OVER 250 people attended a rally in Alfred Cove on Saturday opposing a proposed wave park in Tompkins Park.
The controversial $28million surf facility would be located on the site of Melville Bowling Club, beside the Swan River, and occupy about 4.4 hectares.
Alfred Cove Action Group convenor David Maynier said the site was “environmentally sensitive” and the proposed park would impact endangered wildlife.
“There is solid data to show that over the past 35 years there has been a catastrophic decline in the population of several critically endangered species that use the Alfred Cove Nature Reserve and Swan Estuary Marine Park,” he said.
“Many of the factors that have led to such a decline will be exacerbated by the Wave Park.
“[A wave park] backed by adequate experience and funding, not cloaked in secrecy, not subsidised by ratepayers, and not shrouded by allegations of conflict of interest, impropriety and misinformation could be a brilliant idea.”
Dr Peter Newman, sustainability professor at Curtin University, said it was a “silly idea” to put a wave park next to the Swan Estuary Marine Park, which was used by migratory birds like the Red Necked Stint and the Eastern Curlew.
He noted that the wetlands in Alfred Cove had been designated as being of international importance under the Ramsar Convention, an intergovernmental environmental treaty established in 1971.
“It’s not a sensible project, anything that proposes something like this should be dismissed immediately,” Dr Newman said.
“It is inappropriate to put anything there, let alone a wave park because it is right next to a recognised Ramsar site requiring international concern.”
The Wave Park Group proposal is currently being assessed by the Environmental Protection Authority, following Melville council approving a 50-year lease for Urbnsurf at the site.
“Wave Park Group has been operational in Australia for about four years, securing sites in Melbourne Essendon airport and Sydney Olympic park, Tompkins park ticks all the boxes for us,” said WPG spokesperson Sasha Jones.
“It’s got good connectivity to transport, its south of the river and west of the freeway, which are all important demographics for us.
“We’ve looked at about 30 sites in Western Australia already.”
In 2016 WPG collected 3,000 signatures supporting the proposed Wave Park at Tompkins Park, but recently ACAG collected about 3,400 signatures opposing the facility.
“On 15 March a Special Electors Meeting was attended by about 500 people who voted unanimously against a wave Park at Alfred Cove,” said Mr Maynier.
By JACKSON LAVELL-LEE