Freo's View

CITY, CITY BUT LITTLE BANG BANG

Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, local government, politics, Uncategorized by freoview on September 26, 2019

 

The City Ward candidate forum in Tannock Hall of Notre Dame University was pretty good, although very little new came up, and fewer than 100 people attended.

John Dowson said that councillors needed to consider the annual community surveys more and act on them because the community is often angry about issues that do not receive enough attention.

He was also not happy with council selling off assets cheaply, and we need a council that can negotiate on our behalf.

Julie Morgan said that City Ward does not embrace families and that new development also ignored families. Seniors are an unrepresented part of our community.

She was also not happy that council rates kept rising, and said she had been told the FOGO bins would not be rolled out in the CBD, which was new to Councillor Pemberton.

Rachel Pemberton said that Kings Square was a once in a generation development that will renew the inner city and attract families, workers, shoppers, etc.

She agreed that antisocial behaviour was a real problem, but the city had been working closely with WA police.

John Dowson said that Arthur’s Head was one of our most important assets but had been disgracefully neglected, But Julie Morgan said that council probably did not have any money to do anything.

Both Julie Morgan and John Dowson did not believe council was doing enough to combat antisocial behaviour in Fremantle, while Rachel Pemberton said it was a complex issue that needed different ways to resolve it. “We spent $ 2 million a year on it!”

Morgan and Dowson said they would look into rate reduction if elected, but Pemberton said that was unlikely to happen as it was in-line with inflation. Dowson said that because of the new three bin FOGO project rates went up by 2% and that would continue year after year. And Morgan asked why they had to pay for it when they would not receive the third bin in High Street.

John Dowson lamented again that Fremantle assets have been chopped and chopped and sold and sold.

Julie Morgan questioned the number of workers moving into Kings Square, as she had heard the Corrective Services department would no longer move into the Sirona Capital building.

Rachel Pemberton said the city was using its assets to renew the city and that the sale of the Leisure Centre carpark was no longer in the new ten-year plan that will be released for community consultation later this year.

John Dowson said the Fremantle Arts Centre was a stand out gem and that Fremantle did very well with festivals, but let’s bring back a few things that celebrate our heritage.

Rachel Pemberton said the city invested $ 4 million in the arts, including the upcoming Biennale.

John Dowson said growing the Freo tree canopy and putting power underground would make a huge difference, but removing the street lights from his street(Mouat) was not good.

Arthur’s Head and the J Shed artists also attracted attention with Dowson saying it was extremely distressing what was happening as we should be telling the history of place. “It has been seriously neglected and I want the J Shed artists to stay!”

Julie Morgan also said that J Shed had been tragic and she supported the artists and Rachel Pemberton said she understood the predicament as the Bathers Beach Art Precinct has not worked. She had contacted the Roundhouse volunteers group to see how the city can better support them.

Both Morgan and Pemberton said CBD family living and mixing seniors with young people would be a good idea.

The forum was excellently moderated by a gentleman whose name I did not catch, so thank you to him!

 

Roel Loopers

 

DOWSON NOMINATES FOR FREMANTLE CITY WARD

Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, election, fremantle society, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on September 12, 2019

 

The biggest surprise at this year’s Fremantle local council election is no doubt that Fremantle Society president John Dowson has nominated for City Ward and will do battle with incumbent Rachel Pemberton.

Dowson spent four years on Fremantle Council previously, so he knows the ropes of local government.

In a city that is going through a bit of a development boom Dowson’s negativity about most new buildings might not sit well with those in the community who believe change is good and necessary for Fremantle, but I have no doubt that the more conservative voters will see Dowson as a good alternative to the Green-leaning Pemberton.

Roel Loopers

WONDERFUL FREO COPENHAGEN A LONG WAY AWAY

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle ports, harbour, tourism by freoview on March 10, 2017

 

Fremantle Councillor Rachel Pemberton suggests in the Fremantle Herald today that we should import Danish logic and develop Fremantle Port like the port of Copenhagen, but it is essential to be very realistic about the idea of developing South Quay into a residential estate and a tourist, markets, entertainment hub, because this is very, very long-distant vision.

Fremantle people need to be aware and pragmatic about the fact that Fremantle Port will be a working port for decades to come, even if the new state government started building an outer harbour at Kwinana on Monday when the election results are in.

The outer harbour plans for Kwinana have always only been about an overflow port when the inner city Freo port reaches capacity, so State Government planners will still have to find better ways of getting freight in and out of Fremantle for the next twenty years or so.

The Perth Freight Link is not the solution because the last link is missing and won’t get trucks into Fremantle Port faster and better. The existing railway line through the West End can’t handle double-stacking and the PTA is reluctant to mix passenger and freight rail, so a new railway line would have to be built to get the rail capacity anywhere near the maximum 30 per cent.

Short-term jobs will come with building a new outer harbour, but also with building the Roe 8,9, 10, or building a new railway line, but long-term jobs will be lost for wharfies once Kwinana port is built because of automation of the new modern port.

While we have heard a lot of election promises from everyone we need to be very aware of the fact that W.A. is closing in on a debt of over $ 40 billion dollars, so there really is no money to spent big on big projects and many promises will have to be broken because of lack of cash, no matter who wins tomorrow.

I wish, hope and pray that Mark McGowan will not find out on Monday that stopping the Roe 8 highway and Perth Freight Link project will cost the State millions of dollars it can’t afford to spend on buying out contractors, or huge legal costs

The development of South Quay will not happen in my lifetime. It is a great very long-term vision by Fremantle Council but one that will not be realised in the next twenty years or more. Up till then we need to find better ways of moving freight and some of that could be achieved by more trucks to port at night time when the roads are empty.

Big dreams are great but we need to be realistic and deal with the problems at hand.

I took the photos above in Fremantle Port this morning. There is also a navy ship in and I noticed another two off the coast.

Roel Loopers

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MARKET STREET PIAZZA OPENS TONIGHT

Posted in cappuccino strip, city of fremantle, placemaking, plcemaking by freoview on October 28, 2016

 

The new Fremantle Market Street Piazza behind Gino’s and the Dome will be officially opened this evening at 6 pm by City Ward Councillor Rachel Pemberton.

It will have 400 metres of continuous lights above it, new seating and trees, so go and check it out.

Roel Loopers

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FREO FUTURE ART AND CULTURE NOT SET IN STONE

Posted in art, city of fremantle, community, culture, western australia by freoview on May 3, 2016

The FREMANTLE NETWORK presented City of Fremantle Manager Arts and Culture Pete Stone at the National Hotel on Tuesday evening. It was very good to see so many people turn up to listen to Pete and it was a quite inspiring event full of hope, passion and assertiveness.

It was great to hear Pete Stone say that he believes it is his duty to challenge the status quo and work toward higher quality events, even those that are not officially organised by the City. The focus pursuit has to be on quality art and creating Fremantle as an arts hub that gets national and international recognition.

Attention needs to be paid to community programs and improve them and also highly curated events by the City of Fremantle. To do that it is essential to know who the audience is one creates events for. Quality programming leads to community engagement, and don’t underestimate the audience!

It is important to be accepting of new ideas as the recent REVEALED Aboriginal event at the Fremantle Arts Centre showed. It attracted thousands of people. This was a momentum created through change.

Fremantle hosts around 300 events each year but Pete Stone said it is important to accommodate as many as possible, while having the courage to say no to those events that seem not appropriate for Fremantle. The City needs to work with events organisers to help them reach their potential.

The Street Arts Festival is Freo’s international calling card and attracts 100,00 visitors over the Easter long weekend, but Stone’s dream is to get three times more visitors, 300,000! and close off the entire CBD for a huge festival.

Public Art is very important for Fremantle and the budget is $ 140,000. A major work will soon be installed on the corner of East Street and Canning Highway. Fremantle Council is very supportive of culture and arts and “There is a lean but muscular budget”  Stone said. The City’s art collection has 1,300 pieces that could do with a gallery space.

Fremantle has unlimited potential with all the arts organisations in our city and working together is encouraged.

Stone did not mention that the present building boom will see many thousands of dollars spent on new public art as part of the percentage for the arts scheme the city has, so that will substantially add to the $ 140,000 the City has in its budget to acquire artworks.

Disappointing for me to hear that Pete Stone did not have any concrete ideas on how to activate the Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Arthur Head and make it more attractive to international visitors.

I was very impressed with Stone’s very positive outlook for the future of Fremantle’s arts and culture and the fact that he appears willing to change the status quo and not just continue along the trodden path.

The Fremantle Network events are getting better and better and it is fantastic that they now happen every first Tuesday of the month. Well done Em Bagg and Rachel Pemberton for organising it!

Roel Loopers

 

 

 

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FREO MAYOR HAS APPETITE FOR MORE

Posted in brad pettitt, city of fremantle, elections, local government by freoview on March 5, 2016

Fremantle Mayor Dr Brad Pettitt has dismissed on his blog, what he describes as rumours, that he wanted to put his hand up for the Federal seat of Fremantle for the Greens or that he had announced he would not seek another four-year-term as Mayor of our city in 2017.

Pettitt wrote “I am still loving the challenges of the mayoral role and there is still so much to do. In fact, it is only in the last few months that it has it really felt like all the hard work of recent years is starting to bear fruit. Amendment 38 which was passed around 5 years ago is only recently leading to a building boom in the East End. And there are some exciting opportunities potentially opening up around the South side of port and around Fremantle Oval I am keen to advocate for. Importantly, I also I still have around 20 months still to go in this term as Mayor and despite further rumours that I will not run again I can honestly say I have not made up my mind yet.”

Should the Labor party be silly enough to not nominate Deputy Mayor Josh Wilson as their candidate for this year’s Federal election it might well be that Wilson would also want the Mayoral job as he would lose his employment with Melissa Parke and it is unlikely his party opponent Chris Brown would keep him on.

There is no doubt inner city residents who have been very vocal against our Mayor would vehemently oppose him staying on as Mayor and would put up their own candidate(s) and I hear rumours that Councillor Rachel Pemberton is also contemplating trying to win the top job.

It’s still 19 months away so a lot will have happened in Fremantle by then.

Roel Loopers

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J SHED TAVERN NOTHING LIKE FREO ARTS CENTRE

Posted in arthur head, city of fremantle, local government by freoview on October 7, 2015

It is disappointing to read Fremantle City Ward Councillor Rachel Pemberton’s disingenuous blog post on the proposed Sunset Events temporary tavern and music venue at historic Arthur Head, where she compares the proposed venue with the Fremantle Arts Centre. I believe that Pemberton is a relatively good performer in the Chamber who does her homework, so why did she write a post like this one?

Like Rachel I go to many of the concerts at the FAC, especially the Sunday afternoon ones, so I know the proposed J Shed venue will be nothing like the FAC experience.

The plain fact is that the main purpose and core business of the FAC is art and culture, while the core business and main purpose of a tavern is the sale of alcohol. The vast majority of people who frequent pubs go there to drink alcohol and only a small percentage also have food. The tavern no doubt will have many beers on tap while at the FAC one can buy only one brand of mid strength or one brand of full strength beer in a stubby and one brand of white or red wine and a cider.

I did not read a mention of restricted alcohol sales and no spirits for the J Shed temporary tavern proposal and neither is there a mention of under 18 alcohol-free events, so let’s stop the spin and pretend the tavern will be similar to the FAC. It will be nothing like it!

State agency Fremantle Ports is against the proposal because it is worried about anti social behaviour, parking and traffic issues, etc. The Roundhouse volunteer guides are against it because it will severely impact on the tourist experience and amenity of Arthur Head and their operations there. The arts businesses and local residents are against the J Shed venue proposal and so are the Whadjuk Nyoongar people. The hospitality operators at the Fishing Boat Harbour are not keen on it either but because of some bewildering solidarity don’t want to go public with their opposition to the J Shed pub.

Connectivity between Victoria Quay and the Fishing Boat Harbour will be interrupted when the area is fenced off. Ugly portable toilets and other semi-permanent structures will visually pollute the Bathers Beach experience for visitors to our State’s most significant historic precinct that stars the oldest public building in Western Australia, the Roundhouse.

And then when Council has approved the proposal after all because it does not give a four X about community opinion the Fremantle Doctor will take care of it all and will make the experience a very unpleasant one, as we found out when we extended the Bathers Beach Sunset Food Markets to J Shed one year. Or would they dare to take the Indian Ocean vista away by planting double-stacked sea containers there as a wind break?

I think this issue is far too important to be rushed. Council should more or less be in caretaker mode when half of Council is up for election on October 17, so why not defer the item till after the election, so people can vote for Councillors who are for or against the proposal, whatever their preference is. Sounds fair to me.

Roel Loopers

ROEL FOR FREO! Beaconsfield Ward. Truly Independent.

Written and authorised by Roel Loopers of 5 Maxwell Street, Beaconsfield 6162

FREO TO TAKE OVER STATE PUBLIC TRANSPORT ROLE

Posted in city of fremantle, lightrail, roel loopers by freoview on August 30, 2015

Fremantle Council never stops surprising me, so the news report on Channel Nine this Sunday with Councillor Rachel Pemberton, who quite clearly is on the election campaign, announcing the City of Fremantle might implement a percentage for lightrail on parking fees as early as next year, was yet another indication of a lack of reality.

I love lightrail but there is something rather green-as in naive-about the idea. One also has to question why a junior Councillor would announce such a huge project on national televison when it has not even yet been to any of the Council committees. I suppose it is a case for Pemberton of just  getting her face in the media, no matter the lack of substance, and people in City Ward might actually vote for her at the October 17 local government elections.

I quite like Rachel and she is a pretty good performer in Council chamber, but she has not explained why people parking in Fremantle, and  hence Freo ratepayers, would want to fund lightrail to Cockburn and Fiona Stanley Hospital.

I suggested on Mayor Brad Pettitt’s blog a few weeks ago that if he believed there is so much support for lightrail he might want to start crowd funding, as least that would mean those Fremantle ratepayers who want to pay for it can elect to do so, and it might attract funding from far and wide and not only tiny Freo.

Lightrail and all public transport is a numbers game and the Fremantle area needs far more residents before any state government or private operator would invest in it. For Freo that is at least 15 to 20 years away still.

Public transport infrastructure is a state government responsibility and for a small council like Fremantle to want to do it on its own is naive to the extreme, even more so when there never appears to be enough money for basic maintenance of COF properties and important parks like the Esplanade.

Roel Loopers

ROEL FOR FREO! Truly Independent.

FREMANTLE COUNCIL ELECTION CAMPAIGN STARTED

Posted in city of fremantle, local government by freoview on March 22, 2015

I believe it is fair to assume that Fremantle Councillor Rachel Pemberton has already started her election campaign to get a second term in her City Ward seat. Pemberton’s dormant blog has been resurrected and she has also organised a Cappuccino Strip Street Club event this Friday in Market Street. It is the event that probably gave her most community exposure four years ago before Council election.

Many Fremantle inner city residents have not been very complimentary about Pemberton in light of her support for the skatepark on the Esplanade and Sunset Events tavern at J Shed, and even less about what they claim is the under-performing other City Ward Councillor Simon Naber who’s still got two years to run.

It will be interesting to see what happens in that ward at the October election, with rumours around that Naber might step down before October. I doubt that will happen though as Naber has been a big supporter of anything proposed by Mayor Brad Pettitt and Councillor Pemberton, so no doubt he will be pressured to stay on.

I believe it would be very good for Fremantle to see some new fresh faces on Council, so time will tell who in our community will put their hand up. It could even be me. ; >)

Roel Loopers

THE PROS AND CONS OF FREMANTLE COUNCIL WARDS

Posted in city of fremantle, local government by freoview on November 27, 2014

Among a long list of agenda items Fremantle Council last night debated the pros and cons of having a Wards system in place for the first election of the new supersize-withoutf fries- City of Fremantle after the amalgamation with the Town of East Fremantle.

Councillor Andrew Sullivan held a passionate speech in support of the Wards and how important they are for real local government democracy and input from the community in Council’s decision-making process.

Councillor Doug Thompson however warned against waiting for Wards to be implemented as that would mean extending the time a Commissioner will be in charge, saying Commissioners could do a lot of harm and might undo what Council has been trying to achieve for years. He cited Canning and Cockburn as examples.

I am a strong supporter of local government as that it where real grassroots democracy can work if Councillors listen to and respect the opinion of the community, but at the same time I wonder if for example the City Ward electors, especially business owners, feel well represented by Councillors Pemberton and Naber.

It was interesting to hear from CEO Graeme McKenzie that State Government has indicated they might prefer to make the Mayors of the amalgamating councils Commissioners with support from a third party. The many strong opponents of Brad Pettitt could well be up in arms if he was given almost free reign for nine months or so.

Interesting times ahead for Freo!

Roel Loopers

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