Green groups raise toxin fears

• Save the Cockatoos and supporters say this Princep Road site has too much valuable black cocky tucker to be given over to a wave park. Photo by Steve Grant

ENVIRONMENTAL groups have called for a guarantee that a proposed wave park in Cockburn won’t be affected by recently discovered contamination on part of Jandakot Airport.

Residents living near the north-west corner of the airport were told by airport manager Jandakot Airport Holdings in November last year that toxic chemicals previously used in fire fighting equipment had been found in groundwater near their homes. The chemicals, known as PFAS, are only considered a low risk to human health, but the residents were told not to drink the groundwater, water their vegie gardens with it, or fill their swimming pools.

JAH has been monitoring the contamination for several years, but the letter to residents was the first public acknowledgement that it had moved through the groundwater.

Save the Cockatoos representative Paddy Cullen said it was a wake-up call.

“If groundwater is taken from the Jandakot Mound for the surf park, people need a guarantee that PFAS contamination from Jandakot airport will never reach the site,” Mr Cullen said.

He noted safe limits for PFAS were much stricter in the US, and said it would be terrible if surfers ended up swimming with it.

Although the affected area is well north of the wave park’s Princep Road location, Mr Cullen said the chemicals are likely to be heading towards the groundwater in other areas.

At its closest, the wave park would be about two kilometres from airport land.

Wave Park proponent Aventuur recently had its development application approved by the Outer Metro JDAP after the Environmental Protection Authority decided against a formal review of the project.


The application shows that Aventuur is hoping to take the majority of the water to fill its 26,000 cubic metre lake from the deeper Leederville Aquifer, with top-ups from more superficial aquifers.

Aventuur head Andrew Ross said he was delighted by the approval and hopes to begin construction later this year.

“This is an incredibly exciting day for Western Australians, and for the Aventuur team,” Mr Ross said.

“We’ve been working closely with the WA government and the City of Cockburn to design an authentic, inclusive and sustainable surf park, and I couldn’t be more stoked that we’re one step closer to delivering a new community asset for Perth.

“We plan on utilising ‘zero embedded carbon’ concrete during construction, sourcing 100 per cent of the park’s power requirements from renewable resources, generating and storing our own solar power, harvesting rainwater from the building roofs, composting organic waste on site, eliminating single use plastics, and procuring local materials and products wherever possible.

“As a team of passionate surfers, we believe it’s our responsibility to have a positive impact on the planet, in Jandakot where our park is located, and in our local Cockburn and Perth communities.”

Save the Cockatoos is also angry at the Environmental Protection Authority’s decision not to formally assess the site.

“The vegetation has been impacted by historical clearing and on-going degrading processes leading to large proportion of weeds and limited canopy connectivity,” the EPA wrote in its reasoning.

“The vegetation is of low-moderate quality foraging habitat for black cockatoo.”

Mr Cullen points to Aventuur’s own environmental report which found that 3.16 hectares of the site was “good to very good” cockatoo foraging.


Saying he’d spotted a flock of cockies flying over just before a photo shoot with the Herald, Mr Cullen said he was concerned the EPA wasn’t taking into account the accumulated affect of the clearing of banksia woodland in the metro area.

“With 897 public calls for a Public Environmental Review to the EPA it is a scandal that they said it did not need to be assessed,” Mr Cullen said.

“If they cannot save areas needed by endangered species they are not doing their job.

“We are not against the surf park, per se, just the location.

“Our vision for the are would be to see reserves expanded and linked with wildlife corridors.

“We are losing these special islands of green in a sea of concrete and bitumen when we need to be linking them together so these endangered species will be here for all time and not slip into extinction.”


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