WA Labor hints at opposition to proposed Alfred Cove wave park, calls for environmental assessment

The footprint a wave park would leave at the proposed Tompkins Park site.
The footprint a wave park would leave at the proposed Tompkins Park site.

WA LABOR has weighed into the debate around the divisive Alfred Cove surf park, calling on proponent Wave Park Group to immediately supply a full environmental assessment for the proposal.

The demand comes one day after Melville council authorised chief executive Shayne Silcox to begin negotiating the terms of a provisional ground lease for the Tompkins Park site.

Opposition Environment spokesman Chris Tallentire said a comprehensive environmental assessment should be carried out prior to any ground lease being signed.

“I think in this case it would make perfect sense because the environmental factors are going to be just as critical as the planning and social considerations,” he said.

“The environmental questions could well decide the fate of this project so (Melville council) should get that set of answers before it proceeds.”

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Labor candidate for Bicton Lisa O’Malley, who is also a Melville councillor and voted against the project, said it was alarming that no environmental impact assessment had been carried out.

“I have already taken a strong stance on this at a local government level and I would continue to do that as the Member for Bicton if elected,” she said.

“I think the wave park is a great idea but this is not the correct location for it.”

Once the terms of a provisional ground lease are negotiated, Melville council will vote on whether or not to enter into a contract with Wave Park Group.

At that point, the proponent would need to submit a formal development application to the Department of Parks and Wildlife, with the final decision resting with the Environment Minister.

If WA Labor wins the March election, that will likely be Mr Tallentire, who stopped short of promising to scrap the wave park entirely.

“If I’m lucky enough to be the Environment Minister in a McGowan Labor Government then I would have the power to ask the Environmental Protection Authority to assess this project and I would certainly do that,” he said.

Wave Park Group chairman Andrew Ross said a full environmental study would only be commissioned once a ground lease had been signed.

“We are following due process, which requires a full environmental impact study – as well as traffic, noise and other reports – as part of a formal development application,” Mr Ross said.

“It would not make sense to spend thousands of dollars on those kinds of professionally prepared documents until a ground lease is in place.”

Labor candidate for Bateman Tomas Fitzgerald said he was also opposed to the wave park.

“I am acutely aware of the need to protect our environment, especially the river foreshore,” he said.

“I do not support the selling of community facilities and public green spaces to private developers.”