Freo's View


Posted in art, city of fremantle, j shed, Uncategorized by freoview on August 12, 2017


Jenny Dawson ceramic classes


Jenny Dawson, one of Western Australia’s best ceramic artists is holding workshops at her J Shed studio at Bathers Beach in Fremantle later this month.

Learn how to design and make your own ceramic wall piece.

Classes are on Thursday August 29 from 2pm to 4.30 pm, Thursday August 31 at the same time, and also on Sunday September 10 from 2-4.30 pm.

Jenny is very well known for her public artworks, such as the one at the water playground at Perth’ Elizabeth Quay.

I don’t know what the workshops cost, so contact Jenny Dawson on 0417 911 078 or email


Roel Loopers




Posted in city of fremantle, housing by freoview on June 3, 2015

I enjoy Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt’s blog posts on his fact finding trip to liveable European cities, as there is always something we can learn. But I wonder why something from elsewhere always makes a bigger impression and people like our Mayor say we should do this in Fremantle. Take Brad’s blog on Hamburg for example.

The Mayor raves about affordable housing projects in the German city of Hamburg, where like-minded people get involved to create the environment they’d like to live in. I suggested something along those ideas in one of the many Freo Future 2029 workshops I attended, but it was not even mentioned in the elaborate document the COF published.

My idea at the time was to create affordable housing projects for e.g. artists and other creative people, with shared meeting and dining areas and open green spaces, maybe even sharing cars, scooters, bikes, washing machines, etc. Each project specifically designed for the needs of that specific group, so they take ownership of the creation.

I think this is a pretty good example of governments not listening well enough to the community, but spending a lot of money on overseas trips to get exited about ideas overseas, that locals at home also had, but went unnoticed.

It reminds me all a bit too much of when I hear people say that  WA artists can’t be very good if they have not had exhibitions in the eastern states and overseas. Believing that the best is elsewhere shows a lack of confidence in the place one lives in.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, local government, visioning 2029 by freoview on January 12, 2015

The Fremantle Visioning 2029 community project has left a sour taste with many in Freo. I have talked with a lot of people-including some Fremantle Councillors-over the holiday break and no one has said a good word about it.

Questions were raised why the final report is a mere summary of the workshops rather than the detailed analysis we were expecting from consultant James Best, who reportedly received over $ 80,000 to conduct the project. One Councillor told me that fewer workshops have been conducted than contractually agreed on, so what is going on and who at the City of Fremantle is responsible for making sure we receive value for money for this project? The report claims for example that nearly 1,000 people participated in the workshops, but that is factually wrong because many of the 1,000 people attended multiple workshops, so the actual figure of people who participated is much lower than claimed.

Did anyone research if the consultant has the academic knowledge to analyse complex community issues, or was he being engaged as an expert consultant because he is a former Mayor of South Perth? Who was responsible for selecting the consultant and who is responsible for now making sure we will get a decent analytic report of the community process? The Town of East Fremantle has also appointed the same consultant to do a Visioning 2029 there, so let’s hope they’ll insist on a much better end report than the City of Fremantle received, and presumably accepted as satisfactory.

Fremantle sometimes gets into high water with its consultants with former COF Manager Economic Development and Marketing Andrew Eastick claiming the City followed the wrong ‘expert’ advise on the Kings Square development, that now appears to be in limbo. The Fremantle community deserves to know what selection process the COF has to appoint consultants. Do they need to tender and who at COF are on the panel that makes those decisions to spend good money on consultants?

The flimsy Fremantle Visioning 2029 report is not good enough for all the money the ratepayers paid for it. A Personal Assistant could have put together the lazy, plain and uninspiring summary of the workshops held. I attended at least five of them and feel I wasted my time-yet again! In contrast to that one should see the professional report by CODA on the Victoria Quay development. While the same butcher paper method was used as at Visioning 2029, at least Fremantle Ports received an analytic and detailed report about the community workshops. What COF received is not worth the paper it is written on.

James Best is quite clearly respected as an expert on local government as he has been appointed by the WA Government as the Commissioner for York, as that troubled Council has been sacked. That makes the report the City of Fremantle received even more disappointing.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, local government, visioning 2029 by freoview on December 5, 2014

Visioning 2029

That was a bit of a Clayton launch of the Fremantle Visioning 2029 document last evening, with the document not available till Monday. Not something that has ever been attempted at a boat launch or building opening I think, but let’s move on.

Mayor Brad Pettitt-who is not a great public speaker- did a good and competent presentation and clearly felt good in his skin and was nicely relaxed, while consultant James Best and CEO Graeme McKenzie are always confident about their role.

* What could tomorrow and the next 50 years be for Fremantle?

* How do we create a liveable, vibrant sustainable city for the 21st century? 

It was all about the Collective Vision for Freo’s future and that over 950 people attended the five community workshops, 3 stakeholders forums and a combined precincts forum, and thousands followed the process on social media, James Best told us. I need to point out here that I went to all the workshops and often saw the same faces, so the 950+ people participation is not the figure of individuals participating, but just adding numbers of people attending, even when many of these people went to several of the workshops.

The process, we were told, is about the action WE ALL need to take TOGETHER and I believe that is a fair point as too often we expect governments to do it without the community taking ownership. Fremantle has got great creative people with a high interest in community-building and city planning and we are the ones that should be bringing ideas forward and not rely on elected members and a few consultants to come up with the best ways of moving Freo to the future.

The question is how to integrate all the issues, how do we connect, get a sense of meaning, a unity of purpose, an agreement on priorities, and community involvement with the transformative process, the Mayor talked about.

I was not the only one who was very surprised to hear that one of the outcomes of all the consultation was a strong desire for more and cheap periphery parking, because I only heard that mentioned once during all the events I attended. I hope that the document once available on-line on Monday will not have been ‘cooking the books’ to create the outcomes council desires.

Avenues of trees are wanted and 1,000 trees a year will be planted in Fremantle, we want retail that captures the Freo spirit, more than 1.3 million visitors come to Freo each year, the Esplanade might grow and expand to Norfolk Street and that street could be extended to the waterfront at Mews Road.

As I said to Brad Pettitt after the presentations, integration is essential when Fremantle develops periphery parking by making streets more walkable-friendly, with seats, lingering nodes, shade,etc. so that people can enjoy the journey from the carparks into the shopping destinations. Just putting carparks on the edges of the CBD won’t work, so street beautifications need to start at the same time as new carparks are being built.

Good to hear that a new trial closure of the Cappuccino Strip will start on Sunday December 21 and will continue on Sundays during summer. I hope COF learned lessons from the last failure by providing seating, shade, entertainment, expand alfresco areas, etc, because just closing the street for vehicles alone won’t do.

In February next year the Fremantle Transformative Moves will be launched.

I’ll read the Fremantle Visioning 2029 document when available on Monday and ill report more on the findings then.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle by freoview on December 3, 2014

Tomorrow, Thursday December 4 from 6-7 pm Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt will launch the FREO VISIONING 2029 report at Victoria Hall. Doors open at 5.30.

Visioning 2029 consultant James Best held  a large number of workshops that covered all aspects of the community, so the report should be a very interesting read and is substantial, the Mayor told me this morning.

I don’t want to steal Brad’s thunder, so here just a view points of the report to wet your appetite and entice you to come to the event tomorrow evening.

The KEY ISSUES that were brought up at the workshops were:

* slowing traffic, making city better for pedestrians and cyclists

* supporting independent small businesses and the creative sector

* protecting and enhancing the natural environment, green spaces and the heritage features of the city

* improving connection to the waterfront

KEY THEMES that emerged from the workshops were:

# People: a welcoming place for all people

# Prosper: a diverse and unique local economy and a recognised centre of excellence

# Plan: a liveable city that serves its residents’ needs

# Green: a city that values its environment and heritage

# Create: a dynamic, innovative city with a strong knowledge economy and arts sector

# Decide: a collaborative and connected community with a shared vision and good governance

Roel Loopers


Posted in aboriginal, city of fremantle, local government by freoview on October 19, 2014

Many Councils have already released this year’s annual Catalyse local government survey, but we in Fremantle are still waiting for it to be made public, as we were last year and the year before, because Freo Council is delaying its release without giving an explanation why.

I have now also asked three times why we are not seeing the James Best report on Fremantle Visioning 2029 that was a huge community effort with many long consultation workshops. It finished late last year but ten months later the report still has not been released and that is unacceptable.

According to a report in the Subiaco Post consultant James Best’s company received $ 30,000 to do a similar visioning project there, so it would have cost the City of Fremantle at least that. When can we expect the release of the report that is supposed to be something like they did in the City of Auckland in New Zealand and when will the Catalyse survey be made public?

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle by freoview on June 25, 2014

I am slightly bewildered to read in the Fremantle Gazette that the Town of East Fremantle is allocating $ 30,000 to do a visioning project with consultant James Best. With the announcement by State Government on local council amalgamations imminent one has to wonder about the value of such a project for the East Fremantle community, even more so since the City of Fremantle already conducted their Visioning 2029 project last year.

It is anticipated that Fremantle and East Fremantle will merge with some parts of Melville and Cockburn, so any planning for the future should consider that and should be inclusive of the entire new local council. Why not wait until the Minister for Local Government announces the new boundaries and then do a visioning project for the new and much larger council?  That would be far more cohesive and useful, I believe, as the outcomes of the workshops would embrace the entire new City of Fremantle.

The City of Fremantle will receive a report by James Best on the Visioning 2029 workshops, similar to the City Centre Masterplan done by the City of Auckland in 2012, that has a twenty-year vision for that city and sets the direction for the future of the city.

One of the concerns I have with the Fremantle Visioning 2029 project is that there was not a lot of participation by younger people and that needs to be addressed somehow. We should not plan the future of our city without knowing what the generations who will live here in 30 years from now want. I can’t recall to have been asked at any of the workshop what my age is, so there will be no record of the demographics of the Visioning 2029 participants. We need to learn to engage the younger people of Freo more in planning the future of our city.

I am very excited about Fremantle amalgamating and growing into a substantial city. I also hope that a larger Fremantle will receive more support from State Government, as I can’t recall any substantial State projects in Fremantle in the last 10 years. Freo deserves better than that. The State has an obligation to also support the metro region and councils outside Perth.

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle by freoview on March 13, 2014

My request for demographic statistics for the City of Fremantle community consultation workshops has resulted in the four images below; two on the Youth Plaza and two on the Kings Square Urban Design Strategy. No stats are available from the Arthur Head workshops and also none from all the Visioning 2029 community meetings. I believe as a matter of course the City should record the demographics of future community workshops, so that the assumption that only narrow focus groups and people attend them can be checked against facts.

Roel Loopers

Youth Plaza 1 Youth Plaza 2

Kings Square 2 Kings Square 1



Posted in fremantle by freoview on July 24, 2013

I have been wondering about the Fremantle Visioning 2029 project as it seems to me that it is done much the same way as most previous community workshops that don’t embrace and involve internet technology. (A cynic might think that an on-line presence for these kind of community workshops is not in the best interest of the consultants).

Community workshops in general are regimented and have similar formulas. People sit around in groups and discuss what is important to them, or specific subjects, they write ideas and issues on butcher paper and questionnaires, one of them will be the spokesperson for the group who reports back at the end of the session to the entire workshop. After that the consultants take all this to their offices and analyse them, to report back to the City of Fremantle at a later stage of what the preferences of the community are, BUT!!! I see a problem here because not many people attend community workshops and more often than not we see the same faces at these events. That is restrictive as we do not find out what those in the community who do not attend these workshops think. They might be complacent or shy, they might not be able to leave their families, or are working while the workshops are on, whatever the reason, we miss out finding out what the majority of people in our community believe is important to the future of our city and that is not right.

I think it would be a very good idea for consultant James Best‘s company to set up an on-line community forum for Visioning 2029 in the form of a blog or so, where all members of the community can have a say about our future without having to leave their homes. That way we might actually get a true representation of what Freo people think and what they want to happen in our city.

I think futurist experts would call my idea a doable quick-win solution. It is also pretty cost-effective as it does not require a hall, people driving, catering, etc.

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle by freoview on September 18, 2012

I love placemaking. I love being part of creating the new future Fremantle. It’s one of the reasons I attend as many community workshops by the City of Fremantle as possbile. Often we hear that the community needs to take on ownership of projects and last year during a David Engwicht placemaking day on Kings Square I put up my hand to be part of a group of three to get the Framing Fremantle idea going.

Framing Fremantle was an idea that came from one of the workshop tables to create artworks in the form of picture frames through which visitors could photograph sites and themselves. I liked the idea and joined them and have more or less carried the idea to the final stage, creating the concept, liaising with artists and City officers.

After delays about what materials would be suitable and other delays along the road, Bathers Beach Art Precinct sculptor Greg James finished the three colourfull works four weeks ago and handed them over to the City. When I asked yesterday when the works would be installed at Kings Square I received an email today that it will be between a month and six weeks from now as it will have to coincide with other works planned for the square. That is pretty frustrating.

The installation of the three works could be done in less than an hour by two people. All it needs is clamp them around lampposts and spot weld the bolts, so the works can’t be removed. A pretty simple, fast and cheap job one would think, but the City needs two and a half months to put them up.

If the City wants to engage the community and if they wants someone like me to spend many totally unpaid hours on this project, surely they could be more considerate and active and make the installation of the artworks a priority.

Red tape is killing this city, this state and this nation. The community is willing and able but most of the time the whole fun of it is taken away by a lacklustre administration. I have my doubts the works will be up before November and that is very disappointing.

Roel Loopers



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