Freo's View

NORTH FREO MCCABE STREET HIGH DENSITY

Posted in city of fremantle, local government by freoview on August 26, 2015

It has taken years and bloody hard and dedicated work by Fremantle Councillors and officers and members of the North Fremantle community, but Freo Council finally signed off tonight on the Mc Cabe Street/Stirling Highway Local Planning Policy 3.11 and agreed to cap height at 33 metres.

Can I just say from my own observation that COF officer Paul Garbut deserves a medal for being such a down to earth and outstanding community liaison person. His matter of fact approach took a whole lot of negativity and aggression out of the process, so well done, Paul! (When the pay rise comes you can buy me a beer. ; >)

A few community speakers were still critical of the process, and that irked Councillor Andrew Sullivan who had put a lot of thought and work into it, and he lamented that in Fremantle “It is always about height!” This will not be the perfect and the best solution, Sullivan said, and he was disappointed that Councillors and the public did not get to view better 3D modelling. (It is something I have been critical about for years!)

Councillor Sam Wainwright rightly asked why Council wanted to relax the 15% affordable housing policy and said Council needed to be consistent with it, but Councillor Bill Massie said it was an impediment to developers.

Councillor Rachel Pemberton said Council could learn from the intense community consulation process and that it should be implemented more often, and I totally agree with that!

At the end I believe this is a good compromise that will please some and irate others. Everyone involved tried their best and the North Freo community can be proud that they kept fighting.

Roel Loopers

ROEL FOR FREO! Truly independent

PREMIER BARNETT ON THE PERTH FAILED LINK

Posted in fremantle, perth freight link by freoview on August 26, 2015

The North Fremantle Community had invited WA Premier Colin Barnett and CUSP Professor Peter Newman for a Q&A on the proposed PERTH FREIGHT LINK and the community came out en-masse and there was standing room only. Former Premier Carmen Lawrence was there, as were author and comedian Ben Elton and Member for Fremantle Simone McGurk. Freo Mayor Brad Pettitt was there, and it is election time, four Councillors also attended.

It was a surprisingly civil event with not much aggression. Colin Barnett was relaxed and matter of fact about how difficult Stage 2 of the project will be, reassuring the crowd that nothing had yet been decided because it was near impossible to find what he called an elegant solution to get trucks from Roe 8 to Fremantle Port. He stressed the route had not been finalised yet and engineers had not designed the road and/or tunnel, and the environmental work also had not been done yet. “No one will be making a decision tomorrow.” the Premier said, pointing out his cabinet and not the departments would make the final decision.

But he was adamant, and said it several times, that Roe 8 will be built. “No road has been studied as much as the Roe 8 and it will be built so it has minimal impact on the Beeliar wetlands.” Barnett assured the crowd. It will take 2,500 trucks per day off Leach Highway, he claimed.

The Premier also said it was impossible to get all containers to the port by rail and that the 14% we have in WA was the highest freight on rail of any port in Australia, but it was desirable to increase that. At least 70% of freight would be going by truck, and we are talking about 1,2 million containers that need to be moved around the city.

Barnett pointed out that WA accounts for 50% of international trade in Australia and that trade is going up because people buy more washing machines from China, etc. He also pointed out that even when an outer harbour is built at Cockburn Sound, that would take ten years, Fremantle Port will continue as a port and the outer harbour would initially be an overflow port only, but there would be severe environmental impacts on an outer harbour in that location and it “Will be contentious.”

Professor Peter Newman agreed on quite a few points with Colin Barnett but said there was a significant shift in the world to drive less and that urban rail is growing around the word. The Perth Freight Link is not good planning when the end is not clear, he said and “No one questions that the process is flawed.” “We need more intermodal hubs like the one in Kewdale.”

Newman said the economy will grow but there would be more growth in the non-resources-based industries.

Questions were asked about diesel fume pollution and health impact on the North Fremantle community and if health studies had been and would be done, and why pervious and the present governments had not made a start on the outer harbour when it would take so long to be built. The Premier assured the Perth Freight Link was not being built to support the sale of Fremantle Port.

Building an outer harbour would be the biggest infrastructure project ever done in this state Colin Barnett said, and that it would cost $ 4 billion. “It is a daunting project with enormous issues!”

Peter Newman said the PFL “Was the biggest threat I have seen to the future of Fremantle.” and former Councillor Anna Forma said it would be the end of North Fremantle and the area won’t survive this.

Barnett said he had no argument with building more public transport but what will we do with a million plus containers, and that he did not believe in doing nothing for ten years until an outer harbour might be built.

One of the last and most powerful words came from Kate Kelly of the Save Beeliar Wetlands who said there were significant defects in the environmental assessments of Roe 8 and they would take up a legal fight. “See you in court!”

I believe community information session like this one are very good and should happen more often, but I wonder why neither Barnett nor Newman went into details on the impact an outer harbour would have on Cockburn Sound.

Roel Loopers

ROEL FPOR FREO! TRULY INDEPENDENT

W.A. RAPES LOCAL GOVERNMENT DEMOCRACY

Posted in city of fremantle, development, local government by freoview on August 25, 2015

It excites me to see so much development happening in Fremantle but it also very much disappoints me that so many of the new buildings are boring and not at all the heritage of the future we were promised by Fremantle Council.

The one thing we should blame Council for is that they did not tell us the truth and that they should not have promised us anything, because approval for large development is given by the State’s Development Assessment Panel(DAP) and the State Administrative Tribunal(SAT) and Fremantle Council can only recommend against or for an applications in a submission to the State agencies.

What happens at State level reminds me a bit of the time when there was public discussion about rapists who claimed that women did not really mean it when they said no to having sex, being raped. The DAP and SAT also tell us they know what is best for the community and they don’t care that we scream and yell no to bad and inappropriate development.

The State Government says that high-density infill is good for us, so we are supposed to relax, spread our legs and let them have their way with us, so they can brutally destroy the unique character of our older suburbs with ugly out of scale monstrosities. They rape our communities with bad infill!

Two local councillors sit on DAP and often are highly frustrated because there opinion, and that of the community they represent, is overruled by the State bureaucrats who have the majority on the panels and who pretend to know better what is good for our communities. They are pro-developers, not for good appropriate development. The 17-storey building approved on the former Subiaco markets site is a good example of DAP madness and ignoring local government.

The whole planning process has become a joke that erodes local government democracy, and it does not help either to have a Council that is hell-bend on development and willing to compromise on quality too fast. That is disaster in the making.

State Government needs to lessen their influence on local planning and allow the community to decide what they want their suburbs to look like. It is madness to enforce out of scale infill in character suburbs and destroy their unique ambience when there is plenty of space for higher density buildings on the periphery.

Godlin Barnett and his disciples need to stop ramming their development religion down our throat and listen instead to what we want, and that is great modern and exceptional development in the right areas.

Roel Loopers

ROEL FOR FREO! The truly independent

Stop press! This just from WA Today:

Applecross residents vow to continue fighting two-storey, 24-hour McDonald’s after mediation hearing at the State Administrative Tribunal failed.

Read more: http://www.watoday.com.au/#ixzz3jmiugC4D
Follow us: @watoday on Twitter | WAtoday on Facebook

KWINANA KEEN TO GET OUTER HARBOUR PORT

Posted in fremantle, fremantle ports, perth freight link by freoview on August 21, 2015

The Indian Ocean Gateway plan by the City of Kwinana is interesting but will unlikely get the support of companies interested in bidding for the 49 year lease of Fremantle Port.

Kwinana wants to link the lease of the port to building a new outer harbour at the Australian Maritime Complex within ten years. This would be a staged construction that would also cap container movement through Fremantle Port to 500,000 by 2025 and all container movement to go through the outer harbour by 2030.

Experts doubt there would be much interest in paying a very high price for running a smaller port after only ten years of the 49 year long lease. It would probably require the cash-strapped State Government to offer financial incentives to do so, but they are selling off the port because they are desperate for money so how can they make it more attractive for private operators to run the port.

A much better idea would have been to construct a new rail line to Fremantle Port away from the coast and use the existing line for passenger light rail to the new residential developments at South Beach, Port Coogee and the former South Fremantle power station. One also wonders if the proposed Perth Freight Link should have looked at a combination of road and rail instead of just wanting to cater for many more trucks on road.

I am amazed to hear the Premier say that building the outer harbour is too expensive. Fremantle Port will run out of capacity in the next 10-15 years, so what then?

Roel Loopers

ROEL FOR FREO!

FREMANTLE WAKING UP FROM HIBERNATION

Posted in city of fremantle, development by freoview on August 20, 2015

Walking and driving through Fremantle there is a sense of renaissance, as if the city has woken up out of years of hibernation. It is a good feeling to see so many new buildings going up in the CBD and other buildings getting long-overdue maintenance and paint work done. But there is also a sense of apprehension in me that the desire to see Fremantle developed and progress might make us lose sight of the importance of retaining the unique character of our city.

There is not much more important than protecting the historic West End from bad and inappropriate development, and whilst I personally don’t fear highrise in appropriate areas of Fremantle, I will fight tooth and nail to stop developers from encroaching with badly designed and too high buildings in the heritage part of town. It is not on and Freo Council need to put its foot down and not compromise one iota here!

There is ample space close to the city centre to the east of it that can be developed and where higher buildings will have far less impact on the historic parts of town. Queen Victoria and Beach street are well-suited to make a modern entry statement to our city, but we want class and should demand the best design and building quality and exceptional architecture that blows people away and that will become the heritage of the future.

There are also good development opportunities at the Knutsford/Blinco street area and along South Terrace in South Fremantle. Especially the former would be well suited for higher rise and student accommodation and could become a great modern suburb near Booyeembara Park and the golf course.

Good to see the COF also will finally start upgrading neglected South Fremantle and connect it better with the CBD. South Freo has great potential. I love the many new cafes and the cute streets with lovely homes and I always enjoy a stroll through there, so the protection of character there is also a must.

It is great to see so much progress in Fremantle, and it is not before time the city woke up and shook itself out of the lethargy and procrastination it has suffered from for so long, but restraint and common sense need to apply when developing and modernising our city. If we get it wrong it could well be detrimental for the long-term future of Freo, so let’s be aware!

Roel Loopers

Election Facebook page: ROEL FOR FREO

PERTH FREIGHT LINK AN EXPENSIVE DUD

Posted in fremantle, perth freight link by freoview on August 19, 2015

A new report by Infrastructure Australia on the proposed Perth Freight Link has concluded that the road will cost more but will deliver less than promised and that it is a substantial risk to Western Australia’s finances.

The initial cost to link Roe Highway with Stock Road in Fremantle were set at $ 1.6 billion with an estimated cost benefit of $ 5.00 for every dollar spent, but the Infrastructure Australia report says it would be $ 1,74 billion with only $ 2,50 cost benefit per dollar invested in building the road.

The report states that 12 options were short-listed but none delivered an integration with a future outer harbour.

Many people have an opinion about the PFL and it has unfortunately been politicised but one thing should be crystal clear to proponents and opponents of the toll road and that is that the planning of it has been an utter shambles akin to what happens in some third-world countries. The people of W.A. will pay for many years to come for a road planned by amateurs who should be kicked out of office for their sheer incompetence.

Roel Loopers

HERITAGE PRESERVATION A MUST FOR FREMANTLE!

Posted in city of fremantle, heritage by freoview on August 18, 2015

quest 1quest 2

The Quest serviced apartments development in Pakenham Street in the West End is progressing well, and I am happy to see new tourist accommmodation being built in Fremantle, but I am worried about the way it is done.

When I addressed Council and opposed the additional height of the building on behalf of the Fremantle Society I was assured by the heritage architect and the then director of planning that the discretionary height was only allowed to best preserve the interior heritage of the building. What I photographed yesterday though looks like the entire interior of the building has been demolished with only the walls and columns left standing. Is it supposed to be like that City of Fremantle Planning Department?

Just down the road at Henry Street the developers want to go up to five storeys at the former Workers Club site. They claim they deserve the extra height to preserve the heritage facade of the building, but the facade is so mediocre and ugly, and in my opinion has no heritage value, and could be demolished.

Will Fremantle Council break its promise that the West End would be safe from inappropriate buildings in height and bulk, and allow the unacceptable height that comes with the feeble excuse of preserving heritage?

Let’s not play games with Freo’s historic West End, that is the biggest drawcard for tourists, and let’s stop here and now and not allow any discretionary additional and inappropriate height in that part of the city. Developers keep pushing the envelope and it only takes a tiny push for Freo Council to fall over backward to accommodate new development that is unacceptable to the community.

Roel Loopers

FREO’S WEST END IS SACRED AND DESERVES PROTECTION!

Posted in city of fremantle, heritage by freoview on August 15, 2015

workers club

This extremely boring facade of the former Fremantle Workers Club supposedly has heritage value, and is the feeble excuse of the developers who want additional discretionary height to a five story residential building in Henry Street in the centre of the heritage West End, where the height limit is 14 metres.

When the Fremantle Society and many others in the community fought Planning Scheme Amendment 49 that allows buildings of up to 13 storeys in the CBD we were told over and over again by Mayor Brad Pettitt and Council that the West End would be safe from high development and that they would not allow inappropriate heights there, but developers keep pushing the envelope and once one gets through the system others will follow suite and the west end will turn into a disaster. Allowing this development would set a precedent for the area that is not acceptable to the community.

The West End and heritage buildings is why thousands of tourists flock to our city. Almost every one of the 110,000 visitors who come yearly to the Roundhouse marvel at the stunning view down beautiful High Street, so why would anyone want to destroy that and build inappropriately high buildings that will stick out from the heritage buildings and destroy streetscapes and the unique character of the old city?

The facade of the former club is ugly and does nothing for the streetscape of Henry Street, so demolish it and stick to the height limits for the West End. The overall mediocre design of the building is one that shows greed and pushes the number of apartments to the limit and one has to wonder if that is really the kind of infill development Fremantle wants and needs.

The east of the CBD along Queen Victoria and Beach streets is far better suited to erect higher residential and commercial buildings and make a modern entry statement to Fremantle, but the west end of town should be sacred and demands to be protected from greedy developers and average architecture.

Roel Loopers

PROPERTY COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA WANTS KWINANA PORT

Posted in fremantle, western australia by freoview on August 14, 2015

A report by the Property Council of Australia calls for the Western Australian government to build the outer harbour in Cockburn Sound and other infrastructure projects to keep the economy going while the mining industry is facing difficulties.

The report written by URBIS also suggests the building of the MAX lightrail, expansion of the industrial areas at the Henderson marine complex, Kwinana and Rockingham.

The reports states that at a cost of $ 4,5 billon the proposed projects could create $ 27 billion of economic benefit and some 32,500 jobs. It is suggested this could be financed through the sale of assets such as Western Power.

The Property Council said there is a lack of long-term planning and the state needs to consider what is next after Elizabeth Quay, the Burswood stadium and Perth Freight Link.

Roel Loopers

J SHED TAVERN PLANS A HEADACHE FOR LONG-TERM ARTISTS

Posted in city of fremantle, development, j shed by freoview on August 13, 2015

The Sunset Events project of a tavern at historic J Shed on Arthur Head  has taken on a new form with the City advertising for public comments on changes. The City of Fremantle seeks comment on an application received proposing- Partial change of use to Tavern (including live music), additions and alterations to existing building.

Project architects CODA write that the new plans “Significantly reduced the scale of the development. Consequentially the impact of the project both from a heritage and community aspect has also significantly reduced.”

Two things stand out for me, the first one a two stacked sea container structure as a micro brewery to the east of J Shed at the southern end, making and end to the thoroughfare to Fleet Street and the steps up to Mrs Trivett Lane and the arts studios at Captain’s Lane. That is very bad for connectivity to Victoria Quay and the cohesiveness of the Bathers Beach Art Precinct.

The proposal to have the entry to the tavern and live outdoor music venue straight next to the workshop studio of sculptor Greg James is madness. It would mean the artist would lose access to his workplace when large queues of music lovers line up in front of his door to gain access to concerts. The entry proposal also affects Greg James’ ability to use a forklift, his ute and trucks that might be needed to transport heavy sculptures from his studio to their destination. I am a big fan of CODA but to put the entry there is a stupid idea that needs to be revisited and changed, because it is unacceptable to the artist who works daily and often on weekends at his workshop. A new operator should not interfere with his livelihood and restrict access to his lease at any time of the day or week.

I also wonder about the planned extension of the boardwalk from Kidogo Arthouse, which the City of Fremantle wanted to create good connectivity between the Fishing Boat Harbour and the Maritime Museum and Victoria Quay. The tavern proposal would mean the pathway would have to go around the restricted live music area of the A Class Reserve, heading west to then come back east to north to Victoria Quay. That creates a wayfinding problem and might stop people from using the north south/south north direction. It also limits the visitors to the art galleries of J Shed as they can only come in from the north and no longer from the Fishing Boat Harbour direction.

In my opinion this is a selfish plan where Sunset Events rides rough shot over the long-term artists who have been at J Shed for twenty years. These plans need to be changed to show more respect and consideration for the existing operators at J Shed.

Roel Loopers

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