ANDREW ROSS is executive chairman of URBNSURF Perth, which is planning to build a Wave Park in Alfred Cove. Following environmental approval for the project we took bits of his statement for our story last week, but because wave park opponents get a good airing in the paper generally we thought we’d run the rest this week.
RECENTLY in the Herald I corrected the record about the lease agreement for the wave park at Tompkins Park.
Now I am pleased to report the Environmental Protection Authority has published its long-awaited determination on the surf park project, and confirmed it will have no significant impacts on the environment.
Given speculation as to the wave park’s possible environmental impacts, we elected to self refer the project to the EPA in late 2017.
This was to let the independent environmental watchdog resolve these issues so the community could have confidence in the project.
We had heard in the media and online concerns about the devastation the project would bring to migratory wading birds, pollution of the groundwater table, the destruction of the Swan River and the foreshore, the killing of dolphins and absolute certainty that Tompkins Park itself was highly contaminated.
We were even called out as environmental vandals for proposing an innovative sport and recreation project at the largest sports and recreation reserve in the southern suburbs.
The community was told that we were at best being naïve, or at worst we were knowingly planning to destroy the environment.
Well, after five months of rigorous review, the EPA has published the most detailed public advice note of its reasons for any project ever, and confirmed the wave park does not pose any form of risk to the environment of any significance, either within the Alfred Cove area or elsewhere.
It now appears the concerns raised around environment was simply a case of persons opposed to the project on any grounds using the emotive topic of the environment to confuse and mislead the community through hysterical arm waving.
So you would expect that former mining industry consultant, David Maynier and local lawyer, Margaret Sanford from the Alfred Cove Action Group, and former Australian Taxation Office investigator, Clive Ross from the Swan Foreshore Protection Association would be doing back flips of joy this week, with it finally being determined the project will not hurt the environment, for which each of their organisations was formed to protect.
But no, unsurprisingly, they are now questioning the legitimacy of the EPA and its work, stating they will appeal the decision, which will simply add further delay in their continuing efforts to play the system.
The mantra of the anti-change lobby has long been, “we are not against the wave park, only its location due to our concerns for the environment”.
In light of the decision of the EPA, the hollowness of this mantra can now be seen.
Bicton MP Lisa O’Malley has said she was concerned about the project and wanted it to be the subject of an environmental review.
The EPA has now categorically resolved this issue. We therefore ask Lisa to confirm her support for this project – a project that has overwhelming community support and which meets all of the state government’s policy objectives around jobs, tourism, health, community amenity and economic growth.
As a senior representative of the community it is Ms O’Malley’s responsibility to provide leadership on this issue.
She must ask the small number of anti-progressive residents to instead consider the greater community good, rather than pursuing their self-interested agenda that continues to cost local residents hundreds of thousands of dollars in wasted rates, and is eroding the fabric of the City of Melville community.
We look forward to Ms O’Malley’s response.