Urbnsurf founder talks about red tape faced by wave park project

Urbnsurf proponent Andrew Ross at the once-proclaimed wave park site in Alfred Cove.
Urbnsurf proponent Andrew Ross at the once-proclaimed wave park site in Alfred Cove.

MELVILLE’S shelved wave park stands as one of the biggest bureaucratic red tape failures in recent Perth history.

Urbnsurf spent about $500,000 on the proposed wave park in Alfred Cove only to see the project torpedoed three years in.

Despite spending years dealing with various government departments, it was an 11th hour decision from the State Government not to sell Crown land that sunk the company’s plans at Tompkins Park.

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Urbnsurf executive director Andrew Ross said it was a frustrating experience dealing with a plethora of government departments.

“There was no co-ordinated approach,” he said.

“We are looking into Brisbane and we have been appointed someone from the government who is driving us through the approvals.

“Here it seemed like there was no one who assisted developers work through the maze.”

The developers are continuing to work with the government to find a suitable metropolitan site and Mr Ross said he was thankful the project had been given priority.

The idea has been listed as a priority by Tourism Minister Paul Papalia while the company has also been given a Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage case manager.

“It’s been like night and day; someone has been appointed to assist us and the level of engagement has been remarkable,” Mr Ross said.

“With our development, it’s been listed as a priority by the Premier, Treasurer and the Tourism Minister, and we are continuing to look at the different sites.”

An artist’s impression of what the wave park would have looked like in Alfred Cove.

A Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage spokeswoman said the State Government’s planning reform agenda included consideration of tourism attractions.

“The action plan for planning reform is anticipated to be released shortly,” she said.

“The State Government’s Streamline WA initiative is a one-stop shop for business, industry and the community to refer regulatory issues to make it easier for the private sector to deal with government.

“The Department will also work with the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation as required through the tourism attractions case management framework, which helps proponents navigate government processes and approvals for tourism projects.”