We are not alone in Perth looking to create more liveable cities and slowing down the unsustainable urban sprawl. In the USA they call it New Urbanism and have basically come up with similar ideas as our communities and city planners have, such as:
Walkable access: mixed use neighbourhoods with pedestrian connections within a five-minute walk.
Higher density development: smaller lot size and multi-storey mixed-use structures.
Urban scale: buildings and roads facilitating connections between people.
Local parks: enhanced for accessible recreational activities and community meetings.
Traffic-calming transit designs: traffic circles for arterial intersections and dedicated bike paths.
Car-free zones: public spaces offering relief from carbon-monoxide pollution.
People-oriented public spaces: open areas, sidewalks, cafes and front porches to accommodate public life.
To achieve the best outcomes it requires planning sessions where the community, designers and city planners and others collaborate on a vision for development. This provides a forum for ideas and offers the unique advantage of giving feedback before development starts instead of having negative community backlash after it has been implemented. More importantly, it empowers everyone who participates to take on ownership of the process.
I believe the process does not necessarily has to be initiated by local or state governments but could be organised by community groups, universities, architects, city planners,etc. Here in Fremantle a collaboration between the Fremantle Network and universities would be a great start as it would increase the participation of younger people who no doubt will want a say on how our future cities should look.
USA planners also are looking for decentralisation of the workforce with more government agencies and offices moving to the suburbs away from the city centric traffic congestion causing situation we have now.
City planning is not rocket science but it needs an integrated approach where local and state agencies pro-actively work together on long-term planning, instead of the ad-hoc approach we often see.
Good to hear the City of Fremantle is finally taking steps to join other councils to get rid off the controversial state development assessment panels. I have been asking Fremantle Council for months to join the protest of councils such as Vincent, Stirling, Subiaco, Mosman Park, South Perth and many others against the DAP.
DAP decisions against the wishes of local councils and communities have done serious damage to the character and lifestyle of many older suburbs when DAP allowed inappropriate new buildings.
Here in Fremantle a DAP recently allowed the development of a very ugly building next to St Patrick’s on Queen Victoria Street and next to the heritage listed Australia Hotel on Beach Street, although Fremantle Council had rejected the application.
Local communities and local councils should be able to decide what is best for their cities, not state bureaucrats who have little or no understanding of the local character.
This Wednesday Ordinary Council of the City of Fremantle will debate if it should recommend or refuse to recommend to the Western Australian Planning Committee the establishment of a tavern, micro brewery and live outdoor music venue at J Shed on Bathers Beach.
The debate about Sunset Events setting up a tavern and live music venue at Fremantle’s historic Arthur Head is much more for me than worries about noise, anti social behaviour and parking. For me it is about preserving that special sense of place that one of our most significant historic sites in W.A. is.
History is both tangible and intangible and arguments that Arthur Head is not the same and that parts were taken off when the port was built are pretty irrelevant in my opinion. We know what Arthur Head looked like, where the first lighthouse was and we know the first courthouse and police station were at Arthur Head next to the Roundhouse.
It is not important that J Shed was moved to Arthur Head from Victoria Quay because the entire area is special. Just to the south of J Shed was the whaling station, the Mews fishermen building and the limestone quarry, and Bathers Bay is also of extreme historic significance as the long jetty there was the very first port, and the Whalers Tunnel was the very first underground engineering work in the Southern Hemisphere
The area is also very significant to the Wadjuk Nyoongar people who used to fish in the bay. WA’s most famous Aboriginal leader Yagan was imprisoned in the Roundhouse, our state’s oldest remaining public building, and thousands were sailed from Bathers Bay to the terrible Quod indigenous prison on Rottnest Island, where nearly 400 Aboriginal people died under atrocious circumstances.
I had the privilege of living in one of the old Pilot Cottages for nearly two and a half years and the awareness that I was watching ships sail into port from the veranda, as people a hundred plus years earlier had also done was very special, and the awareness that the Port pilots who had their office next door did he same job as the pilots who lived in my little cottage connected the past to the present for me.
There is a very tangible history at Arthur Head in buildings, but there is also a very deeply emotional and respectful intangible history that one cannot see. It is what we feel when we go to significant and sacred Aboriginal sites in the bush. It does not have to be explained how special these places are, because we can feel it.
I will never forget the powerful nights under the full moon in Picaninni Creek in Purnululu (the Bungles) up in the Kimberley. No one can dismiss that deep sense of place there, and one can not dismiss it either at Arthur Head. It is not about buildings, but what connects us to the land and our ancestors, both black and white.
History is like a tree to me where our past are the roots, the present is the stem and the future is the branches, always optimistically reaching for the stars. History has made us who we are. It has given us values and respect for our country, and that is why a live outdoor music venue is disrespectful to the importance of place of Arthur Head. It is inappropriate in scale and purpose, as we need to preserve what is special about Fremantle’s far west end. Our ancestors deserve that!
Heritage is respecting that historic sense of place and Arthur Head needs to remain that very special area where people can contemplate our past and our connection to it. A tavern and live music venue is highly inappropriate and needs to be rejected by Fremantle Council, the WA Planning Committee and Premier Colin Barnett!
The Greater Freo movement that wants some small parts of northern Cockburn to be moved to Fremantle is one small step closer to achieving that, with the Local Government Advisory Board informing them that the proposal will be considered at the next board meeting in August.
Public meetings will be held in the City of Cockburn and the City of Fremantle and both Councils will be asked to submit and official Council stand on the proposal.
I don’t believe Greater Freo supporters should get their hopes up high, as a similar proposal by North Fremantle residents, to be moved to Mosman Park, was rejected by the minister because the the City of Fremantle proposed another option which the LGAB preferred but the Town of Mosman Park rejected, so the State Government decided to leave it at the status quo and not change the boundaries between the two councils.
It is interesting to read in the Fremantle Herald today that Freo Mayor Brad Pettitt has warned the State’s development assessment panels to lift their game or face further backlash.
Unlike many other Councils the City of Fremantle has not officially taken a stand against the DAPs and the fact they mostly overrule local council decisions and allow inappropriate development, especially in character suburbs.
Why has Fremantle not joined the other councils and asked for the State Government to change the rules that are basically only supporting developers who have a right to appeal while councils and communities don’t have that? Is the City of Fremantle worried it might not get the Department of Housing to Kings Square if it protests against the unacceptable DAP process?
The Mayor was talking about the DAPs because it has just approved another boring building next to St Patrick’s at Queen Victoria Street, that was rejected by Fremantle Council.
It’s time to take a stand against the DAP’s, Freo and join all the other councils!
Looking at all the development and planned development along the coast just south of Fremantle I wonder what plans the WA State Government has for public transport in the area, as the high number of new residents there, who will commute to work, will have a substantial impact on Fremantle roads in the near future.
Cockburn Road and Hampton Road are already congested during peak hours and new commuters using those roads will make that worse. South Fremantle is already suffering from too many vehicles using Douro Road, South Terrace and Marine Parade, so good public transport strategies need to be in place well before all the new residents move in. Rapid bus or lightrail along that corridor would be great and could connect central Fremantle to central Cockburn, so maybe it is time for the two cities to start collaborating and planning for this together.
Recent figures show that substantially fewer people use public transport and more and more the freeways and other roads to commute to and from work, so long-term efficient transport planning should be a priority for this part of the metropolitan area.
In many European cities public transport is often in place well before housing development starts, and trams and busses are running when people move in. We should follow that example and not plan public transport as an after thought.
While Fremantle is anticipating the announcement of the Department of Housing moving to Kings Square, it appears Freo will be losing another government agency. A source connected to the Education Department tells me that Maritime TAFE at Fleet Street in Fremantle Port will be moving once their lease runs out next year.
Maritime TAFE will be split up with one section going to Geraldton while the other part will go to Bentley to the newly created hub there.
It would be a shame to lose TAFE and the student activity in the far west end of Fremantle, but one can assume the reason for the move has to do with the planned sale/50-year lease of Fremantle Ports by the State Government to a private operator.
Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt told me he had heard only rumours about the TAFE move but had not been officially informed about it, so time will tell. Freo Councillor Dave Hume lectures at Maritime TAFE so maybe he can shed a light on it.
Join the Freo fun this Monday 6 June from 10am to 4pm at the Esplanade Park and enjoy a festival of Western Australian music, food, sports, arts and culture.
Here is a snapshot of the fantastic activities happening for WA Day.
A Book Out Of Nowhere, the Literature Centre
11:00am-12:00pm, 1:00pm -2:00pm
The Literature Centre presents fun 11am and 1pm sessions for kids at Fremantle’s Esplanade Park with WA author Raewyn Caisley and illustrator Karen Blair. Karen draws while Raewyn reveals her story ‘Hello from Nowhere’.
Across Cultures Art Classes, the Wayalup Centre
An aboriginal artist will paint tapping sticks, which are unique Nyoongar musical instrument, and share stories of the Nyoongar language, history & culture. Presented by Fremantle’s Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre.
African Drumming Circles performance & workshop
African Music Circles interactive rhythm performance and workshop that bring people together like nothing else.
Cameo Rascal – Roving circus performer
Combination of acrobatic dance, juggling, stilt walking, unicycling and death-defying balancing acts – all with a comedians hilarity and cabaret panache.
Census 2016 Your Moment To Make A Difference
10:00am – 4:00pm
Have fun learning about Census – Test your geography skills, take a snapshot of your family household or be your own Mayor. Learn how Census is important to you and everybody living in Australia!
10:00am – 4:00pm
The Juggle Fun (Circus Skills) event stand has proven to be an event favourite for all ages. An interactive event stand where everybody can have a go. Spinning diabolos, colourful poi & ribbon twirling, ball and scarf juggling, spin stix twirling, hoola hoops, spinning plates – there is something for fun all ages to learn.
Face painting, fairy tale fun and crafts
10:00am – 4:00pm
Face painting, Craft and Fairytale Fun. Join the Freedom Fairies in their world of imagination and play to celebrate all things magical and WA.
Fremantle Press presents: BOOKS OUT LOUD!
What do ghosts, smugglers, treasure hunters, robots, a walking house and a little lost girl all have in common? To find out join local writers for storytelling and free family-friendly activities.
Fremantle Press presents: Riddle Gully Secrets Launch
Just when famed youth reporter Pollo di Nozi thinks she’ll never find another news story, she stumbles upon not one but two very surprising secrets. With hidden treasure, cunning crooks, mistaken identities and mysterious disappearances, unravelling them may be Pollo’s greatest challenge yet.
10:00am – 4:00pm
Ten giant games providing interactive activities that the whole family can join in together. All ages can have a go and up to 40 can play at the same time.
Henna Hand Panting with Maneesha
Hand painting with traditional Henna paste.
Kite exhibition and workshop, Kite Kinetics
10:00am – 4:00pm
Decorating the skies with various kites trains and miniature butterfly kite workshops.
Know Your Nation presents Up close and personal with Greg Hastings and Horatio T Birdbath
Get to know the personal histories and stories of the people around us. Pre-submit your questions to email@example.com
Greg Hastings – 1:00pm
A founder of the Mucky Duck Bush Band, Greg is an engaging performer of Australiana and has traversed over 400,000km of Australia doing just that. Career highlights include the Children’s’ interactive show ‘Wandering In The Bush’ and his 200 songs penned and 11 original albums recorded.
Horatio T. Birdbath – 3:00pm
Renowned artist Horatio T.Birdbath has been involved in the cultural history of Fremantle for many years. His public legacy includes Horatio’s Wall (behind Gino’s), the Kings Square bollards and the mosaic planter boxes along the cappuccino strip.
Live Music Performances
African Drumming Circles 10:00am
Nat Ripepi – acoustic vocalist 11:00am and 12:00pm
Andrew Winton – Australian Contemporary Singer / Songwriter 1:00pm and 2:15pm
Electrochic, acoustic French musical duo 3:15pm
My Place & My People in WA, the Literature Centre
10:00am – 4:00pm
See displays of student writing about WA people and places.
Numbat Mask Making
10:00am – 4:00pm
Children are given the opportunity to learn about an iconic West Australian numbat and then make their own mask to wear and take home.
PCYC Climbing Wall and ‘Fun Truck’
10:00am – 4:00pm
The PCYC Climbing Wall provides the excitement and challenge of a rock climbing experience, whilst the ‘Fun Truck’ is filled with fun recreational activities for all ages.
Tastes of the world – Food vendors
10:00am – 4:00pm
WA Children’s Theatre Flash Mob dancers
11:00am, 11:20am, 11:40am, 12:00pm, 12:20pm, 12:40pm
WA Childrens Theatre will perform FLASH mob dances promoting their new show ‘The Wolf has no teeth’, the story of red riding hoods grandson and his determination to overcome anxiety.
WA Day Coles Community Barbie
10:00am to 3:00pm
Get on down and enjoy a good ole West Australian sausage on the barbie. All fresh, local produce provided thanks to Coles, proudly supporting WA Day and your local Police and Community Youth Centre (PCYC – Fremantle branch).
Esplanade Youth Park
Skateboarding Clinic with Skateboarding WA
Join in on some WA Day fun with a skateboarding clinic at Esplanade Youth Plaza with Skateboarding WA. Registration forms available on the day or download here http://www.skateboardingwa.com.au. Under 18s require a parent/guardian signature.
Little Creatures Jetty
Tours of a 16th Century Dutch replica ship
10:00am – 4:00pm
Duyfken is a little ship that had such a big impact on the history of Australia, being recognised as the first European ship to make contact with the shores of Australia in 1606 – some 164 years before Captain James Cooks and the British claim to Australia’s history.
WA Day Festival
State of the Art Music Festival