FREMANTLE: IS IT TOO EARLY TO ENCOURAGE VISITORS ?

COULD FREMANTLE BECOME A VIRUS HOT-SPOT?

On 9th June the premier announced three new COVID 19 cases in the WA. Since then a few more cases have been diagnosed,  taking the current total to 21 confirmed cases. (12th July). These numbers represent the new spike in cases of Covid 19 in WA. 

COUNCIL IS  RAMPING UP CAMPAIGN TO ATTRACT VISITORS

Fremantle has no testing centre for the virus. We also have a very high number of visitors, mostly from the Perth metropolitan area, especially at weekends.  Council are now ramping up their  campaign to attract tourists, highlighted by this weekend’s opening of Fremantle Markets, said to be the biggest attraction in the city.

Covid 19’s ability to mutate, spread rapidly and  efficiently attach to humans, should be cause for concern in Fremantle which could quickly become a hot-spot for an outbreak.

Given the logistics of travelling to a testing centre, the nearest being at Fiona Stanley Hospital, it may be that not a large proportion of Fremantle’s residents will have been tested. Less than 10% of the population of WA have been and logic says only about 3000 of Fremantle’s 30,000 residents may have been.

We also have a high number of homeless people on the streets and have little idea of their issues related to personal hygiene or social contacts. We are currently witnessing an outbreak in Melbourne which has spread exponentially throughout the state following  strict quarantine measures, initially aimed at low income groups in high density housing, failed.

QUARANTINE NOT TOTALLY SUCCESFULL

We know from experience elsewhere in Australia that quarantine and other controls have not been totally successful. Current experience in WA indicates we have been fortunate to control the virus, largely because of  efficient actions implemented by the State Government and possibly the general distribution of a low rise, low density population.

Recent cases in WA, albeit attributed to passenger arrivals who are in quarantine, seem to have arisen since the easing of restrictions, incrementally removed in the past few weeks. General information related to the incubation period for the virus is said to be anywhere between 14 to 28 days. We also know that workers related to quarantine lockdowns have been responsible for infections in the general community in Victoria and news from both Victoria and NSW suggests that easing restrictions may not be wise – the more people working in quarantine situations the greater the chance of the virus reaching the public.

NO TESTING CENTRE CLOSE TO FREMANTLE

A readily accessible testing clinic  should be established in Fremantle, the hospital would be a perfect location.

We  should question whether  it is safe to keep easing restrictions and attracting visitors to Fremantle?  The government have put some dates for easing back but casual observations indicate there is no general  concern among the public for social distancing.  It is important for that to be re-enforced. We know from recent outbreaks it takes one person in contact with a small group to create a rapid spread of the virus.

Testing centres in the Perth metropolitan areas can be located on this link:

<https://pathwest.health.wa.gov.au/COVID-19/Pages/default.aspx>

Roger Garwood, Editor, Fremantle Backchat <editorbackchat@gmail.com>

TRANSPERTH DE-RAILS ROEL LOOPERS

ROEL LOOPERS RECENTLY SAID THE WORK OF TRANSPERTH CLEANERS IS ‘PATHETIC’. A TRANSPERTH  SPOKESMAN HAS DE-RAILED LOOPERS’ OBSERVATION.

In  a recent blog Roel Loopers made a derogatory statement about cleaners of Transperth train carriages on the Fremantle Perth line.

In his statement he admitted he is not a frequent user of the trains but stated: “Pathetic to see the cleaning attempts for Covid-19 by four young women at the Fremantle train station. Each of them with a wet wipe in each hand, but no spray, walking along the carriage and totally ignoring the individual hand loops that hang from the ceiling in the trains. The upright hand bars were also only cleaned as far as they good [sic] reach while standing upright. PTA get your act together!”

That is a remarkably condemning and sexist statement from a person who claims to be an ‘investigative blogger’ offering a ‘free professional service’. 

TRANSPERTH PRECAUTIONS SHOW LOOPERS IS OFF THE RAILS

Following an enquiry by Fremantle Backchat a spokesman for Public Transport Authority, David Hynes, issued a statement which  derails Loopers’ observations. 

Mr Hynes outlined a number of precautions which have been implemented in the interests of public safety since the Covid 19 pandemic was declared. He said: “Trains, buses and ferries, which have always been cleaned every day, are now undergoing a substantially escalated cleaning regime and are cleaned more frequently.”

He explained that all touch points, which include internal and external door buttons, hand rails, and hanging straps are regularly wiped down with disinfectant and said “For our Fremantle line this happens each time a train pulls into Fremantle Station”.

NO INSTANCES OF INFECTIONS FROM TRANSPERTH

In addition Mr Hynes detailed that at other stations escalator belts, elevator buttons, ticketing machines and railings are regularly cleaned and high traffic stations, which include Perth Underground, Perth Station and Elizabeth Quay, are cleaned as frequently as every 60 to 90 minutes.

He concluded by saying the cleaning regimes are supervised and regularly audited.  He confirmed there have been no instances of Covid 19 transmission on Transperth services.

CLEANERS AT THE COALFACE

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen many inconveniences to lifestyles world-wide. As a result there has been widespread appreciation of the work of people who make our lives safer and easier.  These workers, such as those  in the health services – and those who clean our public transport –  are now visibly  working at a dangerous coalface.

JOONDALUP TRIALS ELECTRIC CAT

A few days after Fremantle Councillors voted to kill one CAT route and halved the service of the other the State Government announced it will trial an electric CAT service in Joondalup.

The service will operate on 5km circuit from early in 2022 and is designed to support local jobs and commuters.

A ministerial statement released on July 2nd outlined that passengers on the experimental bus will be able to travel in style as a result $549 million, ten year contract awarded by the State Government.

The Volvo vehicles will be supplied through the existing bus supply agreement, with the cost of electric buses at the current Transperth specification estimated at $1 million per vehicle.

The service will operate on 5km circuit from early in 2022 and is hoped will support local jobs and commuters.

Roger Garwood, Editor, Fremantle Backchat

<editorbackchat@gmail.com>

FREMANTLE COUNCIL DOES NOT HAVE A VALID REASON FOR HIGH DENSITY DEVELOPMENT

FREMANTLE COUNCIL DOES NOT HAVE A VALID REASON FOR HIGH RISE, HIGH DENSITY,  DEVELOPMENT AND MUST URGENTLY REVISE PLANS WHICH ONLY SERVE DEVELOPERS’  AND THEIR LOBBYISTS’ PROFITS. NOR CAN WE ALLOW SOCIAL ENGINEERING TO BECOME A THREAT TO SOCIETY.

The Victorian Government’s lockdown of high rise public housing appears be a demonstration of discriminatory social engineering.

Are Melbourne’s residents, and the rest of Australia’s population, expected to believe that people living in high rise, high density (HRHD) public housing are more likely to be a threat to society than those living in expensive suburbs?

The action by Daniel’s government is well intended but why is there no lockdown in HRHD apartments located in, say, Melbourne’s wealthy HRHD Docklands?

The lockdown of these residents, as well in those in high rise apartments in Europe, and similar action  in Wuhan, is a demonstration that developing high density accommodation is short sighted. It is a demonstrably dangerous health hazard and alternatives should be researched.

When looking at the outbreaks of Covid 19 world wide it is a reasonable assumption they have largely started and spread in HRHD areas, mainly in late winter and gaining momentum as the virus adapted to warmer climates during the northern hemisphere spring. The latest Melbourne outbreaks have occurred as the Victorian winter progressed beyond its hot summer into winter. Does this indicate Covid 19 is climate resistant and can rapidly adapt to change?

WA’s GOVERNMENT ACTED QUICKLY AND EFFECTIVELY WHILE DEMONSTRATING HUMANITARIAN CARE

We have been fortunate in Western Australia. Our government efficiently handled the problem of infections aboard cruise ships and ships overstaying their planned visits to Fremantle while providing humanitarian support, a demonstration of good governance. Continuing to enforce State border closures as well as reenforcing strict quarantine systems is prudent. It also emerged that, among others, the most important services to society are offered by truck drivers and health care workers, not wealthy businessmen who can ‘fly in, fly out’ in luxury jets.

FREMANTLE COUNCIL MUST NOW DEMONSTRATE IT CAN ADAPT TO CHANGING LOCAL AND GLOBAL CIRCUMSTANCES.

All government sectors, including Fremantle Council, must revise their notions of HRHD developments. Covid 19 is unlikely to leave in a hurry. Researchers have observed the virus is adept at progressively and rapidly changing. In particular it has found efficient ways to attach itself to humans and the closer people are packed the more the virus likes it! Consideration must be given as to future development of the city to tourism. Longer term residents will have memories of the community in the ’70s to the mid ’80s when the city thrived on existing resources which included a variety of shops and limited development. Tourism has a reputation for collapsing in relatively short time spans without any assistance from a virus.

The ‘organic’ development in South Fremantle is a demonstration of how successful communities can become when they cater for predominantly local trade. For council to promote South Fremantle in its tourist destination marketing may be the kiss of death, driving local trade away in much the same manner as happened in the centre of the city during and following the period of the America’s Cup Defence. Rents will increase, parking will become an increasing problem and high density living will present additional problems.

FREMANTLE HOSPITAL SHOULD BE ‘VIRUS’ PROOFED TO BECOME AN EMERGENCY & ICU CENTRE

It is time for the WA Government to ensure Fremantle Hospital becomes fully utilised. Could unused wards be redeveloped into emergency ICU wards? This is not the last time we will encounter threats from highly disciplined bugs and the high cost of preparing for similar events should not be a consideration. Plans must be made on the assumption that, whether or not a vaccine is developed, we will face more, possibly greater, threats. 

HIGH RISE ACCOMMODATION IS THE SOLUTION OF LAST RESORT AND IT CANNOT BE ORDERED TO SAIL INTO THE SUNSET

We have experienced issues related to rapid infections in the packaging of passengers aboard cruise ships, coincidently demonstrating that  wealth is not a deterrent to infection. Now, on our geographical doorstep, we witness HRHD is a major threat related to the rapid spread of disease. Unlike cruise ships high rise buildings cannot be ordered to sail into the sunset.

The reasons for HRHD in Fremantle and elsewhere in the world is two-fold. Governments do not want to expand the footprints of cities,  they want to relieve themselves of expanding infrastructure costs such as building roads, expanding public transport, water supplies, sewage treatment and power. 

The other reason is that smooth talking, developers – snake oil salesmen with no consideration for the population – sell their ideas to gullible councillors. Developers seek only one outcome – large profits.

It is time for a complete rethink of the manner in which we accommodate a sustainable society. There are viable theories which need to be studied and adapted. 

High rise, high density, development is the solution of last resort and has demonstrated a costly vulnerability. 

World Class Photography Show at Moore’s Gallery

 

© Goran Jovic

Fremantle International Portrait Prize  (FIPP)

Since it is inception about ten years ago FIPP has grown to be one of largest photographic portrait shows in Australia and the largest in WA.

Last Saturday evening (12th October) was the grand opening at the Moore’s Building of the Fifth Fremantle International Portrait Prize (FIPP). About two hundred invited guests, including some of Australia’s top photographers, attended the opening of an inspiring exhibition.

© Laura Holdsworth

FIPP is rather special, not only because it has attracted entries from about 40 countries, putting the City front and centre on the international photographic scene,  but because it is run totally by volunteers and held to benefit  charity. Most photographic competitions are actually businesses, established to make profits for organisers. FIPP is managed by a small group of professional and amateur photo enthusiasts who have thus far raised in excess of $60,000 for charities, in particular the Arthritis Foundation.

© Liv Stockley

The work of  150 high quality finalists is on show together with the winners in a number of sections. Of particular interest  for enthusiasts is the section dedicated to smart phone entrants displays quality which challenges that of high end equipment.

© Malcolm Peacock

Go along and pick a winner. One winner has not been Judged. It’s always a mystery – the choice of the public. It’s worth spending an hour of your time in the historical Moore’s Building gallery in Henry Street to meander through this collection which ranges through styles of work in both classic black & white to  colour photography. Go along, drop a couple of bucks in the collection tin, check the show out and vote for your choice of winner. You’ll find the judges’ winners but you don’t be intimidated by their choice. This is your chance to make somebody’s day.

© Ross Swanborough

Backchat has published this selection the winners and place getters (there are more) with the photographers’ names but no details as to what they won.  It’s entertaining to go along, buy the beautiful catalogue and hunt down the winners on the walls. You can also grab one of the best coffees in town at the Moore and Moore Cafe.

© Sarah Fairbanks

There really is something here for all tastes in photography.

image
© Istvan Kerekes

No need to be a top end pro: This is a broad  collection of photographs which shows you do not have to be a top end professional photographer to produce world class images. It’s a competition open to both amateur and professional shooters.

© Jennifer Leahy

Go along, take the kids, take your time and enjoy the best show in town

© Peter Morton

The Judges Secrets: For real  enthusiasts a new innovation as been added to this event. On Wednesday evening, 23rd October, in the Moore’s Building the three judges will be answering questions and debating how they reached their conclusions. It will be interesting, enlightening and challenging and will certainly give future aspirants winning tips to ponder over. There is an entry fee of $20 this event.

The FIPP show is on until Sunday 27th October, open every day from 10.00am until 4.00pm. The gallery is a pleasant five minute walk from the Fremantle Railway Station via the old West End of the City.

NOTE: All photographs are copyright and may not be used for any purpose other than that of fair comment and review.

Roger Garwood, Editor, Fremantle Backchat : editorbackchat@gmail.com