You and Your Council

Six Fremantle Society Candidates

With the withdrawal of Mike Finn from the October election race, there are now six candidates who are currently members of the Fremantle Society, and a further five who are former members. A new candidate joined the race today, who is not a member of the Fremantle Society, Adin Lang for City Ward, as predicted by the Fremantle Society.

Whether the candidates support the ideals and objectives and issues of the Fremantle Society is largely up to members. We need members to be informed, active, and engaged. The Fremantle Society continues to work to encourage people to run and continues to provide issues for discussion.

While Fremantle has a commendable percentage of eligible voters filling out their postal votes, 65% of eligible voters do not vote.

Fremantle Herald

With just weeks to go, the Fremantle Herald again this week had not one letter about the elections. Last week’s paper featured the mayor Dr Pettitt over the whole of the front page. This week we get the mayor’s photo again, along with the Labor candidate for Beaconsfield, Hannah Fitzhardinge. Over the page is the Greens candidate for South Ward, Liam Carter, and an article having a dig at the Fremantle Society (which is trying to focus on the big issues).

This bias has nothing to do with the full page ads the council runs each week in the Herald. Today’s full page ad from Fremantle Council features verge mowing, strangely just reintroduced weeks before an election with a personalised and expensive mail out to every resident, along with a reminder about the upcoming spraying by council of poison all over our parks.

What did you think?

The Fremantle Society wants to see the results of the 2017 Catalyse Fremantle Community Survey well before the election, because the 2015 results were alarming enough. In 2015 the following survey categories showed a DECLINE compared with 10 years earlier when Peter Tagliaferri was mayor and Cr Pettitt first joined council.

– council leadership (down)

– open and transparent council (down)

– how community is consulted (down)

– how community is informed (down)

– control of anti social behaviour (down)

– how heritage is preserved (down)

– streetscapes (down from 83% satisfaction to 69%)

– parks and green spaces (down)

– care for seniors (down)

– disability access (down)

– footpaths and cycleways (down)

– rubbish and recycling (down)

– planning and approvals (down)

– economic development (down from 72% satisfied to 40%)

– parking in city centre (down)

Among positive results were youth facilities and festivals.

King’s Triangle

The two images above represent the proposed $50 million administration centre. Fremantle’s senior architect Rob Campbell has written to the Fremantle Society after examining the latest plans. Kerry Hill architects are getting $1.2 million for their drawings, and major problems raised when the plans were first released still exist, Rob believes.

Rob Campbell says the only reason for an underground library, which the staff don’t want, was the initial demand for upper floor office space. But that demand has gone, and the whole building could be pushed up to avoid the unpleasant and expensive to build underground library, leaving off the top floor which council want to keep as a speculative investment (costing $5.4 million to build).

Rob Campbell told the Fremantle Society: “Whoever is pushing the design is making it more expensive and less of a civic building.”

Rob Campbell is concerned with the sharp angular nature of the building, especially when viewed from the corner of High and Newman Streets (near the crosswalk next to Myer). He said the sharp angular turn of the building at such an acute angle is “architecturally awful and not in the Fremantle tradition. It is a terrible mistake which undermines the architectural presentation.” He said it was council playing developer and not creating a civic space, because that awkward corner retail space would be difficult to rent and would compete with the adjacent Sirona development.

Rob Campbell also believes that the new building should pay greater respect to the historic Town Hall, with greater separation from it.

The full text of Rob Campbell’s analysis will be made available.

Contracts for this unnecessary council headquarters will not be signed until next year and the Fremantle Society still believes its vision for a true town square without this building is a better long term option.

John Dowson
President
john.dowson@yahoo.com

Small bar proposal at heritage-listed weighbridge station progresses

From Fremantle Council Minutes

Ordinary meeting of council, September 2016

Council has given conditional planning approval to progress the transformation of the heritage-listed weighbridge station into a small bar.

weigbridge-council-minutes

Following council approval of a 15 year lease of the Phillimore Street property in January 2015, works are now required to provide essential facilities such as toilets and seating in line with the heritage nature of the building.

Council has approved the application subject to final approval from other regulatory bodies, submission of waste and noise management plans and resolution of pedestrian safety concerns.

Background

The Weighbridge Station was historically used as an entrance to the Fremantle Ports where goods and containers were weighed prior to entry. The property is registered on the State Heritage Register and controlled by a management order giving the City power to lease or licence to a term no more than twenty one (21) years.

The premises were offered in an “as is” condition through the expression of interest advertisement. The scope was for groups, organisations, businesses or individuals to activate the building and take financial responsibility for all costs associated with restoration of the infrastructure, additional service requirements, planning approval and statutory requirements.

Cafe option

Subject to further approvals, the weighbridge will be transformed into a New York style small bar and café for no more than 75 patrons. Should the liquor licence not be successful the applicant will activate the premises as a café.

The Fremantle Society is closely interested in the restoration work intended for this unique building.

CONCERNS OVER PORT SMALL BAR – FREMANTLE HERALD

October 7 2016, by Your Herald, in News

 

weighbridge-035

Photo: Colin Nichol

FREMANTLE council has approved plans to turn the old weighbridge at Fremantle port into a small bar, despite Public Transport Authority concerns over pedestrian safety.

The heritage-listed building is positioned on the notoriously confusing Cliff/Phillimore Street intersection and is close to a railway level crossing, but council voted to approve the micro boozer.

“People cross the railway line to get to Little Creatures and there are countless pubs positioned near busy roads and intersections,” Cr Hannah Fitzhardinge said.

“The weighbridge is laying empty and we need to activate empty heritage buildings in creative ways—inaccessible heritage is heritage lost.

“One of the big selling points of Fremantle is its quirky experiences—having a small bar in the old weighbridge fits that ethos.”

During council question time a member of the Fremantle Society argued against the bar, saying that the explosion of boozers in the city was turning Fremantle into “Northbridge by the sea.”

Applicant David Anthony said he wouldn’t make a big profit from the venue and that it would be a cute “speak easy” for locals.

Cr Dave Hume said the Fremantle Society opposed any progress in the city and that the weighbridge had been gathering dust since Scoot Freo closed.

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

 

ARCHITECT’S CRITIQUE – FREMANTLE HERALD

October 7, 2016 · by Your Herald · in News

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

A FREMANTLE architect who established heritage guidelines for the redevelopment of Atwell Arcade says the project has “gone off the rails” and deviates from its planning approvals.

“[Stripped] of its historical references, [it] shares its impersonal and generalist design with shopping…malls anywhere,” Sasha Ivanovich says.

He was on Fremantle council’s design advisory committee when the $16.5 million redevelopment was approved in 2014, and says the arcade’s heritage has been ignored and the building modernised, counter to approvals.

“During construction, original heritage features like timber mouldings were uncovered but these have been ignored,” he says.

“Though there has been some restoration of original glass shopfronts, new contemporary style materials have been introduced.

05-41newsFinishes to Atwell Arcade concern Fremantle architect Sasha Ivanovich

“Substantial restoration has been performed…intermixed with a modern look fascia to the street canopies.”

Council’s system of checking whether developments comply with planning approvals is flawed and should be revamped, Mr Ivanovich says.

He sits on Vincent council’s design advisory committee and is a member of the state government’s Development Assessment Panel, and says the DAC must review documents when they reach the building license and construction phase.

“They would be most sensitive to design issues and be alert to the carefully worded conditions of original planning approval,” he says.

“Whilst council remains shy of enforcing every detail in planning approvals, there can only be more breaches in a process that is considerably invested in time and professional resources.”

05-41news2

The Fremantle Society backs Mr Ivanovich’s call for a revamp

“You only need to look at the brutal aluminium shopfronts on Boost Juice and City Beach to see the system is failing,” president John Dowson says.

“City Beach installed a timber-framed shop front, but recently it was ripped out and replaced with a totally modern full glass shop front… inappropriate to the heritage of the arcade.

“[It] represents a missed opportunity, and is another sub standard development in the tsunami of unacceptable developments hitting Fremantle’s valuable heritage heart.”

Fremantle council planning director Paul Trotman says he is aware of Mr Ivanovic’s concerns and is reviewing the matters raised.

 

Greater Fremantle – Opinion Piece by President John Dowson

Fremantle must grow its boundaries. It has a population not much greater than 100 years ago

greater-fremantle-044367b2-e2b1-49fe-891a-d3a5b9f6402aFremantle Society Support Area left of Blue Line Below Being Added to Fremantle at the Moment

Adin Lang initiated a Greater Fremantle campaign but was hung out to dry at a large public meeting last week at Hilton PCYC when he was given no support from Fremantle Council. The Herald reported that Fremantle Deputy Mayor Coggin and councillor Hume were present but did not speak because “Fremantle had not officially endorsed the boundary shift”.

But Fremantle Council encouraged Adin Lang to pursue the boundary reform and will be making a submission supporting the same boundary extensions. Adin Lang was told Fremantle Council would attend the meeting and participate. Cr Coggin, who is paid $1,000 a week to represent Fremantle’s interests, and Cr Hume attended the meeting but said nothing.

The incendiary meeting, with vehement criticism of Fremantle Council, follows other rejections of a larger Fremantle, when East Fremantle overwhelmingly voted to stay independent of Fremantle, and hundreds of North Fremantle residents more recently voted to leave Fremantle and join Mosman Park.

The Society’s preferred option

Earlier the Fremantle Society met with Adin Lang and was impressed with his passion for Fremantle. Although not agreeing with his proposed area which includes Hamilton Hill, the Fremantle Society did agree to make a submission seeking the area south of Fremantle to the South Fremantle Power Station to be added to the municipal boundary of Fremantle on the basis of historical and heritage associations.

While more modest that the current Greater Fremantle push, it is considered more achievable at the moment, and more relevant to Fremantle and the area is shown in the map above being to the left of the blue line. The area sought by Greater Fremantle is bounded in red. The yellow line is the current southern border of Fremantle.

Council’s survey

The animosity towards Fremantle Council as shown at last week’s meeting is developing, and spending $200,000 a year on another newsletter (The Pulse) in addtion to all its other communication is not the answer. The answers can be found in an analysis of the Catalyse Survey done in 2015 about Fremantle Council’s performance, and a comparison with other councils and former councils.

While the $30,000 survey found Fremantle Council did well with festivals and youth, in almost every single category of the survey Fremantle Council did worse than the industry average.

Around 25 councils are surveyed each time. Fremantle came in 18th. Here are some findings of those ‘very satisfied’ with the average of all councils in brackets. In many cases satisfaction rates were higher in 2005 when Peter Tagliaferri was mayor.

Some statistics

Overall satisfaction with council: 29% (average 39%)

Satisfaction with council leadership: 21% (average 26% – was higher in 2005)

Openness and Transparency: 14% (average 23% – was higher in 2005)

How Community is Consulted: 19% (average 22% – was higher in 2005)

How Community is Informed: 19% (average 27% – was higher in 2005

Control of graffiti and anti social behaviour: 19% (average 35% – was higher in 2005)

Streetscapes: 26% (average 37% – was higher in all previous surveys)

Parks and Green Spaces: 45% (average 57% – was higher in 2005)

Seniors: 23% (average 40% – was higher in 2005)

The most worrying finding perhaps relates to community perceptions about economic development. Only 6% were very satisfied compared with the average of 14%. 40% were ‘satisfied’ but the figure in 2005 was 70%.

In terms of how the city centre is being developed only 17% were ‘very satisfied” . The average among councils was 33%.

Parking remains an issue – only 15% very satisfied against an average of 27% for all councils.

Having paid for these survey results, council should be held accountable and made to improve.

 

High Rise Deferred by DAP

52 Adelaide Street (former Spotlight/Coles site)

fremantle-society-14f1c10f-cac5-4d59-bb5f-70da20f93dd3

The 8 storey proposal shown above for 72 flats, 6 commercial tenancies and 98 car bays was deferred at the state government’s Development Assessment Panel (DAP) meeting yesterday (Monday 19 September).

Two Fremantle councillors, Crs Sullivan and Pemberton, voted with one other DAP member to have the matter deferred so the developer could bring back revised plans showing parts of the building above 21 metres being set back as per council policy. Councillor Sullivan proposed the deferral and it passed with a narrow 3-2 vote.

The developer is seeking 8 storeys straight up from the street with no set backs. Council’s lawyer insisted that it could not be approved, but the applicant’s lawyer cleverly shredded the council officer’s report to argue otherwise.

The Fremantle Society has invested a great deal of time on this issue because of its importance, and the fact that any variations to the current scheme that are approved will set a precedent for future developments in this city centre area.

For the Fremantle Society, four architects scrutinised the plans and the officer’s report,  and all were scathing at the quality of the report written.

The council report recommended refusal on grounds of:
a) height
b) detriment to amenity under clause 67.
(though nowhere in the officer’s report are the arguments presented to support that refusal)

Despite the officer’s recommendation, Mayor Pettitt, and councillors Nabor, Hume, McDonald, Walthan, and Jones all voted to send the item to the DAP to let them decide on the legal advice. By the time it got to the DAP, somehow the officer’s recommendation for refusal had turned into a glowing approval. The applicant’s lawyer said she had  been at the planning meeting and that there had been ‘a unanimous decision to approve.’ The applicant said that council staff ‘are clearly supportive of this plan’. The chair of DAP Ian Birch said that ‘the alternative recommendation (for approval) had been adopted by the planning committee.’ Remarkable stuff.

The Fremantle Society presented their case and a Fremantle lawyer was brought in to present for the Fremantle Society as well. This is a very complex case with many facets and issues to be dealt with, but the focus from DAP was mainly on how could the developer have the extra storey he was seeking.

The applicant’s aerial view of the 52 Adelaide Street proposal as shown is dishonest and should not have been allowed to go forward by council officers. The drawing shows Johnston Court as being significantly higher, whereas both are almost the same height. The applicant has shown his building bathed in light on the facing side, whereas the same side of Johnston Court is ominously dark. Also there are no lift overruns or rooftop clutter shown on 52 Adelaide Street, clutter which always ends up adding considerably to how buildings are viewed around town.

Claudia Green from FRRA was there and supported the Fremantle Society case, as did Julie Matheson from Scrap the DAPs.

Further details will be provided of the expert analysis from Fremantle Society architects.