Freo's View


Posted in carbon, city of fremantle, community, environment, local government, retail, Uncategorized by freoview on July 17, 2019


Dual and strong attacks on Fremantle and Mayor Brad Pettitt in today’s West Australian.

In his column Paul Murray writes that the City of Fremantle has claimed carbon neutral status when that can’t be substantiated, because they did not follow the rules and did not have an independent audit every three years.

This comes, according to Paul Murray, after a Murdoch University student who is doing a masters in renewable and sustainable energy, started asking questions about Fremantle’s claim of carbon neutrality.

Student Martin Lee is quite well known in Freo because he also was very critical about the Kings Square business plan many years ago. Lee was told by the City of Fremantle that it will finally engage a consultant to do their first carbon neutral audit this financial year. That is pretty damaging for the reputation of our council!

The second article is an attack by local Freo traders on Mayor Brad Pettitt, claiming the Mayor is more interested in a moral crusade about social issues and the environment than looking after the City’s economic welfare and declining retail.

While I am often very skeptical about the One Planet priorities at Fremantle Council I believe the elected members have been pro-actively trying to turn Freo’s economy around with the Kings Square redevelopment project, Planning Scheme Amendment 49 that encouraged developers to build residential and commercial medium rise buildings in the CBD, and the new destination marketing launch that is now promoting Fremantle more substantially.

Retailers all over the Perth metro area from Mount Lawley to Leederville, Subiaco, Perth, etc. complain about similar things; parking too expensive or not enough parking bays, antisocial behaviour and homeless people. There is very little local councils can do about homeless people and antisocial behaviour but Fremantle has improved its safety officers program and they are out on the streets every day from early to late.

While I would like to see Fremantle Council focus more on the day to day practical issues our city faces and change some of its priorities I do not believe that traders should be blaming Fremantle Council and its Mayor for the huge issues retailer face all over Australia and the world. There is no doubt that there is a retail and a homelessness crisis, but the power of local governments to tangibly do something about that is very limited.

In that context it is interesting to read that the $ 750 million Garden City extension work has been stopped by the builder.

Roel Loopers





Two articles in the West Australian raise concerns about the rents and management of the Fremantle Markets, and that is a real shame because it is one of Freo’s most popular weekend destinations that attracts many thousands of visitors each day of trading.

The West questions if the City of Fremantle is getting maximum value out of its property when the Market operators pocketed some $ 11 million over the last five years and under the contract agreement only paid back $ 3.8 million to the City.

I understand building maintenance is City of Fremantle’s responsibility.

It is alleged in the articles in the West Australian that rents for stallholders in the markets is seven times more than along the Cappuccino Strip, although the markets only trade three weekend days a week and on public holidays. It is claimed that in this time of rent increases in the markets rents along the Cappuccino Strip halved because of the economic downturn.

Some market stall holders, according to the West Australian and Fremantle Herald, claim there is Russian dictatorship management at Femantle Markets after a doughnut trader was evicted for trying to re-start the tenants association, which is denied by markets CEO Natasha Atkinson.

The decision by a previous Fremantle Council to grant an extension of the markets lease to the Murdoch family was highly controversial at the time and created a lot of anger in the community.

The Fremantle Markets are very popular with tourists, visitors from all over Perth, and locals and have in my opinion improved a lot, especially in the food hall. It is the go to attraction in Freo on the weekends, so it is a real shame it is getting so much negative publicity. It is time for Fremantle Council to mediate and support the traders.

Roel Loopers



Fremantle is well served in the West Australian today with a full page interview with Nicole Lockwood the Chair of the WestPort Taskforce which are looking into the future of Fremantle Port and a new port at Kwinana. Good read!

Freo is also getting a wrap about the new winter Fremantle Festival, but strange that info was not released to local media as well, so I’ll ‘quote’ from The West.

The Fremantle Festival will be held for the first time in its 113 years during winter from July 12-22 and it is called 10 Nights In Port.

Freo festival co-ordinator Kathryn Taylor told the West that they “wanted it to be the harbour in a storm” where the community warmth at the fire. That means people will be able to enjoy glasshouses and relax in a steamy hot bath while enjoying entertainment. Sounds corny and a bit like the swimming pools at the Big Bash 20/20 cricket.

The Hidden Treasures music festival in the West End will grow with Future Treasures at Freo.Social to nurture young bands, while the Festival Club will be in the Moore&Moore cafe in Henry Street.

The late Bathers Beach ceramicist Joan Campbell will be honoured with Fired Up, where people will make small vessels at the Fremantle Arts Centre and taken to Bathers Beach where they are fired in an outdoor kiln.

There is a lot of other stuff and I hope there will be plenty of free things to do and not just ticketed events lower income people can’t afford to enjoy.

Roel Loopers




What a strange coincidence that the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday last week announced that its new CEO will be Danicia Quinlan, but in today’s West Australian it is reported that Quinlan and co-owner Michael Taylor have closed their Fromage Artisans in the Perth CBD and called in the liquidators because the business is not financially viable.

Roel Loopers



The opinion piece by Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt in today’s West Australian about the pros and cons of an outer harbour, and the continuation of Fremantle as a working port is pragmatic and realistic, and without the political spin we are often getting about this important topic.

Brad Pettitt rightly argues that there is no immediate need for an outer harbour in Kwinana and that the environmental damage to Cockburn Sound might well be unacceptable. The Mayor also points out that shifting the port away from Fremantle would “erode Fremantle’s history and identity and lead to a big loss of economic activity…”

I agree with the Freo Mayor that the Perth Freight Link was a flawed plan that did not resolve how to get freight to the port, and that increased container freight by rail, with a new rail bridge across the Swan River, could see Fremantle continue as our much-liked working port.

It is a good idea to move the offloading of imported vehicles to Kwinana, or even Bunbury, and maybe also the scrap metal and live sheep transport.

A new rail bridge and rail line and better use of freight on roads, where we no longer see empty trucks running in and out of the port, and more freight by road during the evenings, are all part of the solution.

Fremantle Ports and the State Government should also become serious about part development of Victoria Quay and prioritise this by changing the buffer zones around the port, so that tourist and residential accommodation will be possible.

Moving the car imports away from Fremantle can be done very fast and does not need large infrastructure investment and the same applies to sheep trade.

I love the working port of Fremantle and would hate to see it become only a port for cruise ships. The container ships are part of Freo’s history and should continue to be so for many more years.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, environment, fremantle ports, state government, Uncategorized by freoview on December 17, 2018


It is often difficult to see the facts through the haze of spin when important community, environmental and political issues are raised, as is the case with the strong lobbying for an alternative port at Kwinana by some community and political groups and by the Town of Kwinana council.

There were strong opinions for and against Roe 8, but it seems that now has been abandoned forever with the road reserve being canceled by the WA Labor government recently.

But when one reads Paul Murray’s column in the weekend West Australian a port at Kwinana would have the most negative and biggest environmental and social issues of Fremantle, Kwinana and Bunbury, with Fremantle Port having the lowest impact assessment.

It seems strange that there has been political interference by Transport Minister Rita Saffioti who, according to Murray’s article, edited the report released by the Westport Taskforce last week. If that is true that should worry us all, as the environmental assessment published by the MUA is no longer part of the report.

It is very clear that the traffic bottleneck in North Fremantle  will hamper any substantial growth of Fremantle Port, so what will the State Government do about that?

The Maritime Union of Australia is strongly opposed to a Kwinana Port, because it would see a loss of jobs, and they say that Fremantle Port could double its container intake and could operate for another 20 years, but at what cost to the traffic flow in effected suburbs?

The Westport Taskforce started with a big bang and the assurance that everyone would be consulted and that it would be a transparent process, so it is essential for the State Government not to interfere with the process and not “edit” any of the findings by the supposedly independent taskforce.

Roel Loopers



An opinion piece in the West Australian by Suzanne Hunt, the WA president of the Architects Institute of Australia, caught my eye because the headline claims that ‘Architects make great cities’ I don’t believe the architectural reality in Perth can sustain that claim.

Ms Hunt wants architects appointed to the Metronet Reference Group and Infrastructure WA, because in her words It would ensure that local planning incorporates the very best examples of good design. Really?!

Suzanne Hunt also writes that Architects advocate for small policy decisions, which create happier, healthier and more connected suburbs, but that is unfortunately not what most of her colleagues are doing.

Drive and walk through the Perth metro area and you’ll see mostly boring, mediocre and visually unattractive multi-storey buildings, which have little regard for the streetscape and public amenity and which do very little to add new public open spaces with trees.

What we have been getting instead are bland concrete boxes which are often too high and bulky. The ‘creativity’ of the architects is putting cladding or screening on facades to hide the boredom of the actual building. That is make-up only that is trying to hide the flaws.

I get it that architects need to make a living and that the developers they design projects for are mostly interested in getting as much profit-making floor space as possible, and that beauty, aesthetics and great design are not  priorities for them, hence many architects compromise and design average buildings, instead of enhancing our suburbs with creative and inspiring new buildings.

That is the reason why so many of us are against suburban infill, not necessarily because of the proposed hight and bulk, but because we want to retain the unique character of older places like Fremantle, and that means we want heritage of the future in outstanding and beautiful buildings, not mediocrity.

Roel Loopers


Posted in art, arthur head, city of fremantle, culture, entertainment, heritage, history, roundhouse, Uncategorized by freoview on November 19, 2018




Great to see a half-page article on page three of the West Australian today about the FRANKENSTONE event in the Fremantle ROUNDHOUSE gaol on November 30 and December 1.

The creative people of Genrefonix found a link between Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein, and Roundhouse architect Henry Reveley.

The Frankenstone event will have experimental filmmaking techniques and sound engineering, live performances and rock music to show the connection between Mary Shelley and the Roundhouse.

Comment: It is fantastic that the Roundhouse is being used for all kinds of events after hours, as it has the potential to become a great community space. On Friday we had over 100 people in WA’s oldest public building for the Protect Ningaloo fundraiser and it was such a brilliant evening.

Currently the Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides, who manage the Roundhouse, are in the process of creating all new historic interpretive displays, to make them more professional and modern.

Roel Loopers



Posted in city of fremantle, food, Uncategorized, western australia by freoview on February 25, 2018


According to an article by Jenne Brammer in the West Australian yesterday a legal fight is looming over the famous North Fremantle Dingo Flour trademark.

WA farmer Mathew Walker, who owns Great Southern Flour Mills registered the Dingo Flour name in 2015 and applied for the trademark, but national company Allied Pinnacle (formerly Allied Mills)  claim to have ownership of the trademark, although the name Dingo Flour has not been used by them for retail flour for decades.

Protecting brands, trademarks and registered names is a bit of a minefield, but this will be an interesting David and Goliath battle.

Roel Loopers



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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