Matilda Bay snub leaves bitter taste

THE North Fremantle Community Association says a planned redevelopment of the Matilda Bay Brewery is insensitive to the site’s heritage, uninviting and a “bland, dominating group of apartments that could be anywhere”.

NFCA convenor Gerry MacGill said the association hadn’t heard from the developers, 3 Oceans Property, before it submitted the planning application to Fremantle council, despite a structure plan approved in 2020 intimating this would be done.

Mr MacGill says it’s not the only part of the plan, or other council policies, the development ignores.

He says the community worked with the site’s previous owner in 2015 and prepared a vision which helped form a structure plan that year, but the current iteration is so far from complying the association says it should go back to the drawing board.

While the council’s feedback page lists the tallest of three towers as being 16 storeys high, NFCA member Ann Forma says there’s also two levels of parking before the tower sits on a podium, and with equipment on the roof her tally comes to 20 storeys.

Ms Forma said after all the work with the previous owner, the community had been expecting heights similar to those at Northbank, but possibly reaching 10 storeys. Twenty storeys was outrageous and totally out of character with the surrounding suburb, she said.

In its submission to the council, which will ultimately be handed to the state-based JDAP committee, the NFCA says the height and bulk of the development “trivialises” the site’s heritage buildings as well as the nearby Dingo Flour Mill.

“The scale. of the Dingo has always been the marker of North Fremantle, the sign you see out at sea that Fremantle is near,” the submission says.

It claims the development is a lost opportunity to be a “seamless extension of the North Fremantle community”.

“The two-storey podium forms a hard and uninviting edge to the development, transmitting a message of ‘stay out’ rather than ‘welcome inside’.

Ms Forma says this will be felt by anyone using the green space next to a proposed provedore, as they’d be sitting next to a six-storey wall, while all the concrete means any greenery will have to be in pots and is unlikely to reach the size indicated in artists impressions.

Ms Forma also took a shot at the size of the tavern, saying it could lead to problems in the area, including parking and anti-social behaviour. 

She says cashing in on the site’s use as a brewery ignores its longer history as a factory for Ford.

The association says the factory buildings are the last remaining opportunity for a new development to recognise the precinct’s role in WA’s industrial development, and the current proposal doesn’t come near.


One response to “Matilda Bay snub leaves bitter taste

  1. Gerry and Ann have long been advocates for what they believe is the best for North Fremantle and I greatly respect their views however I have not always agreed with their views.
    In my humble opinion this development on the old Ford Factory site has challenged the Strategic Plan that Council adopted years ago for the area which I believe we got wrong.
    To me this proposal makes a far better fist of good planning outcomes for such a prominent site making the most of view corridors and public open space taking advantage of mixed use outlets unlike the Tasker site development which presents itself from most vantage points from the river and Nth Freo as one large monolith on the horizon with no public space.
    I have lived in Nth Freo for 18 years but I’m still considered a newbie however times have changed dramatically during those years with a younger generation moving into North Freo. I would love to hear the thoughts of the young folks on how they see this development and how it will affect them and their future.

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