of Fremantle. President Henty Farrar who took over from me, and I as vice president, very much continued that way, but I believe it has been a failure.

But it is not only the Fremantle Society who has failed to make any impact, and the demise started well before Henty and I were in charge, but the Fremantle Residents and Ratepayers Association and the Fremantle Inner City Residents Association also fell onto deaf ears when approaching Council.

According to Fremantle Council there is a large silent majority in our community who exactly want what all of us who speak up and participate in community consultation oppose, so we really have Buckley’s of finding any consideration for our views. That will not change under a Dowson lead Fremantle Society, it will just become more black&white and us versus them and more negativity. I don’t believe that is good for Fremantle, but neither was the previous respectful and collaborative way of dealing with the City, because our views were disrespectfully ignored.

A lot of blame should go to those who did not bother to vote at the last local government election, and contrary to some opinions I read it is not an endorsement of the sitting members or a rejection of those who nominated, but it was a vote for apathy, so Freo gets the Council it deserves because 75 percent of voters could not bother to vote.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt has turned from a community leader into a manipulative politician whose word can no longer be trusted. He will tell you face to face that black is black but will argue at Council that black is white and gets away with it. Pettitt has a lot of influence behind the scenes and uses that power to push his own sustainability agenda. While Pettitt believes he can demand respect as Mayor of our city he and Council have long stopped treating the community with respect. They treat community consultation as a necessary nuisance, a mere box that has to be ticked under local government laws.

In my opinion it will not make one iota of a difference if John Dowson or Elvis Presley becomes the president of the Fremantle Society because we are trying to communicate with people who have earmuffs on to stop that annoying noise the community makes.

Roel Loopers


Posted in business, fremantle, perth, west australian by freoview on November 11, 2015

Articles in the West Australian today made me contemplate to what extend corporate responsibility should go. The argument-and hope-that private investors could finance lightrail in Perth because it would be good for their workers and hence the bottom line is an interesting one and has some merit. Staff that needs to travel less to and from work will be happier and healthier and would probably be a more productive workforce so that should be good for the employers. I read though that there is little demand for office space in the suburbs and that indicates to me that employers don’t get it or don’t care about the big picture.

Decentralisation of the workforce away from the Perth CBD and the creation of so-called satellite cities should be a priority for our State Government and large employers because traffic congestion is affecting the productivity and bottom line of businesses.

Fremantle is desperate for economic recovery and revitalisation but it has been near impossible to get commitment from the State and larger corporations to move staff to Freo. Sirona Capital is hamstrung with the Kings Square development because no one wants to commit to moving to Fremantle, and even substantial residential and hotel development alone will not be enough to make Fremantle the state’s second city again. We need more office workers in Fremantle and more medium to large retailers to make the port city vibrant again.

There are huge development plans for the Coogee coast just south of Fremantle and somehow our retailers need to be able to tap into that potential and that requires better public transport along that southern corridor, ideally in the form of lightrail. It should also encourage businesses to open offices in Freo, close to where the workforce lives, but that has not been forthcoming and I wonder why that is.

Is it more prestigious for companies to have offices in big towers in Perth than four floors in a Fremantle low to medium rise, and is the corporate image more important than looking after one’s employees and the general community?

The urban sprawl in Perth cannot be allowed to continue because long commuting to work  is bad for personal health, bad for traffic and bad for the environment, and it costs money so it is bad for the bottom line. It is time for big businesses to make a move to the satellites of the metro area and for quite a few of them to make the move to Fremantle, so their workers can enjoy the unique lifestyle of our city. Procrastinating in the Perth CBD and complaining about congestion and public transport is not helpful or being part of the solution. Change is required! Make the move to Freo!!

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, development by freoview on November 10, 2015

The Planning Institute of Australia last night awarded the Fremantle White Gum Valley project the Best Planning Ideas-Small Project and Planning Minister’s Award.

The project is a collaboration between Landcorp, Freo’s CODA architects, URBIS and the City of Fremantle.

The judges said the development exemplifies a unique urban infill project through collaboration between a developer, local government and the community. It was praised for its ability to demonstrate the economic, environmental, and social benefits of sustainable development.

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle, perth freight link, west australian by freoview on November 8, 2015


One has to wonder what is going on at the WA Mainroads department and the controversial Perth Freight Link and Roe 8 highway extension. The Sunday Times reports today that although contracts have been signed with a consortium of builders the required land acquisitions for Roe 8 still have not been completed.

ST also reports that the necessary amendments to the Metropolitan Region Scheme still need to be completed and might need to go through parliament for legislation.

Is it a surprise the community is highly sceptical about the PFL and the whole process when this piecemeal governance is going on?

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, perth freight link by freoview on November 6, 2015

After last week’s Thinking Allowed in the Fremantle Herald about the Perth Freight Link by Fremantle Deputy Mayor Josh Wilson, this week commercial advisor to the energy industry Martin Lee writes down his thoughts in the Chook. Both opinion pieces are well worth reading, as it is essential to try to have a mature debate about it and ideally leave political grandstanding behind.

I for one believe it is very good that premier Colin Barnett does not want to commit-yet-to stage 2 and 3, but one would then have to question the value of Roe 8. I believe the government jumped the gun by announcing the PFL far too early and before the proper planning and environmental processes had been finalised. But it is better to now hold back and see if a good outcome can be found instead of stubbornly continuing with the road to nowhere.

It is of course wrong to believe that an outer harbour would solve the freight traffic problems to the Fremantle port inner harbour, because Kwinana would only be an overflow port. It will also take up to 20 years to construct a port in Cockburn Sound, so the truck traffic problems to Fremantle port will only get worse.

Freight on rail by all means, but the reality, according to experts, is that it is unlikely to get to the desired 30%, which means more than 70% of freight to the port will still come by road. Truck traffic will dramatically increase over the next years and that means worse traffic problems in North Fremantle and along Leach Highway.

The outer harbour would also create serious environmental issues and threatens the sea grass in Cockburn Sound and traffic in that area would significantly increase and another wetlands threatened. The CUSP supported Latitude 32 requires the construction of a new freeway from Tonkin Highway to Kwinana, so what damage to the environment and communities would result from that?

It would probably also require new legislation to force trucking companies to install GPS systems to see if they use the proposed toll road and one could also question if that can be done or contravenes privacy and civic liberty laws.

There are simply far too many questions and unresolved issues to rush into building the Perth Freight Link. A priority should be to see how we can increase freight on rail and how we can get containers into the inner harbour at Fremantle without messing up North and East Freo, and it is essential to seriously start planning an outer harbour.

It is in my opinion prudent that the Premier just wants to sit on this untill all problems have been addressed professionally without hype and spin and hot air. For me this is not about which political party will have bragging rights and claims a win because the PFL is or isn’t constructed, but it is what is best for Fremantle and the affected areas.

It’s time to chill, relax, stop the political power muscling and just deal with the facts. There will be no great outcome one way or the other so huge compromises will have to be made. Freo port won’t close in a hurry so we need to address the traffic problems, create incentives for trucking companies to travel at night, etc. This is huge, so let’s not pretend anyone has the answers!

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, local government by freoview on November 5, 2015

greener grass

This poster came up on Facebook and I thought that it very much applied to Fremantle. The world is not better somewhere, anywhere else, but is pretty good here on our side of the fence. There is no doubt that Freo can be improved but it takes all of us to participate and be part of the solution.

Don’t just get involved before local government elections and don’t only express an opinion when you have something to complain about, but be part of Fremantle all the time. Tell the City of Fremantle, the Councillors and staff, tell me, tell this blog what your ideas for Fremantle are, what changes you would like to see, what easy and fast improvements you believe could be made, and what long-term plans we should have for our city.

What is it you love about Freo and what is it you loath?

The grass is not always greener on the other side and other local councils receive a lot of criticism as well, so let’s try to make Fremantle the best place it can be by all working together! That would be a good New Year’s pledge.

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle, perth freight link by freoview on November 3, 2015

PFL Ball

The BEHIND THE FREIGHT BALL event this Friday evening November 6 at 7.30 pm at the Fremantle PS Art Space in Pakenham Street could be a whole lot of fun, a wee bit of sarcasm, political grand standing and genuine community concern, all that while having a bit of a laugh, a meal and a drink and consider the impact the Perth Freight Link would have on communities south of the Swan River.

Details are on the poster above, so book your table and support the Rethink the Link community movement.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle festival, perth freight link, photography by freoview on November 1, 2015

Photos COPYRIGHT Roel Loopers but free to use for community groups.

I have photographed the Fremantle Festival parade for some 25 years now, but today’s one was the best one I can remember. It was a huge one with a lot of community participation but the stand out one was the huge protest against the Perth Freight Link.

In my estimation it was as big as the Save Ningaloo campaign, so well done to all those committed community groups. It was truly heart warming and one of the reasons I love living in Fremantle.

More photos of the parade here tomorrow.

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle, perth freight link by freoview on November 1, 2015

Interesting articles by Joe Spagnolo in the Sunday Times today with the reporter claiming that WA Premier Colin Barnett stopped Transport Minister Dean Nalder from signing the contracts for Stage Two of the Perth Freight Link.

The Roe 8 highway extension is all but signed off on, but for a legal challenge by the Save Beeliar Wetlands, but the continuation of the freight link all the way into Fremantle port appears too big a challenge for the Barnett government with the Sunday Times claiming a decision will be made on it only after the 2017 State election.

It is a huge problem to find an appropriate route and method for the Perth Freight Link that has received enormous public opposition from affected communities and councils, so it would be interesting to see this ending up as one of the main election campaigns together with light rail and public transport in Western Australia.

Roel Loopers


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