It is good to see that experts are calling for better design of buildings in the Perth region. I am pretty disappointed what modern architecture represents in our area, as it is mainly cheap and fast box-like concrete highrise that has little or no visual quality and does not enhance the amenity and streetscape.
W.A. Government Architect Geoff Warn, who is also on the Perth Design Advisory Panel, believes new strategies are needed to improve the architectural quality of projects, the Sunday Times reports today, and I could not agree more.
Heritage Perth CEO Richard Offen told ST that Perth has incredibly boring architecture that leaves a poor heritage legacy for future generations.
I believe that one of the reasons Fremantle Council signs off on mediocre architecture is because the City of Fremantle is so desperate to get new development going in Freo that it compromises too easily and gives in to pressure from developers. It is not helpful either that the State’s Development Assessment Panel often overrules local council decisions and allows inappropriate buildings to be erected which destroy the ambience of place in established older suburbs.
Excellent modern architecture can greatly improve the visual impact of a city, and it does not matter if that is a heritage city like Fremantle. In the right location and with restraint and consideration for the history and existing built environment a great new building will create a new focus point and attraction. Height does not necessarily have to mean that it is unsuitable for our inner city, but for Fremantle to accept extra height only the very best and outstanding architectural design and building quality would have to apply. Mediocre and boring concrete boxes have no place anywhere in the vicinity of our outstanding heritage architecture and we should take heed of what Government Architect Geoff Warn has to say about it.
With all the rubbish around about not enough or too expensive parking in Fremantle, it is nice to read the story in the Sunday Times today about the Australia Day fireworks. The City of Perth and South Perth collected thousands of dollars in fines from hundreds of motorists, while the City of Fremantle did not issues a single parking ticket during the fireworks this year and last year. I reckon that is embracing the spirit of the day and letting everyone have a good time, instead of seeing such a big crowd-pulling event and a revenue raiser. Well done Freo!!
The Sunday Times reports today that Flow House has applied to Fremantle council to install a wave simulator on the former Ampol fuel depot site at Port Beach about fifty-metres north of Salt on the Beach. Flow House already runs wave simulators in countries like the UK and USA. WA has only one wave simulator in Kalgoorlie.
Whilst I have been asking for years for more tourist attractions for Fremantle I am not sure that creating artificial waves at a beach with natural waves is something I would get excited about. Wave simulators are great in cities that are not near an ocean. For me it’s a bit like the gimmick of making a beach at Forrest Place in Perth. That might be a good idea for places like Berlin, that are hundreds of kilometres away from the ocean, but for a city like Perth that is built along the coast it is rather silly to have an artificial beach in the CBD.
The Kwinana Freeway Foreshore Management Plan put together by the W.A. State Government is concerned about future flooding of the freeway along the river due to climate change. Experts believe that sea levels will rise by 90 centimetres by 2110 according to a report in the Sunday Times.
It is suggested that to prevent freeway flooding to put a storm barrier in the Swan river behind Fremantle port, but I wonder where the surge of rising water would go then. Wouldn’t it flood areas in front of that water barrier and affect the Fremantle and North Fremantle foreshores?
The Sunday Times today has a preview of the Perth Future Plan that will be released by the W.A. State Government this week. If Premier Colin Barnett and his cabinet are serious about implementing it they should soon make announcements about State Government departments and agencies moving to Fremantle, since one of the objectives of PFT is the creation of jobs in activity centres such as Fremantle, Joondalup, Midland and Armadale.
The PFT is also about taming the urban sprawl and creating high-density infill along transport corridors like Canning and Stirling highways, but should also include South Street in Fremantle in my opinion. It is estimated that 3,5 million people will live in the Perth metro area by 2040, so higher density makes a lot of sense and is dealing with the reality that the urban sprawl is too expensive and not sustainable.
One of the more interesting aspects the Sunday Times reports is that the Perth Future Plan states that high-rise towers will not be allowed to destroy the fabric of established suburbs. I reckon the people in Subiaco would want to ask why a 17 storey tower was approved then for the former markets site at Rokeby Road.
Congratulations to Fremantle Round House tourguide Ken Brown who won the Community Spirit medal at this year’s Pride of Australia event in Kings Park, sponsored by the Sunday Times and Perth Now.
Ken is a really good, down to earth bloke who loves to help others, hence he volunteered to help rebuilt homes in the Perth Hills that had been destroyed by bush fires. Ken did that while he was battling cancer, but that did not deter him from rebuilding homes during the day and teaching students in the evening.
Volunteers are a huge asset to Australia, no matter what kind of work they do, and they all deserve our praise! Well done, Ken!
It is promising to read in the Sunday Times today that the Western Australian Planning Commission is considering changing the laws on high-density buildings. This is the result of many local governments and communities complaining that out of character dwellings are being erected in older suburbs like Fremantle.
The WAPC considerations would see a minimum number of car bays per home, which is contrary to the no car bays at all at some new residential and commercial buildings and hotels the City of Fremantle wants.
There would also be a limit on the number of units that can be built in high-density buildings if the WAPC changes go ahead.
It sounds like good common sense to me. The unique character of the older suburbs needs to be protected because they are the main reference to our past and part of our history.
Fremantle Mayor Dr Brad Pettitt told the Sunday Times that the Cappuccino Strip could be closed for traffic on weekends and busy week nights, and I believe that would be a very good step to create a true hospitality entertainment lingering space in the CBD.
I disagree with Cappuccino Strip traders spokesman and co-owner of Benny’s Bar&Cafe Ivan Dzeba that Fremantle does not have the population to support the closure. Fremantle does not have the population to support all the cafes and restaurants. They survive because of the mass influx of people out of Fremantle who come on weekends and Friday nights. They wont stay away because they can’t drive through South Terrace, they’ll park at Collie Street, Queensgate, the Esplanade and west end streets, as they do now so nothing will change in that regard.
It is beyond me why a weekend closure of South Terrace can be seen as a threat to cafe operators on the Strip or retailers in the CBD, because there would be no changes to the parking facilities in the area which motorists have to use now as well. All it does is create a cleaner, safer and more attractive environment for people to enjoy a meal and watch buskers and the passing parade of pedestrians, instead of unhealthy, pollution spewing busses and cars. Wouldn’t it be nice if children could safely play while their parents have a coffee on the Strip!
The Sunday Times reports today that the Fremantle Fly by Night Club might be leaving Freo after being forced out of the Artillery Drill Hall by the National Trust.
The newspapers quotes the Fly president that they are talking to the City of Swan, but are also considering the option of the Old Swan Barracks in Francis Street, Perth.
The ‘City of Arts’ really cannot afford to lose another entertainment operator after the loss of Deckchair Theatre, Kulcha and Harbour Theatre. Fremantle should also be careful to not put all its eggs in one basket and hand over the City to Sunset Events for live music events.