TEMPERS flared and debate dissolved into a shouting match at the conclusion of a tense special electors meeting called to discuss the environmental and community impacts of a proposed Alfred Cove wave park.
More than 600 people packed into the Melville Civic Centre on Monday evening, far more than anticipated.
When it became clear a vote by show of hands on a motion calling on council to withdraw support for the wave park would take hours to determine, the City announced it would instead resort to a postal ballot of those that had signed the attendance register.
The decision sparked outrage among the approximately 300 people packed into the Civic Centre conference room, the vast majority of whom were clearly in favour of dumping the wave park.
However, just as many people were camped outside the conference room, listening to proceedings but unable to find a spot inside, and City officers could not determine an efficient way to tally the votes of such a large crowd on the night.
Instead, a postal ballot will be sent to each elector who signed both the attendance register and a declaration that they were providing an accurate name and address.
Melville Mayor Russell Aubrey said the postal ballot process would likely take around a month, with the result expected by the end of February.
Earlier in the night, Wave Park Group chairman Andrew Ross opened proceedings with a presentation urging patience and stated that the project was still at a conceptual stage.
He said many of the environmental and traffic concerns were yet to be investigated fully and that State regulatory bodies would ensure any potential wave park complied with all of the required standards.
He was followed by three members of the Alfred Cove Action Group – David Maynier, Tom Lubin and Margaret Sanford – and a prepared statement from Friends of Attadale Foreshore chairman Michael Nichol.
All four spoke against the wave park, highlighting the potential environmental impact on the Alfred Cove A-Class Nature Reserve, a loss of public open space and fears of a catastrophic leak or commercial failure leaving the City of Melville, and ratepayers, to foot the bill.
Mr Maynier compared the Swan River Foreshore to iconic open spaces like New York’s Central Park while Ms Sanford highlighted that Canning Highway was already the fourth most congested road in Perth and said a wave park would exacerbate the already dangerous intersection where the thoroughfare meets Dunkley Avenue and Norma Road.
CITY of Melville director of community development Christine Young used the special electors meeting to outline the decision-making process for the wave park proposal, which arrived as an unsolicited bid.
The project has been advertised for public comment, or alternate sites uses, for eight weeks and City officers will now prepare a report collating the feedback for Melville council.
Council will make a decision on whether or not to accept the proposal – likely at its February meeting – and if accepted, Wave Park Group will be granted a provisional ground lease.
It should be noted that Melville council is not bound in any way by the outcome of the special electors’ motion to withdraw support for the wave park.
Once in possession of a provisional ground lease Wave Park Group can begin the formal development application process, which includes a detailed business case and supporting traffic and environmental reports, with the Department of Park and Wildlife.
Because the proposed site is part of the Swan Canning Development Control Area, the final approval rests with the Environment Minister.