Freo's View


Posted in birds, fremantle, nature by freoview on July 26, 2015

winter break

These birds were having a break from the wet and enjoying the sunshine at Point Walter this morning.

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle, fremantle ports, perth freight link by freoview on July 23, 2015

I was astounded to hear Western Australian Treasurer Mike Nahan arrogantly dismissing the objections against the Perth Freight Link on TV, stating that it would take at least twenty years to build a port at Kwinana, but giving no indication when the government will start budgeting and planning for the outer harbour port, in the knowledge that Fremantle port will reach capacity in around ten years from now.

I would support spending good money on fast solutions for the short term and get more freight on rail, and trucks off our roads, but certainly governments have a duty to plan and build for the long-term future and not just for the next 5-10 years. Building an outer harbour port does not, and should not, stop short-term improvement projects to deal with the ever increasing freight to the port that often makes driving along Leach Highway a nightmare and creates traffic jams in North Fremantle. It should go hand in hand.

Where did the Treasurer get advise from that building a new port in Cockburn Sound would take a mammoth twenty years and why has he not budgeted for it?

The short-sightedness and spin regarding the Perth Freight Link is serious mismanagement of our State’s affairs and looks more like stubbornness than good governance. To spend some two billion dollars on a road to a port that will not be able to grow much more is a waste of money and even more so when there are no concrete plans, and no money, to duplicate the Stirling Bridge. Fact is that the State does not have the financial capacity to build the bridge in the near future. That could mean a $ 2 billion road to nowhere that more or less stops at the Swan River, where a huge bottleneck would be created and a traffic nightmare for years to come.

Arrogance is not governance Mike Nahan and concentrating on short-term solution will only make matters far worse in the future. An outer harbour port is the best long-term strategy and needs to be prioritised!

Roel Loopers


Posted in aboriginal, fremantle, winter by freoview on July 19, 2015

winter 1

Winter is not my favourite time of the year as I like it hot and sunny, but winter light is very different from summer and creates different images, as this one at the Swan river foreshore in Melville.

The very large grass area is always busy with people walking their dogs with the Perth skyline as backdrop.

The small dog exercise area suggested for Fremantle’s Stevens Reserve at Swanbourne Street is on the Council agenda this Wednesday but the officer does not recommend it because of community opposition to it.

It will be interesting to see if Fremantle Council will not implement something that sensibly protects small dogs and give them a safe area to run around in because other users of the reserve object to it. If council is consistent it ignores the community input, as it has done on far bigger and more controversial issues such as the tavern at J Shed on Bathers Beach.

Talking about Bathers Beach, there are no indications the toilets at Kidogo Arthouse will be built and the Kelp Bar resurrected. I’ve got the feeling that owner Joanna Robinson has realised it is not going to be such a goldmine and that the location, weather and council restrictions might make a bar there  not financially viable and just bloody hard work for little return.

Roel Loopers



Posted in development, east fremantle, local government by freoview on June 4, 2015

The Department of Defence today announced they will be selling the Leeuwin Barracks in East Fremantle, so it is highly likely this prime location will be developed into residential and that would have to be done with great sensitivity. It would be cheap money to stick highrise buildings along the Swan river and sell as many river view apartments and penthouses as one can get up there, but traffic issues along Riverside Drive and Preston Point Road could become a problem, as would the views of those who built their homes north of the Leeuwin site.

I think there is probably Buckley’s chance to get a lot of affordable housing there as the site cries rich, rich, rich and is probably worth tens of millions of dollars.

How can the Town of East Fremantle protect its interests and the amenity of the area? How can it influence developers who are going to throw big money at it, and the federal government will just wash its hands off it and  not dictate what can and can’t be done with the site. Can this be contractually done at all, one wonders?

A sensitive and beautiful low to medium density residential project could enhance the area and should include a large public open space, but I fear that the site will be sold for less than market value and developers will try to suck every last cent out of it to the detriment of the locale. Be pro-active on this East Freo or you might get hurt!

Roel Loopers


Posted in cantonment hill, city of fremantle, development, local government by freoview on April 17, 2015

The City of Fremantle CANTONMENT HILL information session last evening was a strange one as the officer did not know if there would be an official period for public to comment on the masterplan for the historic significant area and gateway to Fremantle.

The masterplan is set up in five stages and according to the consultants could be implement over a period of up to 25 years, so that is a long way away for those who just want to go and have a walk, sit on a bench in the shade and enjoy the views over the Swan river, port, Indian Ocean and the city.

Call them concepts or visions, and I am sure within the realm of transformational moves it needs to be all big picture stuff and grandiose, but it might well be better and faster to make the bush park area a community project, like Booyeembara, and let the local people get on with it.

ENKEL will no doubt bring a lot of creativity and new energy to the old Naval Stores and they should get a relatively free hand at designing the space they want to create and the immediate surroundings of the building, so it works best for their use and needs.

I was stunned to see a cafe proposed to the East and above the Naval Stores in the area closest to the street and traffic noise and even more amazed architect Sasha Ivanovich suggests there could even be an outdoor theatre/performance space there, when something like that could have the natural noise protection of the huge Naval Stores and also take advantage of the parkland behind it as a natural setting.

The locals don’t seem to like it, but I think a cafe/restaurant high up on the hill with great views would be good, but the cost for it will probably be prohibitive for a small city like Freo.

Parking is going to be a major problem and the experts’ predictions are rather unrealistic and optimistic in my view. They almost talked down the expected number of visitors to the area as if it would not become a great attractor for Fremantle, so no need to worry too much about the lack of parking. The ludicrous inclusion of Beach Street as a parking destination for those who want to enjoy Cantonment Hill left me shaking my head.

I believe scaling down the project significantly and starting with a really great playground- and even a flying fox- good furniture and shade structures, a few winding paths and Aboriginal heritage interpretation would be a good and achievable start.

While there is a 95 percent chance the Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue will get a long-term lease for the Signal Station, the architect was still showing off plans for a new building behind it that would accommodate a lift and the Australian standard steps required to make it open to the public.

I liked Councillor Robert Fittock’s passion for universal access and him saying that he and Council would not approve anything that does not have disability access. Good on him!

The officers and consultants need to take their coloured glasses off and have a very realistic look at the parking issues before they nail down where new paths will be installed. The one planned from the bus stop to the top looks expensive and might only cater for a handful of people, while the Army Museum car park is locked up because of terrorism issues, so not available to the general public. Maybe the bullet has to be bitten and a small parcel of land needs to be reclaimed for a parking area near the proposed playground on the eastern side of the hill.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of melville, fremantle, sailing, sport by freoview on April 8, 2015

The change in weather is sudden and quite nice, so I had to look for long pants this morning for the first time in five months. A drive along the river when it is so calm and overcast is always nice and I happened to come across some young sailors at Point Walter. It appears to be the private boys schools like Wesley and Scotch College doing a bit of school holiday yacht racing.

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle, photography by freoview on February 18, 2015

The stillness of sunrise is something most people miss out on, especially in summer when it happens just after 5 am. It is well worth getting up for though and even the joggers were taking photos at Point Walter this morning.

I needed a bit of a break from politics, amalgamation mess and Fremantle not doubling in size, so had a very early start of the day after a sleepless night.

Roel Loopers



Posted in fremantle, giant puppets, piaf, royale de luxe by freoview on February 16, 2015


I copy the comments by WAToday reporter Brendan Foster on the PR debacle the Perth International Arts Festival-PIAF made out of the river journey of the Giant Puppets:

Bugger me; there WERE supersized puppets on the Swan River near Fremantle late on Sunday.

In the end it was almost impossible to hide the monstrous marionettes as they weaved their way on a barge down the waterway to the port city.

Yet, for some inexplicable reason the crew at the Perth International Arts Festival last Thursday didn’t want to tell the wee giant – The Little Girl – and The Diver would make their farewell trip via Fremantle. Even after we spied a newspaper ad confirming the puppets would be at the East Street Jetty around 5pm, PIAF still denied it.

But why? Why would PIAF try to pull the wool over the eyes of potential marionette moochers, when thousands lined the riverbanks on Sunday afternoon to get a glimpse of the puppets from French company Royale de Luxe.

And dozens of people took to Facebook to post pictures of the puppets heading to the port city.

If I was managing public relations for an arts organisation, I would’ve thought this level of exposure was gold.

Maybe the good folk at PIAF thought portsiders would pinch the puppets, given their local footy team the Dockers lack a decent tall?

Or was PIAF worried if portsiders knew the puppets were heading their way, they wouldn’t make the rare trip across Fremantle Bridge to see them?

According to Main Roads, The Giants had more than 1.4 million visits over the three days they sauntered through the streets of Perth.

Kudos to PIAF for recognising the event would resonate with Perth audiences but they missed a trick by not letting us know the puppets would be barging their way to Fremantle.


It was strange indeed as this Freo’s View blog was the first to publish this after hearing it late on Wednesday afternoon on the ABC Radio Drive program with John McGlue. I received an email from Brendan Foster of WAToday, who had read my blog post, to ask if my story was correct because PIAF had denied it was happening. I got calls from the City of Fremantle if I could delete the blog post because PIAF was worried about getting a large crowd at the jetty and they had not allowed for that with security. I also received emails and comments on Facebook telling me I had spread untrue rumours, but I hadn’t!

Luckily people believed my blog post and the WAToday story and came to the Swan river and the Freo East Street jetty, where the barge with the larger than life marionettes arrived at 2.45 pm.

Roel Loopers

FREO’S VIEW had over 2,700 hits on Sunday!


Posted in art, fremantle, piaf by freoview on February 15, 2015

The Giant Puppets are on their way back to France after an amazing success at the Perth International Arts Festival-PIAF that attracted hundreds of thousands of people and challenged the public transport in Perth.

Today thousands came to the Swan River foreshore to say goodbye to the huge marionettes. The sound of didgeridoos announced the progress of the barge along the river.

The Girl and the Diver were also accompanied by a large flotilla of boats  to the East Street jetty in Fremantle, where the puppets were put on the back of trucks to be driven to the port.

Roel Loopers


Posted in climate change, fremantle by freoview on December 15, 2014

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?

Roel Loopers


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