The Pencil Guy: Hourann's illogical blog

Changes afoot in Fremantle Harbour

Wednesday 26 December 2007 at 11:37 pm

Proposed development for the Fishing Boat Harbour in Fremantle; Creative Commons licence does not apply to this image

Today’s newspaper reports that the WA Planning Commission gave approval to the
revised plan for Victoria Quay in which a pair of six-storey office buildings and a new shopping area will be built near the Rottnest ferry terminal. In other words, sense has prevailed over petty local opposition.

Along with the DPI plan to upgrade the Fishing Boat Harbour with more room for boats and for people (pictured), this should be a significant boost for Fremantle! Hopefully these projects will draw more visitors and reverse the declines that some businesses in the area have seen.

Quite separately, the State Liberals put forward a proposal last week to shift all of the North Quay operations out of Fremantle to Kwinana, then use the land to create a new residential community. This is basically what was proposed by visiting planning experts at a conference months ago, but it doesn’t strike me as a great idea — though I doubt it’d ever get implemented anyway.

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Maybe not quite what he meant

Friday 26 October 2007 at 11:40 pm

Letter from John Jamieson, Liberal candidate for Fremantle

Alongside the news yesterday of John Howard repeating a $400m pledge for road upgrades across Perth (half of which is for the highways around Perth Airport in partnership with its owners; what, you say, the airport needs money elsewhere?!) was the first letter in my mailbox to tell me who my Liberal candidate is.

What struck me, apart from the absence of commitments to spend money in the region (which I think is the most prominent feature of Liberal campaigning so far), was this line near the end: “Don’t experiment with your vote.”


This seat has been held by Labor for decades.

It’d be an experiment to vote Liberal …


Some matters around Perth, and Google in the fray

Thursday 21 June 2007 at 11:45 pm

Revised ING and Fremantle Ports proposal for Victoria Quay; Creative Commons licence doesn't apply to this image

  • This is the revised development proposal for Victoria Quay in Fremantle, and it’s a clear improvement on the original. But it’s still drawn the ire of Fremantle’s heritage lobby (including the deputy mayor) for being too big; it’ll apparently “drain energy” from the surrounding area. Comparing to ships and harbour cranes, this opposition makes so little sense that I can only guess these folks really don’t want anyone spoiling the view from the Port Authority building.
  • Speaking of resistance to change around Perth, Charles Landry is back in town and will be speaking with Carol Coletta (of the American group CEOs for Cities) at His Majesty’s next Thursday. The topic is “what Perth can offer the global community — in particular the dynamic, innovative and highly mobile 20 to 30-somethings”. Details here.
  • Ten points to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters for stating the obvious in their report: those same young Australians are disillusioned with politics, partly ’cos they’re ill-informed, but mainly because they don’t trust politicians. The report goes on about civics education, but nothing short of Orwellian brainwashing will do unless MPs start reaching out to young people and, you know, actually responding.
  • It’s interesting to watch as Google develops to be (in some ways) more like a traditional corporation, such as by engaging in political lobbying. But when you’re the darling of the Internet, you use a method that will reach out to the young and the busy — a blog littered with YouTube videos.

They call this rag a newspaper?

Thursday 25 January 2007 at 9:46 pm

The front cover of yesterday’s West Australian wasn’t all that unusual by tabloid standards — an emotive and sensationalist caption that calls out a prominent State politician, a nondescript photo that could really have been anything, and a reiteration of past problems.

Not unusual, that is, until the revelation by TV journalists yesterday that in fact, the entire thing was false. The person in the picture was neither frail nor a grandmother, she had asked to rest on some hospital chairs rather than being forced, and it wasn’t for “several hours”. The Health Minister wasn’t at fault at all. So I was expecting some form of apology today — because that’s what tabloids do to retain reader trust.

But the only indication they gave that they were wrong was half a dozen words in the fifth paragraph of an article. They didn’t even print the letter from the person in the photo that had been quoted on TV. Maybe Paul Armstrong, the editor, thinks he’s on some kind of moral high-horse, crusading against a corrupt State … nevermind those pesky facts that suggest otherwise.

I’m no big supporter of the State health system — there are clearly capacity problems and management issues, and the Reid report doesn’t strike me as a particularly comprehensive fix — but this is beyond irresponsible. The Health Minister was understandably annoyed yesterday … if I was one of the parties involved in this, I’d totally be calling lawyers.

And while I’m ranting about our local daily, did I mention it’s a dinosaur that simply doesn’t get the Internet, and is therefore likely to be trounced by it in the coming years? Tuesday’s edition included an article about the Web 2.0 education software Moodle, which has a connection to Perth. All good and well … except that I remember reading about this on TechCrunch months ago. “WE get it first”, indeed.

That same edition had an article about a City of Perth committee and Perth Arena, which mentions how the West supposedly broke the news last Saturday of a plan to build apartments over the arena carpark. Which is kinda true … except that I mentioned it on this blog a fortnight before they did, my source being a picture from the masterplan that I included in that post. And better yet, I first saw that picture on the SkyscraperCity forums in December.

(Unrelated postscript #1: there’s a new compromise proposal for the commercial precinct at Fremantle Harbour, where the Rottnest ferries currently dock, which has come out of a community forum process. This one cuts back on office space a bit and offers Maritime Museum-style architecture in two buildings of six stories. While I can already hear the cries of the local “nothing over two stories!” crowd, I think this proposal is largely a good one, since it clearly has strong community support and also gives Fremantle some much-needed density.)

(Unrelated postscript #2: This is pretty cool — a searchable recording of Bush’s State of the Union speech.)


A tall ship! With Mexicans!

Sunday 11 June 2006 at 3:45 pm

This morning the Mexican Navy’s training and goodwill barque CuauhtĂ©moc ended its stay in Fremantle and sailed for Melbourne.

It lights up very nicely at night and made quite an impressive sight all week as my CircleRoute pulled in to Fremantle after long cramming sessions at uni. But it wasn’t until I was out and about yesterday that I had a chance to get some half-decent photos.

The Mexican barque Cuauhtémoc A Mexican flag by our very own Maritime Museum!

A military guard watches the curious Australians The eagle and the snake Engine controls in Spanish!


Awesome skateboarding

Saturday 15 April 2006 at 6:24 pm

In Fremantle today, there were impressive crowds out for the Street Arts Festival. Looking through the programme I was a touch disappointed to see only two international acts, but one of them — the All Star Skateboard Circus — is a really awesome show. And the dude doing it is a crazy (and very funny) Canadian!

Of the locals, I got to see Mr. Spin juggling lots of balls, and Freo’s crazy silver lady was round and about too.

The All Star Skateboard Circus at the Freo Street Arts Festival   Mr. Spin juggling eight balls   The All Star Skateboard Circus at the Freo Street Arts Festival

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