Freo's View

UNFAIR TO BLAME LOCAL COUNCILS FOR RETAIL DECLINE

 

Kings Square

 

It is rather hypocritical for Bill Marmion to berate Fremantle Council about economic development in his letter in the West Australian on Thursday. Has Mr Marmion forgotten that he was a minister in the Barnett government that created the biggest billions of dollars debt in the history of Western Australia?

Fremantle Council has in fact been proactive for ten years to start the economic recovery with encouraging developers to start building in the CBD, and that is happening with the LIV and Heirloom residential developments now occupied and with four hotels approved at the Woolstores shopping centre, the former Point Street carpark site, the Police&Justice complex and another one at the Warders Cottages next to Fremantle Markets. And the Kings Square Redevelopment Project is on track and will open in the first quarter of next year with a creative new retail concept called FOMO.

A new Destination Marketing campaign for Fremantle was launched two months ago, but retailers must adjust to the changing shopping trends instead of blaming local councils for the decline of retail. Some Freo traders still have boring window displays as if it’s the 1960s and refuse to modernise their shop fronts and customer service.

There is plenty of parking in Fremantle Bill Marmion with over 5,000 bays plus a new carpark coming on line next year in Parry Street.

The world changes, and while Fremantle Council is far from perfect and often frustrates me they are well ahead of other local councils in the economic rebirth game.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE CHAMBER REJECTS WEST AUSTRALIAN CLAIMS

 

The Fremantle Chamber of Commerce has hit back at The West Australians article that casts doubt on Fremantle’s economic growth potential and position.

In a media release the FCOC wrote:

Unlike many urban centres in Australia, Fremantle is currently experiencing unprecedented investment and renewal underway, with the combined value of private and public investment in the pipeline totaling more than $1.3 billion.

The Fremantle Chamber of Commerce is actively connecting, uniting and assisting in the growth of a successful and vibrant business community that builds on Fremantle’s unique advantage, its heritage and its maritime focus.

Fremantle Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer, Danicia Quinlan said: “Fremantle, like most urban centres, is affected by the current wave of societal change in the way people gather, shop, dine, interact commercially and manage environmental challenges. Learning from other Councils, or even other cities locally,mand internationally, is an important way to navigate our way through these changes. We need Fremantle Councillors and the Mayor to be an active part of trying to find ways to manage all of these complex challenges.”

And more feedback from Fremantle traders:

The damage The West Australian is doing to Fremantle and its businesses far surpasses any perceived damage by council. Fremantle Markets is running at full occupancy with over 56,000 visitors last weekend for the 3 days period. Feedback from traders was “sales were excellent”.

Councils everywhere are going through a difficult time, however, the City of Fremantle Economic Development team and the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce regularly engage with businesses and continue to make many great improvements to the city” .

Natasha Atkinson – Chief Executive Officer Fremantle Markets and Winner Business News 2019 40 Under 40

Our focus is on Fremantle with our affordable and green residential developments. Our projects generally achieve an equity internal rate between 15-30% and we don’t see this slowing. Fremantle business has a great future as we focus on building on our competitive advantage of heritage, environmental consciousness and community spirit”.

Tao Bourton, Fremantle’s Yolk Property Group Director

It is exciting to see so many new businesses have decided to invest their potential in Fremantle not only for today, but for many years to come. We look forward to working together to build a unique and vibrant business community.”

Ivan Dezba, Fremantle Chamber of Commerce President and Managing Director, Benny’s

People more cynical than I am might well suggest the constant attacks on shopping in local councils are a PR exercise to promote urban shopping centres, from where more advertising dollars can be obtained than from the traditional High Street shopping destinations.

One week we read and see that all is wrong and violent in Cockburn, then it is Rockingham, Fremantle, Subiaco, Mount Lawley, Leederville, Perth, etc.

Is it PR, is it political to give less power to local councils, or is it just lazy journalism during slow news cycles?

A West End cafe owner told me that last Friday, Saturday and Sunday had been some of the busiest days they have experienced. Maybe it is time for the West and its sister TV and radio stations to be more balanced and allow Freo’s positive stories to come out in the open instead of always focusing on the negative aspects.

Roel Loopers

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REPORT THE FREO FACTS

 

 

It would be nice if the West Australian would get their stories about Fremantle right.

Yesterday they published a lament by Silverleaf Investments about the Woolstores shopping centre development, with a photo that was supposed to be the new development, but isn’t.

Today they report about angry locals who are upset by the removal of the Moreton Bay fig tree- Christmas tree, and claim it will be replaced with a London Plane tree, when in fact it will be replaced with another mature and healthy Moreton Bay fig.

There was lengthy community consultation about this, and it did not at all come out of the blue that the two last fig trees, which were removed yesterday, were very sick and a danger to public safety, so there is really no need for a beat-up story in our only daily newspaper.

Please facts over fiction, West Australian, you are journalists, not politicians!

Roel Loopers

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN ON FREO’S FUTURE

 

The West Australian newspaper published a feature article by Ken Acott today about Fremantle’s future with the headline Freo ripe for new investment to retain its edge.

The article is based on analysis by PCW City Pulse and features the opinion of Nadia van Dommelen, who is a partner in that firm, and also Freo Mayor Brad Pettit.

A lot of what van Dommelen says is not new and she puts a lot of hope in a new waterfront development along Victoria Quay and the move of the container port to Kwinana, so that is still far too far away to be realised.

But Nadia van Dommelen rightly states that Fremantle needs to stop comparing itself with other cities and be proud of the special character and gritty uniqueness of the old port city.

While van Dommelen is excited about eventual waterfront development she believes that the working port, sheds and railway are all part of Fremantle’s charm, and any future development needs to be authentic. She says there is now major opportunity for transformative investment in Fremantle, and that is already happening

I believe Fremantle’s immediate future needs intensive city planning that deals with all the current and imminent development, and that the City’s Council and planners need to have a strategic plan for creating better and more public realm that connects the new developments in the CBD.

The Heirloom and LIV apartments at Queen Victoria Street will be joined in the next few years by the Little Lane apartments in Adelaide Street, the Hilton Doubletree hotel development and apartments at Point Street and the Adani Hotel on the Woolstores site.

Add to that the development of the Manning building, the huge Kings Square development, plans for a new Fremantle Oval Precinct, a small boutique hotel next to the Fremantle Markets plus a four-storey hotel at the former Court and Police site at Henderson Street, and one can envisage a huge change in the inner city that will require more detailed planning for people movement, parking, safety, and enjoyment.

It is imperative that Fremantle Council is very realistic and very pragmatic about what it needs to do and what can be achieved. This is not the time for pie in the sky ideas but for the elected members to have their feet firmly on the ground.

I hope it’s not a bad omen that the West Australian on-line article about Fremantle’s future features a photo of the Botega cafe that recently closed. ; >)

Roel Loopers

 

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MORE CREATIVE WAYS TO ACTIVATE ARTHUR’S HEAD

 

In context to the controversial tavern proposal for Fremantle’s J Shed there is a timely article in today’s property pages of the WEST AUSTRALIAN by Brett Mitchell, who is a lecturer at Curtin University at the School of Design and Built Environment.

The article Past, present populate our cityscape argues that we can no longer treat development sites as terra nullius.

Brett Mitchell writes “Our past history and future aspirations should be entwined as creative starting points for making meaningful places.”

He writes that before moving forward we have to look back first. Mitchell uses the heritage-listed cemetery in East Perth as an example where development dictated the shifting boundaries, and that once important meeting places for Whadjuk Noongar people became surrounded and claimed for expansion.

“With an awareness and retelling of our embedded stories the built environment also offers us a chance to reveal the past within the present” writes Brett Mitchell.

These are the things Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt clearly did not consider when he wrote his block post about the, in his opinion, historic irrelevance of the A Class Reserve at Arthur’s Head that is home to J Shed.

The cliff that was once there was the point of the first lighthouse in Fremantle, probably just about where J Shed now is.

We should never ever try to rewrite history to make political points, because it is flawed and very wrong. Arthur’s Head is arguably the most significant historic site in Western Australia and any development there needs to be done with respect for the past.

The desired activation of  Arthur’s Head can be achieved in better and more creative ways than building a tavern there. It is only Council’s shortsightedness and stubbornness that has prevented better outcomes.

 

Roel Loopers

 

 

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MORE PERTH FREIGHT LINK QUESTIONS

Posted in fremantle, perth freight link, western australia by freoview on April 25, 2016

Economic Editor Shane Wright reports in the West Australian today under the headline Fremantle port proposal not in freight link plan that the reasons the State Government gave for building the Perth Freight Link can now be questioned, with Treasurer Mike Nahan saying Fremantle Port container capacity could be tripled to two million containers per annum and that an outer harbour at Kwinana would not be needed for another 25 years.

Shane Wright points out that the cost-benefit figures for the Perth Freight Link were based on Fremantle Port only handling around 1,2 million containers per year and that the State Government had said the new outer harbour was a key point behind the plans to build the PFL.

This article shows again what piecemeal ‘planning’ the PFL is with different ministers and Premier Barnett giving different time frames for when an outer harbour is needed and now officially saying there is no need to build Stage 3 that would link the tunnel from Stirling Highway into the port of Fremantle.

Shane Wright also questions if the increase of containers by road would have an impact on the maintenance cost for the PFL and if there could be an overflow effect of trucks on other roads such as Leach Highway.

I believe it is highly likely truck drivers will start using alternative roads when they find out that there is one big traffic jam at the end of the tunnel and that the time they might have saved on the new road will be eaten up by traffic jams at the end of the tunnel.

Those who keep telling me there won’t be more trucks on the road when the PFL is built will now have to explain how we can triple port capacity without more trucks as it can’t happen on the present rail line. Drones?

Roel Loopers

 

LOVE THE END FOR CARLES’ CAREER?

Posted in fremantle, politics, western australia by freoview on July 14, 2010

According to The West Australian newspapers  Adele Carles, the member for Fremantle, and Liberal strong man Troy Buswell are now an item and live together near South Beach. This of course is a private matter and we should not be judging them. I fear however that this might mean political suicide for Carles and that she won’t be re-elected for the seat of Fremantle.

Already many people have expressed disappointment with Adele leaving the Greens, and now it could well be argued that it is unlikely she will vote against the Liberal party, when her new partner is such a prominent member of it. Will the voters be able to believe that she will remain totally independent, or will she move further right and become and extra vote for the Liberals?

We know how happy Colin Barnett is to have Adele Carles in the Legislative Assembly instead of a member of the Labor party, so will she get support via her new partner to regain the seat of Fremantle to make sure Labor or the Greens won’t snatch it off her.

The political future for Adele sadly does not look too promising, but love is a powerful emotion and a beautiful experience, so hopefully her overall future will be full of happiness.

Roel Loopers

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