Freo's View

GREAT ART REVIEW FOR TESCHENDORFF FREO SHOW

Posted in art, city of fremantle, culture, ps art space, Uncategorized by freoview on August 5, 2017

 

 

Nice to see that the West Australian art critic William Yeoman agrees with me about REMNANTS, the excellent John Teschendorff exhibition at Fremantle’s PS Art Space.

Yeoman wites in today’s West that The artist has used the History of Ideas project, as the exhibition catalogue tells us, to examine  aspects of border conflict, war, religious bigotry, democratic process and guilt.

But we encounter art first with our senses. In that respect Remnants is quite simply an astonishingly beautiful exhibition from one of our greatest practitioners in any medium.

Read The West for Yeoman’s full review of the exhibition.

The show is on at PSAS in Pakenham Street till the end of August. Don’t mis it. It’s outstanding!

 

Roel Loopers

 

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VACANT SHOPS A MAJOR PROBLEM

Posted in city of fremantle, economy, hospitality, retail by freoview on April 2, 2017

A report in the Sunday Times today shows that the accusations against Fremantle Council not looking after its retailers well enough and that parking problems keep shoppers away are hot air.

The new Perth Labor MP wants a City Summit because of the dire retail economy in the big smoke, which shows Fremantle’s retail problems are neither unique nor to blame on Council.

Of the 950 shops in the Perth CBD 150 are vacant at a 16 per cent vacancy rate. Along Barrack Street and St George’s Terrace a staggering one in five shops are empty, so it does not look well at all.

We know that retailers in Subiaco and elsewhere have also been struggling for years, so this problems is all over the Perth metropolitan area.

Yesterday the West Australian reported that many restaurants are closing in Perth as well and that shows that we need to do more for tourism, conventions, festivals, etc. and can no longer rely on the patchy mining industry that booms and busts often and lacks the stability our retailers and hospitality industry need.

It is unfair to lay blame for the economy on individual local councils as there is clearly a bigger picture at play well outside the power of local government.

Roel Loopers

BAD PLANNING NO EXCUSE FOR PERTH FREIGHT LINK

Posted in fremantle, fremantle ports, perth freight link, roe 8 highway by freoview on February 11, 2017

There is an interesting opinion piece by Liberal party fan Paul Murray in the West Australian today about Fremantle Port and the Perth Freight Link.

Let me first state that I am sick and tired of politicising the debate about this issue and wished all politicians would stick with the facts because this is an extremely important and very expensive project for WA.

Murray writes that on August 13, 2014 nine senior Fremantle Port and Department of Transport officials plus consultants on transport economies and land use were involved in a workshop, and that the report they published in April 2015 states that the existing harbour will not reach capacity until 2055 and an overflow outer harbour would not be needed until 2038, so another 21 years from now.

The workshop concluded that Fremantle Port’s capacity was 2,1 million TEUs(container units) and not as had been assumed previously only around 1,3 million TEUs.

If Murray reports facts here, and why would he not, this puts a different light on the urgent need to build an outer harbour at Kwinana, but for me the Perth Freight Link still does not make sense, even if an outer harbour is not needed and built the next twenty years.

I disagree with Paul Murray that a major part of the PFL attraction is that is solves the problem of massive traffic congestion south of the river. It does not because the last link will not be built and there will not be a better connection into the port.

What will happen is that the proposed tunnel will spew out thousands of trucks and private cars near Stirling Highway that have nowhere to go but the two already congested bridges to North Fremantle. Traffic chaos in North Freo would be a result of bad government planning and not having been able to find a solution on how to connect Roe 8 and 9 to Fremantle Port.

The Perth Freight Link highway/tunnel is unresolved and until the port connection is solved it should not be built. There will not be better port efficiency because the new road will soon be congested and trucks to the port will end up in long queues at Stirling Highway and in North Fremantle. That in my opinion is bad planning that is politically driven without achieving the essential outcomes it should aim for.

Roel Loopers

PLANNING MINISTER IGNORES FREO’S DEVELOPMENT BOOM

Posted in city of fremantle, development, state government, western australia by freoview on January 9, 2017

heirloom-1

 

The article about development by WA Planning Minister Donna Faragher in today’s West Australian newspaper shows the Liberal party has resigned to the fact they can’t win the seat of Fremantle at the state election in March.

While the minister is excited about all the development in Cockburn, Midland, etc. she does not mention Fremantle once, although the port city is in an unprecedented development boom. So let’s update the minister on what goes on in good old Freo nowadays.

The Heirloom by Match apartments have just opened and opposite from there the LIV Defence Housing is building a huge residential development. Down the road next to St Pat’s another large apartment building will be built and just a couple of metres from there another one at Beach Street.

The Hilton Doubletree development should start early this year and the Quest hotel opened late last year in Packenham Street, while the B. apartments at Bathers Bay are also building new rooms.

Plans for an eight storey apartment building on the former Spotlight site have been approved and plans are well under way for residential development of the former Fremantle Workers Club, while Match is also building new apartments opposite the Local Hotel in South Freo and are developing the former Energy Museum site.

Oh and Minister, there is also a huge development commencing at Kings Square this year, in case you have not heard about it, and the Atwell Arcade development has also been completed, and there are many more substantial building projects in the pipeline for Fremantle.

And the heritage Warders and Gunners cottages are now also ready for occupation, dear Donna.

There is a lot going on in Fremantle and it is disrespectful of the Minister for Planning to not mention it at all.

Roel Loopers

PROMOTING FREMANTLE BETTER

Posted in aboriginal, art, city of fremantle, retail, tourism by freoview on November 14, 2016

cannon-fire

 

A disturbing report in the West Australian today about the serious retail problems in the Perth CBD shows that Fremantle’s retail demise is not unique and that it is happening everywhere in WA, Australia and the world.

Perth retailers complain about too high parking fees and anti-social behaviour, as Fremantle retailers do, but Fremantle parking fees are substantially lower than those in Perth.

The unfortunate fact is that the the global financial crisis, on-line shopping and the mining bust have all contributed to the serious decline in retail shopping all over Perth.

I hear from Fremantle retailers that they nowadays often have better sales during weekdays and that retail no longer is weekend trading only and that is a good thing the City of Fremantle needs to investigate and tap into.

From my personal observations Fremantle is the suburban ‘tourist’ destination on weekends for people who like the atmosphere, the cafes, restaurants, fishing boat harbour and pubs, but not many people come into Freo to shop on weekends.

That brings me to another article in the West about tourism and I wonder why the City of Fremantle does not do more in that regard. We still lack international signs around the city and multi-lingual menus in restaurant and that is inexcusable when one knows how easy it is to get translations in this digital internet age.

Imagine restaurants that hand out tablets to guest where all they need to do is touch the logo of the national flag of their country and the menu pops up in Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Russian, etc. Wouldn’t that be a great innovative service for visitors to Freo we could promote.

Heritage is also not well promoted in Fremantle, but very much loved by tourists who often comment on the beauty of the West End. We promote on the new wayfinding signs the Bathers Beach Art Precinct but not the heritage aspect of it.

It does not help either that a long-serving senior member of the City’s marketing team told the president of the Roundhouse guides a few weeks ago they did not know the cannon was fired every day at 1 pm. One cannot promote what one does not know about!

For years we have been asking for more information about festivals and events to hand out to visitors to the Roundhouse. This year again we had no Fremantle Festival programs to give to tourists. Why?!

The other aspect lacking is an Aboriginal experience for overseas visitors. The Walyalup centre failed dismally at offering indigenous culture, music and dance events for tourists and all we now have to offer is two Aboriginal art galleries in the CBD and Aboriginal tours by Greg Nannup.

Tourism is a growth-industry the CoF does not take serious enough. I understand that Fremantle wants to be more than a sleepy heritage tourist town, and we are well under way with new development and modernising the city, but it is wrong to underestimate the importance of tourism and the growth potential of it.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE SECURITY OFFICERS DO A GOOD JOB!

Posted in city of fremantle, crime, law&order by freoview on October 26, 2016

The claim in the West Australian today by Rhett Pace, the owner of the Zapfhall on the Cappuccino Strip, that he saw City security officers for the first time after he posted a video of two women fighting, is ridiculous.

I am in the inner city daily and Fremantle security officers are a high visible presence on the streets of the CBD, even more so since they started wearing high-vis vests recently and their numbers were increased.

On the occasions I needed their support they were there within minutes, so they are doing an excellent job.

It is a shame the world has become a more violent place and that Fremantle is not exempt from it, but the mix of alcohol and drugs unfortunately put more violent loonies on our streets, and Freo City security officers and police do the best they can, but they can’t be everywhere all the time.

Roel Loopers

FREO J SHED ARTISTS BIG IN WEST AUSTRALIAN

Posted in art, bathers beach art precinct, fremantle, j shed by freoview on October 22, 2016

j-shed

Fantastic to see Fremantle J Shed artists getting serious recognition in the West Australian today with an entire article by Annelies Gartner on the arts pages about their involvement with the CASTAWAY Sculpture Awards in Rockingham.

Greg James, Janet Nixon, Lesley Barrett and David Johansen all work out of Greg James’ J Shed studio at Bathers Beach and are all represented at the Rocky beach show that starts today, so go down south and have a look!

Roel Loopers

FREO ARTISTS FEATURE IN THE WEST

Posted in art, artists, fremantle by freoview on October 15, 2016

art-in-freo

Nice to see that very lovely Fremantle artist couple Ellen McCarthy and Ross Potter featured in the Yin&Yang section of the West Australian weekend magazine today.

The couple is just about to officially open their Art in Freo space in the number four studio of J Shed at Bathers Beach.

And Ross’ latest exhibition WOOD opens tonight at PS Art Space in Pakenham Street, so make sure to go and see it next week. It is open from Tuesday to Friday.

Also congratulations to Rachel Coad who won the $ 50,000 Black Swan Prize for Portraiture with her painting of fellow artist Waldemar Kolbusz!

Roel Loopers

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LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT FINE COMB FOR KINGS SQUARE

Posted in city of fremantle, development, kings square, sirona capital, western australia by freoview on August 22, 2016

A little bit more detail has emerged about the Fremantle Residents and Ratepayers Association engaging prominent Cottesloe lawyer John Hammond to investigate the Kings Square Project deal between the City of Fremantle and Sirona Capital.

John Hammond told the West Australian ” He would investigate whether the city had complied with the Local Government Act.”

This implies that FRRA believes that Tony Simpson, Minister for Local Government failed to do his job properly when they asked him last year to investigate the matter, and the minister declared it was all above board.

It should not take long then for John Hammond to do that investigation as the Local Government Act should be pretty straight forward.

Let’s hope it can all be dealt with fast so the project can commence as soon as possible so the square comes alive again.

Roel Loopers

 

 

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COMMUNITY A PRIORITY FOR NEW CITY DEVELOPMENT

Two interesting articles about city development in the West Australian property section drew my attention this morning.

The first one “Giving residents first priority” is something I have been calling for for many years, as I believe proper community consultation about new development at the earliest possible stage will take a lot of negativity out of the process, and does not force community groups to be reactive when it is often too late, and subsequently being branded as nay-sayers.

The West reports that RobertsDay‘s studio leader Duane Cole said “Developers tapping into  a community’s values and culture should start with genuine collaboration to build trust.”

Duane Cole told the West “…residents needed to be first in the process, not an afterthought.” and I could not agree more with that sentiment.

I do realise that Councils and developers might be reluctant to take this on as often the NIMBY attitude makes collaboration with the community difficult and frustrating, but building resentment by ignoring the wishes of the community is definitely not the way to go.

The second article is by Dr. Anthony Duckworth-Smith of the Australian Urban Design Research Centre in Perth who writes that AUDR has been working with the City of Fremantle to explore ways of finding the right balance for infill.

Duckworth Smith writes in the West that if Fremantle wants to keep its diverse social mix it should be looking at building smaller homes in suburban areas, because in the past two decades the vast majority of new homes in Fremante were four or more bedrooms, although households have become smaller and more diverse.

He warns however that the suitability for small houses is limited and does not cater for those who want to own. a house.

Modified local planning and design guide lines that respect the character of suburban areas could be developed to achieve urban infill the community accepts.

The City of Fremantle is willing to lead to find solutions to fill the gap between single residential and high density apartment buildings, Duckworth-Smith writes.

I believe that good infill in suitable targeted areas is the way forward, not just random infill and higher density because a property becomes available for development. That requires long-term planning and a vision for the ‘burbs’.

It has become quite clear that especially in older character suburbs many residents are against substantial change, infill, high density and medium and high rise buildings. That does not make the task for local and state government any easier. Some people believe the urban sprawl is inevitable to continue the great Australian dream of owning a large house with front and back garden, even when we have limited water supplies and urban sprawl is very expensive because it requires ever expanding roads, rail, power, water and gas to suburbs many tens of kilometres away from the CBD. This of course also causes traffic nightmares during peak hours.

Like with most things in life there are no easy solutions that will please and satisfy everyone, but I believe tough decisions have to be made now because future generations will suffer from the lack of foresight and leadership of our state and local governments.

Roel Loopers

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