Can beggars be choosers?

THE negative reaction in the Fremantle community about the proposal for yet another tavern at the former Hungry Jacks site on the popular Cappuccino Strip, and the less than positive comments about the new Fremantle Police Complex, made me ask if beggars can be choosers.

Is it better to compromise than to get no change in Fremantle? 

Is a new tavern better than a vacant and derelict building in one of the prime locations in the inner city?

Of course we should strive for the best and for perfection, but we all know from personal experience that perfection is seldom reached, and if it is, only for short moments in life. 

Maybe thinking like that makes me a softy during the last few years of my life, but I have always been a pragmatist who accepts that reality is often far remote from our dreams and desires.

There is little doubt that the Cox Architects designed Police Complex is quite a good-looking building, but not necessarily in that location in Fremantle. 

It is no doubt an improvement to the current carpark though, but it will restrict the Fremantle Oval redevelopment opportunities up to a point.

Fremantle has too many vacant buildings, so activating them is good in a way, even when the new activation is far from perfect. 

Could we have something else but a cafe in the former Dome premises, and something else but another burger bar in what used to be the meatball place next to Gino’s?


Fremantle council has for well over a decade been trying to convince landlords to get more diversity in the CBD, but ultimately the property owners are more concerned about leasing their vacant properties than about who is going to occupy them, hence more pubs, cafes and restaurants, and not much diversity.

I believe that to change that, we need a more diverse population in the Freo inner city. 

We need more families living here, so that we are getting a more family-friendly environment, where new businesses want to open to cater for them.

In that context mayor Hannah Fitzhardinge’s desire for many more people living in the CND is good, but that requires Fremantle council somehow having more influence on what is being built and where it is being built in the inner city.

The Kings Square Redevelopment Project was a good concept, but it failed to insist on a residential component at what is now Walyalup Koort. 

The contract with Sirona Capital should also have specified that the Spicer’s site could only be developed as residential accommodation, instead of what now will become one of three new and approved hotels.

How can Fremantle council direct the kind of development we are getting? How can they for example convince the owners of the properties along Queen Street to create residential accommodation there, so that Walyalup Koort becomes a 24/7 activated destination? 

Roel Loopers

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