Rivalry on river

Swan River Trust acting riverpark managerStephen Lloyd. Pictures: Martin Kennealey www.communitypix.com.au d413537
Swan River Trust acting riverpark managerStephen Lloyd. Pictures: Martin Kennealey www.communitypix.com.au d413537

The Trust will hold a six-month review of river use, including stand up paddle boarding and kite surfing, in a project that will eventually guide the granting of commercial licences along the Swan and Canning foreshores throughout the metropolitan area.

The move has been welcomed by the City of Melville, which has asked the Trust to not seek the City’s approval on any more paddleboard or kite surfing schools until its own foreshore management plan is complete.

Trust acting riverpark manager Stephen Lloyd said the study had been commissioned following community concerns about the number of commercial operators in the area, potential safety risks, congestion, environmental impacts, conflict with other river users and the impacts on parking and other infrastructure.

Mr Lloyd said while the Trust recognised both recreational users and commercial operators had legitimate claims to the river, it aimed to ensure balanced access for all river users.

‘The independent study will include a review of existing knowledge and practice on capacity management, indicators and thresholds,’ Mr Lloyd said.

‘Point Walter Reserve and the Melville Beach Road area will be used as case studies to determine the physical, social and environmental capacity for commercial activities. The study will also examine the aquatic activity’s safety, different perceptions of values and its importance to a range of stakeholders.’

City of Melville chief executive Shayne Silcox said the City supported the process and would continue to work collaboratively with the SRT, the Department of Transport and the Department of Parks and

Wildlife to undertake a review of the social, physical and environmental impact on the river and foreshore areas, as well as consider the capacity of commercial recreation activities within Point Walter Reserve.

‘We see this review as an important opportunity to understand what the impact of activity in and around the river today could be in the future – not just in this area but also as an indication of what could happen in other similar foreshore areas across Perth,’ he said.

‘Following completion of the SRT review, the City will be guided by that review to assist in making future decisions regarding river-based commercial activities along the City’s foreshore.’

‘If the schools had just kept the number of students down then it would have worked,’ Myaree-based Windsurfing Perth operator Reg Dan Der Sluys said.

He said a solution was each SUP instructor having just three students, while only three pairs of kite instructors and their students should be allowed at Applecross.

– Have you experienced conflict while recreating at Point Walter or Melville Beach as people using the Swan River for myriad reasons jostle for position and space? Leave a comment.