Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Getting to know Scheme Amendment 49: 'The Why'

This post is a little like a first date. There has been so much said about proposed Scheme Amendment 49 since it was initiated by Council, that I've decided to block out all the static and show the amendment a little bit of love in an effort to get to know it better.

Firstly, let's get the formalities out of the way:

  • Advertising finishes on 7 December 2011.
  • The best way to find the scheme amendment documentation is to get Google to do the work for you by typing in "scheme amendment 49 city of fremantle" and it'll save you the time and frustration of searching the City's website.

For me the answer is simple. Because Freo needs it...more specifically the eastern end of our city centre is crying out for it.

Go to the intersection of Market Street and Cantonment Street and start walking towards Clancy's Fish Pub. Walk about 50 metres and you'll come to my building: the old 'Woodsons Building'. It needs a good lick of paint but other than that it is a good example of what is possible if we revitalise Freo the right way. A mixed use building with thirty six differently sized apartments.

Across the road is a park. Opportunity lost.

Skip the ultra bland office building at the intersection of Cantonment and Queen (another opportunity lost - how was that building approved without a residential component?) and depending on the time of day we begin the 'East End shuffle' (for those of you who aren't familiar with this shuffle, it is associated with the head-down-avoiding-the-attention-of-the-drunks gait).

I've noticed that there is an exponential relationship between the need to start the 'East End shuffle' and the buildings in this part of Freo. Buildings such as the Target building, the Westgate Mall (waiting to catch a bus outside the old Spotlight store must feel a little like being in the middle of a boxing match), and last but certainly not least that ode to East German 1970s Stasi style architecture, the Point Street car park.  These buildings are just plain ugly and, to their lasting detriment, they have failed to become places. 

In my three and a half years living in the centre of Freo I don't recall ever needing to do a 'West End shuffle'. For me 'the why' for this amendment has to be about getting rid of the need for an 'East End shuffle' and creating some great, vibrant and people-friendly places in the eastern end of our city centre.


  1. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that especially the easte end of Fremantle needs good development, Michael. Point street compliments the Woolstores eyesore, the awful Target building,and the West Gate slum mall.

    Roel Loopers

  2. Hi michael,
    agree, agree, on above points.
    what's ur thoughts on poss that SA#49 will stall the currently approved east end development opps? +what chances kings sq being deliniated special civic/cultural precinct within #49, or should that be other amendment? ciao cathy

  3. You've hit the nail on the head Roel!

  4. Hey Cathy - thanks for commenting and for your questions.

    Re: Whether or not SA49 could be stalling east end development opportunities

    (By east end, I'm assuming that you're referring to the scheme amendment that included properties along Queen Victoria Street?)

    Firstly, I don't know.

    I think that sometimes it takes a while for development to occur, which in the case of that scheme amendment it is probably a good thing as design guidelines haven't been published. From my understanding of what has occurred in West Perth it does take some time for redevelopment to occur, especially when it is solely in the hands of private developers. So, I don't feel that this is necessarily an either/or situation (competing scheme amendments).

    From the City's perspective what is important is that it takes the time to not only attract developers but to ensure great buildings and places. Quality over quantity!

  5. Hey Cathy

    Re: Kings Square

    I like the cut of your jib. It feels more intuitive to recognise all of Kings Square as a special civic/cultural precinct and to treat it differently, because it is so important!

    As you mention one option could be to amend the current proposed SA49 by identifying Kings Square as a special civic/cultural precinct and including some objectives and outcomes specific to the future development of this precinct. It could be stipulated that an approved detailed area plan and design guidelines would be required before any applications would be considered.

    Another option could be to involve the community, businesses and landowners up front in the preparation of a dedicated, bespoke strategy for the Kings Square precinct. When completed the strategy would provide the rationale for carrying out a dedicated scheme amendment, detailed area plan and design guidelines as well as a place making plan and other actions.

    Take it easy,