OVER 650 residents swamped Melville council’s civic centre on Monday night for a fractious special electors’ meeting to discuss a proposed Alfred Cove wave park.
Dissenters drowned-out supporters of the wave park by a clear margin, but council officers were unprepared for the crowd and decided not to take a vote. Instead they will mail out postal votes to everyone who registered at the meeting, a move which has outraged opponents.
“It would not have been appropriate to count and validate votes in those circumstances and the decision was made to revert to a postal vote to ensure the integrity of the process,” CEO Shayne Silcox said.
The postal vote contains two motions: one asking the council to withdraw all support for the wave park at Tompkins Park, and another from proponent Wave Park Group asking that it be given any objections so they can be addressed in any development application.
The outcome won’t be binding.
Councillors will consider a lease for WPG at the February council meeting.
If the ground lease is granted, the WPG will still have to submit a development application and comply with state regulations on traffic, noise, and the environment.
Melville residents are divided over the $25 million project, with supporters claiming the lagoon’s cutting edge technology will provide an unparalleled facility for surf training and offer a family day out with idyllic views of the Swan river.
But they face a groundswell of opposition from the Alfred Cove Action Group, which says Melville has been too developer-friendly.
“It’s just a dash for cash and to hell with everything else,” resident Jacky Ladbrook said.
“Why not turn it into public open space, why not build a playground?” ACAG committee member Margaret Sandford asked.
“We the ratepayers…are being asked to trust the wave park group won’t wreck our precious river ecosystem,” Mr Lubin of Burke Drive said.
WPG CEO Andrew Ross asked Monday night’s hostile crowd to withhold judgement, and promised the project would not go ahead if the regulatory process found Tompkins Park was an unsuitable location.
“We do not have any concluded views on the feasibility of this project and we ask that you do the same,” Mr Ross said.
by TRILOKESH CHANMUGAM