Major international conference hits Fremantle

More than 270 of Australia’s leading specialists in urban renewal and town planning will join experts from around the world in Fremantle next week for 2018 International Cities, Town Centres and Communities conference.

The conference at the Esplanade Hotel from 14-16 November will feature 48 presentations from local, national and international experts, as well as field trips, workshops and special interest group sessions.

ICTC Society director Renee O’Halloran said the Fremantle conference had attracted huge interest from city leaders and urban planners.

“Fremantle and Perth are really leading the way across Australia in delivering innovative urban development, housing and place making initiatives and we’re not surprised that delegates have been so enthusiastic to visit Perth to hear about these projects,” Ms O’Halloran said.

“The three day ICTC program, featuring world-renowned urban regeneration and economic development specialists from the US, Europe and Asia Pacific, will focus on how to deliver progressive and people-centric cities that are vibrant, innovative, connected and liveable for the future.

“There’s also scheduled field trips giving participants an insight into initiatives the city uses to leverage its authenticity and sustainability.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for delegates to see Fremantle as it opens its doors during an exciting period of activity as the city undergoes the largest urban revitalisation project in its history.”

The City of Fremantle was selected as the host city for the ICTC conference last year following a competitive bidding process.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said the event would provide a significant boost to the local economy.

“The conference will bring more than 270 delegates to Fremantle, who will be staying in our hotels, eating in our restaurants and spending money on entertainment and gifts,” Mayor Pettitt said.

“A number of local businesses have also been engaged to provide meals and refreshments during the field trips, as well as being used as venues for networking functions and site visits during the event.

“The conference will also provide an opportunity for Fremantle to showcase our successful urban renewal projects like Kings Square, Heirloom apartments and WGV, and show off our beautiful city to industry professionals from around Australia.”

As a precursor to the ICTC conference the City of Fremantle is hosting an event at Bathers Beach House on Tuesday evening where the City’s new Destination Marketing Strategic Plan will be officially launched by Tourism Minister Paul Papalia.

The City’s Economic Development Manager Matt Hammond and the chair of City’s Destination Marketing Working Group Linda Wayman will also give a presentation on the plan at the ICTC conference on Thursday.

The marketing plan identifies high yielding conferences and business tourism as a new opportunity for Fremantle thanks to the many new hotel developments in the city.

To view the Destination Marketing Strategic Plan 2018-22 visit the Destination Marketing page on the City of Fremantle website.  

1960s City of Fremantle Administration Building Almost Gone

The not greatly loved 1960s built City of Fremantle administration and library building in Kings Square will be completely gone in a matter of weeks.

The building was assessed as being asbestos-free last month, following a four month asbestos removal program to prepare it for the final demolition phase.

This final phase will see the building demolished with the majority of the structure recycled.  The site will then be prepared for the construction of a modern, competition-winning new civic, administration and library building as part of the broader Kings Square Renewal project.

Demolition activities are currently focusing on the delicate separation of the building from the Fremantle Town Hall, some of it done by hand to protect the heritage-listed building.

Pleasingly it has gone well and the original limestone wall of the Fremantle Town Hall are now visible for the first time in decades and will be a feature in the new civic building.



A View of Port Transformation from Taiwan’s New Bay Area

Last week I was invited to speak about the transformation of port cities at Kaohsiung, a port city in southern Taiwan.

It was of those worthwhile conferences where I learnt at least as much as I got to share from Freo.

This was in part due to the New Bay Area in Kaohsiung undergoing a similar transformation to what we have aspired to in Fremantle for a number of years – but interestingly Kaohsiung is a few years ahead of us.

While Kaohsiung’s port is quite a bit bigger than Fremantle’s the similarities between our port areas were enlightening.

Their New Bay Area is the equivalent of Fremantle’s Victoria/South Quay. It was also largely underused waterfront land. In 2011 Kaohsiung’s Mayor launched the Asia’s New Bay Area project in an attempt to step beyond Kaohsiung’s historical image as an industrial city and restructure the old Kaohsiung Harbour into a major attractor for regional economic development in Southern Taiwan.

At the heart of this waterfront renewal project is the construction of four impressive public buildings:

The first of these constructed was the Kaohsiung Exhibition Centre to promote Kaohsiung’s as a conference and exhibition hub. This beautiful building, designed by Australia’s Cox Architects, opened last year and was where the conference was held.


Further along the bay is the Kaohsiung Cruise Port Terminal which will serve as the entry point for international tourism. It is looking to be  a stunning building. While only  part complete you can see the skeleton of the building to the right of the photo below.  This will bring cruise shipping into the heart of the city centre.


Finally, the Maritime Cultural and Popular Music Centre is also along the waterfront and you can see it under construction through the tram window in the photo below. It will aim to serve as the new landmark and activator for the New Bay area. When it is complete it looks like it will be also stunning as you can see by the lower mock-up photo.


These public buildings are all linked by the new Kaohsiung Light Rail. The Waterfront Light Rail is an 8.7 km route that has no overhead wires but is solely battery operated with fast-charging at each station. It was very impressive and I will see if I can find out the costs of this leading-edge technology.


The New Bay project has been a partnership between the local, state and national governments and is a great example of how to reconnect a city to its waterfront. There is still a working port on the other side of the river and a vibrant CBD behind – it is what Fremantle’s Victoria Quay could become with  with the right partnerships and investment.

We have already got the beautiful Maritime Museum (interestingly also designed by Cox Architects) and linking that via light rail with a refurbished Cruise Passenger Terminal,  a major Aboriginal Cultural Centre and other developments would make this a major destination for West Australians and international tourist alike.

Thanks Kaohsiung for showing how it can be done.


Apartment Projects in Freo Recognised at 2018 UDIA WA Awards

Well done to the three apartment projects in Freo have been recognised for their impressive designs at the 2018 UDIA WA Awards.
Congratulations to The Cove by Blackburne, Liv Apartments by DHA and Evermore WGV by Yolk. All projects that are raising the residential quality bar in WA.
Here are the Freo highlights:

The Medium Density Development award was presented to Blackburne Property Group for The Cove in North Fremantle.

The Cove.

“The Cove has been embraced by the downsizer market seeking a high end apartment with minimal ongoing costs and fees,” Ms Hailes said.

“(It) offers residents large living areas and balconies along with a 400sq m green space on the roof and lower terrace which showcases the excellent architecture and design elements that set the project apart from the competition.”


The High Density Development award went to Defence Housing Australia for their Liv Apartments project in Fremantle.

Liv Apartments.

The project has transformed a disused carpark into an attractive apartment complex featuring an average 7.5 star energy rating and utilised over 10,000 recycled onsite bricks.

It is also one of less than 20 One Planet Living endorsed projects worldwide.


The Affordable Development category went to Evermore Apartments – WGV by Yolk Property Group.

“This innovative project demonstrates passion and leadership in the installation of solar and battery storage systems and innovative governance systems that allow apartment owners to sell electricity to each other,” Ms Hailes said.

“It was the first apartment development for sale in Australia to utilise such a system.”

Evermore Apartments – WGV.

Woolstores development approved by Freo Planning Committee

The latest proposal for the redevelopment of the Woolstores Shopping Centre in Fremantle has been unanimously approved by Fremantle Council’s planning committee.

The proposal involves the refurbishment of the existing shopping arcade and a six storey addition, and includes new retail and office space, a basement carpark and a 141 room hotel.

It also involves alterations to the existing facades on Cantonment Street and Elder Place and minor alterations to the existing carpark.

Last night the planning committee recommended the development be approved, subject to certain conditions.

The project will now be referred to the Metro South West Joint Development Assessment Panel (JDAP) for a final decision.

the Woolstore development is another vote of confidence in the future of Fremantle.

Fremantle recently recorded another record high for building approvals, with $313 million worth of commercial and residential property developments approved in the 2017/18 financial year. In fact, in three out of the past four years the value of building approvals in Fremantle has exceeded $250 million.

If it’s approved by JDAP, the redevelopment of the Woolstores Shopping Centre will help to continue that trend and contribute to the ongoing revitalisation of Fremantle’s East End.

A final decision on the development is expected to be made by JDAP later this month.

The Future of Fremantle’s Working Port

The future of the Fremantle Port is perhaps one of the biggest strategic issues facing Fremantle in the medium term.

With the Westport Taskforce work entering a critical phase; it was important for the council to make its position clear. So this week the Fremantle Council has reaffirmed its position that Fremantle’s inner harbour should be retained as an operating port, primarily focused on container freight handling at North Quay.

The employment and activity associated with the operations of the inner harbour are a critical component of the Fremantle region’s economy. While we recognise the need for an expanded role for the outer harbour at Kwinana, the council is very firm in its view that the inner harbour should be retained as a working port.

Container handling should be maintained at North Quay, provided the associated land side transport arrangements have no greater impact on the local community than current port operations. To achieve this, the council considers the viable level of operations is likely to be in the range of 700,000 to 1 million container units per year.

Victoria Quay should also be progressively developed for community, tourism and commercial uses – in particular with improved facilities for cruise ship passengers.

To facilitate this car imports and other freight shipments coming through Victoria Quay should be transferred to another location as soon as possible. As well as container shipments, the council believes the port should also continue to be used by cruise ships, naval vessels and ferries.

The council has also reaffirmed its long-running support for wind farm on North Quay.

For those of you not aware, the State Government’s Westport Taskforce was established by the state government last year to provide guidance on the planning, development and growth of both the inner harbour at Fremantle and the future outer harbour at Kwinana, and opportunities to expand the Port of Bunbury.

The City of Fremantle is represented on both the Westport Reference Group and a parallel Local Government Reference Group.

Having completed its preliminary investigations, the Westport Taskforce is about to start formulating ideas on how Perth’s port and trade task might be handled over the next 50 to 100 years.

The final Westport: Port and Environs Strategy is scheduled to be presented to the Minister for Transport, Planning and Lands in late 2019.

This Wednesday there is a Community Forum Information at the Freo Town Hall

What: Forum with port and logistics experts to answer the question “Is Fremantle’s Future a Port City?”

When: Wednesday August 29th, 6-8pm

Where: Fremantle Town Hall, 8 William Street Fremantle

New record for building approvals in Freo

As reported in the West Australian today, building approvals in Fremantle have hit another record high with $313 million worth of residential and commercial property developments approved for construction during the 2017/18 financial year.

The latest figures released earlier this month by the Australian Bureau of Statistics add to impressive growth from 2009/10 onwards, with the value of building approvals in three of the past four years surpassing $250 million.

The growth in Fremantle bucks the Western Australian trend which has seen building approvals fall by 9.2 per cent over the past year according to the WA Treasury.

The latest building approvals record was further evidence Fremantle had turned the corner and was now considered an attractive place to invest.

Fremantle’s record $1.3 billion development pipeline has been well publicised but what we’re seeing now is these plans being converted into bricks and mortar developments, delivering new residents, workers and activity to central Freo.

Of the $1.3 billion pipeline, $600 million is either built or under construction – including the Kings Square Renewal project which started late last year and is set to inject around $350 million into the local economy.

It’s a far cry from around 10 years ago when Fremantle was on a severe downward economic trajectory and there were serious concerns about our future.

To counter this, from 2009-2012 this council made some tough and at times controversial decisions on relaxing building heights in non-heritage parts of the Fremantle city centre. It’s pleasing to see these hard decisions are having their desired effect, with Fremantle now well and truly back on a sustainable path and cementing its status as Perth’s second city.

Obtaining building approval is the last major stage of the property development process before construction commences.

Other major developments in Fremantle in recent years include the apartment developments at Leighton Beach, the redevelopment of the historic Dalgety Woolstores into the Heirloom apartments and the Liv apartments on Queen Victoria Street.

A graph showing the value of building approvals in Fremantle from 2001 – 2018 is below.