Freo's View


Posted in bathers beach, city of fremantle, j shed, Uncategorized by freoview on January 29, 2018


When Fremantle Council at its meeting on December 13 decided it would engage a professional mediator to move forward with the Sunset Events proposal for a tavern at J Shed, it was expected that this meant mediation between J Shed artists, the proponents and the City of Fremantle, but that assumption appears to be wrong.

There has not been mediation between the artists and Sunset Events but some Councillors and Creating Communities have visited J Shed to consult with the artists.

There are of course the rumours that Freo City and Sunset Events will agree on a change to the contract and scale down the use of the A Class reserve to create a much smaller foot print for the controversial hospitality outlet.

Sunset Events director David Chitty mentioned at the council meeting in December that  permitting fewer patrons would mean a smaller foot print for the tavern and that SE might not need all the Bathers Beach A Class Reserve allocated to them.

There is still nothing official and the saga drags on further, but one has to wonder when mediation is actually mediation and why council decide to have it but than not implement the action.

Freo Council often works in mysterious ways hey. ; >)


Of course there are other ways to activate J Shed as yoga instructor Ava Irani points out:

A few months ago I was really sick of the lack of activation of studio 1 at the J shed and decided to take some action to create a 1 day yoga festival for the community.

It has been birthed, and we will enjoy music, family, yoga, meditation, sound healing, dance, busking and healthy food on Sunday the 18th of February.

We want to create a community vibe outside the shed as well, where kids activities will carry on on the grass, and a space for people to gather in a relaxed way on the grass and at the beach. Of course this will all be free.

However, if participants want to take a class on the schedule IN the J shed its around $15-20 per class.

I’d really love eventually for the city to support something like this. I’m happy to put in the work with my team and put up the money to rent the space but I want the community and city to recognise that we can have alcohol-free, wellness based, community-building yet totally funky family friendly offerings in this space.

Here some more details :


So maybe it was just a typo and Fremantle council meant meditation, and not mediation. ; >)


Roel Loopers


Posted in bathers beach, city of fremantle, j shed, Uncategorized by freoview on December 13, 2017


Arthur Head


Fremantle Councillors will be pleasantly surprised that they are getting a lot of agreement from this obnoxious blogger about the Sunset Events proposal for a tavern at J Shed on Bathers Beach.

I agree with Mayor Brad Pettitt that there must be a way forward, and I agree with Councillor Hannah Fitzhardinge that mediation between the J Shed artists, City of Fremantle and Sunset Events is a good idea.

I also agree with Councillor Adin Lang that Sunset Events need not only convince Fremantle Council but also the local residents and neighbouring artists, and I agree with Councillor Jenny Archibald that the proposal for a tavern does not resemble anything the City asked for in its expression of interest.

And I agree with Councillor Andrew Sullivan about the connectivity of places around the inner city and about activation of that rather dormant part of Bathers Beach.

But the major question for me is WHY NOW AFTER FOUR YEARS?! Why was this not suggested much earlier in the process to avoid all the negative polarisation between the stakeholders? It’s mind-boggling.

And why does Sunset Events put a planning proposal to Council, but director David Chitty then told us tonight they actually won’t need to use all the leased area for a 400 patron tavern.

Why did Sunset Events not put in a proposal showing that they are going to make the tavern a much smaller footprint, and why did they not go to the City of Fremantle and ask for a new lease for a smaller area?

And let’s be clear about connectivity between Bathers Beach and Victoria Quay here too. There needs to be a path in front of the J Shed studios so tourists don’t have to divert to the west to walk between those tourist destinations. A tavern fence there is not ever acceptable, no matter how small the footprint or the number of patrons.

We will now have three months of mediation to see if there actually will be a good compromise, a way forward and a whole lot less negativity, but I fear the polarisation, dislike and disrespect between the J Shed artists and Sunset Events is now so ingrained that it will just become more nastiness, and the City of Fremantle deserves all the blame for that.

Roel Loopers


Posted in architecture, arthur head, bathers beach, city of fremantle, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on December 13, 2017




There were indications at last week’s Fremantle Planning Committee that Mayor Brad Pettitt might try to defer the decision at tonight’s Ordinary Council meeting on the proposed tavern at J Shed for 2-3 months to get Sunset Events to make more changes.

This would be contrary to what the Fremantle community wants, as it has expressed very clearly and loudly for four years.

The Wadjuk Noongar people, inner city residents, Fremantle Ports, Fremantle Society, Fremantle History Society, Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides and the J Shed artists have all very clearly said no to a tavern at Arthur Head, and so has the WA Planning Committee.

We have heard the excuses and semantics in the past that somehow that specific part of Arthur Head has less historic significance than the rest of the historic area, but that is baseless rubbish.

Fact is that Arthur Head in its entirety is heritage listed. Fact is that the proposed site for the tavern is only metres away from where the Whaling Station used to be. It is 30 metres from the Whalers Tunnel, and it is just below the Gunners Cottage and WA’s oldest public building the Roundhouse gaol.

Bathers Bay is where British settlement started in ernest and where the first port was, in the form of a one-kilometre-long jetty. It is also where Aboriginal men and boys were put on boats to be transported to the inhumane Quod prison on Rottnest Island. The Arthur Head area is the foundation of Western Australia’s British settlement.

Another reason why the item should not be deferred by Fremantle Council is a point made by Councillor Rachel Pemberton when Council discussed another planning proposal a few weeks ago.

Pemberton stated that the Elected Members had agreed that they would no longer indefinitely defer planning proposals if these proposals required substantial changes, instead of minor tweaking. That is the case with the Sunset Events proposal for J Shed. It requires substantial changes, not just minor adjustments, and for that reason alone refusal of the proposal should be the only outcome of the Ordinary Council meeting tonight.

Sunset Events wants a tavern on the A Class reserve, that the community does not want, and WAPC has made it clear in its past ruling that is inappropriate use of the reserve. WAPC did not rule on the number of patrons, but about inappropriate use of a public space. That will not change.

It is also highly unlikely that Sunset Events would be willing to reduce the number of patrons yet again, because they already deleted the 1,500 patron outdoor music venue and halved the number of tavern patrons. There is little left of their initial plans.

The sad fact for Sunset Events is that they have been had by Fremantle Council. What is happening with the tavern proposal is akin to the City of Fremantle signing a lease for a funeral parlour, but when it comes to planning approval they suddenly decide that they don’t want dead bodies in the building and no hearses in the street. It’s outrageously bad governance!

The J Shed saga is an unmitigated debacle that Fremantle Councillors should be ashamed about, and it needs to stop now!

Roel Loopers


Posted in art, arthur head, bathers beach, city of fremantle, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on December 8, 2017


The desire of Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt and Councillor Hannah Fitzhardinge to extend the decision period on the proposed tavern at J Shed by Sunset Events comes in my opinion far too late. What could possibly be achieved in 2-3 months of talking that could not have been achieved in the last four years?

Fremantle Council did have many opportunities to listen to the community but instead created a divide that has now become too polarised to be resolved and end in a good outcome for the proponents and opponents.

Sunset Events has in desperation asked Freo Massive readers what they believe is acceptable for the J Shed studio at Bathers Beach, as director David Chitty also did at the Council meeting on Wednesday. The community already told you that, David, so why engage social media when there has been community consultation, meetings, information sessions, a special electors meeting, written and verbal submissions, etc?

The dilemma is that the two sides are too far apart to find a compromise, and there appears to be a bit of stubbornness on both sides as well. The stuff them attitude is not going to help anyone!

Would Sunset Events be happy to just run a day-time cafe and small bar with a nice deck to watch Bathers Bay and the sunset? I doubt it, as they want big numbers of patrons to make their investment worthwhile, and that is fair enough from a business perspective.

The J Shed artists appear to not want anything but another art studio in that location, so they will probably also object to a small bar at the No 1 studio.

Community groups might well be happy with a 150-patron small bar there, as I would be, but I don’t think Sunset Events will want to scale down its proposal that far.

Fact is that the City of Fremantle should not have wandered off so far from the initial Expression of Interest and CoF should not have signed a 21-year lease for a tavern and outdoor music venue.

Councillors and the administration have to accept all the blame for this fiasco and they now will have to do their utmost best to get Sunset Events to relinquish the lease and start from scratch.

It is however also important for the J Shed artists to show more willingness to compromise as they should not dictate who their next door businesses can be. A small bar and cafe is totally acceptable for the venue and would become a good attraction for tourists and local residents.

The A Class reserve is very suitable to support the artists and create a sculpture park, with the addition of some shade structures and more seating. That would also support a new cafe/bar at J Shed. And a small playground for the kids would also be a nice addition for the area.

The Bathers Beach Art Precinct should go back to the drawing board as it is not working. The Pilot’s Cottages at Captain’s Lane are closed too many days of the week and do very little to help activate the area. The only exemptions up there are the Glen Cowans photo gallery and the very popular Roundhouse which attract a lot of visitors, and so did the High Tide biennale by the way.

I still wonder if the Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre would not have been far more successful at the J Shed No 1 unit and complement the existing art businesses there better.

Fremantle Council need to acknowledge they got it wrong as far as the activation of Arthur Head is concerned and should start all over again with an open mind. This might well be the opportune time to engage an outside consultant to get some new and fresh ideas.

In the meantime the Roundhouse volunteer guides want to put new displays inside the popular tourist attraction, and they need big money to do that. Time for Fremantle Council to engage with them and collaborate and also to give them some assistance!


Roel Loopers




Posted in arthur head, city of fremantle, heritage, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on December 7, 2017


The highly farcical tavern proposal at J Shed on Bathers Beach saga continued last night when the Planning Committee of Fremantle Council refused again the proposal by Sunset Events for a 400-patron tavern at the number one studio on the A Class reserve.

In its utter incompetence in this matter Fremantle Council has managed to make victims of both the proponents and opponents of the development at historic Arthur Head. That is a remarkable feat!

Some four years ago Council supported the applicant driven proposal for a 1,500 patron outdoor music venue and 850-patron tavern and signed a 21 year lease with Sunset Events.

This was against strong opposition of West End residents, J Shed artists, FICRA, Aboriginal and  heritage groups and Fremantle Ports, but our Councillors had their rose-coloured ACTIVATION glasses on and suddenly wanted something much bigger than a cafe, restaurant or small bar, as was invited for in the Expressions of Interest document.

All public submissions were ignored and even the packed full Townhall special electors meeting was dismissed because our elected members knew best what is good for us.

In good faith and with the justifiable assumption that Council would approve the tavern and music venue Sunset Events signed a 21-year lease, but now their scaled-down proposals keep getting rejected and that is extremely unfair to them.

I agree with last night’s refusal and the refusals before that because a large tavern is not acceptable for one of our state’s most significant historic areas, but to leave the proponents in limbo with no room to move shows arrogance, naivety and incompetence by those Councillors who voted for the 21-year lease.

J Shed artists have had their nerves stretched to the limit as their livelihood is at stake, and Sunset Events rightly insists that the project has to be financially viable for them before they invest millions in sewerage, toilets, a commercial kitchen, etc.

The way Fremantle Council has handled the J Shed proposal is so absurd and incompetent that it might well have been an episode of the satirical TV series Utopia.

Sunset Events has every right to being frustrated and should take legal action against Fremantle Council for wasting their time and money, because reducing the scale of the tavern even more would not make financial sense for them.

One has to seriously wonder why it is that only after four years officers and Councillors now decide that a tavern is inappropriate for the A Class reserve, the heritage area and the Bathers Beach Art Precinct, although they signed a lease for it. That, as Planning Committee chair Jon Strachan pointed out, will make any size tavern un-approvable in the future and leaves Sunset Events in limbo.

It is an absolute disgrace and those Councillors who voted for the long-term lease should kick themselves in the backside really hard and get an injection of a dose of reality.

Roel Loopers


Posted in arthur head, bathers beach, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on December 2, 2017


J Shed plans 3

J Shed plans 2


The controversial proposal by Sunset Events for a 400-patron tavern and micro-brewery in J Shed at Fremantle’s historic Bathers Beach is on the agenda again at this Wednesday’s Fremantle Council Planning Committee.

The deciding authority is the WA Planning Commission, but the CoF officers recommend that the City’s planning committee refuse the application for following reasons:

Planning committee acting under delegation 2.1:

Refer to the Western Australian Planning Commission with a recommendation for REFUSAL under the Metropolitan Region Scheme, the proposed partial change of use to Tavern, and additions and alterations to an existing building at No. 1 (Lot 2051) Fleet Street, Fremantle, as detailed on plans dated 1 November 2017, for the following reasons:

  1. The proposal is inappropriate having regard to the purposes for which the land is reserved under the Metropolitan Region Scheme.
  2. 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.
  3. The proposal is inconsistent with Policy 3 of the City of Fremantle’s Local Planning Policy DGF6 – Arthur Head – (West End of High Street, Fremantle).
  4. 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.
  5. The proposal is inconsistent with clause 1.1 of the City of Fremantle’s Local Planning Policy DBU6 – Late Night Entertainment Venues Serving Alcohol.
  6. 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.


The whole tavern idea has become a real farce because initially Fremantle Council approved a 19-year lease for a large tavern and outdoor music area, but now they are scrambling to get out of their ridiculous decision after community outrage. That is unfair to Sunset Events which signed the lease in good faith that they could open a tavern at J Shed.

It was preposterous to believe a tavern would be suitable for the Bathers Beach Art Precinct and historically very significant Arthur Head, so why sign a long-term lease with SE in the first place?!

But now after Fremantle Council approved a lease, they suddenly discover a tavern is not suitable for Arthur Head and want to refuse it. That’s shambolic!

The new proposal cuts off the connectivity between Victoria Quay and the Fishing Boat Harbour and would have a negative impact on the gallery business of the adjoining art studios of Greg James, Janet Nixon, Jina Lee, Lesley Barrett, Jenny Dawson, Ross Potter and Ellen McCarthy, as people would have to walk around the tavern boundaries, when coming from the south, to get to the galleries. That is not acceptable!

Imagine though a beach restaurant in the style of the Swanbourne beach cafe Shorehouse,  Port Beach Coast, or Beaches cafe, Cottesloe, instead of a tavern and brewery. A lovely cafe/restaurant with a big deck to watch the sunset, have breakfast and chill out. Now that would be a good way of activating that part of Bathers Beach.

The item is on the agenda of the Planning Committee this Wednesday December 6 at 6pm.

Roel Loopers


Posted in bathers beach art precinct, city of fremantle, j shed, Uncategorized by freoview on September 6, 2017


Has Sunset Events given up on trying to establish a tavern at the number one unit of J SHED at Bathers Beach?

Yesterday three people from a not for profit organisation came to look at the location, to see if it would be suitable for a small business incubator.

I am not sure that a small business incubator is suitable for the Bathers Beach Art Precinct, but a pub isn’t either.

I tried to find out yesterday from the City of Fremantle if the 19-year-lease they have with Sunset Events allows the company to sub-lease to anyone, even if the business does not suit the art precinct concept, but I have not received a reply from the director yet.

It has been telling that although Sunset Events had to start paying rent from July 1, after their application for a one-year delay of the start of their lease was rejected by Fremantle Council, they still have not started to apply for a liquor license for the venue in September. They are required to advertise a liquor license application on the building, and it is not there.

The company has also cancelled this year’s Southbound concert at Busselton.


Roel Loopers



Posted in alcohol, bathers beach art precinct, city of fremantle, j shed, Uncategorized by freoview on July 1, 2017


sunset events plans 3

sunset events plans 2

sunset events plans 1


New plans by Sunset Events for a tavern at J Shed on historic Arthur Head are out for public comment for the next two weeks, so make sure to view them and send in your submissions to the City of Fremantle.

The proposal is for a 400 patron tavern, but plans for a micro brewery and coffee roastery appear to have been scrapped, and there is no application for ticketed music events in the tavern. I don’t believe that means Sunset Events can’t hold concerts in the tavern which patrons might have to pay for, as is sometimes the case at Clancy’s, for example.

Part of the plans look quite good. The small timber deck with a pergola to the south is nice, and if that was all for a 150 patron cafe and small bar I would support the proposal.

But Sunset Events also want to occupy a huge area of the A Class Reserve and put two units (seacontainers?) on for an outdoor kitchen, a bar, and also portable toilets clad in timber at the western side of the reserve.

They will also cut off the connectivity between Victoria Quay and the Fishing Boat Harbour, which will mean that tourists no longer will be able to access the art galleries at units 2, 3 and 4 from the south. They would have to walk all the way around, to nearly the South Mole and backtrack to those studios and that is highly unlikely to happen to the detriment of those businesses.

In consideration for the present artists Ross Potter, Ellen McCarthy, Peter Zuvela, Jenny Dawson, Greg James, Janet Nixon, Jina Lee, Lesley Barrett, and the fact that the WA Planning Commission has already ruled that a tavern is not appropriate use for the A Class Reserve, I am opposing the proposal and hope that Fremantle Council will recommend to the WAPC to reject this proposal also.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on June 27, 2017


It is just over four months until the Fremantle local government election so a good time for those who want to nominate to start doing their homework and attend council meetings, so that they do understand the process and complexities of local councils.

On Wednesday there are some interesting items on the agenda, so perfect to see democracy at work and hear our Elected Members deliberate and their thinking behind why they support or reject items.

There are plans for a five-storey backpackers at the Mills Record site at Adelaide Street, and that is significant in the context of the Kings Square Project development.

The planning compliance of the new Kings Square Civic Centre building is also on the agenda.

Sunset Events’ request to delay the start of their J Shed lease is another interesting item that no doubt will attract speakers from the public opposing it.

And there is an item to be debated about a scheme amendment for small infill development. It has a lot of merit but there are also people in the community opposing it.

The solar farm at the South Fremantle infill site is also an agenda item, but it is confidential, so the public won’t be able to sit in on that.

Local government is fascinating and grassroots democracy so inform yourselves and see how diligent our Councillors and officers are.

The Ordinary Council meeting starts at 6 pm, Wednesday June 28. Enter from the back stairs.

Roel Loopers



Posted in city of fremantle, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on June 24, 2017


fake news bites


The City of Fremantle has done a Donald Trump on us and given us fake news. Well, it’s a typo only, but important because the next Ordinary Council meeting will deal with the Sunset Events J Shed tavern again, and I am sure some people will want to address our Elected Members.

The meeting is on WEDNESDAY JUNE 28 and not as published on the City’s News Bites page in the Fremantle Herald on Monday.

Roel Loopers



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