Freo's View

FREO STILL WAITING FOR A GOVERNMENT CHRISTMAS PRESENT

Posted in city of fremantle by freoview on December 4, 2015

Christmas is nearly upon us and once again the City of Fremantle and Sirona Capital are hoping for a big Christmas present from the State Government and the announcement the Department of Housing will move to Kings Square, as the whole planned project is clearly dependent on it. We have been hearing for years that there is a plan B and even C and D, but I believe that can be dismissed as spin and hopeful wishing rather than realistic alternative planning.

The questions we need to ask also is would the new Civic Centre still be built if Housing moved to Fremantle but not to Kings Square? I have no doubt that Gerard O’Brien’s Silverleaf will also have tendered for the government department to move into the new Woolstores shopping centre development. It would be embarrassing for the City of Fremantle to scrap the Civic Centre plans after it was a national architecture competition and one has to wonder also what it has cost so far. Talking about costs; what revenue has COF lost over the last years by not leasing the Queensgate building at commercial rates?

The Kings Square development was heralded by the Mayor as the big economic and retail revitalisation for our city, so what will happen if it all falls flat? The Many 6100 retail incubator has done little to attract shoppers to the city and Kings Square with just a few hundred customers going through the building on the few days it is open to the public. We now have the unacceptable and unsightly picture of cars parked in front of the big display windows on the days the building is closed and that gives Kings Square a derelict appearance, the opposite of what it needs.

Christmas will see shoppers go to the shopping centres and not come to Freo because our city no longer has the variety of major retailers and small independent ones. Fremantle has a very good eclectic variety of small shops but shoppers will go for the convenience of having all major retailers in the one location, plus free parking. Lazy shoppers are basically killing small creative retailers who are not in shopping centres and Fremantle suffers from that.

Last year around Christmas Fremantle was hoping Colin Barnett would announce a move by Housing to Freo and one year later that dream continues. But as many children will tell us one does not always find in the Christmas stocking what one has wished for, so the City needs to be prepared for disappointment. Even if Housing moved into the new Woolstores building it would be a disaster for the Kings Square project and the hope of a new modern Civic Centre. Plan B appears to be procrastination and living in hope because if it existed it would by now have been revealed.

I want the very best for Freo and sincerely hope that the Department of Housing will very soon announce a move to Kings Square because no matter how much new development is going on east and north of it, our city square needs urgent reactivation.

Roel Loopers

FINDING BEAUTY IN EVERYTHING

Posted in fremantle, photography by freoview on September 14, 2014

I conducted a Roel’s Fremantle Photo Tours yesterday with Kate and Paul, and it is always interesting to see what variety of images one picks up during a slow stroll through the Fremantle, looking for interesting photos.

I got this double reflection of the Town Hall in a wedding car, the lovely heron patiently waiting for a feed at the Maritime Museum, and two colourful ladies watching the fun at the Esplanade Youth Plaza.

Photography is a great hobby to help you concentrate on the moment. It’s a bit like meditation for me and being acutely aware of what goes on around you, finding beauty in just about everything.

So be creative, explore your surroundings, and go take some photos today!

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE CHAMBER ORCHESTRA HELPS ESCAPE THE RAIN

Posted in fremantle, music by freoview on July 27, 2014

Escape the rain and cold weather and go to the Fremantle Town Hall today where at 3 pm the great Fremantle Chamber Orchestra will perform with as a special treat German pianist Heidemarie Wiesner as soloist.

Tickets are available at the door from 2.30 so spoil yourself, your loved ones and the whole family!

Roel Loopers

LET THERE BE MUSIC IN FREO

Posted in fremantle, music by freoview on July 26, 2014

The success of the Fremantle Hidden Treasures winter music festival and MosArts in Mosman Park shows that people are craving for more live music in our area. That makes me wonder why two great Freo venues are so underutilised. Victoria Hall and the Town Hall are beautiful venues that are unused most of the year during the evenings, so why not crank it up and encourage local musicians to take advantage of the spaces. I could see a nice weekly or monthly event happening where both halls are open and the organisers collaborate with the hospitality businesses just east of Kings Square to create package deals. What about, let’s say, a $ 30.00 ticket giving access to both venues and e.g. a pizza from Box Pizza, or a curry from Zab Salad, or a specialty from RAW Kitchen.

Hidden Treasures supported local musos and the struggling local clubs while MosArts attracted a lot of people and musicians from Fremantle. Of course Kulcha is now also available and could be reinstated as a live music venue, or community hall.

If we used our existing halls more for live music there would be no need to build another one at J Shed on Bathers Beach. It makes little sense to have empty halls while building a new one.

Put your thinking cap on, Freo and come up with some good ideas!

Roel Loopers

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ROEL’S FREMANTLE PHOTO TOURS

Posted in fremantle, photography, tourism by freoview on June 30, 2014

WET 1Hotel 2Maritime Museum 1

 

Yesterday I did the first trial run of ROEL’S FREMANTLE PHOTO TOURS. The walking tours are designed to show visitors to Fremantle the best locations and best angles in the best-afternoon-light. Tours start at 2.30 pm in winter and take at least 3 hours and cost only $ 50.00 per person. They finish around sunset at Bathers Beach and start at the Visitors Centre on Kings Square daily and on demand. 9 am morning tours are available on request.

Bookings are essential!  Email roel.loopers@iinet.net.au or send a text to 0419 850981 at least one day before you want to take a tour.

We are working on a website, DL brochure, Facebook, Trip Advisor, etc. and getting the bookings done through the Visitor Centre, etc. but that will take a few weeks.

The group I took around yesterday included children and they enjoyed it, and it also gave me the chance to show the parents how to take better and more creative family photos.

The tours are designed for visitors to Fremantle, but locals might also enjoy rediscovering their own city.

I would appreciate if you passed this info on through your networks!

Roel Loopers

 

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Colours of a Freo winter morning

Posted in fremantle, photography by freoview on June 17, 2014

sunrise 1 sunrise 2

With heavy weather forecast for today it was nice to see such beautiful sunrise colours over Fremantle this morning. The ships at North Quay in Fremantle Ports got stunning golden light.

Roel Loopers

HUGE SET BACK FOR FREO’S KINGS SQUARE

Posted in fremantle by freoview on May 23, 2014

kings square

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The announcement that the Department of Housing will not relocate to Fremantle is a huge set back for the entire Kings Square development and revitalisation of Fremantle. The move would have been a significant boost to our City’s economy and open up opportunities for new retailers in the CBD.

Then Minister for Housing, Troy Buswell, announced before the last state election that the 1,000 staff would be moved to Fremantle to decentralise government offices.

The owners of the former MYER building Sirona Capital banked very much on the department to move there, although they were one of four tenders to accommodate the Department of Housing.

The whole of the Kings Square development is dependent on the Myer building renovations and for Sirona to find an anchor tenant. Without the Myer building going ahead nothing can happen at Queensgate and with the proposed new Civic Centre.

It appears that the Liberal government has won the election with promises they are unwilling to keep. The Colin Barnett government has disgracefully let the Fremantle business and entire community down. This is a very, very disappointing day for Fremantle!

Roel Loopers

FREO TOWN HALL DAMAGED BY WRONG PAINT

Posted in architecture, fremantle by freoview on May 20, 2014

It will be some time yet until we see the run down Fremantle Town Hall getting a new coat of paint. One of our City’s most iconic buildings has been neglected by the COF for years, but it now appears just putting a new, and very expensive, coat of paint on our civic heart is not an option, due to previous paint jobs having used the wrong materials.

The acrylic paint that was used has been damaging the walls by causing damp, so the best option might be to remove all that paint, as was done with the Perth Treasury Building. To be able to assess what needs to be done, a large sample panel will be prepared this year where the paint will be removed, so that Fremantle Heritage Coordinator Alan Kelsall can have a good look at it.

It is great that Alan Kelsall is such a purist and stickler for detail when it comes to heritage preservation, but one has to wonder who at the City of Fremantle signed off on using acrylic paint on the heritage building in the first place.

Roel Loopers

A DIFFERENT FREMANTLE PERSPECTIVE

Posted in fremantle by freoview on March 31, 2014

Maritime 1 Maritime 2

It’s good to have a different perspective now and then, so here some photos of Fremantle I took this afternoon.

Roel Loopers

DAP APPROVES KINGS SQUARE DEVELOPMENT

Posted in fremantle by freoview on March 14, 2014

The W.A. State Government Design Advisory Panel has given approval for the development of the Queensgate building and Spicer site. These are two of the major projects of the Fremantle Kings Square development, that will also see renovations and a facelift of the former Myer building, and the demolition of the present civic centre and the construction of a modern new one.

While this is good news, the work on the Myer building has been pushed back now to the first quarter of next year and will not, as announced last year, start mid this year, so that is another half year delay that will also delay the Queensgate and civic centre buildings.

It is my understanding that Sirona Capital still has not signed up a major ‘anchor’ tenant for the Myer building and until this happens construction will not commence. The Department of Housing has not been forthcoming in announcing if they will still move to Fremantle and if that move will be to the Myer site or elsewhere. There is a lot of speculation that Housing might sign up for the Victoria Quay development by Fremantle Ports.

It is important to understand the timeline here to see what this means for the overall development of Kings Square. Once Myer has been completed CoF staff will relocate there from the Queensgate building, that would then be demolished and the new building erected. When the new Queensgate building is ready, CoF staff will vacate the civic building at the Town Hall and move to Queensgate, the civic centre will then be flattened and a new building erected on the triangle in front of Myer. In essence, nothing much will happen until the former Myer site is finished. Only the Spicer site development can commence independent from that.

It is very disappointing that the State Government does not understand that Fremantle needs a bit of support here. Troy Buswell announced Housing would move to Fremantle, but since then nothing much has happened and that is leaving Freo’s extremely important Kings Square development in limbo. Surely Premier Colin Barnett and his cabinet can make a decision soon on this and announce Housing will be moving to the Myer building, which would be a great step forward for our city.

Roel Loopers

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