There was such an air of negativity at the Sunset Events community information session about new plans for J Shed at Bathers Beach that I left before the questions started, as the interruptions were annoying.
I walked away asking how one can create trust between parties when there is so much negativity. Honesty helps to achieve that, so why did Sunset Events director David Chitty in his presentation omitted to mention plans for a brewery, as well as the tavern, restaurant and picnic area he mentioned?
That is so silly and tactically so unwise because now the people who are already against it will think SE have got more to hide and other controversial plans they don’t want to mention.
That was really disappointing because I quite like the concept of an affordable family restaurant, with function space(s), a cultural program and creative director to implement it and a nice picnic area on the grass in front of the artists’ studios.
A 400 patron venue is not huge but is a tavern appropriate for the A-Class reserve? Not according to the state’s DAP and SAT.
I liked that David Chitty admitted the trial period had shown that what they initially wanted did not work for them and the community, and that could have been the start of positively moving forward together but PLEASE cut the bullshit!
The restaurant is going to serve female friendly meals that are not too blokey? You must be kidding! Are sausages phallic symbols?
Australian BBQ, local fresh produce and seafood, yes please. Generous serves to assist obesity, no thank you!
Fostering a progressive cultural program is paramount to the project. I don’t think so as a pub environment is just not suited for it. Film nights are great, especially outdoors but the northern end of Bathers Beach is very bloody windy, as we found out when we ran the Bathers Beach Sunset Food Market there. Ask the Kelp Bar how they struggle with the Freo Doctor.
I want something special at that end of Bathers Beach but am not sure that bookend pubs are the go, but I do actually like the idea of something like COAST at Port Beach that could well work at BB and I believe David Chitty could pull that off with the right chef and leaving all the bullshit and brewery stuff behind.
Architect Carl Payne sent a comment to this blog about the article in the Fremantle Herald about yet another terrible development proposal for Fremantle’s West End. See the post below this one for it!
I believe Carls thoughts are very important so I am posting them here as well for those people who do not read the comments:
We really need to start thinking about what the West End of Fremantle is, in an Australian context.
It is a remarkably complete 19th Century urbanscape, which retains the essence of what this means. It’s a living museum; and this is important, because it is a functioning and workable collection of buildings that is rare in 21st century Australia.
Many overseas towns and cities can boast similar precincts; but few in Australia can. This is the first important point.
The second thing is that this is crucial because it has both economic and cultural advantages. The economic growth that Perth saw in the 60s; 70s; and 80s would have destroyed Fremantle’s West End if it had occurred here as it did in the State’s capital. We now have a chance to positively build on the magnificent streetscape we have inherited and – mostly – conserved. This can create significant economic advantages, because there is no doubt that Fremantle is now poised to grow its already significant Tourism marketplace.
But this is only part of the importance of the West End. It is also a cultural reminder for all of us who live here. It is a symbol of our past achievements. Cultures that demolish their past, weaken their future; they lose contact with their heritage, in both a physical and an emotional way. And adding a couple of floors to an old West End building destroys its integrity; it alters the streetscape; and it alters the skyline.
Look over Fremantle from the monument; or from the Town Hall; or from the Roundhouse. The roof-tops; and the old wall-parapet tops, are part of the heritage streetscape. They are what conservation is all about. We are talking about very fragile things here; connections; relationships; urban-scapes that are very easily lost.
I don’t often agree nowadays with Fremantle Society President John Dowson but his comment in the Fremantle Herald today that the proposed five-storey development for Pakenham and Henry streets is ‘Insanity’ is spot on!
It would be absolute madness to approve these buildings which would irreversibly destroy the West End.
The proposed building on the Centrelink site is evil in it’s absolute ugliness, and the beautiful facade of the Customs building on the corner of Henry and Phillimore streets would be destroyed if two storeys stuck out above it.
The problem will be that even if Fremantle Council rejects these inappropriate buildings we will be dependent on the whim of the pro-developers state agencies DAP and SAT and the new State Government need to do something about that very urgently.
The Fremantle community will not allow the destruction of our beautiful heritage West End that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to WA every year!
It seemed out of proportion that light pollution at the Shacks car dealer in Queen Victoria Street had to go to full Fremantle council. I appreciate that it must be a nuisance for the residents of the apartments behind the alfresco showroom that the strong lights on high posts shine into their rooms, but why the issue could not be resolved by the administration is concerning.
This is a problem that has a very simple solution and is something camera lighting crews deal with daily when they make movies. One controls light spill by putting flaps around the lights and at Shacks those lights also need to be angled much further downward so that they only light up the cars on displays.
This should not have gone all the way to the Elected Members who have got enough and far more serious and important things on their plate.
Also on the agenda:
It looks like the former KULCHA space above the Dome cafe in the Evan Davies building at the Cappuccino Strip will finally be used again for a music and restaurant venue.
Councillor Jon Strachan expressed his deep frustration that this great space in the centre of the city had been vacant for three years, at yesterday’s Fremantle Council meeting.
Here another scenic shot taken from the Fremantle Townhall last Friday with the new Atwell Arcade building prominently in the foreground.
Fremantle Council will consider this Wednesday if they should start a six-months process for a Noongar ‘Eldership’ to come up with a concept for the Beach Street building at the East Street jetty, that will be vacated by DADAA soon.
The issue for me is that I hear that this time a different group of Noongars will be consulted than those who were involved with the Walyalup Centre and I believe that is a problem.
It seems to me that the City of Fremantle is putting the cart before the horse and have already decided on this one location, when there is not even a proper concept of what the local Aboriginal people want and need, and what they want might be better somewhere else.
I know Fremantle Council’s heart is in the right place but for me it smells a wee bit of patronising tokenism as the Wadjelas are generously offering a space that might not be suitable at all for the Noongars, as is the case with the present Walyalup Centre at Arthur Head, that has failed for many reasons that have yet all to be assessed.
Why not have a proper and inclusive process managed by the Aboriginal South West Land Council, instead of selectively including and excluding certain families in the decision-making for a new Aboriginal cultural community centre?
Why not find out first if the Noongar people want a community centre as a meeting place for themselves, or if they want a Noongar showcase for tourists that could generate income through the sale of art and events, or a combination of both.
Why restrict the Noongars to only the one location at Beach Street when maybe a nature-based location would be better for them in Booyeembarra Park or out of town. Maybe a bigger bush project where Fremantle collaborates with Cockburn could be an option?
To me it feels too much like dogooders wanting a feel-good process instead of a best-outcome based one where Noongar people will take on ownership of the new centre and manage and run it autonomously.
What we should want for our Whadjuk Noongar people is the very best cultural centre, not just any space that is available.
Scaffolding will gradually come down from next week on the Fremantle Townhall.
I was given an exterior tour of the conservation works on Friday by City of Fremantle heritage coordinator architect Alan Kelsall and heritage project officer Gena Binet and Zac of the building contractors and was very impressed with the very detailed and substantial work involved in the $ 3.1 million project.
The Townhall project is the largest conservation work the city has ever undertaken and was necessary because of the deterioration of the building due to paint that did not allow the building to breath and suffocated the building, hence salt and moisture had badly damaged large areas.
Don’t expect a brightly-painted building as it has been brought back to its original stucco look of 1887.
About the town hall restoration
Before current restorative works were undertaken it had been almost thirty years since the last major capital expenditure on the Fremantle Town Hall.
Since mid-2016 a large team of skilled stonemasons, plasterers, lead workers and slate roofers with specialist traditional skills have transformed the exterior of the town hall building using traditional building methods.
Key elements such as the roof cladding and drainage systems needed to be replaced urgently to protect the building from ongoing deterioration prevent the loss of culturally significant features and address concerns about public safety.
Gutters and downpipes were too small to cope with current extreme weather events and have led to ongoing damage to the interior of the building. These elements have all been enlarged.
There were also ongoing issues caused by inappropriate surface treatments and repairs to masonry elements carried out in the1950s–60s. At this time there was little understanding of best practice conservation which had unfortunately led to the ongoing deterioration of masonry, embedded steel and timbers and decorative stucco work in the town hall.
During the works, it was discovered some inaccessible parts of the building were in worse condition than expected and extra works were required. To prevent further deterioration of the building and to make use of scaffolding already in place for the current restoration works, it was more efficient and cost effective to complete these additional works now.
P.S. Stunning views from the top of the Townhall so I will post some scenic photos of Fremantle next week and have requested a rooftop bar and a granny flat for me to be included in the renovations.
There is an interesting opinion piece in the West Australian today about the limitations of urban infill and the necessity of regional development.
Higher density in established suburbs and near railway stations and bus lines is not something that can go on indefinitely, so other alternatives need to be considered.
The WA state government has long been talking about decentralisation and to its credit has moved some departments out of the Perth CBD, but private businesses and large corporations still appear reluctant to open offices outside of Perth.
Most big law, mining and advertising companies are in Perth or West Perth and Fremantle has been struggling for decades to attract large companies to relocate here.
While it is good that Fremantle has so much residential, commercial and tourist development at the moment, there is only limited space in the inner city and we need to protect the unique character and heritage attraction of our city.
But decentralisation and city planning needs to become a much bigger picture than that even and fast rail transport to places like Northam, Albany, Bunbury and Geraldton should be considered.
Mining companies should start building permanent accommodation for their personnel in the Pilbara to decrease the high-polluting FIFO process and increase the regional population.
The Perth metropolitan urban sprawl needs to stop because it is not sustainable and too expensive, but filling up character older suburbs with ugly high concrete boxes is also not the solution.
What our politicians lack is big visionary thinking when it comes to planning the regional cities of the future. Planning is still far too much Perth-centric that will only worsen the traffic, public transport and environmental problems that are inevitable when too many people are squeezed into city living.
Innovative integrated regional development should be a priority for the new McGowan Labor government.