Bill Edgar, who runs Golden Sun Cruises from the nearby jetty, said he believed there would be problems with flushing at the location chosen for the project’s inlet.
‘If you look from the water, you’ll see that the main drain coming down from the city, down William Street, is right at the mouth where the inlet’s going to be,’ he said.
‘So any bad water from the city is going to be right at the mouth of the inlet ” anyone who knows anything about the Swan River knows that it doesn’t flush out at Perth Waters.’
Professor Jorg Imberger, from the Centre for Water Research at the University of WA, agreed the inlet’s design could be problematic, adding that a tracking device for water retention showed water remained in the inlet for more than 150 days.
‘I wrote to the Premier a year ago telling him that this was a really bad location and asking if they had checked the retention,’ he said. ‘I got a letter saying that yes, the consultants had checked it, and that flushing is quite active there.
‘A few months later, I met someone who had lived in the area for a very long time ” he was a retiree in his 80s ” and he asked, ‘why are they building Elizabeth Quay there? When I was a kid, that’s where all the garbage was and we never went swimming there’.’
Professor Imberger said that even if little pollution entered the inlet, algal growth would be likely.
Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (MRA) chief executive Kieran Kinsella said water quality would be carefully monitored during and after construction.
He said hydrodynamic modelling undertaken for the inlet had demonstrated that it had good flushing rates and water quality would be similar to that of the adjacent Swan River environment.
Onsite works are currently under way to prepare for construction of the 2.7ha inlet, including improvements to the external road network, major service infrastructure upgrades for the CBD and reconfiguration of the existing jetty system.
‘A number of small improvements to the Barrack Street Jetty, including a new children’s playground, performance space, seating, shade and cyclist facilities, have been recently undertaken by the MRA,’ Mr Kinsella said.