Old Salt wins bidding war to develop the Swan River’s first barge

An artist's impression of The Raft.
An artist's impression of The Raft.

OLD Salt has won the bidding war with Barge Co to develop the Swan River’s first barge, with its smaller scale design.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson and Tourism Minister Paul Papalia today announced that the application for the $2 million barge The Raft by Perth family business Old Salt, was the successful one.

The barge should be up and running by summer 2019.

Mr Dawson said Barge Co’s application for a 50m long floating entertainment venue with a pool, which would have also moored offshore of Coogee Beach, drew concerns from nine government departments and was rejected.

He did not rule out the potential for a second barge in the future.

“We are open to working with the other proponent on any other project; they may walk away from this application or submit another,” he said.

“The major concern was the size and risk to the Fremantle traffic bridge.”

Mr Dawson said the Swan River Trust Board initially said no to both projects.

The Raft will be about 36.5m long, have one bar and-service area, hold up to 250 people, and have about 20 permanent staff.

Katie Chrystal, from Old Salt, said a lot of work still needed to be done on the “minimal, simple” project, with the liquor license still not finalised.

“A lot is still to be decided because we had to adhere to quite a few conditions still,” she said.

“(But) it will be a permanently moored location, so we will be doing transfers from Barrack Street jetty.

Ms Chrystal said it would be a function-type vessel, which would host a range of events from intimate gigs to large functions, including fashion, art, food, weddings and movies.

Her Dad Haydn Chrystal was confident Perth residents would embrace the barge.

“I think they will froth it, to be honest,” he said.

Tourism Minister Paul Papalia said he welcomed any new venture that added to Perth’s vibrancy and offered visitors more choice of activities.

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