Freo's View

NO NEED TO FLOG THE DEAD HORSE

Posted in city of fremantle, development by freoview on February 27, 2015

I was very surprised to read the spread about development in Fremantle in the West Australian yesterday as there is nothing new in the article, but for the fact that reporter Kate Emery calls the old railway bridge the Queen Victoria Street bridge. The article is one big PR promo for Fremantle with little substance and I suggest the City sticks to promoting the great things that are actually happening in Fremantle, such as the Hilton and Quest hotels, Atwell Arcade, the Fort Knox Heirloom development, MSC in Cliff Street, other development along Beach and Queen Victoria Street, Knutsford Street, Kim Beazley site, Bathers Beach activation, the probable development of the Woolstores shopping centre, etc.

There is plenty of good news and there is a sense of positive anticipation about the future of Freo in the community, so there is no need for spin and false hopes about Kings Square.

For the time being Kings Square is like flogging a dead horse, even when Sirona Capital refuses to call a three-year delay a delay. With the present office vacancy rate in Perth and many thousands of new square metres of office accommodation becoming available soon, the likelihood that Housing will move to Fremantle is unrealistic. High property prices and rent in Fremantle mean we can’t compete with reduced rents in Perth and West Perth and with the cheaper Midland, Cockburn, Joondalup, etc. That is probably the reason we hear little about the Victoria Quay development because Fremantle Ports might have realised this is the wrong time to release land for development.

When well-managed companies like Atlas Iron are on a deep decline we have to see the signs that a mining resources recovery is still a long way off and there won’t be a big demand for high quality and large space offices.

In a perfect world Sirona should get started on the smaller Spicers site first and leave Kings Square till the time is right for it, to at least restore some confidence in that big CBD development.

The big problem I see with the Transformational Moves document is the reliance on State, Federal and private sector funding, so it is a mere wish list and not based on realistic outcomes and economic reality.

Roel Loopers

DEFENCE RESCUES FREMANTLE’S HERITAGE

Posted in fremantle, heritage by freoview on February 20, 2015

It’s finally happening! Contractors have started work on the renovations of the Fremantle Married Quarters cottages at Cantonment Hill. Four new residencies will also be built on the site that had been neglected for far too many years by the Department of Defence.

The cottages will be reinstated as living quarters for Defence personnel so that will help reactivate the area and minimise vandalism there. The gateway to Freo has been an eyesore for as long as I can remember, so it is not before time that something is finally done to look after the important heritage buildings.

Now hoping State Government will follow suit with the Warders Cottages and the National Trust with the Royal George Hotel.

Roel Loopers

PREMIER BARNETT’S CONTEMPT FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in city of fremantle, local government, state government, western australia by freoview on February 18, 2015

Colin's company

Dear Premier Colin Barnett,

I heard you say on ABC radio yesterday that you are not going to compensate Councils involved in the amalgamation reform process you initiated because they had run expensive NO campaigns against the proposals. We here in Fremantle did not oppose amalgamation but embraced it, with the condition that we would get the best possible boundaries for Fremantle and that we would amalgamate with East Fremantle instead of being swallowed up by Melville.

The City of Fremantle and the community-lead Fremantle Forever campaign were not against your reform but supported it. All we asked for were best outcome changes to our City’s boundaries.

Your government, dear Premier, messed up the process because of lack of community consultation prior to trying to implement the reform. To now blame Councils for its demise is childish to the extreme.

You expect the City of Fremantle-the ratepayers-to pay for the shambles you created and that shows how far remote you are from reality and facts. Like your Federal mate Tony Abbott and other so-called political leaders your arrogance is disproportionate to your governance.

What has your government ever done for Fremantle, Mister Barnett? When was the last time you visited our city? When will you stick to your promise of relocation a substantial government department to our city? When will you replace the old railway bridge and create modern, fast and safe container transport to the port instead of the ridiculous Roe Highway extension that will see huge traffic chaos and diesel pollution in North Fremantle?

Your Liberal party insulted the intelligence of Fremantle voters, and embarrassed your own party members, at the State, Federal and Mayoral elections by putting an ignorant and uninformed candidate, who has not even read Politics for Dummies, up against Melissa Parke, Simone McGurk and Brad Pettitt.

Your lack of care for Western Australia’s second city and major port and tourist destination is unbelievable and unacceptable!

Where is the State’s investment in Freo’s future, Premier? When will your government repair the neglected eyesore heritage-listed Warders Cottages in the centre of our city instead of building more monuments elsewhere to celebrate Your Emperor’s greatness?

The people of Fremantle deserve and demand State Government support. We do not deserve the contempt your treat our City with!

 You created the Local Government Reform mess. Now pay for it!!

 Roel Loopers

BIGGER FREMANTLE DUMPED BY PREMIER BARNETT

Posted in city of fremantle, local government by freoview on February 17, 2015

As expected the Council mergers as proposed by State Government will now also not go ahead, after the amalgamations fiasco where East Fremantle ratepayers rejected to become part of a bigger City of Fremantle, and Kwinana refused to go with Cockburn.

The suggested new boundaries would have seen Fremantle lose Samson but gain parts of Melville and Cockburn, but that has now also been scrapped.

Thank you for wasting our time and money Premier Colin Barnett, Minister Tony Simpson and the Local Government Advisory Board. You should all hang your head in shame about the unprofessional shambles you created. To blame individual Councils is pure hypocricy!

Roel Loopers

WHEN WILL WE LEARN THAT BLACK IS NOT WHITE

Posted in fremantle, indigenous, nyoongar by freoview on February 13, 2015

It is with deep sadness that I read about the eviction of Nyoongar Elder Marie Thorne from her long-time home in Hilton, because to me it shows that even after over 180 years we still do not understand the cultural differences.

I have known Marie for a very long time and she is a gentle giant always caring for her people and her huge extended family. She is a giant because she speaks up and demands solutions, a shelter for her people so they don’t have to go home where they get abused, a shelter for those who have drinking or drug problems, a place of compassion and care and safety, but because society does not offer that Marie herself does and often too many people stay at her place and that created the anti social problems neighbours complained about.

Western society has little understanding of the duty of care for the extended family in Nyoongar culture, where so many are brothers, sisters, cousins who deserve and often demand shelter, food and money. As an elder, a grandmother, a mother it is hard to say no to those who need support, especially for someone like Marie, who has such a big heart and who wants to look after everyone.

No doubt Homeswest is between a rock and a hard place and need to look after those who are affected by unacceptable behaviour of neighbours, but evicting Marie only ads another problem to what is already a big problem.

It is not only Marie who will become homeless but also all the many people she has cared for so often when they needed shelter, a bed, a shower, a meal.

186 years after British settlement of the west of Australia we have still not made enough inroads into the cultural differences between the indigenous and western people. We still expect Nyoongars to behave and think like us, and we ignore the importance of their culture because our colonial thinking of superiority still exists. We patronise our indigenous people because we are ever so certain that we know best what is good for them. How on earth could we expect a different reaction to the problem by Homeswest but eviction. That’s the Wadjela way. I am so sorry, Marie!!

Roel Loopers

PREMIER BARNETT WANTS COUNCILS TO PAY FOR HIS BLUNDER

Posted in city of fremantle, local government, western australia by freoview on February 13, 2015

WA Premier Colin Barnett must live in a different world if he expects local councils to pay the costs of the blundered and failed local government reform that he insisted on and most councils rejected from the start. What the Premier is doing is akin to going to a supermarket and fill up a trolley to then expect the person behind one in the queue to pay for it. Ridiculous!

Instead of blaming himself, Minister Tony Simpson and the Local Government Advisory Board for the unmitigated disaster, Barnett now blames the Councils for the failure, when what the State should have done is consult the community before they embarked on the journey to nowhere.

The City of Fremantle worked very hard to get a better outcome and to not be merged with Melville. COF was positive and pro amalgamation but can now lick the costly wounds that cost our city nearly one million dollars. The City of Cockburn claims it cost them some $ 3 million.

Should Councils have to raise fees to pay for the amalgamation costs ratepayers will be outraged and blame their elected members for it, but the blame is solely on the State Government that messed up the reform process beyond belief. If anyone still believes in accountability heads should roll.

Roel Loopers

DREAMWORLD OF TRANSFORMATIONAL MOVES FOR FREO

Posted in city of fremantle, development, future, local government, planning by freoview on February 11, 2015

In a surprising move the City of Fremantle’s Special Projects Committee this evening declared the agenda item FREO 2029 TRANSFORMATIONAL MOVES confidential so the only two mature observers in the public gallery, Mark Woodcock and I, had to leave and only Councillor Dave Coggin’s young sons could stay in the public gallery till their mum picked them up.

I do get it that commercially sensitive items are made confidential agenda items and the public banned, but to make a strategic document confidential and exclude the public from hearing the debate about it is not good democracy.

Cynics might think that because the Final Draft document is really nothing else but a wish list from Dreamworld instead of a list of achievable goals, Council wanted to avoid scrutiny, but I’m not a cynic. ; >)

Why am I critical about non-achievable goals in the document? Because most of what has been dreamed up is dependent on other agencies and we all know how much State Government cares about Fremantle and what they have invested in Freo over the last 20 years or so. Zilch!!

Who is responsible for the areas the COF wants to ‘transform’?

KIng Square development-Sirona Capital

Railway Station Forecourt-Public Transport Authority

Police Station/Courthouse/Warders Cottages-Housing Department

Victoria Quay-Fremantle Ports

Fishing Boat Harbour-Marine and Harbours Department

Light rail- no support from Labor and Liberal parties

Fremantle Oval- leased to the Dockers for another 20+ years

So most of the ideas in the Transformational Moves document are dependent on the goodwill and investment of other parties and not within the power of a small local government to do much about. The document is all hoping, wishing and dreaming, but with no tangible and realistic goals and outcomes. That is very disappointing, and similar to the very costly Fremantle Visioning 2029 project that delivered nothing but hyperbole.

Roel Loopers

LET’S NOT WASTE OUR FUTURE

Posted in environment, fremantle by freoview on February 11, 2015

 Paul Connett, Professor Emeritus in Environmental Chemistry at St Lawrence University in Canton, New York will share his expertise and scientific knowledge about incineration impacts and safer zero waste solution. 6pm Tues 17th Feb 2015 Conference room Lotteries West House, 2 Delhi st, West Perth.

Dr Connett is also author of Zero Waste Solutions: Untrashing the Planet One Community at a Time.

This public forum is brought to you by The Alliance for a Clean Environment and Zero Waste WA.

The WA EPA has approved four waste to energy incinerators for WA, despite claims that these technologies will increase recycling and provide renewable energy. The reality is that they are the dirtiest and most expensive form of energy production, releasing more ghg’s per unit of energy than both coal and gas, as well as toxic persistent organic pollutants, for which there is no safe level of exposure.

Where these plants operate elsewhere in the world they undermine the recycling sector by having to burn recyclable materials to maintain commercial viability. This is not the sustainable waste management future WA needs or deserves.

NO AMALGAMATION LESS COMMUNITY CONSULTATION

Posted in development, fremantle by freoview on February 10, 2015

W.A. Premier Colin Barnett conceded on ABC radio this morning that he had failed with the local government reform and had put the white flag up. A big concern though should be Barnett’s remark that the government would take more responsibility on matters such as local government planning, which could mean taking more power away from local councils on planning decisions, so less opportunity for the community to have an impact.

That would be very dangerous, because the State’s DAP-Development Assessment Panel has overruled many local council decisions and allowed for inappropriate buildings to be erected at the loss of local amenity and unique identity. We can’t allow that to happen!

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE CITY CEO CLAIMS DADOUR POLL FLAWED

Posted in city of fremantle, local government by freoview on February 9, 2015

Here a media release from the City of Fremantle on local government reform:

The City of Fremantle is calling on the state government to provide guidance and certainty on the local government reform process following the results of the weekend’s elector’s polls – one of which will block the amalgamation of Fremantle and East Fremantle councils.

City of Fremantle Chief Executive Officer Graeme Mackenzie said the East Fremantle poll outcome was first and foremost a missed opportunity for the community.

“While respecting the vote, we believe the people of East Fremantle have missed a golden opportunity to be part of a stronger local government with the financial capacity to deliver and maintain community infrastructure and programs to a higher standard than is currently possible,” Mr Mackenzie said.

“The irony is that if those that voted ‘yes’ had abstained, we would be proceeding with the amalgamation because the percentage turnout would not have been sufficient for a result binding on government. The whole poll process is therefore highly flawed.”

The City is now calling on the state government to provide certainty to a process that has been confusing and inconsistent from the outset.

“What these poll results mean is that the state government will now have to decide whether to completely unravel what it has done to date or march on as best it can with a longer term view.” Mr Mackenzie said.

“Like the rest of metropolitan Perth, we are waiting for clear direction from government, direction we’ve been seeking for a number of months but to date has been severely lacking with most of our questions going unanswered. We will be meeting with the Minister later this week to express our concerns and hopefully be provided with an indication of what direction the government will be taking.”

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