Freo's View

COMMUNITY NEEDS TO SUPPORT LOCAL TRADERS

Posted in city of fremantle, hospitality, local government, parking, retail, shopping, Uncategorized by freoview on June 7, 2019

 

retail

 

There is a bit of a discussion going on on Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt‘s Facebook page about the decline of retail when he posted the good article by Nathan Hondros on WATODAY about it. Hondros’ article “Striponomics’ The reasons Perth’s main streets are struggling is no big secret is worth a read.

The usual quick fixes are suggested by some readers; free parking and councils forcing property owners to reduce rents, but neither is a solution in a world where retail has been declining for at least five years and where major shopping centres have replaced traditional high street shopping.

I don’t know all the reasons for the decline in Perth, Mouth Lawley, Subiaco and elsewhere but I do know that the City of Fremantle has been trying hard to keep and get a diversity of retail in the city, instead of more and more cafes and taverns.

Fact is that councils can’t force property owners to lower rents and that many retailers are struggling because of rising outgoings such as power, water and gas. More competition might lower coffee prices for patrons but at the end that is not sustainable either for the operators.

Pop-up shops are the flavour of most councils but they are not a long-term solution because most of those who start a pop-up realise they can’t earn enough if they have to pay full commercial rates plus outgoings, so pop-ups do what their name suggest; they pop up and die after three or six months.

The always suggested free parking is not at all a solution because free parking will be taken up all day by commuters from Fremantle to Perth, backpackers, and Notre Dame students, so that would not leave too many bays for shoppers.

There is plenty of parking in Fremantle on weekdays and residents get free street parking before 11am and after 3pm.

Fremantle Council has a small ratepayers base so parking fees and fines are essential income for our city. Free parking would mean higher rates and I doubt property owners would agree that they had to pay for free parking of others. If it happened they would pass on the council rate increase to their tenants.

On very busy Sundays Fremantle might have the occasional parking issue, but surely no one expects Council to cater for weekend parking by creating more parking bays that would be vacant the rest of the week. It is like suggesting we should have 16-lane freeways to cater for rush hour traffic when for the rest of the day six lanes are sufficient.

I love the feeling of a good old high street, where there is a diversity of shops and were shop operators live above or behind their shops, as was the case in my home town of Hague in the Netherlands, where our family of seven lived behind the corner shop my parents ran, the pharmacist family on the other corner lived above their shop, the grocery shop people and the bookbinder next door lived behind the shop, as did the butcher on the other side of the street.

But times have changed and 25% of Australians engaged in on-line shopping last year, and money is tight with too many unemployed people.

There are never easy solutions, but we can all help by shopping local, even when it costs a few dollars more. Councils can not enforce shopping diversity or lowering of rents and we can only keep asking for property owners to keep the rents as low as possible so that our traders can survive and new traders are more willing to take the risk of starting in Freo.

Roel Loopers

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WHY THE GIANT PUPPETS RIVER JOURNEY SECRECY?

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

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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 WAtoday.com.au 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.

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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!

PUBLIC TRANSPORT DECLINE DEMANDS INTEGRATED SOLUTIONS

Posted in city of fremantle, public transport, western australia by freoview on January 21, 2015

The figures reported on-line WA Today on the decline in the use of trains shows that an integrated approach is needed to attract more people to public transport and to attack the huge traffic challenges of the Perth metropolitan region. There is little gain in small local councils like Fremantle stubbornly wanting to minimise motorvehicle traffic and for the State Government to have the Direction 2031 for higher denisty living near public transport corridors and railway stations, when the community is reluctant to use what is provided. The declining public transport figures create even less incentive for the federal and state governments to start paying for public transport infrastructure like lightrail and rapid bus routes, no matter how often the City of Fremantle bleats about it.

According to WAToday there were nearly 740,000 less trips in the five-months period from June to November last year, when compared to the previous years. That is huge!

It matters little if the reasons are overcrowding, safety, comfort, paid parking, not enough parking near stations, or more expensive tickets. Fact is that in the fasted-growing population state fewer people are now using public transport. That is not a trend we want to see continue!

Roel Loopers

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