Feb 14, 2017 - News    No Comments

Different ways of living tiny

There are two events coming up for those who are interested in small and diverse housing options.

6pm on Thursday 2 March, Fremantle Library  (free)

A presentation and panel discussion of local examples pioneering a new phase of modest housing in Fremantle.

Featuring Meriam Salama from the Henry Project, who is looking at retrofitting existing homes for co-housing; Leanne McKenzie, who is creating compact affordable housing, with a particular focus on older single women; and Isabella Streckhardt, who is building her own tiny home and is involved in the local tiny house movement.

Book here 

9.30am – 11.30am Sunday 12 March 

Meet at The Meeting Place (245 South Tce Fremantle) to depart at 9.30am sharp (free)

Celebrate Bike Week and explore local examples of small and diverse housing options providing different ways to live well with less. On the tour, we’ll see a tiny house under construction, multi generational co-housing and the newly built Generation Y home.

Book here



Feb 3, 2017 - News    2 Comments

Barnett must stop the destruction and let voters decide

Wendy Swift, a small business owner from South Fremantle and I handcuffed after trespassing to stop Roe 8 works

Wendy Swift, a small business owner from South Fremantle, handcuffed to me after trespassing to stop Roe 8 works

This week I was arrested for the first time in my life.

Together with 37 others aged 16 to 69 from all walks of life; an artist, a small business owner, a hairdresser, a teacher and a grandmother among them. Far from being “professional protestors”, these are ordinary people driven to extraordinary measures by a government that has shown blatant disregard for due process, public health and safety and good planning.

Colin Barnett says we are criminals, but many people feel what he is doing is criminal. Read more »

Dec 17, 2016 - News    Comments Off on Implementing the South Beach swimming zone

Implementing the South Beach swimming zone

south-beach-pontoonThe South Beach Swimming Zone has been gazzetted and is now in force.

The revised South Metro Boating Guide for the region identifies the swimming zone the full length of South Beach (and little dog beach), so motorized vessels are no longer permitted within 125m of the shoreline.

The Department of Transport has been increasing awareness of the new swimming zone through social media and their education activities. They will also be doing regular patrols of the area.

Today I saw boats parked a safe distance off South Beach, they seemed to be respecting the new rule.

It can be hard to work out what is 125m from shore (especially with the tide going in and out) but as a general rule, you should be able to swim groyne to groyne (and go a little off course) without the fear of running into a boat or being hit by one. Sadly, there were a few jet skis zooming around within the swimming zone today.

Here’s what you can do if a motorized vessel is within the swimming zone:

  1. politely let them know about the swimming zone, as they may not be aware of it (you can point to the signs on the groyne and also the Boating Guide)
  2. contact the Water Police Coordination Centre on 9442 8600 to report the non-compliance and request a patrol vessel
  3. submit a Marine Safety Compliant Form with photos of the vessel to DoT for investigation and possible prosecution

The swimming zone is a wonderful addition to South Beach, making boating and swimming safer for everyone. Let’s help spread the word so there is minimal conflict between users so everyone can enjoy the beach safely this summer.

Dec 14, 2016 - News    Comments Off on A conversation worth having

A conversation worth having

my friend Ron

my friend Ron

I was a teenager when the Mabo and Wik decisions were handed down in the 1990s. There was a growing movement aimed at achieving land rights and reconciliation for Aboriginal Australians. There was finally recognition that the land, now known as Australia, was already inhabited when the first fleet arrived and claimed it for the British Commonwealth.

I know I am in no way responsible for what occurred in 1788, or the generations of trauma, discrimination and disadvantage that followed. But I also know I want to be a part of trying to heal the wounds and finding a more equitable and united way forward.

I always felt uneasy on Australia Day. It was a day I felt signified the beginning of intergenerational trauma and dispossession of one of the oldest cultures on earth. Was it really appropriate to have a party?

To me it was a bit like celebrating Krystal Naucht or Nagasaki.

Certainly it is a day to be remembered, but with reflection rather than celebration.

The Fremantle Council felt that same unease about celebrating Australia Day as I did. But we are not alone. There is a growing national debate about these issues. It is a conversation our nation can have in a thoughtful and respectful manner.

The national youth broadcaster Triple J is considering changing the date they hold the annual “Hottest 100” event, out of respect. Aboriginal Australians of all walks of life including are speaking up about what Australia Day means to them. These are not hardcore lefties or people with political agendas, but ordinary Australians who feel disregarded and disrespected by the celebration of Australia Day.

This is echoed in the US where Indigenous Americans are voicing their hurt about Thanksgiving celebrations, which also originates from the invasion, colonization and persecution of their land and peoples.

With this in mind, Fremantle Council had three options.

  1. Continue business as usual: do not acknowledge the hurt that the day causes and ignore the opportunity for a progressive shift towards reconciliation.
  2. Change the nature of our Australia Day event: to a more somber affair that sought to address the hurt – more focus on survival and acknowledgment of the significance of the day.
  3. Hold a celebration of our wonderful, diverse community and contemporary Australian culture on a day that does not signify invasion and its aftermath.

We chose option three as a positive way forward for the whole community.

“One Day” will be an event where everyone can come together to celebrate our fantastic nation. This is not about denigrating our country or people, it is about being able to celebrate with pride, respect and joy.

Perhaps we can also have a mature conversation about how to heal past wounds, deal with intergenerational trauma and disadvantage and become a more united and proud nation.

Plans are evolving for exactly what will take place on January 28. Consultation with community, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal is underway. People and organisations from across the state are getting in touch wanting to be part of the event and the movement that is emerging. I am very pleased to be a part of it, and I hope you will be too.

Dec 9, 2016 - News    Comments Off on Waterfront renewal

Waterfront renewal

cop-waterfrontA recent visit to Copenhagen led me to unexpected lessons in urban redevelopment of an inner city Port.
A friendly local told me about how 15 years ago the City of Copenhagen decided it wanted to make the waterfront the ‘living room of the city’.
The day I was there, thousands of people flooded to the precinct to enjoy markets, entertainment, water activities and food.

Read more »

Oct 28, 2016 - News    Comments Off on Lessons from Europe and feedback on Perth’s Transport Plan

Lessons from Europe and feedback on Perth’s Transport Plan

A beautiful bike path in central Barcelona

A beautiful bike path in central Barcelona

I recently had the pleasure of cycling through some of Europes most marvellous cities including Barcelona, Berlin and Copenhagen. There were many innovations that could be useful here in Perth and Fremantle.

I have drawn from this experience to offer feedback on the cycling component of the Perth Transport Plan at 3.5m and Beyond, which is attached.


Oct 19, 2016 - News    6 Comments

A safer Hampton Road is a step closer

A container truck on Hampton Road at rush hour

A container truck on Hampton Road at rush hour

The City of Fremantle has made significant progress towards reducing truck traffic and speed on Hampton Road and Ord Street, but we need your help!

The classification of Hampton Road and Ord Street has been changed meaning traffic calming measures can now be implemented.

We have had approval for traffic calming platforms to be constructed at key pedestrian crossing points on Ord Street towards the end of the year.

We have also sought approval for the speed limit to be reduced to 50km an hour on Hampton Road and Ord Street from South Street to Queen Victoria Street, however this should be extended to include South Fremantle.

We have learned that public pressure helps achieve results.

PLEASE EMAIL THE TRANSPORT MINISTER to lend your support for a safer Hampton Road Minister.Marmion@dpc.wa.gov.au  Read more »

Aug 26, 2016 - News    3 Comments

Baugruppen in Berlin

While in Berlin I met with Berthold Pesch, an architect and project manager for UTB – a company that delivers Baugruppen housing across Berlin and Germany. A reminder, Baugrupen means ‘group housing’ and is the term used to describe owner built multiple dwelling developments.

Berthold Pesch from UTB

Berthold Pesch from UTB

As mentioned in my post on Freiburg, this tends to create much more attractive developments, but is also more likely to include sustainability initiatives and tends to cost about 10% less than developer built housing (no developer profits to factor in).

I was keen to learn more about how this works in practice when the ‘developer’ is removed and a collective of owner occupiers work together to design and construct the housing they want to live in.

UTB have become a specialists in the field and I was shown around one of their largest and most recent projects in the trendy Berlin suburb of Templehoff. Read more »

Aug 23, 2016 - News    Comments Off on A lesson in national healing

A lesson in national healing

Berlin wall memorial

Berlin wall memorial

There are a lot of useful lessons that can be learned from Germany about healing and reconciliation after terrible national trauma.

It has been fascinating and deeply moving to visit the sites where terrible atrocities occurred under the Nazis and in the aftermath of WWII, to see them remembered, explained and memorialized.

Many memorials are only in German, because they are not designed for tourists, but for Germans to acknowledge understand. With the help of my local guide who translated, I watched as a mother explained to her young son what Berlin’s book burning memorial was all about.

Jewish memorial, Berlin

Jewish memorial, Berlin

German students learn about the atrocities of WWII, not to feel ashamed and guilty, but to understand and ensure they are never repeated.

I have been watching with interest as Fremantle debates how it should celebrate Australia Day, and I am deeply disappointed I am not there to participate. Read more »

Aug 20, 2016 - News    Comments Off on Reflections from Vauban: utopia or ‘tofu ghetto’?

Reflections from Vauban: utopia or ‘tofu ghetto’?

the infamous light rail

the infamous light rail

When I arrived at my Airbnb in the heart of Vauban, I asked my host what it was like to live there. He called it a ‘tofu ghetto’ – a monoculture of wealthy, white middle class academics – not what I expected at all!

He knew it was a great place to raise a family, but he was concerned his kids would not be raised surrounded be different languages, experiences and points of view (he is from Venezuela).

quality design and sustainability go hand in hand in vauban

quality design and sustainability go hand in hand in vauban

Vauban does a lot of things right. Most famous is the implementation of alternative transport options from the commencement of the development, with light rail was built through the centre of the district as the first of its 5500 residents moved in.

My tour guide Steffan described the history of citizen activism that made Vauban the exemplar community it is today. Through a series of protests and interventions, the community successfully made the case to use the government owned land to create a community they wanted to live in, rather than what developers wanted to build. And the result is outstanding. Read more »