Earlier this year, plans were released by URBNSURF about building a Surf Park with a wave pool in Perth, Western Australia. While many surfers and surfing fans are stoked about the idea of having a consistent flow of waves right in the city, recent developments show some hindrances from making Melville, Perth a surfing mecca.
The problem started when the location of the proposed surf park was revealed. The project will be built at the Swan River’s edge, one of Perth’s most affluent suburbs. But, neighbours are currently opposing the proposal.
News from Perth Now revealed that 200 people signed the petition against the park because the fresh water wave park will be built right at the location of the Melville Bowling Club, which has existed in the same exact location for over 60 years.
Friends of Tompkins Park Group members Margaret Sandford and Martin Kalkhoven, who were among the opposing parties to the Surf Park project told Perth Now that they feared the City government was using the situation to land grab the area where the bowling club is at and eliminate it. They believe that once the club is gone, the City can develop the land in any way they prefer.
They have also pointed out that it was not the right location for a man-made surf attraction. They were concerned about the environmental, traffic congestion and amenity impacts of the proposed project.
On the other end of the argument, project Proponent Andrew Ross, the founder of Wave Park Group and Urbnsurf, said more than 3000 signatures had been collected favouring the plan. About two thirds of the signatures were from residents of the City of Melville.
“The impact we will have is absolutely negligible,” said Ross. “In fact, we believe our project will have net environmental gains to be offered to that area.” The project is expected to open early in 2019 should the City decide in its favour.
Dr. Shayne Silcox, City of Melville chief executive said that a decision is yet to be made whether the wave park project will progress or not, but if it did, all the required assessments and approvals would apply. He rejected claims of a land grab, and he pointed out that the specific site would continue to be used for recreation purposes. He also denied claims that Melville Bowling Club was being forced to move against its will.
If a green light is given, The surf park development project will include a cafe, a rooftop bar and a beach club. There will also be a retail store, a surf academy, some beach cabanas, a climbing wall, some child minding services, a skate course and children’s playground.
Here is the preview of the proposed Surf Park Project: