Melville: Spending on proposed wave park could be frozen after electors meeting vote

The Mt Pleasant Baptist Community College was close to capacity for a special electors meeting on Wednesday evening.
The Mt Pleasant Baptist Community College was close to capacity for a special electors meeting on Wednesday evening.

SWAN Foreshore Protection Association (SFPA) chairman Clive Ross says he is confident Melville councillors will back ratepayers by freezing projects at Tompkins Park.

Mr Ross, known for his work with the Alfred Cove Action Group, gathered close to 300 signatures to trigger a special electors meeting on Wednesday evening.

The public flooded into the Mt Pleasant Baptist Community College auditorium, leaving just a few of the 700 available seats empty.

Mr Ross found overwhelming support for his motion, which asked the City of Melville to scrap any possible spend preparing land for the proposed $25 million wave park and $9.4m Tompkins Park redevelopment until a local government inquiry has been completed and Supreme Court action resolved.

He also called for the City to review its decision to move the Melville Bowling Club.

Mr Ross said the backing from electors on Wednesday showed there was “huge concern” from a community which felt unheard.

He said he was confident the vocal crowd, which made use of presentation and question opportunities, made councillors take notice.

“The people have spoken,” he said.

“I expect (the councillors) to implement (the motion) and if they choose to ignore it, it will compound the problems already facing them.”

The motion could be put before councillors as early as Tuesday, although Melville Mayor Russell Aubrey said it was likely to feature in February.

He chose not to pre-empt a decision.

“It is an independent decision of council whether to support any or all aspects of that motion,” he said.

The inquiry – announced by Local Government Minister David Templeman at the end of 2017 – will consider, among other things, matters related to the council’s relationship with its administration and the adequacy of its policies and procedures.

Recommendations will then be handed down in a process that took take a year to complete.

The legal challenge, lodged with the Supreme Court just prior to Christmas, relates to the validity of the ground lease.

An application for a judicial review, put forward by the SFPA, argues the City failed to advertise the name of the lessee in its business case for the $25 million wave park proposed for Alfred Cove, as it was required to do.

“Should the matter proceed, the SFPA will seek access to all documents held by the City of Melville and Urbnsurf and Wave Park Group relating to the process that was followed,” Mr Ross said.

He said documents previously considered by the City to be “commercially confidential” would have to be made available, as would information regarding the level of knowledge offered to councillors before they made their decision on the lease.

Mr Aubrey said the City had sought legal advice.

“We look forward to the Supreme Court’s considerations on this issue,” he said.

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