Some thoughts on the Sunset J-Shed Proposal

Over the next few weeks you will probably hear a fair bit of public debate about the Sunset Events proposal for J-Shed as it will come to Council this month for decision.

I thought it is worth exploring some of the main issues and providing a bit of background on some of the more controversial bits. I hope you find it helpful or at least thought-provoking.

Size of the venue, alfresco and concert area

This is without a doubt the most controversial part of the plan for many. It would be fair to say that when the Fremantle Council first went out with an EOI on this that we weren’t anticipating something this big.  That said, the Sunset proposal was clearly the best option presented but in the interests of openness and transparency the Fremantle Council thought it important to readvertise this bigger proposal through the business planning process that we are now about to vote on.

Originally the Sunset proposal was for a more than1000 person venue over 2018m2. After some modifications it was advertised in the business plan as around 850 people over 1508m2. There is also a plan for 10 -15 ticketed concerts a year that would expand to the bigger footprint

While I personally have no problem with the concert numbers (for example the Fremantle Arts Centre South Lawn does about 12 concerts a year of over 3000 people very well and these would only be half that size at 1500 people), it would be no surprise to say that the Council and I have been looking at ways the numbers for the other 350 days a year could be further reduced – both in terms of the venue footprint and maximum patron numbers.

There is no magic number but it is about trying to get the right balance between community amenity, activation and commercial viability. This will be fully debated over coming weeks in and outside of the Fremantle Council chamber as we try to get this balance right but my sense is that something around the size of the Norfolk or around half the size of Little Creatures (400-500 people) feels right to me but I am keeping an open mind.

J shed proposal

Length of lease

The lease is for 21 years which I appreciate is a long time. But the reason for this is that currently the J-shed is only fit for storage and requires significant and expensive upgrades to water power and other services to make it useable for anything else.

There are two options at this point. Either the City of Fremantle pays for the upgrades or we get a new tenant to pay for them and they are able to recoup the costs as part of this proposal through a longer lease. Given the range of demands on the City of Fremantle budget at the moment the officers have recommended the latter.

Heritage

A key issue is that this is obviously in an area that is one of the most significant areas in terms WA’s history and heritage.

It would be fair to say that most the lease area is where a large cliff once stood before it was chopped up to make Fremantle Port. So in summary that any white history in the proposed lease area is either long gone or buried well under the ground and what is visible is mostly just rough interpretations that could be done a whole lot better. So the advice I have is that there are not any significant white heritage issues. Like many Councillors I’d like a clearer sense from local Noongar elders and their views of the area’s heritage and its significance from an indigenous perspective.

Arts focused venue

For me it is vitally important that the venue is focussed on multi-arts activities – it can’t just be another pub. We have enough of those already!

So one of the challenges over the next two weeks will be locking down an agreement to ensure this is an arts and music venue that is both an attractor to the Arthurs Head Arts Hub and also provides a new venue for visual arts, as an incubator for emerging artists, local musicians (no cover bands!), performance as well as a gallery and sculpture exhibition space.

Done well this could be a great addition to the arts mix in Fremantle.

Clear pedestrian route to Victoria Quay.

Care needs to be taken to ensure that any westward part of the new leasehold area doesn’t limit the opportunity to develop a clear pedestrian route from Bathers Beach to the TAFE link through the Slip Street precinct. Consideration also needs to be given to whether the final location of such a pathway is capable of provide clear and unobstructed access to the existing front doors of the other J- Shed tenancies.

Once again done well there is a great opportunity to improve the linkages from Bathers Beach to Victoria Quay. Done badly it will further constrain these.

Alcohol policy

There have been some claims on the blogs that the Sunset proposal is in contradiction to the City of Fremantle policy on licensed venues which we passed last year. For those that haven’t seen it the new policy states:

“A general presumption in favour of development of small bars …[and]… A general presumption against large or high risk licensed premises in the City centre trading past 1am”

This is a good new policy and the Fremantle Council will continue to strongly advocate for more small bars so we get a better, safer, more mature drinking environment in Fremantle. But to be clear we never said we would not agree to a new larger venue. For us to it needs to close earlier and attract the right kind of clientele and be in the right location. I think this is in the right location and as the Director of Liquor Licensing said in a recent approval of a small bar application for Fremantle’s west end:

“The Commissioner of Police contends that the existing licensed premises in Fremantle already cater for the demand for licensed premises. I do not consider this statement to be correct in relation to the West End precinct of Fremantle. I accept the applicant’s submission that the West End has lost licensed premises and is in need of revitalising”.

It is the revitalising of this part of Fremantle that is at the heart of this proposal but for it to be supported we need to be sure it will be done well and get the overall balance right. There is probably plenty of changes and debate to go and I’d be happy to hear your feedback to make sure we get it right if we choose to proceed.

About Mayor of Fremantle Brad Pettitt's blog
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43 Responses to Some thoughts on the Sunset J-Shed Proposal

  1. Tessa Schulz says:

    I have many a bone to pick over the proposal for the J shed. For starters how can you say J shed unit 1 is unfit for anything other than storage when it has been a sculptor’s studio for the last 20 years and is also a successful studio for a group of artists right now ?
    A major upgrade would be needed to cater for the proposed bar would be a more precise comment. And why should ratepayers fund that?

    • My point was that major upgrades are required for it be be anything other than a shed/studio. Even a small cafe bar would require expensive works.

      • Genesis says:

        It seems the council is pushing for the tavern to go ahead while smoothly consulting the Fremantle residents. If half as much dedication and funds were put towards helping the Kulcha venue manage its finances then it would not be closed down.
        The council plan to lease the unit 1 J Shed space plus outdoor surrounds (which is probably about the most expensive real estate in Fremantle,) for less than $400 dollars a week. Is the big business getting a subsidy? $18,000 dollars a year is $346 dollars a week, without including water, electricity and rates I suppose. Still a much discounted fee for a commercial lease of this scale.
        The glass end of J Shed on Bathers beach would now be an affordable art gallery, mostly for local artists, with a cafe, if Rosina’s proposal had been accepted by council.
        Brads coloured in semi- transparent aerial picture up the top of this blog makes the space outside the J shed look like a car park, which is actually what the council was going to do in 1988, a car park, like most of the Fremantle city river front is now. Actually the space outside J shed is mostly a pleasant green park with some stone sculptures, a public space.
        Here is a bit of a lowdown on how the J shed became art studios and park-land outside. An Artist/ art teacher called Arthur, (not the Arthur that Arthur head reserve was named after,) proposed the shed become studios in1988. Arthur initially proposed to create a small Renaissance style art school and art studios at J shed but the Freo council shared J shed up and granted it as art studios in their plan as part of the A class reserve. It was a very rough shed full of rubbish at the southern end, the sculptor Arthur cleaned it up and began what was to be an artwork in itself, the ideal studio, fitting it out, insulating the roof, plastering the walls and putting in a glass wall at his own expense. At that time the glass wall cost the same as an apartment in Freo, instead of buying his own apartment he rented and put in the ‘state of the art’ window. The window wall facing Bathers beach it has a south aspect providing even lighting for painting and sculpture drawing etc.
        The artist began a sculpture commission for the new arrival in town, Notre Dame Uni, called “Madonna and Child of the Southern Cross” (which wasn’t finished) and installed a series of frescoes (paintings on plaster,) which tell the story of epics, The Odyssey and The Iliad.
        The sandstone blocks had perhaps come first, Imported from Donnybrook, down south. One of these Rocks with the pools on top became referred to as the ‘Wyaggyal Egg’ a symbol for the principle deity of the Nyoongar nation (the South West). The more vertical stone was has been called “Athena” or “Britannia,” a statue with form of a woman planting an oar with an owl on her shoulder. It is representative of the white settlers, Athena being a goddess, of Wisdom and Skill. Patron of Ship builders, horse training, strategy in war, sculptors, painters, potters, weaving, olive cultivation, justice… Her animal totems are the owl and the python.
        The image of Britannia, very similar to Athena, was adopted as symbol of the British empires maritime power. To keep the French from starting a settlement on the Swan River the British royalty ordered their warships on short notice from South Africa to Cockburn sound to start the plan of colonising the Black Swan River. Some people maybe don’t think delving into this heritage is relevant in modern times yet the similar forces are at work today and the human mind repeats more patterns than we like to think it does.
        The Wyaggal is as I understand a law creator that kept aboriginal land with water, springs, underground and aboveground Rivers. By keeping strict laws about how to approach water holes, springs and sacred sites, the people were protected from disease and helped to keep country healthy. He/ She (Wagyall) is described as having scales and feathers and being snake like, similar to the Rainbow Serpent Spirit from Uluru. There is a story that the Waggyal fought with a Crocodile spirit (which might be fresh water fighting salt water) in Cockburn Sound. The Waggyal bit the tail of the Croc and that tail remained as a rock at the river mouth (under where the Maritime museum is now.) That bit of tail was longer before and at low tide men could wade across the river. There was good fishing there. The Swan River was much fresher then because the tail of the croc stopped a lot of salt water entering. CY’O Conner blew up that rock with dynamite and was cursed by the Noongars for destroying their fishing. The Waggyal is a powerful ancestor of the Noongar people and land and can be respected by colonials just as many Aboriginal people have learned to respect the immigrant’s notions of God, and imported laws. Understanding of the Wagyall might help Perth with its water management issues.
        The Waggle stone and the Athena stone together is the meeting of cultures
        Back to a story about that elusive artist who helped make J shed an art space. Claremont art school closed down and he lost his job there along with other lecturers of that school. He was then victim of a public-liability insurance scam and nearly lost everything. He and spent many years uncertain of his lease continuation but managed to hang in there.
        Arthur lost ownership of the window wall when a lease agreement claimed the window as the council property if he wanted to continue his lease; the lease was offed at the very last minute. Little Creatures replicated that window design when they built themselves their successful brewery.
        The council workers improved the park land outside J shed planting endemic native plants and eventually after long years of persistence established a lawn which made it very popular with passers-by, council workers taking a break, beach users, tourists, wedding photographers and an extremely diverse cross section of the public from every demographic. Council recently provided picnic tables and cut down half the bushes so homeless people including indigenous folk were less comfortable to sleep out there. Freo council did next to nothing to maintain the building, until they were planning to give it to Sunset events, only then then did they repaired the windows which had been weather worn and damaged by vandals. Recently with input from the community the council put in a concrete path and some lights.

      • Genesis
        These numbers are correct. The rent is closer to $70k
        cheers, Brad

  2. Tessa Schulz says:

    Another point on which I beg to differ is your ( no cover bands!) . While I understand that ‘cover song’ is a dirty word in many indie rock and singer/ songwriter circles there are other musical genres where it is quite acceptable. I have travelled the world collecting folk and popular songs and the songs that most interest me are those who are so well known and played by everyone that they become part of the cultural identity. This may seem irrelevant but your ( no cover bands! ) comment does seem to be directed at a very specific audience-that of the proposed bar. I believe Fremantle has a much wider multi cultural community which may not be best served by this proposal for the J shed which takes over what is currently public land for private enterprise.

    • Tessa
      Fair point. Perhaps I should have said no top 40 cover bands! What I meant is it should support original arts. Cheers

      • Tessa Schulz says:

        Ok. However the music genre thing was only an example to illustrate my point that I believe the Sunset events proposal caters only to a specific demograph namely those who drink booze and go to rock (or blues and roots) shows at the exclusion of other groups in the community such as youth and families or elderly who currently have free access to the beach, rock wall, grass and minimal shade in front of J shed unit 1. It is the privitization of prime public land that I do not agree with.

      • At the moment it is barely used by anyone of any demographic and that is why the Council has seen that activation of the area is important. If more are to get to enjoy this great place.

      • Tessa Schulz says:

        Some nice grass, some shady trees, a shower, a few picnic tables would certainly be appealing to all. It has definitely worked on the other side of the beach near Kidogo and sweetlips. And come to think of it there are some large empty restaurants with ocean views ( I imagine without need of service upgrades ) where sunset events could open their pub.

  3. john Dowson says:

    Brad, before you destroyed the Esplanade Park you admitted you had not read the Conservation Plan. Now, it appears you have not read your own policies for Arthur Head. The following extracts from the Arthur Head Management Plan show that your support for a booze barn and concert venue at Arthur Head are seriously inappropriate:

    Arthur Head Management Plan

    “Arthur Head: Western Australia’s most significant historic site.”

    “Its great potential has been preserved by its lack of development; the council will seek to ensure that this is not lost by piecemeal projects, but rather is realised through long term planning.”

    “The northern end of Arthur Head should primarily be an area for the restoration of the original vegetation.”

    “The land and waterfront below the Round House is to be developed to allow the physical realities of the Colony’s origins to be experienced. Pedestrian only access and vegetation renewal are the major elements of this development.”

    “The aim of the A class reserve…….will be for visitors to Arthur Head to enjoy the combination of the beach, open ocean, vegetation, landforms, and historic buildings, as a unique 19th century precinct, offering physical pleasure, relaxation and importantly, an emotional experience.”

    “Arthur Head has been defined as the State’s most significant historic site for all Western Australians being the first settlement site of the Swan River Colony. It is also therefore, an area of national importance as the focal point of European settlement of the Western third of the continent.”

    “There are numerous archaeological sites of significance which will be preserved.”

    “Uses: Arthur Head, north or south, should not be thought of as a tourist facility. ….the planning of Arthur Head will be more successful if it is remembered that it serves the local community (and should have) a distinctive local flavour.”

    • John
      As you know very well I have read both the Esplanade Park Conservation Plan and Arthur Head Management Plan. The latter was last updated more than two decades ago. That said I agree with lots of it and the J-Shed plans are broadly consistent with it as I foresee the large part of Arthur Head and Bathers Beach remaining the understated, historic area it is now
      cheers, Brad

      • Kel says:

        Hi Brad,

        You say you read the Esplanade Reserve Conservation Plan in your comment above.

        Have you been down there this week and seen the devastation of the green grassed areas and the ripped up turf by Sunset Events Heavy Vehicles and patrons at last Saturdays Laneways Festival?

        Has an assessment been done of the damage by the staff of City of Fremantle if so is it available to the public?

        Will it be repaired before the Chilli Festival in a few weeks?

        Who will pay for it?

        Will you accept that the Esplanade Reserve is not coping with this heavy machinery ripping it up and tens of thousands of patrons tramping and killing off the green grassed areas?

        Do you intend to do address this issue Brad?

        Thank you
        Kel

      • Hi Kel
        The grass definitely needs some work over next few weeks but it will come back. That’s the beauty of lawn!
        Use of park is a balancing act and I’ll be work along with parks and events staff to make sure we get that right best we can.
        Cheers. Brad
        Ps it should also be noted you asked the city not to repair grass near carriage a few weeks ago. We agreed to delay it.

      • Kel says:

        Hi Brad,
        Your respose “below “regards my concerns of the green grassed area devastion on the Esplanade Reserve after devastation by Lanways is inconclusive missleading I feel.

        Who will pay for the repairs and will it be done before the Chilli Festival?

        Will it be the ratepayers of the City of Fremantle and not Sunset Events?

        The “balancing act” you mention is so one sided that the many $$$$ of the Commercial Events are winning out big time here.It is no contest.it is a copout.

        Regards your comment of my request to “delay the grass repairs” before the Laneways and Chilli Festiva, it was to save the ratepayers money as the hundreds of thousands of ratepayers dollars spent regrassing the Esplanade as intended by Council” in January during the Kids Holidays would have been wasted

        The City`s email to me and others very clearly defined “all areas of the Reserve to be regrassed ” including the Laneways and Chilli Festival fenced areas.

        The City had no option but to rethink the issue and put it off till after the Events.

        We still have the Chilli Festival closing down the Esplanade Reserve for a “week”and Marinne Terrace in a few weeks time.

        It is ironic that the ARALUEN Chilli Festival applied to the Fremantle City Council to “move” to the Esplanade Reserve because: the Armadale City Council continued to book the thousands of parked vehicles on the road to the Event at Araluen Reserve.It caused a major problem for them.

        We now have a “not for profit organisation” raising money to maintain “Araluen Reserve” in Armadale at the same time causing damage to our own “Esplanade Reserve” with tens of thousands of patrons tramping our lawn to dust over a week in March.

        The City has also approved The Chilli Festival to “close down Marine Terrace for days”to expand their stalls because the Youth Skate Plaza has taken up their lease area on the Esplanade Reserve.

        Marine Terrace is not only one of our main arterial access road but the critical access road for the Fremantle Fire Brigade.

        The Esplanade Reserve will be destroyed without a Management Plan which you refuse to implement.

        I do hope you consider these points Brad

        Thank you

        .

    • Genesis says:

      Thats a fine management plan Dowson quotes and it is still relevant today.

      The Arthur head management plan should be honoured.

      It is also a site important to international tourists visiting Fremantle.

      The existing vitality of that public open space should be appreciated, people have put energy into shaping the this most significant historical site in West Australian.

      If we don’t know our past we don’t know our future.

  4. Joel says:

    Dear Dr Pettitt,

    Although your blog is comprehensive expressing your views and the factual landscape, I have to agree with the previous respondent. I also find your response to her just as closed minded.

    Have you heard of a band called Boyce Avenue from the USA? They are predominately a cover band who have made many albums (available on itunes). Their skill as musicians can take a top 40 pop song and slow it down or make it more accapella..

    Limiting the scope of talent to not allow cover/top 40 cover bands may impact the clientele that would end up making this venture a success..

  5. Sunsets vibes! says:

    Great work brad- loving these ideas and I trust it will be done beautifully- it is a very under-utilised area, just a bunch of artists and sculptures get to use it at the moment.

    • Genesis says:

      In fact many people use that area, locals, TAFE students, Notre Dame students, tourists, visitors to Freo, homeless people, sunset markets, mash up bike parties etc Its a public open space outside those art studios. Anyone can go and sit on the green there. It is also part of the states most significant historical precinct and gives multitudes of people a sense of place in history, a sense of historical reality and perspective. It sounds like the sunset events plan is a green washed, cover version of little creatures. Brad Petit claimed to challenge the drinking barn culture in Freo when he first went for Mayor.

      • I don’t think it is well used. In fact I run by there often and it is rare I see anyone.

      • Eloise says:

        Brad apparently manages our parks and public space according to what he sees, not according to what community members who attended a Council-organised day-long community engagement session on Arthur Head in 2013 (which cost $7000 from our rates) said they wanted. See how community members wanted to enhance the J Shed grassed area for general public use in the resulting report by downloading here: http://www.fremantle.wa.gov.au/cityoffremantle/Projectsmajor/Arthur_Head

      • the City’s Cultural development strategy 2011-2014 is to develop Arthur Head into an art and cultural area. The councils vision is (in no order of importance):

        To activate the West End and attracts visitors to the area.
        To create a space where arts and culture meets the public – where you can see and interact with artists, and have contact with arts in practice.
        Celebrate the history and heritage of the area.
        Include the Bathers Beach environment.
        Promote as an Indigenous heritage place.

        That is what we are doing.

  6. Debra Salahuddeen says:

    One only has to take a brief look at the state of the Esplanade Park park this week after the Laneways Festival to see the impact that events have on the terrain. What should and could be the jewel in the slightly shabby old crown of Fremantle’s parks and open spaces, is a filthy dustbowl. Yep…let’s pick up the butts and replant/fertilise/water/aerate the turf until……the next one, then the one after that, but wait there’s more…………oh, another one. How this is a sustainable use of the city’s resources just baffles me. I love the fact that the skate park is being created there, but how the rest of the park can be treated as such demonstrates so clearly that $$$$$ win over locals use of amenities.
    I cannot believe that ‘a clearer sense of Arthur’s Head significance’ is required. ANYONE who has been living in Freo for more than five minutes has just got to be aware that this area, Mandjari (pardon the spelling) is absolutely integral to the Noongar peoples sense of place. Imagine……10 -15 “events” over a year on our only remaining urban fragile coastal land. (Why the South Lawn of the Arts Centre works so well is kinda bleeding obvious; note the word lawn) It’s nice to foresee an understated, historic area and imagine a sweet artsy/music cultured well behaved audience soaking it all up there, but lets face it, Sunset, great as they may be, are not there for that niche.
    Creatures and the Norfolk are funky as, on a lovely summers evening…come midnight with many a patron having a skinful of Pale Ale… not quite the same story. Sure folks, just stick to the paths.
    Shall those of us who have long planted/cherished our one remaining remnant of slightly ‘wild’ space in Freo, just sit back and watch (knowing of cavernous spaces such as the Passenger Terminal, lying so under utilised) as it gets trampled/replanted/trampled again and resign ourselves to the fact that every last little piece of our precious place must have “commercial viability”?

    • Kel says:

      Hi Brad

      Esplanade Reserve/Sunset Events Laneways Festival.

      The “extreme efforts” by Parks and Gardens and serious ratepayers dollars spent on constant repairs,fertiliser,watering daily,mowing to rejuvinate the grassed areas of the Esplanade Reserve over the “past 12 days” has not been seen on the Reserve for many years.

      I have photoes taken from the Sky Wheel showing the devastation immediately after the Event

      You said you would personally become involved in these works in your comments above. .

      It is obvious you are concerned at the Communities interest here and has pulled out all stops to rejuvinate the grassed areas (it is no longer lawn) at all costs.

      Brad this action is only reactionary

      You have allowed neglect of the Esplanade Reserve for many years now.

      Sunset Events are seeking a 5+5 lease to hold the Laneways Event and you are going all out to help them attain that lease.

      Did they pay for any of these repairs?

      They are to report back to the City within a month and you and Councillors will decide on this lease. I expect they will also request a 2 day Event ie Saturday and Sunday this time.

      The Chilli Festival is another issue.

      Why do you refuse to implement the Esplanade Reserve Events Management and Parks Management Plans as directed in the Esplanade Reserve Master/Conservation Plans of 22nd April 2009?

      The City and the Community need a guide to gauge and report surely.

      It is presently open slather.anything goes and by the way it is now not lawn it is 80% weeds.

      Please reply and post.

      Thank you
      Kel

  7. Norman Erickson says:

    Brad…don’t be so apologetic! I really take issue with both Tessa Schulz and Joel … ! As a person who is both a musician and visual artist…AND who has extensive background in the music business…I have a very good grip on what is a creative arts environment and what is not. Joel, ANY skilled musician can interpret existing music in any number of ways…is this what you want?…endless interpretations of existing music? Are you into nostalgia to the degree that you are willing to reward lack of innovation and trivialise the risk new artists take staking their careers on creating new music?

    …And Tessa … your uneducated…and rather discriminatory… attempt at social/cultural profiling vis a vis your comment which includes this statement : “… I believe the Sunset events proposal caters only to a specific demograph namely those who drink booze and go to rock (or blues and roots) shows at the exclusion of other groups in the community such as youth and families or elderly…” Tessa…I am 62 years old, I prefer red wine, and I go to both of Sunset Events annual music festivals. I am also single, so how dare you make such arbitrary statements pretending to speak for people like me! There are a LOT of us…people who were teenagers in the sixties…who still like contemporary pop/rock music.

    I don’t want to go to a venue like Metropolis to see great ‘original’ music performances…not a place where people like me feel comfortable. But a venue like the one Sunset Events proposes would be much more likely to cater to people like myself. By the way, I went to the Laneway Festival last weekend and LOVED it. You really need to have a think about promoting your own agenda whilst pretending to speak for people you don’t know!

    • dickbaynham says:

      Our Mayor and it seems most of his Councillors, plan to approve a lease for an 850 capacity pub (taking the number down to 500 for a ‘trial period’ to overcome community sticker shock), so that it can basically take over THE most significant A-Class Reserve in the State.

      In the process they are contravening their own recently adopted socially responsible policies on anti-social behaviour and alcohol management. They are also throwing out their own concept of turning Arthur Head into an Arts Precinct in favour of turning the site into a commercial venture that has the primary purpose of selling beer.

      This is not about Sunset Events holding up to 15 small scale musical events a year and it is certainly not conversation about cover bands – it is about the Council giving a lease for an 850 seater tavern in this hugely significant place and trying to claim this is somehow ‘art first and alcohol second’ – when it’s clearly all about selling grog.

      It is plainly the wrong thing to do and it is difficult to comprehend why anyone would support such an idea – the fact that these supporters seem to include the six Councillors who were nodding their heads in agreement as this lease was passing through the SGS Committee meeting last week is a sad commentary on the cultural state of Fremantle.

  8. Mayor Pettitt,

    Thank you for sharing your view of what you admit is a controversial issue. There is plenty about this proposal I find extremely unsettling. I feel like you have glossed over some of the more serious objections including,

    1) The area slated for this development is an A Class Reserve, in fact it’s the oldest A Class Reserve in Western Australia. Is a bar/music tavern really appropriate?

    2) It appears you haven’t performed any research in regards to the Indigenous perspective on heritage. As the elected Mayor of our city, I find that incredibly irresponsible.

    3) This is a massive venue for alcohol consumption. A very similar venue already exists a couple hundred metres away, Little Creatures. Do we really need another large tavern so close? Salt on the Beach in North Fremantle doesn’t seem to have done well and the views would be nearly the same.

    4) There is already an issue with parking and outbound transportation in Fremantle, especially on the weekend. The Council hasn’t cracked the problem on the Cappuccino Strip. You don’t have a positive track record to back up your comment to the Fremantle Gazette stating, “Council will need to make sure we plan this out in the kind of venue we create and ensure we have legible, well-lit linkages around it”

    5) Alcohol fuelled violence in on the rise and this sort of venue is sure to attract more of the same kind of behaviour. The city already has a number of places people can go to drink handcrafted beer including Monk’s, Clancy’s and Little Creatures. In addition, a fair number of pubs exist around the city including Sail & Anchor, Norfolk, Rosie O’Grady’s, Newport and Bar Orient. When you add in The Clink and Metros, it’s a lot for one community to manage. (And will these existing establishments suffer loss of business?) What sort of clientele do you think will be attracted to this venue?

    6) Are you planning on employing extra police?

    7) What kind of rent will the city receive from Sunset Events? Since this is a prime position on the ocean and we would be sacrificing public land, will ratepayers see a benefit through increased revenues to the city? Will that revenue be funnelled into developing another public space?

    8) You can say this is an arts focused venue but I don’t think anyone actually believes that. While you may get bands in, to say the Sunset Events audience is going to be interested in gallery, exhibition and sculpture doesn’t make sense. Will there be live theatre? This is hardly an ‘arts precinct’ business. Little Creatures has tried for years to have art exhibits and even comedy acts (as has Sail & Anchor) but they’re been largely unsuccessful. What, in your experience, makes you believe it will be different in this undertaking?

    9) Lastly, you say, “Fremantle Council will continue to strongly advocate for more small bars so we get a better, safer, more mature drinking environment in Fremantle. But to be clear we never said we would not agree to a new larger venue.” Honestly, this presents a huge credibility issue for me. You never said you would not agree to a strip club, either. Can we expect one of those soon? Please understand, when the Council behaves in this manner, they violate the trust of their constituents.

    I appreciate your enthusiasm but just don’t feel like the hard questions have been satisfactorily answered. I still don’t understand why this venue (especially the size), why Sunset Events and why this place?

    • Sarah
      A quick response late a night! cheers, Brad

      1) The area slated for this development is an A Class Reserve, in fact it’s the oldest A Class Reserve in Western Australia. Is a bar/music tavern really appropriate?
      2) It appears you haven’t performed any research in regards to the Indigenous perspective on heritage. As the elected Mayor of our city, I find that incredibly irresponsible.
      It would be if true but the advice we have from the Department of Aboriginal Affairs is as follows:
      “… reviewed the relevant information and I can confirm that there are currently no known sites registered with the Department of Aboriginal Affairs (DAA) within the work areas you have outlined. The Other Heritage Listed site, Fremantle: Manjaree (3421) and Fremantle: Arthur Head (3774) are Stored Data which indicates that they are not sites.”
      The only concerns I have been expressed to me in this regard is that some aboriginal people are aggrieved that non-aboriginal people are trying to use aboriginal heritage issues to further their own views. I hope the latter is not correct.

      3) This is a massive venue for alcohol consumption. A very similar venue already exists a couple hundred metres away, Little Creatures. Do we really need another large tavern so close? Salt on the Beach in North Fremantle doesn’t seem to have done well and the views would be nearly the same.
      The intended size is a lot smaller than Little Creatures
      4) There is already an issue with parking and outbound transportation in Fremantle, especially on the weekend. The Council hasn’t cracked the problem on the Cappuccino Strip. You don’t have a positive track record to back up your comment to the Fremantle Gazette stating, “Council will need to make sure we plan this out in the kind of venue we create and ensure we have legible, well-lit linkages around it”
      They are different issues. This will not be open to the early hours of the morning when South Tce has transport issues.
      5) Alcohol fuelled violence in on the rise and this sort of venue is sure to attract more of the same kind of behaviour. The city already has a number of places people can go to drink handcrafted beer including Monk’s, Clancy’s and Little Creatures. In addition, a fair number of pubs exist around the city including Sail & Anchor, Norfolk, Rosie O’Grady’s, Newport and Bar Orient. When you add in The Clink and Metros, it’s a lot for one community to manage. (And will these existing establishments suffer loss of business?) What sort of clientele do you think will be attracted to this venue?
      The intent is it would be a mix of ages with an interests in an arty and alternative venue
      6) Are you planning on employing extra police?
      The City of Fremantle does not and cannot employ police
      7) What kind of rent will the city receive from Sunset Events? Since this is a prime position on the ocean and we would be sacrificing public land, will ratepayers see a benefit through increased revenues to the city? Will that revenue be funnelled into developing another public space?
      Yes the will pay a full commercial rent for most of the lease period
      8) You can say this is an arts focused venue but I don’t think anyone actually believes that. While you may get bands in, to say the Sunset Events audience is going to be interested in gallery, exhibition and sculpture doesn’t make sense. Will there be live theatre? This is hardly an ‘arts precinct’ business. Little Creatures has tried for years to have art exhibits and even comedy acts (as has Sail & Anchor) but they’re been largely unsuccessful. What, in your experience, makes you believe it will be different in this undertaking?
      It will be embedded in the lease that arts and music is central to its operation.
      9) Lastly, you say, “Fremantle Council will continue to strongly advocate for more small bars so we get a better, safer, more mature drinking environment in Fremantle. But to be clear we never said we would not agree to a new larger venue.” Honestly, this presents a huge credibility issue for me. You never said you would not agree to a strip club, either. Can we expect one of those soon? Please understand, when the Council behaves in this manner, they violate the trust of their constituents.
      I’ll take that as a rhetorical question but a semi-serious response I could say that while the Fremantle Council would definitely say no to a strip club but may well say yes to Fringe style burlesque. It is about the right kind of large venue and how we make sure that it stays that way.

      • Hi Mayor Pettitt,

        I appreciate your taking the time to read my comments and can also understand that you’re trying to address the many concerns raised by this issue. I will say, however, that a quick reply is exactly what the residents and ratepayers of Fremantle don’t want or need. We expect a thoughtful, considered reply and I’m willing to wait for that.

        It’s immaterial what size this development is in relation to Little Creatures. My point is that we already have a big artisan beer pub in the immediate area. Your own alcohol management policy says 120 seats is a manageable size to curb anti-social behaviour. That’s what went out on the EOI. I think we can all get excited about the possibility of that sort of venue contained within the current J-Shed building.

        Also, please don’t expect any of us to believe an 850-seat drinking venue (or even the smaller trial version of 500 seats) will close early. It won’t. Public transportation and parking is a very real concern that needs to be addressed. Again, if you can’t get it right on the strip, what hope do we have improving it on this end of town?

        Is anybody planning on employing extra police? If the city is not involved in this activity, are you in consultation with the police departments responsible? What is the view of the Fremantle Police Department on the viability of managing a venue of this size and nature?

        Rhetorical questions aside, you didn’t answer my concern about the issue of trust. If the Fremantle Council says one thing but does another, what does that mean for the relationship you have with our constituency?

        Respectfully yours.

      • Sarah
        I don’t agree with reading of many of these issues to be honest. I’ll be putting up a post shortly that hopefully addresses some of these concerns in more detail for you. cheers

  9. Paul says:

    Hi Brad,

    Thanks for your many reasoned comments. I fully support this proposal – it seems to me exactly the type of venue Fremantle needs in an area mostly languishing without much activation. This area forms part of the greater Fremantle CBD and as such should be treated as such. Its not a conservative suburban precinct. It caters for all and should be enjoyed by all. I am not sure why others on this blog start out with such a negative premise that things will fail. It might not fail – the venue might be exactly what the area needs. I am an inner city resident and applaud your resilience in the face of all these doomsday preppers. Allowing private enterprise to share the costs in activating urban areas is a great way to go.

  10. Paul says:

    This site is clearly known as a site of cultural significance to the Wadjuk people. The fact that it has not been recognized by certain aboriginal people is because a lot of aboriginal people have lost a certain knowledge plus the Fremantle Council is extremely happy to use to their advantage… Speak to a Noel Nannup and some other elders and you will hear that the site is very important… See a documentary like UTOPIA and you will understand more about how local and federal governments deal with Aboriginal interests….

  11. Paul Miller says:

    This site is clearly known as a site of cultural significance to the Wadjuk people. The fact that it has not been recognized by certain aboriginal people is because a lot of aboriginal people have lost a certain knowledge plus the Fremantle Council is extremely happy to use that to their advantage… Speak to a Noel Nannup and some other elders and you will hear that the site is very important… See a documentary like UTOPIA and you will understand more about how local and federal governments deal with Aboriginal interests….

  12. Damien Takac says:

    I’m really sick of dinosaurs like John Dowson and Dick holding this city back. They are negative alarmists who have left this great place crumbling around them. You need to realise that we who live in the inner city of Freo need to say no to the naysayers and revitalise our beloved Fremantle

    • john Dowson says:

      Josh Billings wrote that “The best way to convince a fool that he is wrong is to let him have his own way.” However, Fremantle is too important to let fools destroy it with stupid ideas.

    • Suzanne says:

      Damien, without the likes of Dick Baynham and John Dowson looking to the good of Fremantle, the unique Port City would continue to dance to the developers dollar. Profits made privately with no proof of return to the City.
      However, the prostitution of Arthurs Head goes far beyond Freophiles. It is the most important Heritage Site in Western Australia, in the care of Fremantle for all Australians. The passing parade of Mayor and Councillors are duty bound to protect this important historic area. Not permit vandalization then shoot through to their future callings leaving a legacy of ruination.
      Watch this space!!!!
      Any town can have taverns and pubs. Only Fremantle has this pure place, well utilized by artists, drawing family crowds, weddings and most importantly peace.
      The replies on the Mayors site are imploring you Brad to have principles and be guided by the Communities wishes. We know less than one in four voted at the last Council Elections, but there is no need for embarrassment. The fact you have a community which gives up time, effort and passionate pleas to save Arthurs Head proves, Residents and Ratepayers are involved with the future of Fremantle.

  13. David Johnson says:

    I would like to see this proposal include stronger measures on how it will improve the economic viability of the LOCAL music industry/ culture and the arts in Fremantle.. Local musicians being paid award wages and not being seduced into supporting a national or international artist because it will be good for their “exposure”.
    Free exhibition space for LOCAL visual artists.
    Stronger ties between business and fledgling non for profit arts organisations such as the Fly by night club. The fly will suffer financially from this proposal but with more support from business could operate more as a training space for young musicians.
    I would like to see more support for our local arts scene and wouldnt it be nice if people spent that $200 tic to see Bob Dylan on 10 LOCAL performances. There would also be money left over for them to buy a ukulele and learn how to play it!!!

  14. Tessa Schulz says:

    Regarding the meeting last might, I was there and was in awe of many who got up and spoke so passionately about protecting public land and heritage. Anyone retirement age will probably be long gone by the end of the 21 yr lease so I doubt it is just selfish action. Have some respect! The motion was passed with a sweeping majority that council should reject the current proposal and re advertise for a max 120 capacity gallery / cafe/ bar.
    Why does it have to be sunset events or nothing? Trees , nice grass, tables and chairs, shade , a sculpture park? A play ground? A smaller venue contained in current J shed could please everyone except those looking for a quick buck selling booze and grabbing prime real estate. There’s a year or more waiting list to exhibit at the Moores bld. Gallery space would be great! I doubt evening concerts would di much for local business and the “livening” up might be more of the yobbo type if a proposal based on alcohol sale goes ahead.
    P.s. I am not even 40 yet and already over the loud stand up band and drinking thing.

  15. My husband and I have lived and worked in South Fremantle for 32 years. We are in our 60’s and came here in our 30’s because of the multi-cultural mix, the close proximity to the working port and beach. Fremantle was not exciting in those days but it did have essential services and a great community feel.

    The America’s Cup brought a facelift, and an influx of people outside of Freo who began to see just what we had here. They enjoyed the cultural mix, the heritage value of the buildings and the markets and the Italian influence. Coffee shops and cafes sprang up and more people from further afield heard about this relaxing place to live, its cultural mix and cheap houses.

    We watched people come into the area, renovate, stay a few years then sell for a huge profit. The community feel began to go. Gentrification was the name of the game – more coffee shops and cafes. Local essential services such as the paint shop, newsagents, hardware store and little deli’s and so on all moved out of South Fremantle. More new neighbours, renovations, moving away. More cars, parking problems and heavy traffic.

    We feel qualified to observe that the “coffee set” who come here, especially on the weekends, have no interest in our community or respect for our lifestyle. They park illegally, blocking corners with their SUV’s, piss on our garden beds, stealing our plants from our garden, rubbernecking and taking photos and even asking if they can have a look inside our house as it is “so quaint”! If we move our car from the front of our house, we cannot get back into the street parking till after 3pm.

    We are concerned that the proposed J Shed use is only going to add to the already heavy traffic and parking problems that exist and if the council cannot even do something practical for local residents what can they ensure for the huge numbers of patrons of regular concerts? We feel for the inner city residents many of whom are our age with the bass vibrations pounding through their buildings during these concerts. We have witnessed the litter, the vomit, the bottles and broken glass and unruly behaviour from the many large events that already happen in Freo such as New Year’s Eve, the Blessing of the Fleet, the Blues and Roots concerts (which we go to every year) and many others. We enjoy these events ourselves but we are sick of tolerating the aftermath of them.

    Why do we need another venue for drinking and concerts? Why can’t the council ask for expressions of interest for these unused or financially unviable establishments to bring more vibrancy into Fremantle in ways other than alcohol and rock concert related events? Kulcha was an icon, a much valued and important medium for multi-culltural entertainment. It is heinous that this long standing business was allowed to close. Shame on the council for not rescuing it.

    It is time we departed from the pathetic mindset that life is about drinking coffee, alcohol and head banging to loud music. We need a more cultured approach to how Fremantle will proceed into the future. Visitors from overseas, many of whom come from ancient cultures come here for unique Australian experiences. We need to keep that in mind and offer them as well as our locals interesting and memorable experiences.

    As for a venue for alcohol and head banging, we suggest the old Power Station which could be converted into a vibrant venue for concerts (including classical and jazz), small bars and cafes and family friendly areas including affordable family restaurants. A venue which includes an art gallery, regular entertainment promoting indigenous talent as well as local talent. Come on people, get those ideas in. If you want the local council to listen to you, give them ideas. Don’t rely on them. They have proven they lack the inspiration and foresight to plan for the future.

    Chris G’Froerer, Nelson Street, South Fremantle.

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