City of Melville reject bird sanctuary plan at proposed wave park site

The proposed wave park in Alfred Cove.
The proposed wave park in Alfred Cove.

THE City of Melville will not consider a concept plan for a bird sanctuary at the proposed wave park site from the Alfred Cove Action Group (ACAG).

The ACAG are proposing the Tompkins Park site be used for the Melville Bird Sanctuary and Discovery Centre, which would include an “environmentally friendly” cafe, playground, boardwalk and bird viewing platform.

A petition has been started on the Conservation Council of WA’s website with more than 500 already pledging their support, with the plan to be presented to Planning Minister Rita Saffioti.

City acting chief executive Marten Tieleman said that the City was not in a position to consider any alternative proposal for the Alfred Cove site at this stage, as the council had committed to a legally binding ground lease agreement with Urbnsurf.

ACAG spokeswoman Jane Edinger said it was the early days of the concept plan.

“In relation to the finances for the project we are hoping the City of Melville would finance the capital works required to make the bird sanctuary and discovery centre a reality, with a Trust being established for ongoing management,” she said.

“We believe it is very feasible, the council is planning on spending $9.4 million on the Tompkins Park redevelopment and we believe this will cost less.”

Conservation Council of WA Director Piers Verstegen said his organisation had been supporting community groups who were opposed to the wave park project.

“We don’t feel it’s an appropriate development for the site,” he said.

“I believe the more sustainable option is for a bird sanctuary, which would create tourist demand.”

Urbnsurf and Wave Park Group founder and chairman Andrew Ross said the company believed delivering improvements to the local environment was a great idea, which is why their project included funding to rehabilitate the “highly degraded foreshore edge” in front of the surf park site.

“We will also create a living stream out of an existing stormwater drain that runs into the river, so our project will result in real improvements to the river foreshore,” he said.

“It makes little sense to propose developing and a bird sanctuary, to build a discovery centre, and remove an area of active recreation space in a place where there has never been any existing significant bird habitat.

“Habitat of significance is in fact located further to the west of the project site and around in front of Troy Park.”