MELVILLE council was guilty of a bit of a muck-up over the lease signing for a proposed wave park in Alfred Cove, but not enough to derail the project.
Earlier this week the Supreme Court of WA knocked out a challenge to the lease by the Swan Foreshore Protection Association, describing it as “arguably, a technical objection”.
The SFPA’s complaint centred around a notice placed in the West Australian by the council of its intention to lease a portion of Tompkins Park for a surf park. The ad named parent company Wave Park Group rather than its subsidiary Urbnsurf Perth which appeared on the paperwork.
Justice David Allanson found that while this was a breach of the rules, he sided with Urbnsurf’s lawyers who’d argued the company shouldn’t be punished because of a minor administrative error by the council.
Justice Allanson also knocked back the challenge because SFPA had been too late in filing its application.
UrbnSurf founder and executive chairman Andrew Ross said the decision meant the McGowan government needed to “get off the sidelines” and throw its support behind the project.
Mr Ross said Urbnsurf would now get its development application to the WA Planning Commission soon.
Justice Allanson awarded Urbnsurf costs, which Mr Ross flagged he’d be seeking to recoup from the SFPA.
“The activities of the Swan Foreshore Protection Association Inc, the Alfred Cove Action Group and others have now wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars of local ratepayer funds and countless hours of Melville council staff time, that should instead have been employed in creating a better community in Melville,” Mr Ross said, his language echoing an upcoming council agenda item that flags freezing out ratepayers whose behaviour is deemed unreasonable.
“These groups and the individuals driving them should be held accountable for their actions by their community members.”
Mr Ross said the decision vindicated Urbnsurf’s decision not to “back down to pressure from a noisy minority”.
Melville CEO Shayne Silcox welcomed the decision and said the council had always acted in ratepayers’ interests.
“The wave park will offer many significant social and economic benefits, and will importantly provide a financial opportunity to help keep rate increases as low as possible into the future for Melville ratepayers,” Dr Silcox said.
He says construction of the $28 million wave park will deliver 51 full-time jobs with $5.2m in salaries.
by STEVE GRANT