Freo's View

THREE STATE AGENCIES MOVE TO FREMANTLE

Posted in city of fremantle, kings square, local government, sirona capital by freoview on November 10, 2016

 

GODOT FINALLY ARRIVED AT KINGS SQUARE!

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Premier Colin Barnett this morning announced that 1,500 public servants will relocate to Fremantle and that the Housing and Corrective Services departments will have their new headquarters in Fremantle, as well as the Department of Transport.

The Premier said it was seen as good to have several agencies sharing the two Kings Square buildings and that this will be a major boost for retail after Fremantle has languished for a long time.

The State Government will save $ 53 million over 15 years with the relocation of the departments which are part of the government’s plans for decentralisation of the public sector. This is the biggest decentralisation by the government, Colin Barnett said..

Sirona Capital managing director Matthew McNeilly said he was thrilled with the support the government has shown for the Kings Square development and that Sirona will invest a quarter of a billion dollars into the project. It will be the catalyst to the start of a seven-day a week economy in Fremantle.

The project will be a vast improvement to the public realm with new retail and entertainment and 20,000 sqm of office space. Demolition will start in April/May next year and building will commence soon after with retailers moving in by late 2019. McNeilly said that projects of this complexity can be very time consuming.

A delighted Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said that this was probably the most significant day in Fremantle since the America’s Cup in the mid 1980s and a real catalyst for a wave of investment in Fremantle.

This is a vote of confidence in Fremantle by the government and will give the city a proper heart. It is a real milestone into the future, the Mayor told the media and the large group of Councillors and City staff.

Comment:

For years I have vented my frustration about the lack of progress of the Kings Square development and compared it with the Samuel Becket play Waiting for Godot, so I am delighted to eat my words and am looking forward to the development that should make a significant difference to Fremantle’s economic recovery.

I am not a financial experts at all, and while I respect the opinion of professional auditor Craig Ross and financial expert Martin Lee who have warned against the financial implications for the City of Fremantle and its ratepayers, I also need to respect the opinion of the expert consultants employed by the City of Fremantle who have a different opinion. I cannot judge who is right or wrong on this.

What price are we willing to pay to invest in the future I ask myself and only the future will tell us that.

I now hope Sirona Capital and the CoF will agree to make fully public the financial and business details as commercial confidentiality surely no longer applies.

I am truly delighted and needed a boost after the Trump disaster yesterday, so let’s get out the bubblies and celebrate Fremantle’s bright future!

Roel Loopers

PREMIER OPENS FREMANTLE WARDERS COTTAGES

Posted in fremantle, heritage, state government, western australia by freoview on November 3, 2016

 

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WA Premier Colin Barnett accompanied by Heritage Minister Albert Jacob officially opened the renovated historic Warders Cottages next to the Fremantle Markets this morning.

The cottages look very cute inside and have a nice little courtyard, so no doubt there will be plenty of takers for them.

I believe they are ideally suited for B&B but too small for a bar, especially with the very steep steps to the first floor being a challenge to walk down on.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt, CEO Phil StJohn, MLA Simone McGurk and MP Josh Wilson were all there, as were Sirona Capital managing director Matthew McNeilly and Silverleaf boss Gerard O’Brien.

It is fantastic to see the cottages restored after far too many years of neglect and vacancy. They are a real attraction in the Henderson Street mall.

Roel Loopers

BLUEPRINT FOR INFILL NEEDED IN FREMANTLE

Posted in city of fremantle, development, local government, planning, western australia by freoview on October 31, 2016

The building boom in Fremantle is good for our city I believe but it also requires long-term strategic planning and a blueprint for where in Fremantle infill should be considered in the next 25 years.

Just doing small planning scheme amendments for a few streets and masterplans for other areas is not good city planning, so the City of Fremantle should do a comprehensive study on where the appropriate locations for medium and high density in Fremantle are.

Developers, investors and home owners should be able to access City of Fremantle information that will show them that a certain street or suburb is earmarked for higher density so they don’t get a nasty shock surprise just after they have purchased property that a six-storey building or even higher could be built next to their two- storey home(s).

It would also assist the Public Transport Authority and other State Government agencies to plan ahead instead of the slow reactive planning that is happening too often.

While it is good to have masterplans for specific areas I believe it is essential to have an infill masterplan blueprint for the entire city, as only that is well-considered and detailed long-term planning.

Fremantle has many good potential development areas just outside the CBD that need to be considered for residential development, because inner city living has become unaffordable for many people. A tiny new one-bedroom apartment in the city centre starts at half a million dollars, so hopefully locations a fifteen-minute bike ride away from the CBD will be cheaper and more affordable to people on lower incomes.

Accommodation for students, artists, pensioners, low-wage earners, etc. need to be part of the residential mix in Fremantle or we might develop into a yuppy city for the well-off only. That would not be very Freo at all!

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE BUILDING THE FUTURE

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, local government by freoview on October 31, 2016

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On Thursday morning Premier Colin Barnett will officially open the renovated Warders Cottages in Fremantle’s Henderson Street after the historic buildings were vacant and neglected for many years.

It is fantastic to also see the former Gunners Cottages at Cantonment Hill renovated and occupied by Defence personnel as they too had been empty and neglected for far too long.

It is a very welcome sight indeed to see the old cottages back in their old glory, but it has been a long battle. The Fremantle Society, MLA Simone McGurk, former MP Melissa Parke and the City of Fremantle all deserve credit for keeping the pressure on state and federal governments to get the cottages renovated and occupied again.

The restoration of the heritage cottages is an indication of the start of the renaissance of Fremantle with an unprecedented building boom in our city.

The Heirloom by Match apartment building will open in December, and opposite from it work on the huge Defence Housing residential building complex will commence early next year. Just down the road from there next to St Patrick’s and the Australia Hotel another apartment building will be erected soon, opposite the new one that opened last year on Queen Victoria Street.

The former Energy Museum is also going to be developed for residential and hospitality, the Hilton Doubletree hotel building down the road from there in Adelaide Street will start in the second quarter of next year, and there are plans for a residential building at the former Spotlight site, and also huge plans for the Woolstores shopping centre site at Cantonment Street.

The Kings Square project appears back on track with Sirona Capital just finalising the lease arrangements with the State Government, so with some luck building there will also start next year. There are also plans for a tourist accommodation building at the Mills records site.

The Atwell Arcade is near completion and so are the Quest Hotel and another residential building in Pakenham Street, while the MSC has moved into the new building at Cliff Street and the former Elders building. A few metres from there Notre Dame University has plans for a new building on the corner of High Street.

There are plans for the development of the Fremantle Oval precinct, once the City of Fremantle can boot out the annoyingly greedy Fremantle Dockers, and in South Fremantle new apartments built by Match will go up opposite the Local Hotel. An awkward-looking apartment building has also been erected on the corner of Douro Road and Hulbert Street.

The Be. tourist motel at Bathers Bay is also growing with new apartments added to it.

The big development players in town are Silverleaf, Match and Sirona Capital.

I am delighted that there is so much and substantial development in Fremantle that will make a positive difference to our city. It will no doubt bring a resurgence in new retailers also opening up shop in Fremantle in the near future, but I am frustrated and disappointed about the lack of class and creativity of most buildings proposed for our character city.

Have I overlooked other major development happening or planned in Freo? Tell me what I have forgotten to mention!

Roel Loopers

HOW TO LEGISLATE FOR BEAUTIFUL BUILDINGS?

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development by freoview on October 21, 2016

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With the rumoured sale of the Fremantle Manning Estate in High and Market Street to Fremantle property developers Silverleaf the debate on what is good and bad development for Fremantle will continue.

Silverleaf have been criticised for the buildings along Queen Street, opposite Target and also for the Atwell Arcade development, and will be developing the Woolstores shopping centre site in the near future and also the former Court House site in Henderson Street.

The Manning Estate site is clearly prime development opportunity and it is likely the developers will want character-changing additional height in the centre of Fremantle, so how can State and Local governments legislate for beautiful architecture to protect cities from inappropriate and boring development, who will be the judge on beauty?

I was thinking about this the other day when an architecture lecturer at one of the universities told me she hates the new MSC building in Cliff Street, designed by Murray Slavin Architects, while I really like the building. Who is right? Nobody clearly as we all have different tastes and that makes legislating for aesthetics near impossible.

I thought about it again when I read the Fremantle Society attack on the Atwell Arcade and Bank building by Silverleaf, as I don’t mind the new Atwell building that blends in adequately. I also like the corner of Cantonment and Queen streets building but not the corner of Queen and Adelaide street that is more suited to O’Connor.

Beauty is extremely subjective but somehow we need to have stronger guidelines on what is appropriate for specific sites. The west end needs to be treated with extreme sensitivity and care while east of Kings Square I am happy to see a bit of height and density, but that is just my opinion that no doubt will be challenged by others.

It is not easy to be a Councillor or planner at local government!

Roel Loopers

STATE SIGNS $ 450 MILLION ROE 8 CONTRACTS

Posted in fremantle, perth freight link, western australia by freoview on October 11, 2016

STOP PRESS!

Transport Minister Bill Marmion has just announced the State Government signed two contracts worth $ 450 million for the extension of Roe 8 Highway and a Stock Road interchange. The Minister told the media this morning that he hoped construction could start before Christmas this year.

CURTIN AVE TO REMAIN FREIGHT LINK TO FREO PORT

Posted in freight, fremantle, fremantle ports, perth freight link, western australia by freoview on October 11, 2016

Plans by the Mainroads Department to put a tunnel from Stock Road under the Swan River, Dalkeith and Nedlands to connect with Mount Claremont, indicate that Curtin Avenue and West Coast Highway will remain an important freight link even if the Perth Freight Link is built.

The plans show a widening of Fremantle’s Curtin Avenue to four lanes for its full length to West Coast Highway. “Curtin Avenue and West Coast Highway are classified as a major freight route and form part of the northerly freight route from the Fremantle Inner Harbour to the northern suburbs, the Subiaco POST reports.

The plans are open for comment until October 28.

Curtin Avenue would be extended to link with Stirling Highway near the North Fremantle Primary School.

This is a part of the Perth and Peel strategic land use plan that aims to achieve 3.5 million people in the region by 2050, although recent numbers have shown a slowing of people moving to WA and many moving away since the mining downturn.

STOP PRESS! Transport Minister Bill Marmion has just announced the State Government signed two contracts worth $ 450 million for the extension of Roe 8 Highway and a Stock Road interchange. The Minister told the media this morning that he hoped construction could start before Christmas this year.

Roel Loopers

J SHED INCOMPETENCE A WORRY FOR KINGS SQUARE

Posted in arthur head, city of fremantle, fremantle, j shed, local government, western australia by freoview on September 24, 2016

After the Western Australian Planning Commission refusal for approval I can’t get out of my head what an outrage the 21-year lease is Sunset Events got from the City of Fremantle for the J Shed tavern, as it shows incompetence by COF officers and lawyers involved. Did anyone at the City check any of the planning rules the WAPC refers to in its decision to reject the tavern and outdoor music venue? Shouldn’t the lawyers have picked it up also?

And what about the Minister for Lands and the Minister for Local Government who both said it was o.k?

Here a reminder of the WAPC ruling:

1. The proposed application does not comply with the requirements of the Clause 30 of the Metropolitan Region Scheme as it is inconsistent with the purpose for which the land is reserved under the scheme, inconsistent with the orderly and proper planning of the locality and does not allow the preservation of amenities in the locality.

2. The proposal does not provide sufficient on- site car parking;

3. The proposed application does not comply with the requirements of Development Control Policy 5.3 – Use of Land Reserved for Parks and Recreation and Regional Open Space as it is not of a nature and scale of the proposal is compatible with the use and zoning of the surrounding land, the nature and purpose of the reserved land and the environmental character of the location;

4. The proposed application does not comply with the requirements of Development Control Policy 5.3 – Use of Land Reserved for Parks and Recreation and Regional Open Space as it is not identified there being a community need for the proposed facility in the proposed location and the proposal is not consistent with existing or proposed land use and management plans;

5. The proposal is inconsistent with clause 4.1.2 (b) of the City of Fremantle’s Local Planning Policy DGF14 – Fremantle West End Conservation Area Policy as the proposal does not demonstrate a low key use and is not compatible with the ethos of the area;

6. The proposal is inconsistent with clause 3.4 of the City of Fremantle’s Local Planning Policy DGF26 – Planning Policy for the West End of Victoria Quay as the proposed land uses are not compatible with the primary or ancillary land uses desired for the locality;

7. The proposal is inconsistent with objectives 3.1 and 3.2 of the City of Fremantle’s Local Planning Policy DGF5 – Arthur Head Reserve Strategy Plan as the proposal is not a low profile commercial uses of J-Shed reflective of and is not compatible with the history and maritime themes of Arthur Head and the foreshore;

8. The proposal is inconsistent with Clause 2 of the City of Fremantle’s Local Planning Policy DGF6 – Arthur Head – (West End of High Street, Fremantle) as the proposal is overloading the vicinity with proposed developments

None of that was picked up by the COF officers and lawyers or the officers at the Lands Department and Local Government Department. How can that be?  That is not acceptable!

And then we read the statement in the Herald by the acting Director of the City  saying the City is expecting Sunset Events to start the 21-year lease early next year. The lease was given for a tavern and live music venue the WAPC has ruled out in that location, so what is the City talking about!

Surely someone is responsible for this debacle and I would like to know what Fremantle’s new CEO Phil StJohn is going to do about it, because just shrugging the shoulders and say shit happens is really not anywhere near good enough.

The J Shed disaster makes me fear the worst for the Kings Square Project the City signed off on with Sirona Capital. Did the COF officers and lawyers really cross all the Ts and dot the Is? REALLY? Or will financial experts Martin Lee and Craig Ross be proven right that the deal is a financial disaster for the ratepayers of Fremantle, because someone at the City of Fremantle did not check all the details carefully?

Heads should roll, the media should start asking the hard questions, and the Minister for Local Government needs to do his job and investigate the City of Fremantle for its incompetent handling of the J Shed issue.

We can only hope and pray the officers and lawyers did a more thorough job on checking the details of the Kings Square contract than they did on the J Shed lease.

So what are you going to do about it CEO Phil StJohn?! 

Roel Loopers

WHY WAPC REJECTED J SHED TAVERN

Posted in city of fremantle, heritage, hospitality, j shed, western autralia by freoview on September 22, 2016

I had a look at why the WA Planning Commission rejected the Sunset Events proposal for a tavern and live music venue at J Shed at Fremantle’s Bathers Beach and found it quite puzzling why neither the City of Fremantle nor the State Heritage Office did see these issues and approved the tavern at Arthur Head.

Here part of the ruling by the Statutory Planning Committee from their meeting of August 23, 2016.

1. The proposed application does not comply with the requirements of the Clause 30 of the Metropolitan Region Scheme as it is inconsistent with the purpose for which the land is reserved under the scheme, inconsistent with the orderly and proper planning of the locality and does not allow the preservation of amenities in the locality.

2. The proposal does not provide sufficient on- site car parking;

3. The proposed application does not comply with the requirements of Development Control Policy 5.3 – Use of Land Reserved for Parks and Recreation and Regional Open Space as it is not of a nature and scale of the proposal is compatible with the use and zoning of the surrounding land, the nature and purpose of the reserved land and the environmental character of the location;

4. The proposed application does not comply with the requirements of Development Control Policy 5.3 – Use of Land Reserved for Parks and Recreation and Regional Open Space as it is not identified there being a community need for the proposed facility in the proposed location and the proposal is not consistent with existing or proposed land use and management plans;

5. The proposal is inconsistent with clause 4.1.2 (b) of the City of Fremantle’s Local Planning Policy DGF14 – Fremantle West End Conservation Area Policy as the proposal does not demonstrate a low key use and is not compatible with the ethos of the area;

6. The proposal is inconsistent with clause 3.4 of the City of Fremantle’s Local Planning Policy DGF26 – Planning Policy for the West End of Victoria Quay as the proposed land uses are not compatible with the primary or ancillary land uses desired for the locality;

7. The proposal is inconsistent with objectives 3.1 and 3.2 of the City of Fremantle’s Local Planning Policy DGF5 – Arthur Head Reserve Strategy Plan as the proposal is not a low profile commercial uses of J-Shed reflective of and is not compatible with the history and maritime themes of Arthur Head and the foreshore;

8. The proposal is inconsistent with Clause 2 of the City of Fremantle’s Local Planning Policy DGF6 – Arthur Head – (West End of High Street, Fremantle) as the proposal is overloading the vicinity with proposed developments;..

FREO MUA AGAINST NEW PORT AND FREIGHT LINK

Posted in fremantle, fremantle ports, perth freight link, western australia by freoview on September 22, 2016

Christy Cain, the secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia-MUA- has declared the union is against the building of a new port at Kwinana, against the privatisation of Fremantle Port and against the Perth Freight Link.

Can told the media that a new port would be fully automated and no wharfies needed and that would mean a loss of jobs.

He said Fremantle Port has plenty of room still to expand and that the PFL would not be needed if truck operators worked 24 hours a day as wharfies do, so more freight could be trucked to and from the port at night.

Roel Loopers

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