Freo's View

FREMANTLE FINANCIALLY SOUND SAYS MINISTER

Posted in city of fremantle, development, economy, finances, Uncategorized by freoview on September 20, 2017

 

I am not a big fan of publishing media releases by Freo City, or anyone else for that matter, but this one about the City of Fremantle’s financial situation is very important, especially during the local government election campaign, where some people claim Freo is going broke because of its investment in the Kings Square Project and selling city assets.

The City of Fremantle has received clarification from the Minister for Local Government over the City’s risk profile.

The City wrote to the Minister, David Templeman, in August after it was identified as being “high risk” in a response to a question in State Parliament.

The City’s risk profile was based on reporting from the 2015/16 financial year, where it recorded an unusually low Financial Health Indicator (FHI) score due a number of factors including a change in accounting methodology.

In his reply the Minister said he accepted information from the City’s auditors that, subject to final audit, the City of Fremantle’s 2016/17 FHI score will restore to approximately 85.

For the MyCouncil website and the Department of Local Government’s risk profile an FHI score of 70 and above indicates sound financial health.

The Minister also said he had asked his Department to review the way it communicates its risk profile process to avoid potential misunderstandings in the future.

STATE HERITAGE GRANTS AVAILABLE

Posted in architecture, buildings, city of fremantle, Uncategorized by freoview on September 13, 2017

 

Private owners of State Registered heritage places are invited to apply for a share of $1.2 million to assist with urgent conservation works to their properties.

The Heritage Council of Western Australia‘s Heritage Grants Program offers dollar-for-dollar funding for grants of up to $100,000, including for conservation plans to help guide works.

Last year, 13 metropolitan and 15 regional places shared in grant funding which, when combined with owner contributions, generated almost $3 million in conservation works.

The Heritage Grants Program is one of the few grants programs in Australia that assists private owners with the costs associated with maintaining heritage places.

Since the Heritage Grants Program’s inception in 1997, 745 heritage projects have received grants totalling more than $18 million.

Applications for the 2017-18 Heritage Grants Program are open until 12pm Tuesday October 31, 2017 and successful applicants will be announced in early 2018.

 

Roel Loopers

VOTE ROEL FOR CITY WARD!

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NEW TASKFORCE FOR NEW OUTER HARBOUR

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle ports, Uncategorized by freoview on September 12, 2017

 

Transport, Planning and Lands Minister Rita Saffioti has announced that the WA State Government has assigned the Westport Taskforce, chaired by Nicole Lockwood, to do the long-term planning for a new outer harbour at Kwinana.

The multi-agency will create a long-range vision for the planning, development and growth of the inner harbour in Fremantle and the new outer harbour in Cockburn Sound.

The taskforce is to deliver a ports and environs strategic plan that will comprise of experts from multiple state agencies, such as transport, finances, planning, employment, and the environment.

The taskforce will plan the size and location of the new port, the timing and the operating model, and rail and road links to the Kwinana port.

 

Roel Loopers

VOTE ROEL FOR CITY WARD!

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WA BANS SINGLE-USE PLASTIC BAGS

Posted in city of fremantle, environment, plastic, shopping, Uncategorized by freoview on September 12, 2017

 

bags

 

It is good to hear that Fremantle Council’s leadership on the banning of single-use plastic shopping bags has resulted in WA Premier Mark McGowan this morning announcing the bags will be banned in Western Australia from July 1, 2018.

The City of Fremantle tried twice to introduce the ban, but it was blocked by the Barnett government.

The Project on Channel TEN for months also named and shamed the states and territories that do not have a ban on single-use plastic bags, so finally community pressure has resulted in this sensible decision.

 

Roel Loopers

VOTE ROEL FOR CITY WARD!

 

POSITIVE FUTURE FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in city of fremantle, development, kings square, sirona capital, Uncategorized by freoview on September 1, 2017

 

AA

 

The ceremonial start of the Fremantle Kings Square Project development by Sirona Capital was held this Friday morning, with WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt, Housing Minister Peter Tinley, Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt and Sirona Managing Director Matthew McNeilly.

The electronic and print media also turned up en-masse, and Minister for Women Simone McGurk, Federal MP Josh Wilson, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Olwyn Williams, attended, as did many Freo councillors and staff.

A special mention should go to former City of Fremantle CEO Graeme McKenzie, who did a lot of the hard work and preparations for this game-changing project. Nice to see him present!

The $ 270 millions project will deliver 25,800sqm of new commercial office and retail space, plus a new civic centre for the City. This is the largest infrastructure project in Fremantle’s history!

More than 1,00 fulltime workers will be working in the construction of the project.

Once completed Kings Square will have more than 2,000 people working there, which represents a 13% boost in the number of workers in the Fremantle CBD.

Sirona’s Matthew McNeilly said the development was an indication of Fremantle Council’s courage and desire to revitalise the city.

I am personally delighted that this huge project is finally under way, after so many years of waiting and hoping.

Those who believe that this project will not have a massive positive impact on Fremantle should stay in bed and contemplate their miserable negative existence. : >)

Roel Loopers

WA GOVERNMENT SUPPORT FOR FREO MAYOR

Posted in city of fremantle, housing, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on September 1, 2017

 

 

WA Housing Minister Peter Tinley strongly endorsed Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt and his council at the Housing and the Future event at the Moores building last night.

Tinley urged people to “Vote for Brad!” saying the success of Fremantle’s urban infill was a fundamental guide for the government to use as an example in W.A.

The Minister said that Fremantle Council has lead the change in the metropolitan area with their strategic planning for revitalisation.

The Housing Minister said it was essential for the government to partner with the private industry to offer a diverse range of housing options, and that Housing was a $ 14.5 billion agency that delivered social outcomes.

Tinley said there was a “structural disconnect with affordability” and that 44 per cent of four-bedroom homes have just a single occupant. He said it was important for future planning to consider what the built form contributed to the community.

REIWA President Hayden Groves surprisingly expressed that the urban sprawl was no longer sustainable and said real estate transactions had dropped from 71,000 in 2006 to only 31,000 last year.

He said REIWA was trying to create greater revenue resources for the government through property, and that the bottom of the cycle was here and the real estate market was more stable.

Affordability was a problem, Groves said, with low income earners priced out of the market. The private property sector also needed  to take responsibility for that, not just governments.

The REIWA President said that changes to negative gearing were a problem because it removed the incentives for investors.

Government support for first home buyers needed to be adapted as it supported the urban sprawl, Groves claimed, and that Labor’s Metronet was a fabulous policy.

It is important to offer affordable rent, as well as affordable housing and the Fremantle WGV and Nightingale developments were great.

Mayor Brad Pettitt, introduced as Dad by the MC, said Fremantle Council was passionate about housing, but it was hard for young people to live in the city. It was important to match up people through diversity and affordability and getting the mix right.

He said inner city residents were estimated to increase by 40 per cent by 2070. At present only 721 people live in the CBD. “Fremantle’s problem is that there are not enough people here.” But we are on the cusp of being a more vibrant city with more people living here, Pettitt told the crowd of developers, architects, politicians and real estate agents.

During the Q&A Minister Peter Tinley said that properties were only affordable once-the first time-after that they returned to the market and often become unaffordable.

Mayor Brad Pettitt said that stamp duty was a disincentive to downgrade for older people, and that the State Government should reward those councils who are doing infill, through investment in their infrastructure.

Pettitt said it could be frustrating for local governments to deal with the State, and it had taken 18 months to get a Planning Scheme Amendment approved.

Peter Tinley said that Metronet was the centrepiece of WA’s infrastructure and housing and transport were working together in steering committees. We need to know who the people are who are going to live near near train stations and public transport hubs, because it is all about the communities we create, not just about living in concrete boxes.

In reply to a question from the floor it was disappointing to feel that housing for people with a disability appears to have been put in the hard basket. Accessibility and adaptability were real challenges, the Minister said.

I was surprised to hear that one in five people in WA have a disability. That is not a minority group, so governments need to do a whole lot better to cater for them!

REIWA President Hayden Groves said he is trying to change REIWA’s thinking, as they felt threatened by urban infill up to now, but that was changing as the urban infill was not sustainable and cost too much in infrastructure. It was important for the governments to give incentives for people who wanted to down-size, or right-size as it is now called.

Housing and the Future was a good begin of a very important dialogue we need to have. I believe a more substantial forum on housing should be initiated after all the election hype is over.

 

Roel Loopers

 

 

 

FREO FANTASTIC FUTURE FOCUS

Posted in city of fremantle, development, kings square, Uncategorized by freoview on August 31, 2017

 

 

The fence maze at Fremantle’s Kings Square already looks a whole lot better with the promo wording on it.

Also good to see BID putting signs up so people know where to park during the construction, and the City of Fremantle will also put up wayfinding signs in the area.

In this context I sent the letter below to the West Australia in response to an article they published today about the former Subiaco market site:

As a Fremantle resident I find Gareth Parker’s opinion piece on the development plans for the Subiaco Market, and the opposition by its council very interesting.

While 16 storeys for the market site are probably excessive, it is important that councils do find a middle ground to assist urban infill.

In contrast to Subiaco the Fremantle Council has actively promoted Fremantle as a pro development destination over the last eight years. That has now resulted in unprecedented development in our port city for forty years.

The Kings Square Project that starts this month is the biggest development ever seen in Fremantle, and the Woolstores shopping centre site will also soon be developed into a nine storey hotel, student accommodation and commercial spaces.

Not all development we are getting in Freo is outstanding, but at least most of it is in the run down east of the inner city and does not severely impact on the heritage character of the West End.

Fremantle, like Subiaco, had been stagnant for years, our traders are struggling and there are too many shop vacancies, but that will all be turned around through massive development and more people living and working in the CBD, and more tourists being able to stay overnight in new hotels.

Future focussed planning is essential and where Subi Council failed Fremantle Council excelled. There are lessons to be learned here for other councils.

 

Roel Loopers

HOW DESIRABLE IS URBAN INFILL?

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on August 30, 2017

 

Fremantle LIV Defence Housing apartment development seen from Quarry Street.

 

There is an interesting article about urban infill in the West Australian today by the president of the Property Council of WA Tanya Trevisan.

Trevisan reports and reflects on a recent collaborative study by the PCA, Curtin University and CODA architects.

The study found that if the state’s infill target was increased from 47 per cent to 60 per cent, WA could save $ 23 billion by 2050.

According to the report supplying infrastructure to greenfield development costs up to three times more than urban infill development.

Tanya Trevisan argues that urban infill, when done well, offers balanced and diversity of housing. She writes that infill creates stronger communities and maximises the effectiveness of existing infill.

There is no doubt for me that the Perth urban sprawl is not sustainable and the Great Australian Dream of one’s own house with front and back garden can’t be sustained in our fast-growing city.

However, due to the mining bust, thousands of people have left the state, and fewer move or migrate to W.A. so our need for extensive residential development is also diminishing for the time being.

There have been serious social issues around the world with high-density living, so not all is good.

I believe there is also the need for new public transport nodes outside the inner character cities, because inner city living is often too expensive for those on lower income, students, etc. Building medium to high density in some outer pockets, where good public transport is provided, is essential as we can’t just stuff our unique centres with large concrete boxes, and destroy their character.

Tomorrow evening at 5.30 there is a Housing Forum at the Moore&Moore cafe in Freo’s Henry Street, so check it out!

 

Roel Loopers

UNION TRUTH ABOUT FREMANTLE PORT

Posted in city of fremantle, containers, freight, fremantle ports, Uncategorized by freoview on August 29, 2017

 

I was given a copy of an eight-page flyer The Truth About The Flawed Outer Harbour Plan, written by the Maritime Union of Australia WA Branch secretary and National President Christy Cain.

It’s always good to try to see all sides of an argument, so let’s have a look at the facts the MUA published in the leaflet.

# The MUA claims that Fremantle Port is only running at 50% capacity and that there is no need for a premature costly duplication of the port at Kwinana.

# The MUA supports the long-term vision of an overflow port at Kwinana when it is needed, but say it is not needed yet, and that the volume at Fremantle Port has been falling for some time.

# The proposed cap on Fremantle Port is lower than the current volume and would be anticompetitive, the union claims. It would prevent the current terminal operators to grow.

# 90% of containers to and from the port are on the road between 6am-6pm Monday to Friday. The port operates 24/7 but nearly all containers are handled in just 35% of all the hours available.

# Better coordination of road transport, plus general decline in volume has seen a 11% reduction in truck visits to Fremantle Port over the last two years.

# Rail is underutilised as is handles only 14.5% of containers, while it is designed to carry 30% of container traffic.

# The MUA says that if the outer harbour was built now, 20-30 years before it is needed, it would add $ 10 billion to the construction cost, making it a $ 15-16 billion dollar dud, that would cause a dramatic increase to freight costs.

# Fremantle Port supports 2,000 direct employees and an estimated total workforce of 6,000 direct and indirect employees servicing the port.

# The outer harbour would be automated and would have less jobs than Fremantle Port.

# Government Treasury predicts another 25 years of growth potential for Fremantle Port. It stated that artificial capping would result in earlier capital investment in the Outer Harbour and related road and rail infrastructure-imposing an unnecessary financial burden on the WA Government, container trades and the community.

If you have any questions it is best to contact the MUA as I won’t have the answers.

 

Roel Loopers

UNIONS PUT FREO’S SOUTH QUAY PROJECT IN JEOPARDY

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle ports, Uncategorized by freoview on August 28, 2017

 

port

 

In a comment to this blog I was chastised last week for believing articles published in the West Australian and media in general, but today’s article about the WA Labor state conference, shows that it was not fake news after all.

It is a great worry for Fremantle Council that the South Quay development plans, they wanted to realise in collaboration with the state government, are put in jeopardy by the right-wing new faction Progressive Labor, that got a motion passed on the weekend at the Labor state conference, to delay the development of a new port at Kwinana because it would cost jobs on the wharf.

According to union secretary Adrian Evans Fremantle Port is only running at 50 per cent capacity and hence a new outer harbour would only be needed in 20-30 years from now.

Development of Victoria Quay and connecting it better to the Fremantle inner city would be fantastic, especially with the imminent development of the Woolstores shopping centre site.

 

Roel Loopers

 

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