Freo's View

KINGS SQUARE DISPLAY AT TOWNHALL

Posted in city of fremantle, development, kings square, sirona capital, Uncategorized by freoview on August 23, 2017

 

 

Hello boys and girls, this is your uncle Roelie, the regular provider of fake Freo news, the new council spin doctor(sorry Jason and Paul!), and the election campaign manager for Bradman for the Entire Universe and Beyond, according to a Fakebook page.

Uncle Roelie went to the Fremantle Townhall to check out the displays about the Kings Square Project development. Not that he really needed it, because he has been involved in it from the very first start and community consultation.

Your old senile uncle, who can’t get his facts right, met the Sirona Capital managing director Matthew McNeilly at the first walk around the area to look at connectivity, sightlines, etc. and went to every Kings Square session after that, including the citizenship jury.

But unlike others, I believe it is not good to be ingnorant, and that one should be informed and have the facts before one makes comments, so hence my visit to the beautiful Townhall to see if I could update my knowledge.

Mayor Brad Pettitt and Sirona’s Matthew McNeilly were there, and I saw Councillor Jon Strachan and his partner Cathy Hall, and Beacy election candidate Fedele Camarda was also there, as was developer Bruce Moriarty.

A comment I read, claiming that this Council had not achieved much in the last eight years is not based on facts, yet again. Fremantle has got unprecedented development happening and in the pipeline, that we have not seen in the port city in forty years.

If the Barnett State Government had earlier committed to the Department of Housing moving to Fremantle, the Kings Square development could have been ready by now.

But boys and girls, it’s always easier to blame council rather than dealing with facts. As for Uncle Roelie, he’ll be at the Fremantle Council ordinary meeting tonight to make sure he knows what he’s talking about.

Good night boys and girls. Sleep well!

 

Roel Loopers

 

ALL ABOUT ART IN FREO

Posted in art, city of fremantle, fremantle network, Uncategorized by freoview on August 22, 2017

 

The Fremantle Network event about art in Fremantle at the National Hotel was yet again a very informative community session. Tom Mueller of PS Art Space in Pakenham Street and Robby Lang of the Fibonacci Centre in Blinco Street spoke about their art hubs.

Mueller said it was special to operate out of a federation style brick and iron heritage building, built in 1907. To financially support their arts program PSAS had to diversify through private functions such as weddings, birthday parties, corporate functions, etc. This allowed them to plan their art exhibitions two years ahead.

Small art businesses needed to be adaptive and PSAS tried to make their shows all about giving people a voice, and an honest and emotional response to art, Mueller said.

It is all about the conservation with the community and being open to change, and about creating something in the big warehouse space of the building.

There are 36 studios upstairs with practising artists, but also an architect, and there is the Studio 37 cafe on the ground floor as well.

PSAS had host the Fashion Collective and Hidden Treasures music festival.

Robby Lang of The Fib said that creative people don’t like to work for someone else, and that’s why he started the arts incubator 15 years ago in a run-down warehouse in an industrial area.

People are looking for a different way to exist and keep out of the rat race, and artists look at the cracks in society.

The Fib has art studios, but also a central space for exhibitions and functions, and a cafe.

Lang said it was all about giving people the opportunity to do their own things, and it was not purely about art. It is an environment where people can hang out, express themselves, and feel safe.

You have to be massively flexible and open to what people want to do within the space of the Fib. Micro management only limits your own imagination.

The industrial area he started The Fib in 15 years ago has now changed and there are a lot of creative businesses in the surrounding streets. It probably needs its own branding as an arts precinct, Robby Lang said.

Fremantle is brave enough to take chances and make changes and that is good, as nobody looks back in history where people played it safe. Fremantle has the opportunity to embrace things that are a bit scary and new.

The Fib has been a fantastic journey but a financial disaster, he laughed.

The next project is a movable creative container space for makers and sellers, but council regulations often made it difficult to get innovative things off the ground.

During the public discussion Tom Mueller said that the age of entitlement for artists is over and that relying on public funding was not on anymore. Artists can’t rest on their laurels.

J Shed sculptor Greg James said that an art space is primarily where people create art, and it is not a tourist destination, but the license he has with the City of Fremantle requires him to be open to the public 20 hours a week and that interrupted the work flow and productivity.

I agree that Fremantle Council needs to revisit the Bathers Beach Arts Precinct and be clear about what it wants to achieve. An arts hub of makers is not going to greatly activate the area, and if the City wants to create a Freo Montmartre it needs to come up with more innovative ideas for the area.

Robby Lang said it was important for artists to take chances and that an alternative culture needs to happen in Fremantle.

It was a really interesting couple of hours with two very good and likeable speakers!

Roel Loopers

HOTELS NEED TO ADAPT TO TOURIST NEEDS

Posted in accommodation, city of fremantle, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on August 21, 2017

 

The $ 2 million emergency campaign announced by Tourism Minister Paul Papalia to get more people using Perth hotels is not dealing with the changing demands for tourist accommodation.

The minister wants us to invite friends and family over, but it is not just lower visitors’ numbers that are to blame for the many empty hotel rooms.

Hotel rooms are expensive and not very family friendly, hence the success of Bed&Breakfast accommodation and AirBB.

In Fremantle one can get a 2-3 bedroom house with garden for as low as $ 170 a night. For a family with children that is much better and cheaper than hotel rooms.

People can cook in a B&B and don’t need to go out and buy three meals a day, and the kids can play in the garden.

Many B&B also allow dogs and that is very popular.

What hotel operators need to do is change with the times and offer more serviced apartments, where people can cook their own meals, as the new Fremantle Quest Hotel has.

What is wrong with hotels having some floors with rooms and suites, and other floors with serviced apartments with cooking facilities?

Having a whinge is not the solution, but changing with modern tourist demands is.

Roel Loopers

 

POPULAR NOTRE DAME OPEN DAY

Posted in city of fremantle, education, notre dame university, Uncategorized by freoview on August 20, 2017

 

 

Here some impressions of today’s OPEN DAY at Notre Dame University in Fremantle.

It is on till late afternoon, and a perfect day for it, as it is absolutely gorgeous out there. The sun is shining, the sky is blue and it’s just a brilliant good old Freo day.

You can go rock climbing or abseiling, once you have gathered enough information about our fantastic Fremantle uni. There is also live music and food. It feels good!

 

Roel Loopers

EMPTY PROMISES NOT GOOD FREMANTLE ELECTION CAMPAIGN

Posted in aboriginal, australia day, city of fremantle, elections, Uncategorized by freoview on August 19, 2017

 

When will politicians finally stop making empty promises during election campaigns?

The West Australian article today on the start of Mayor Brad Pettitt’s campaign and the Fremantle local council election, reports that Mayoral candidate Ra Stewart has promised to restore the January 26 Australia Day events in the port city, should she get elected.

Neither Ra Stewart nor present Mayor Brad Pettitt have the power to make any changes on their own, as they will need at least half of the twelve elected members to vote with them to make any changes, or implement new policies.

The wannabe Mayor is just exhaling meaningless hot air, unless she wants to change Fremantle Council into a dictatorship where she on her own can decided what goes on in our city. I prefer democracy.

I wonder when she will start promising free steak knives to those who vote for her.

 

Roel Loopers

HEAVY RAIN IN FREMANTLE

Posted in city of fremantle, photography, rain, Uncategorized by freoview on August 19, 2017

 

rain 1

 

rain 2

 

Good Saturday morning Freo!

A lot of very heavy showers kept me awake overnight, but I do have an early start on Saturdays anyway for 7am coffee with my good friend Henty.

I took these photos just after 8 am in Fremantle port and the High Street mall.

 

Roel Loopers

WET, WILD, WINDY FREMANTLE

Posted in city of fremantle, indian ocean, Uncategorized, weather by freoview on August 14, 2017

 

storm 1

storm 2

 

As a teenage boy in the Netherlands I would ride my bike from The Hague to Scheveningen to watch the wildness and incredible power of the North Sea during storms, and I do the same here in Fremantle and drive onto the South Mole every day to watch the mighty Indian Ocean.

It is very wet, wild and windy out there today, so pretty gorgeous really, so here two photos I took around 11am this morning.

 

Roel Loopers

NO COMPROMISES FOR FREO’S WEST END

Posted in city of fremantle, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on August 12, 2017

 

The FREMANTLE HERALD was kind enough to publish my Thinking Allowed about the necessary protection of Fremantle’s permanently heritage-listed West End this weekend. In case you don’t get the Chook home delivered or pick up a copy in town, I’ll post it here as well.

The attack by developers on Fremantle’s historic West End needs to be stopped and the City of Fremantle needs more support from State Government agencies to do that.

Applications for five-storey buildings keep coming although architects and developers are well aware that there is a three storey limit in the West End precinct.

There is an option for additional discretionary height of one floor, if it creates a better heritage outcome, or if the architecture of the building is considered to be of exceptional high quality.

What we see though are applications for boring and mediocre concrete boxes which would destroy the streetscape.

Architects show little to no respect for the spatial environment and the history of place, they just want to bang a totally inappropriate modern building in the middle of heritage buildings. This was shown in the recent application for three five-storey buildings behind Customs House in Henry Street going all the way to the former Centrelink site in Pakenham Street.

There was also a five storey application for the former Workers Club site in Henry Street, but fortunately that was rejected.

But even when Fremantle Council rejects development proposals the State’s Joint Development Assessment Panel or State Planning Commission can overrule council decisions, and they often do.

The State’s Heritage Office in my opinion sometimes also fails, as was the case with the now cancelled application by Notre Dame University for a mediocre five-storey building on the corner of High and Cliff streets. The Heritage Office recommended approval of the building, but Fremantle Council rejected it.

If UNDA had decided to go to JDAP with it they might well have approved the building the community and council did not want, on the recommendation of the Heritage Office.

It is only the sense of community and corporate responsibility of UNDA’s Vice Chancellor Celia Hammond that made the university decide to withdraw the plans for the new School of Nursing and Midwifery and start the process from scratch with a whole new design.

I am not against the development of some derelict sites and renovation of buildings in the West End, but there is nothing that can convince me that more than four storeys is appropriate for the heritage precinct. We only want outstanding development in the heritage area and nothing above four storeys!

Fremantle Council approved the five-storey nothingness of the Quest Hotel in Pakenham Street, because according to the planning and heritage officers of CoF it would preserve the interior heritage integrity of the building, but it hasn’t! Walk into the foyer of the serviced apartments buildings and you have no clue whatsoever that this is a heritage building. The blue artwork on the top corner of it is not suitable either.

Developers believe they can get away with murder in Fremantle because we are desperate for economic recovery in the port city. Yes we are, but not at any cost and the destruction of the unique character of our city.

If developers need extra height to please the bottom triple line they can develop in the east of Fremantle, and not even there indiscriminately.

Fremantle deserves more consideration when one wants to develop here and we need more support from State Government to protect the unique qualities of our city!

Roel Loopers

HAPPY FREMANTLE NOTRE DAME UNIVERSITY

Posted in city of fremantle, notre dame university, photography, Uncategorized by freoview on August 11, 2017

 

Notre Dame reflection

 

Here a happy photo to start the Friday with. A Notre Dame University building in Fremantle’s West End reflected in some of the university’s posters.

I took it yesterday afternoon when the sun was shining.

 

Roel Loopers

JDAP REFUSES FIVE STOREY WEST END BUILDINGS

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on August 9, 2017

 

 

 

In a 2.15 hour meeting today the W.A. Joined Development Assessment Panel unanimously refused the application for three five-storey buildings in Fremantle’s heritage-listed West End.

The buildings were proposed for the Customs House on the corner of Henry and Phillimore street, going all the way back to the former Centrelink site in Pakenham Street.

Representatives from FICRA, Lance Holt School and the Fremantle Society spoke against the proposal.

FICRA spokeswoman Mary Rose Baker said it was frustrating that the Fremantle community had to keep defending the West End agains in-defensable buildings.

A Lance Holt spokeswoman said there were a whole raft of issues with the proposal that were not compliant with several planning schemes and policies.

Agnieshka Kiera for FS said the height is excessive in comparison to adjacent buildings, and would change forever the roofscape and urban aspect of the West End. Over-development would negatively impact on the heritage identity of the area.

Speakers for the applicants spoke about the unique opportunity to revitalise and activate the West End by having significantly more residents living there, and that the buildings would complement the West End heritage character through best design outcomes.

They said that they were on the right track, through modifications made after the plans had been submitted, to get support from the State Heritage Office.

Height is the major concern that can be modified, but height is not detrimental to the area. The buildings would have a positive impact on the streetscape.

JDAP panel member Fremantle Councillor Andrew Sullivan asked why the architects had decided on such a robust approach and with solid, even heavy, materials.

The building heights across the site were a major concern and the applicants had not reviewed that aspect significantly enough to warrant a deferral. The fundamental issue remains height, Sullivan said, and that the justification for extra, discretionary, height was rejected by the City of Fremantle.

Sullivan also said the proposal was not a complete dud and had the potential to significantly contribute to the city and save the West End, but it needed major amendments. It failed the fundamental test of built form and does not pay respect to the heritage facades and locality in general. “The failure in architecture in un-approvable.”

Councillor Jon Strachan said that deferring the application was not an option for him because the plans needed significant changes, but that he was quietly confident a good outcome could be reached after major changes had been made.

Strachan said it was not an honest application as the developers just tried to test what they would be able to get away with, and then made little changes here and little changes there. “Come back with an excellent design!” he suggested.

JDAP Chair put a motion for a 90-day deferral forward that was not passed 2-3 votes, and then the entire panel voted to refuse the application, which may now end up at the State Administrative Tribunal, if the applicants are stubborn and unwilling to compromise and submit new plans to the City of Fremantle that are more sympathetic to the West End heritage precinct.

Last but not least I have to compliment the City of Fremantle planning officer Julia Kingsbury for her very good, detailed, and to the point representation, that concluded that the plans were not approvable.

It was very interesting to see JDAP at work, but some of the comments made by panel members have not given me the confidence that Fremantle’s West End will be well protected from inappropriate development in the future.

One last word from me to the architects and developers: You have a great opportunity here to excel and put up outstanding four-storey buildings. While I appreciate you want a good return for your investment and maximise sellable and lettable floorspace, you would be well advised to take the example of Notre Dame University and reflect, sit back, forget egos, and redesign your proposal substantially. All the community is asking for is respectful architecture that enhances the heritage precinct. Come on, You can do it!

 

Roel Loopers

%d bloggers like this: