Working together on Freo Oval plan

The State Government and the City of Fremantle are working together to progress plans for the redevelopment of the Fremantle Oval precinct.

Deputy Premier and Health Minister Roger Cook and I discussed the redevelopment plans during an inspection of the oval on Wednesday.

The Freo2029 Transformational Moves strategy and the Port Cities Priorities campaign we released in December last year identifies two key priority projects for Fremantle – the redevelopments of South Quay and Fremantle Oval.

The return of Fremantle Oval to community hands represents a great opportunity to reconnect the oval to the city centre and re-establish it as the premier sporting location in Fremantle.

The benefits of the project can only be fully realised if the government moves to unlock state-owned land in the area, so it’s great to have the Minister here to show him around and explain what a unique opportunity this is to work in partnership on future plans for the oval precinct and Fremantle Hospital.

Fremantle Oval returned to community hands when Fremantle Dockers surrendered their lease on the ground in August.

Under the redevelopment plan Fremantle Oval will become the home of both South Fremantle and East Fremantle WAFL clubs and a WAFL centre of excellence for umpires and coaches.

The playing surface will be re-aligned to bring it closer to the historic Victoria Pavilion, and capacity will be increased to 20,000 to cater for football, cricket and other events.

Surplus land around the oval precinct offers a range of opportunities for future uses including better public connections through the area, a mixture of commercial and residential development and parking facilities.

“Fremantle is about as far from Fountain Lakes as it gets…”

Fremantle is about as far from Fountain Lakes — the fictional, whitebread suburb in Kath and Kim — as it gets. Artsy and eclectic, culturally rich and rimmed by beaches, it’s a modern-day utopia for comedian Peter Rowsthorn, who played Brett Craig in the hit series.

He’s called “Freo” home for the past four years, drawn as strongly to its festivals and colourful community as he is to its sandy stretches. “You can clear your head,” he says. “I just get on the scooter and ride around town, or to the beach. It’s a little bit out of the city, so you feel like you’re in a holiday place without it being flash.” Rowsthorn is in good company.

Ben Elton lives in the sprawling suburb. Tim Winton and John Butler both have homes there. Eskimo Joe’s Kav Temperley, Tame Impala frontman Kevin Parker and San Cisco’s Scarlett Stevens are all locals; fashion house Morrison is based in the area’s south. Well-known authors include Craig Silvey, David Whish-Wilson and Joan London.

Like other residents, Rowsthorn occasionally runs into his famous neighbours. “I see John Butler at crowd-awareness gigs, for things like anti-fracking,” he says. “I did Ben Elton’s new film (Three Summers); he might pop into Mojos Bar sometimes. I see Luc Longley and Anna Gare a bit; if you go to something at the Fremantle Arts Centre, you’ll see people.” Fremantle’s fortunes have often risen and fallen in line with Western Australia’s well-documented boom-and-bust cycles.

But while the state’s mining sector remains subdued, Rowsthorn believes the working port town is embarking on an upswing unparalleled since the heydays of the 1980s. “It’s in a transition point. Freo was the hub, ‘the place to be’, but it got stuck after the America’s Cup,” he says. “It’s definitely got its own thing going on now. The council is doing a good job at maintaining the buildings. They know what they’ve got and they’re trying to hang onto it.” Fremantle is regarded as fiercely progressive. Its council has long agitated for a ban on non-degradable plastic bags and became the first to grant a liquor licence to an Australian beach.

The city’s winding streets, ignored by the gung-ho developers of Perth’s past, are characterised by locally quarried stone, crochet “yarn bombs” and gleaming yachts bobbing in the harbours. Its street arts festival championing buskers is the largest in the country.

Architect Nic Brunsdon senses the port’s trademark hippy personality is maturing into a more sophisticated, urbane one. “I think the ‘new Fremantle’ is like the gentrifying part,” he says. “People move to a place because it’s got soul, and the early adopters have created an interesting, liveable place.”

Brunsdon reset inner-Fremantle’s dwindling fortunes when he planted emerging artists, designers and tradespeople into the vacated shell of a 40-year-old department store in 2013. The pop up, MANY 6160, was set up as an antidote to historic Fremantle Market’s dream catchers and tiedye tops. It became Australia’s largest temporary space activation project, signalling that Fremantle wasn’t prepared to curl up and die.

“It’s a time of flux and change,” Brunsdon says. “The new wave of those John Butler’s and Eskimo Joe’s are now emerging, and we’ll know their names in the next five to 10 years.” He lists hip hop group Koi Child and artist Anya Brock as among the new breed. Fremantle’s textured civic fabric has been built through waves of immigration and as the point of entry for 10-pound poms. Records show 3.5 million immigrants passed through Fremantle port between 1897 and 1963. Brunsdon says this meeting of past and future serves as a continual source of inspiration for those in creative fields. “Fremantle is half finished and full of ideas, it’s messy and lively. It’s not a sanitised monoculture,” he says. “Freo has always been the representation of diversity and possibility.”

Clarification on financial health

There have been some assertions thrown around about the City of Fremantle’s financial health in recent weeks so good to have this clarification and update from the Minister and the City of Fremantle’s external and independent auditor (see bel0w).

I would also add that out ten year budget (that shows that the City of Fremantle can pay off all debt around the Kings Square and reinstate reserves – all with only CPI rate increases) demonstrates clearly that the City of Fremantle is in a strong financial position going forward.

Clarification on financial health

The City of Fremantle has received clarification from the Minister for Local Government over the City’s risk profile.

The City wrote to the Minister, David Templeman, in August after it was identified as being “high risk” in a response to a question in State Parliament.

The City’s risk profile was based on reporting from the 2015/16 financial year, where it recorded an unusually low Financial Health Indicator (FHI) score due to a change in accounting methodology.

In his reply the Minister said he accepted information from the City’s independent auditors that, subject to final audit, the City of Fremantle’s 2016/17 FHI score will restore to approximately 85.

For the MyCouncil website and the Department of Local Government’s risk profile an FHI score of 70 and above indicates sound financial health.

The Minister also said he had asked his Department to review the way it communicates its risk profile process to avoid potential misunderstandings in the future.

A wheelie safe city


The City of Fremantle’s Community Safety Team now has pedal power following the introduction of bike patrols.

The new bikes – purchased from a local Fremantle bike shop – will be used to patrol streets and parks from 7:00am-5:00pm, focussing on the city centre and South Beach.

Community Safety Team Leader Chris Scanlan said Fremantle was the first local government in WA to introduce bike patrols.

“With the bikes we can cover a much greater area and respond a lot quicker than we could on foot,” Mr Scanlan said.

“We can also get into the hidden and hard to reach places around the city that are difficult to access in a car.”

The Community Safety Team bike patrol will be conducting joint patrols with the successful Fremantle Police bike squad.

Senior Sergeant Brad Warburton from Fremantle Police said the joint patrols would further strengthen the partnership between the police and the City.

 “The relationship between the City of Fremantle and Fremantle Police has never been stronger,” he said.

“Together we’re achieving some significant and positive results for the community.”

The new-look Community Safety Team, which was launched late last year, are the City’s first responders for low-level crime and anti-social or nuisance behaviour.

Eight team members patrol the Fremantle CBD and suburbs from 7am to 9pm every day of the week, and also respond to call-outs on 1300 360 666.

The Community Safety Team is part of the City’s ongoing commitment to keeping Fremantle safe.

We want people to come to Fremantle to enjoy all the great things we have to offer, so it’s really important they feel safe while they’re here.

Other community safety initiatives include installing additional CCTV cameras around Paddy Troy Mall, Point Street and Cantonment Street, taking the total number of CCTV cameras around the city from 35 to 40 by the end of the year.

Lighting upgrades in Princess May Park and Pioneer Reserve are also planned.

Freo tourist numbers set to double with Kings Square FOMO festival precinct

This is a BIG retail announcement for Freo. Fear Of Missing Out indeed!

Freo tourist numbers set to double with Kings Square FOMO festival precinct

The FOMO space will incorporate the redevelopment of the former Myer and Queensgate buildings and carpark.
The FOMO space will incorporate the redevelopment of the former Myer and Queensgate buildings and carpark.Picture: Supplied

Kings Square Fremantle will play host to a semi-permanent festival under a radical but carefully curated multimillion-dollar plan for a borderless retail, community and entertainment precinct.

FOMO, as the precinct has been christened, will reverse the effect of decades of neglect to allow Fremantle to reclaim its status as a thriving tourist destination, according to Sirona Capital managing director Matthew McNeilly, the developer of the $270 million office, retail, church and civic precinct.

“We threw out the retail rule book,” Mr McNeilly said.

“We saw a once-in-a-generation opportunity to harness the unique personality of Fremantle to create a retail environment where the journey will be as important as the destination.”

The flavour of FOMO, the 5783sqm retail space at the heart of Kings Square, will be devised in a series of workshops with the community, artists and musicians of Fremantle, highlighting and intensifying the best of Fremantle’s makers and artisans.

The Daily will be part of an art, architecture, culture and retail hub “unique to Fremantle”.
The Daily will be part of an art, architecture, culture and retail hub “unique to Fremantle”.Picture: Supplied

Its precincts include Street Alley, Tidal Land and Newman Court — a food space with slow food, good food, fast and fresh food which then morphs into spaces selling homewares, fashion and homemade goods.

Radical retail architect, HDR Rice Daubney principal Susanne Pini, said the double-storey Emporium (the former Myer building) would echo a “cool container” with an eclectic mix of organic and free flowing retail concepts.

For example, an area called The Daily, will offer local makers workspace, gallery, retail space around the base of the old carpark area and a window for passing pedestrians into how artisans bring their ideas to life.

City of Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt said FOMO will be an art, architecture, culture and retail hub “unique to Fremantle”.

The project, to include two office campuses with 20,400sqm of A-grade office space, a revamped 800 bay carpark and outdoor retail, entertainment and eating spaces and a new $50 million civic precinct for the City of Fremantle, was “a unique opportunity to take a retail risk”, Mr McNeilly, said.

The office complex will house more than 1500 workers and Mr McNeilly said that in curating and intensifying the appealing elements of Fremantle, FOMO would almost double the number of tourists visiting Fremantle from 1.6 million to 3 million a year.

Free city centre parking to support local businesses

Visitors to Fremantle will soon be able to park for free for up to an hour in selected locations around Kings Square.

The City of Fremantle will trial free one hour on-street (kerbside) parking at locations in Paddy Troy Mall, William Street, Queen Street and High Street (east) to support local traders during the $270m renewal of Fremantle’s Kings Square.

The decision to offer free parking follows a number of meetings with traders and representatives of the Fremantle Business Improvement District (BID) to discuss ways local businesses can be supported throughout the construction phase of Kings Square.

Other priorities identified include additional directional signage, the removal of alfresco fees; and events and activities to continue to attract people to Kings Square during construction.

Offering free visitor parking is one of the ways the City will support local businesses over the next couple of years.

The City and our Kings Square project partner Sirona Capital have been meeting regularly with local traders over the past few months and offering some free parking came up as something we could help with, so we have.

I applaud the Freo business community on the enthusiasm they’ve shown for the redevelopment of Kings Square, but I also acknowledge their concerns for the short-term, particularly during the demolition and construction phases over the next couple of years.

We will continue to be in regular contact with our business neighbours and look forward to working together closely with them to minimise the impacts of construction.”

The City will trial the free parking for 12 months and if successful, will extend it throughout the Kings Square renewal which is scheduled for completion by the end of 2019.

Free parking at these locations is expected to take effect later this month once new signage is installed to reflect the new rules.  Time restrictions will remain in place from 9am–5pm.

Congratulations to Yolk – Winners at 2017 UDIA Awards for Excellence