Freo's View

BEAUTIFYING FREMANTLE PORT FOR SALE

Posted in fremantle, fremantle ports by freoview on January 14, 2016

lighthouse

 

Fremantle Port is tidying up for the planned sale/50 year lease with a new carpark and light poles near the old police station and a paint job and new fences for the lighthouses on the south and north mole.

It will only be a matter of time I assume till they do what real estate agents recommend when selling property and that is to get the smell of coffee and flowers throughout the port.

Roel Loopers

FEDERAL LABOR WANTS PERTH FREIGHT LINK INQUIRY

Posted in environment, fremantle, perth freight link by freoview on January 7, 2016

Federal shadow minister for infrastructure Anthony Albanese has demanded that the Federal Auditor-General investigates Canberra’s involvement with the WA PERTH FREIGHT LINK.  Albanese claims there has been “systemic failure” in the government’s infrastructure program that was announced in 2014.

Federal Government pledged to support the $ 1.6 billion PFL project with $ 925 million, but Supreme Court Chief Justice Wayne Martin ruled in December that the approval by the state’s EPA-Environmental Protection Agency and the Minister for the Environment for the Roe 8 highway was invalid. Premier Colin Barnett has since been quoted that the state will go through the environmental approval process again but that it does not have to accept the outcome of the process. This means the state government could go ahead with Roe 8 even if a new EPA report recommends against approving it.

Anthony Albanese wrote in his letter to the Federal Auditor-General that it is a concern Canberra is involved in the Perth Freight Link, the now collapsed EastWest Link project in Melbourne and the $ 6.8 million cost overrun of the WestConnex motorway in Sydney.

Roel Loopers

HUGE FIRE AT LIBERAL POLITICIAN MATTHEW HANSSEN’S PROPERTY

Posted in fire, fremantle, politicians by freoview on January 4, 2016

 

A large fire broke out at the property of Liberal party politician Matthew Hanssen this morning on the corner of Central Avenue and South Street in Beaconsfield. The building contains Mr Hanssen’s home, the Hanssen computer business and the Zedz fish&chips shop.

Matthew told me he had no idea how the blaze started but that the property is insured.

It is not a very good start of the year for Matthew Hanssen who stood for federal parliament against Melissa Parke and for state parliament against Simone McGurk. He also contested the Mayor of Fremantle election two years ago.

I feel very sorry for Matthew and the business operators as this is one of the worst starts of the year imaginable.

Roel Loopers

Photos COPYRIGHT Roel Loopers/ROEL.COM.AU 

THE LAST DAY OF THE YEAR

Posted in city of fremantle, community, fremantle, local government by freoview on December 31, 2015

It is the last day of the year, one which I will spend as volunteer tourist guide at the Roundhouse and moving home yet again. It has been a roller coaster year of very deep and worrying lows but ending on a high for me personally so I suppose that makes it a good year.

It has been a roller coaster for Fremantle and Western Australia as well. It hasn’t been a good year for the Barnett government with the announcement of a huge budget deficit and the Supreme Court ruling that the EPA and the Minister’s approval for the Roe 8 highway was invalid.

The gap between Fremantle Council and the community has widened again with many believing our elected members no longer listen to us. The J Shed music venue was as controversial at the Esplanade skatepark but Council was unwilling to show solidarity with those in the community who fear that live music concerts at historic Arthur Head will substantially increase anti social behaviour in the area.

It has not been a great year for Freo with the economic recovery basically only being a building boom, but retail is still struggling. There are some positive signs though with the city being packed with people on Sunday and even yesterday on a Wednesday. Visitors’ numbers from the eastern states to Fremantle have also significantly improved.

The Kings Square project and major catalyst for Fremantle’s recovery is still in limbo and that is very worrying as major development in the east of town could well pull businesses and people away from city square and make the square even less attractive and lively.

The overdue upgrade of the High Street mall is in process and with the new Atwell Arcade building opening in the first quarter of the new year this could be the start of the revitalisation of that area.

It is a shame the start of the Hilton Hotel at Princess May Park has been delayed as new tourist accommodation is in my opinion essential for the economic recovery of Fremantle.

It will be good to have a new broom sweep through the City of Fremantle administration with the appointment of a new CEO, so we can only hope that the selection panel will look for more that just green credentials.

Fremantle Council need to do more and better to communicate with the community and should stop clever spin and instead be honest and transparent. Council also needs to go back to what Councils are elected to do and that is local government for local people. It is time to concentrate more on the daily grind maintenance and progress of our city and less trying to be a pseudo state government. We need hands-on governance and administration so that our city looks cared for and clean and tidy and safe. The Council election in May showed that most Freo people no longer care who is representing them with more that 70 per cent of voters not bothering to send in their ballot papers. That to me is a sure sign of a Council that no longer has the confidence and support of the community who are so disillusioned that they believe no one listens to them any way and that community consultation in Fremantle has just become tokenism of ticking a required box to satisfy the Minister for Local Government.

My wish for Freo for the New Year is more collaboration and respect and less the terribly negative us and them attitude where the Council and administration are seen as the enemy of the community. That is not a healthy relationship between the people and government. I sincerely hope the new Fremantle Society committee will not simply become another community group interested mainly in Council bashing and negativity but that they will make a positive difference and be part of the solutions and help Fremantle to modernise, revive and change.

Fremantle is blessed with many passionate, committed and creative people who have many ideas on how we can improve our city. It is essential that Council listens to them and not take them for granted. It is imperative that Council does not believe it has all the answers and solutions and that it can ignore community input. And it is essential to run a local government that deals with reality and the day to day needs of this community, a Council that stops looking for green credentials worldwide while neglecting the basics that local government are elected to look after.

There is huge scope for improvement at all levels in Fremantle, at Council, the administration and community groups, so I sincerely hope real genuine effort will be made by all to work together for the benefit of our very special and unique city that we all love.

HAVE A VERY HAPPY AND HEALTHY NEW YEAR!

Roel Loopers

 

BARNETT CLAIMS SILENT MAJORITY WANT ROE 8

Posted in fremantle, perth freight linl, state government, western australia by freoview on December 28, 2015

There is no doubt for me that one of the greatest inventions of spin ever made is the ‘Silent Majority’ claim. Politicians use it more and more to argue they do have strong community support from those who don’t speak out for controversial decisions and policies, and WA Premier Colin Barnett decided to finish the year with it.

In the West Australian newspaper today Barnett says that he believes there is strong majority support for building the Roe 8 highway extension and that the protests and the Supreme Court win against it won’t harm his party’s chances of winning the next state election. If the Premier is so sure about it why not wait then with signing off on Roe 8 and the Perth Freight Link till after the election, so voters can show him if they support the controversial highway to Fremantle Port. That way the ‘silent majority’ will have a say and are no longer the hidden voiceless, faceless people in the burbs who always support government decisions.

The other great spin invention to hide behind and to stop scrutiny and transparency is the claim that there is ‘Commercial Confidentiality’ that can’t be made public when the community asks questions, e.g. the new Perth Stadium and here in Freo the Kings Square project financial plans.

One of Premier Barnett’s biggest disappointments was the failure of Local Government reform and should he win the next election he will not doubt try to gain more power over local government and that is a big worry as DAPs and SAT already rubber-stamp unacceptable development against the wishes of local governments and communities.

The silent and vocal majorities want the building of the outer harbour to be prioritised, no matter what happens to the Perth Freight Link, so why not get on with that and show the voters concrete plans and a timeline before the next election, Premier?

Roel Loopers

 

 

WISHING YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle by freoview on December 24, 2015

high street magic

 

 

I want to wish all the readers of Freo’s View, the entire Fremantle community, and my friends all over the world a VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

It has been an amazing year with the Supreme Court win against the Roe 8 highway extension being a highlight that shows that people power still matters.

Being involved in the local government election was exciting. It was disappointing for me to receive so few votes but far more disappointing was the overall lack of voter participation. Around 25 per cent is not acceptable and it should become compulsory to vote for local councils.

It is a worrying trend to see the State Government wanting to diminish the power of local councils and the State’s Development Assessment Panels and State Administration Tribunal basically rubber stamping development applications against the wishes of local councils and communities. We need to fight that with all our might because the unique character of communities is being destroyed by uncaring bureaucrats.

There is a real feeling that Freo’s fortunes are turning with a lot of development all over the CBD. In five years from now many more people will live and work in the inner city and that is very positive. It is also positive that we are building more tourist accommodation, so that visitors can stay in Fremantle overnight and spend their money here and not in Perth. There has been a steep increase in tourism to Fremantle from the eastern states and the City of Fremantle should take note of that.

The Freo community likes to have a whinge about all the things that are supposedly wrong here but interstate and overseas visitors love it and rarely have a bad word to say. If at all it is about how expensive Fremantle is, so maybe we can learn from that as well. If one cafe can make an excellent Espresso for just $ 2.50 I don’t know why others charge nearly $ 4.00 for a tiny cup of hot brew.

I love Freo. I always have and I always will. We are a unique and opinionated mob who deeply care, who want to be part of change and solutions and who are willing to give up our own time to help others, to volunteer, to be part of community groups and to fight what we believe is wrong.

While I sometimes despair about the negativity of the comments on Freo’s View I am delighted I have created a public forum where the general community and the decision makers have their say, so keep it coming and keep sending me information about events, exhibitions, development, etc.

Have a relaxed and outstanding Christmas!

Roel Loopers

THERE IS NO LACK OF VOID AT KINGS SQUARE

Posted in city of fremantle, kings square, local government by freoview on December 22, 2015

Godot 1 Godot 2

 

I took these photos of Samuel Beckett’s famous absurdist play Waiting for Godot about 40 years ago while working for the daily newspaper Abendzeitung in Nuremberg, West Germany. Looking at them today I think there is a likeness of the two characters with Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt and Sirona Capital managing director Matthew McNeillie, who are still waiting for something-ANYTHING!- to happen at Kings Square. Last year we were promised State Government would make an announcement in December 2014 of relocating the Housing Department to Fremantle but 12 months, and a very embarrassing budget, later there is still no word on it and the mighty economy reviving Kings Square project is still in limbo.

A few quotes from Waiting for Godot that could have been a conversation between Freo’s Mayor and the Sirona boss: “Let’s go!” “We can’t” “Why not?” “We’re waiting for Godot. Or this one: “Nothing happens. Nobody comes, nobody goes. It’s awful.” And the last quote from Godot probably sums up quite well what is going on at our City square. “There is no lack of void.”

So what will happen with the Kings Square project? The spin that there was a plan B, C and even D was basically hubris, so without Housing coming to Kings Square the contract between the partners will most likely become useless by April 2016. Will Sirona still buy the Queensgate building and will the City of Fremantle still build a new civic centre? Time will tell but Godot might never arrive in Fremantle either.

Roel Loopers

FREO MAYOR TAKES CITY CAR ON HOLIDAYS

Posted in city of fremantle, local government by freoview on December 21, 2015

It must be a very quiet time at the West Australian newspaper when it is third page news today that the Mayor of Fremantle has been allowed by full Council to take his ‘company’ car for a holiday spin to Esperance.

While one might question why the City of Fremantle and other councils allow this practice it is not against the rules of local government as Minister Tony Simpson told the West.

Is it morally right for Brad Pettitt to ask to use the hybrid Holden Volt automatic because his lover can’t drive his private manual car? If I were the Mayor of this city I probably would not have applied for the exemption, but to make it big news in a national newspaper is very much about reporting a storm in a teacup. This is not the Freo Mayor’s fault but a questionable system, as we have experienced at Federal and State levels as well.

If the community does not approve of it let’s ask Council and/or State Government to change the rules on the private use of City owned cars, but for the time being I wish Brad Pettitt and his companion a pleasant holiday and happy Christmas on the gorgeous Esperance beaches.

Roel Loopers

LIVE SHEEP TRADE TO LEAVE FREMANTLE

Posted in fremantle, fremantle ports by freoview on December 18, 2015

WA Treasurer Mike Nahan has indicated the State wants to move the live animal trade away from Fremantle Port and to the outer harbour as it is an unsightly and smelly part of the inner harbour operations.

More than 2 million sheep and close to 140,000 cattle are transported on trucks to Fremantle port which creates a constant outcry by animal rights protestors.

An outer harbour solution could be the James Point location near Rockingham where the Buckeridge group wanted to built a private port. And while the State is relocating the live trade they might as well get started on planning and building the outer harbour and overflow container facilities so that fewer trucks will have to come to Fremantle Port once the new harbour has been built.

Roel Loopers

BEELIAR COURT WIN PARTY

Posted in fremantle, perth freight link by freoview on December 17, 2015

 

More than a hundred people came to the Beeliar Wetlands late Wednesday afternoon to celebrate the Supreme Court win that ruled that the Environment Minister Albert Jacob’s approval of the Roe 8 highway through the wetlands was invalid because the advise he had received from the Environmental Protection Authority had been invalid.

Champagne flowed, there were high fives and big hugs and a lot of laughter and smiles, didgeridoos played and TV did live crossings to the 6 pm news.

Roel Loopers

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