28/03/2019 - 14:20

State govt spikes wave park

28/03/2019 - 14:20

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The McGowan government has brought a sudden end to long-running plans for a $28 million wave park on the Swan River, ironically just one day after the Tourism Council WA complained that the wave park was one of 16 new tourist experiences being held up by government red tape.

State govt spikes wave park
URBNSURF founder and executive chairman Andrew Ross (left) with senior project manager Ben McCarthy.

The McGowan government has brought a sudden end to long-running plans for a $28 million wave park on the Swan River, ironically just one day after the Tourism Council WA complained that the wave park was one of 16 new tourist experiences being held up by government red tape.

Lands Minister Ben Wyatt said today he would be rejecting a proposal by the City of Melville to utilise a portion of Crown land for the wave park project, located near Tompkins Park.

Private Perth company URBNSURF is behind the project, and last June thought it was on the path to development after overcoming community objections and clearing the environmental approvals process.

Mr Wyatt noted the very positive vision for the project but added it was not appropriate to hand over a portion of riverfront land owned by the community and in constant use by the community.

He also noted that similar projects in Sydney and Melbourne, also developed by URBNSURF, were slated to be built near Olympic Park and Tullamarine Airport respectively, and not in high-value areas on the foreshore surrounded by residential development.

Mr Wyatt said the state government remained open to working with the developers to find a more suitable site.

“While I admire the enthusiasm of the developers, we must remember that it is land owned by the community, and without local support it is impossible to justify locking future generations out of the space which was designated for public recreation and constant use,” Mr Wyatt said in a statement.

URBNSURF is led by former oil and gas executive Andrew Ross.

Mr Ross told Business News last June that a development application for the $28 million project was the final regulatory step.

Approval was expected to pave the way for more than 300 people to start construction by the third quarter of 2019.

Mr Wyatt said today that the parcel of Crown land was only a very small part of the overall land required for the development.

However, the developers were aware that it was necessary for the project to proceed.

Tourism Council WA chief executive Evan Hall said yesterday that new attractions often struggled to survive costly and time-consuming approval processes.

“The proposed new experiences announced today are supported by the people of Perth, with an average 87 per cent of Perth residents supportive or neutral to the 16 proposed attractions,” he said.

“Regulatory agencies should take into account broad community support for these attractions, and the jobs they will create, when assessing proposed new attractions.”

Mr Hall said only 13 per cent of international visitors to Perth visited an attraction during their trip, the lowest of any major Australian city.

“It has been more than 25 years since Perth has welcomed a new major attraction,” he said.

“In the meantime, other states have created amazing experiences that are loved by locals and attract visitors from around the world.” 

The 16 proposed new attractions are:

•            Perth Cable Car

•            Wave Park by the Swan River

•            Resort Deck on the Swan River

•            Thermal Baths by the Swan River

•            Thermal Baths on Rottnest Island

•            Ropes Course and Zipline on Rottnest Island

•            Stadium Roof Climb

•            Swan River Zipline

•            Stadium Footbridge Climb

•            Helicopter Tours from a Swan River Helipad

•            BBQ Buoys on the Swan River

•            Experiential Eco-Accommodation by the Swan River

•            Perth Abseil

•            Ropes Course in Kings Park

•            Experiential Eco-Accommodation in Kings Park

•            Seaplane Tours from the Swan River

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