Freo's View

FREO SATURDAY SERENADE

Posted in busking, city of fremantle, music, Uncategorized, weather, winter by freoview on July 13, 2019

 

Freo

 

What a delightful Saturday in Fremantle, and more brilliant weather to come the next days. It even attracted West Coast Eagles player Andrew Gaff to wander down historic High Street to get over the disappointment of yesterday’s one point loss to Collingwood.

I took the photo of this energetic band in the High Street mall in front of a mural artwork.

Roel Loopers

RETAIL DECLINE A HUGE WORRY FOR OUR CITIES

 

Recent media reports in the West Australian and on TV news show that retail is severely struggling in Perth and that Fremantle’s worries are not unique in that regard. Of course that is cold comfort to our Freo traders.

The same complaints Fremantle traders make are made by Perth traders; parking costs, antisocial behaviour and homelessness.

According to one news outlet one in five shops are vacant in the Perth CBD, so that is even higher than in Fremantle, with one trader saying that they were experiencing the worst trading conditions in a decade, with whole days of no sales and no customers entering the shop.

The sad fact is that there is a lot of on-line shopping and that many people prefer the sterile all-weather comfort of shopping centres where there is little antisocial behaviour, no homeless people and three-hour free parking.

In summer shoppers escape to the cool airconditioned comfort of suburban shopping centres, which keep them warm and dry in winter, so that is something old-fashion High Street shopping can’t offer.

While free parking might be an option for big and wealthy Perth council a small city such as Fremantle is reliant on parking fees and parking fines revenue. Fremantle Council would have to substantially raise council rates if it introduced free parking.

Fremantle could however offer free weekday night parking to try to attract more people into town in the evenings.

What the demise of retail will mean for the FOMO retail concept at Kings Square, that will open mid next year, is yet to be seen, but don’t expect miracles in the short term.

There is no point in not supporting local traders but then complain that retail shops, cafes and restaurants close and that so many shops are vacant, so support our Freo traders!

Roel Loopers

FREO’S LAST TEN YEARS NOT A FAILURE

There is a Not Happy Brad! whinge letter in the Fremantle Herald today by a Keith Manton, who blames the Fremantle Mayor for just about everything that is wrong in our city.

Drug taking, street drinking, begging. Blame the Mayor when everyone by now should be aware that WA Police is responsible for taking care of these issues and crimes and anti social behaviour. They do that pretty well with assistance of the Fremantle community safety officers.

The one point I agree on with Mr Manton is that lack of good quality architecture we are getting, but most of the major projects are approved by the state’s JDAP and not the City.

According to the director responsible for the removal of the yellow foil at High Street comes in under the $ 220.000 budget, so not anywhere near the one million Mr Manton claims it will cost. Can we get an update on that please Director Graham Tattersall. Thanks!

Vacant shops and the cry out for more diversity is nothing new. Retail vacancies are unfortunately happening everywhere around Perth and Australia and Fremantle Council cannot enforce lower rents or dictate to property owners which tenants and businesses to take on, although the economic development team has been trying hard to get more diversity in Fremantle’s shopping.

It was on expert advise that Fremantle Council decided not to renovate the old Civic Center and go ahead with an all new one that will compliment the Sirona Capital commercial development at Kings Square. To say that replacing the ailing building was totally unnecessary is being ignorant of the facts.

Have the last ten years of Fremantle under the leadership of Mayor Brad Pettitt been a failure, as Keith Manton claims? I don’t believe so, as the Kings Square Redevelopment Project will make a significant difference to the economic revitalisation of our city. It will require a bit more of our patience, and no doubt that is very difficult for many of our struggling traders, so let’s support them!

Could Fremantle Council and the administration improve? Absolutely, and I have no doubt they are aware of that.

Roel Loopers

 

PRINCI BUTCHERS MOVE TO EAST FREMANTLE

Posted in beaconsfield, city of fremantle, food, shopping, Uncategorized by freoview on June 22, 2019

 

 

More bad news for the Lefroy Road shopping centre in Beaconsfield with Princi Butchers reported to be moving to East Fremantle soon.

After the closure of Romanos and IGA it was just a matter of time until one of Freo’s famous butchers would also make a move to a place where there are more customers and foot traffic.

Roel Loopers

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LATEST FROM KINGS SQUARE REDEVELOPMENT

 

FOMO 1

FOMO 2

 

The latest look at the new Sirona Capital buildings along Fremantle’s William Street and Queen Street.

It is all part of the Kings Square Redevelopment Project with the new City of Fremantle civic centre building progressing well at Kings Square.

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE COMPETITIVE LEASING POLICY UNFAIR TO ESTABLISHED BUSINESSES.

Posted in art, arthur head, city of fremantle, local government, retail, shopping, traders, Uncategorized by freoview on June 11, 2019

 

Item 1906-1 on Wednesday’s FPOL Committee agenda of Fremantle Council raises interesting questions as to why the City of Fremantle has a ‘competitive manner leasing policy’ for its properties.

The item is about renewing the lease of the Fremantle Public Golf Course at Montreal Street and officers suggest that Councillors agree to an exemption of the competitive manner leasing policy because the Lessee has a proven record.

I believe it is pretty fair to extend the lease for the present Lessee but question why that does not apply to other Lessees or License Holders in Fremantle, such as the artists of the Bathers Beach Art Precinct.

It is not as if the competitive policy allows the City to get more money for its properties, because the City sets the rents, so it can only be about wanting change for no practical reasons.

Why does the City want established artists who have been professionally and successfully operating to engage in a competitive process, when there is no guarantee that new artists will be equally successful and able to pay the rent? There have been several failures at Arthur’s Head where at the end the City had to write off outstanding rent because it was not recoverable.

There are not many sculptors who still do traditional life-size bronze sculptures the way Greg James does at J Shed, so that should qualify as unique as well.

Jenny Dawson has run her ceramic art business successfully for twenty years at J Shed and pays full commercial rates to the city, which are determined by an outside consultant.

I have heard the argument from Councillors that if the artists pay commercial rates at Arthur’s Head it won’t be difficult for them to pay full rates elsewhere in Fremantle, but that is bollocks, and even more so for retail art galleries such at Glen Cowans and David Giles.

Establishing a small business is bloody hard work, and starting somewhere else all over again sets back a business by years, so it is time Fremantle Council reconsidered its competitive manner leasing policy because all it does is penalise successful established businesses, and that is very unfair.

Roel Loopers

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WATER PIPES FOR FREMANTLE COMMUNITY CONSULTATION

Posted in city of fremantle, shopping, traders, Uncategorized by freoview on June 8, 2019

 

I received this information below late yesterday from the Water Corporation regarding the planned work on water pipes in the Fremantle CBD, so it is important to share it with the community. Please pass it on!

Today we met with representatives from the City of Fremantle, Fremantle Chamber of Commerce, West End Traders and Freo Now to discuss the proposed work. Key concerns raised included the proposed streets for renewal in 2019, in particular High Street, the timing of this work and potential negative impacts to the businesses.

Following this meeting, we’re looking for expressions of interest from individuals to form a working group. The purpose of the working group is to hear comments, questions and concerns from representatives across the whole project area. Your feedback will play an important role in our decision making process for the project.

Please email pipesforperth@watercorporation.com.au with your contact details, if you’re businesses owner, building owner, or resident and why you’re interested in being a part of the group.

We hope to form this working group as soon as possible and meet within the next week to discuss next steps.

Customer survey

Please check your email inboxes for a customer survey which was sent this morning, asking customers to vote for your preferred working hours and days for the work. We encourage everyone to participate and provide your feedback. This information and your feedback will be used in determining suitable working days and hours for the project.

The survey will remain open until midnight Friday 14 June. The results will be shared with everyone Monday 17 June.

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COMMUNITY NEEDS TO SUPPORT LOCAL TRADERS

Posted in city of fremantle, hospitality, local government, parking, retail, shopping, Uncategorized by freoview on June 7, 2019

 

retail

 

There is a bit of a discussion going on on Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt‘s Facebook page about the decline of retail when he posted the good article by Nathan Hondros on WATODAY about it. Hondros’ article “Striponomics’ The reasons Perth’s main streets are struggling is no big secret is worth a read.

The usual quick fixes are suggested by some readers; free parking and councils forcing property owners to reduce rents, but neither is a solution in a world where retail has been declining for at least five years and where major shopping centres have replaced traditional high street shopping.

I don’t know all the reasons for the decline in Perth, Mouth Lawley, Subiaco and elsewhere but I do know that the City of Fremantle has been trying hard to keep and get a diversity of retail in the city, instead of more and more cafes and taverns.

Fact is that councils can’t force property owners to lower rents and that many retailers are struggling because of rising outgoings such as power, water and gas. More competition might lower coffee prices for patrons but at the end that is not sustainable either for the operators.

Pop-up shops are the flavour of most councils but they are not a long-term solution because most of those who start a pop-up realise they can’t earn enough if they have to pay full commercial rates plus outgoings, so pop-ups do what their name suggest; they pop up and die after three or six months.

The always suggested free parking is not at all a solution because free parking will be taken up all day by commuters from Fremantle to Perth, backpackers, and Notre Dame students, so that would not leave too many bays for shoppers.

There is plenty of parking in Fremantle on weekdays and residents get free street parking before 11am and after 3pm.

Fremantle Council has a small ratepayers base so parking fees and fines are essential income for our city. Free parking would mean higher rates and I doubt property owners would agree that they had to pay for free parking of others. If it happened they would pass on the council rate increase to their tenants.

On very busy Sundays Fremantle might have the occasional parking issue, but surely no one expects Council to cater for weekend parking by creating more parking bays that would be vacant the rest of the week. It is like suggesting we should have 16-lane freeways to cater for rush hour traffic when for the rest of the day six lanes are sufficient.

I love the feeling of a good old high street, where there is a diversity of shops and were shop operators live above or behind their shops, as was the case in my home town of Hague in the Netherlands, where our family of seven lived behind the corner shop my parents ran, the pharmacist family on the other corner lived above their shop, the grocery shop people and the bookbinder next door lived behind the shop, as did the butcher on the other side of the street.

But times have changed and 25% of Australians engaged in on-line shopping last year, and money is tight with too many unemployed people.

There are never easy solutions, but we can all help by shopping local, even when it costs a few dollars more. Councils can not enforce shopping diversity or lowering of rents and we can only keep asking for property owners to keep the rents as low as possible so that our traders can survive and new traders are more willing to take the risk of starting in Freo.

Roel Loopers

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THIS IS FREMANTLE MARKETING CAMPAIGN UNDER WAY

Posted in city of fremantle, local government, marketing, PR,, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on June 5, 2019

 

The first major campaign under the new This is Fremantle brand is being rolled out over the coming month. I already noticed a public transport bus with the promo on its side the other day driving through Fremantle.

The campaign, which utilises digital, radio and outdoor platforms, is designed to raise awareness of Fremantle as a destination and guide visitors to the new visitfremantle.com website and social media channels.

The This is Fremantle campaign is targeting the local Perth market. A survey by Tourism WA in 2017 showed Fremantle was Perth’s most popular entertainment precinct across people of all ages.

Acting Mayor Rachel Pemberton said that “This campaign is about reminding those people of the great things Freo has to offer and getting Perth people to fall in love with Fremantle again.”

“In addition to this new campaign we’re also working with government agencies like Destination Perth, Perth Convention Bureau and Tourism WA, and with travel wholesalers to promote Fremantle nationally and internationally.”

The City urges local businesses to get behind the campaign and engage with the brand by sticking the ‘This is Fremantle’ shop window sticker on their front window.

The outdoor component of the new campaign features billboards at six strategic locations around Perth, including the digital billboards on the Kwinana and Mitchell freeways and static billboards at Perth Airport, Mosman Park, Osborne Park and Mt Lawley.

There will also be showcase advertising on Transperth buses, and ‘This is Fremantle’ videos screened on the big screens at Optus Stadium during Fremantle Dockers home games.

The campaign also includes digital advertising, a social media campaign and a radio campaign with Nathan, Nat and Shaun on NOVA 93.7 Perth.

This is the first major brand driven campaign to be delivered by the City of Fremantle as part of the Destination Marketing Strategic Plan 2018-2022.

It will be followed by a winter events campaign with a focus on Fremantle events like the Fremantle Festival: 10 Nights in Port, plus a winter tactical campaign for hospitality businesses promoting restaurants, pubs, small bars and winter dining experiences in Fremantle.

In addition, the July edition of the Qantas in-flight magazine, which is read by over 400,000 people, will incorporate a full page editorial feature promoting Fremantle’s arts and culture based events and festivals.

For more information on the ‘This is Fremantle’ campaign and how to get involved visit the Destination Marketing page on the City’s website.

 

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE MARKETS MANAGEMENT CRITICISED

 

 

Two articles in the West Australian raise concerns about the rents and management of the Fremantle Markets, and that is a real shame because it is one of Freo’s most popular weekend destinations that attracts many thousands of visitors each day of trading.

The West questions if the City of Fremantle is getting maximum value out of its property when the Market operators pocketed some $ 11 million over the last five years and under the contract agreement only paid back $ 3.8 million to the City.

I understand building maintenance is City of Fremantle’s responsibility.

It is alleged in the articles in the West Australian that rents for stallholders in the markets is seven times more than along the Cappuccino Strip, although the markets only trade three weekend days a week and on public holidays. It is claimed that in this time of rent increases in the markets rents along the Cappuccino Strip halved because of the economic downturn.

Some market stall holders, according to the West Australian and Fremantle Herald, claim there is Russian dictatorship management at Femantle Markets after a doughnut trader was evicted for trying to re-start the tenants association, which is denied by markets CEO Natasha Atkinson.

The decision by a previous Fremantle Council to grant an extension of the markets lease to the Murdoch family was highly controversial at the time and created a lot of anger in the community.

The Fremantle Markets are very popular with tourists, visitors from all over Perth, and locals and have in my opinion improved a lot, especially in the food hall. It is the go to attraction in Freo on the weekends, so it is a real shame it is getting so much negative publicity. It is time for Fremantle Council to mediate and support the traders.

Roel Loopers

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