BARGE Co managing director Guy Mouritz has supported calls to reject approvals for rowdy “party vessels” to operate on the Swan River near South Perth saying his proposal was for a world-first entertainment venue.
The South Perth Foreshore Group has voiced concerns about the company’s pending application to set up a 50m floating entertainment venue, expected to operate from the Swan River, off Elizabeth Quay and at times Port Coogee beach.
Mr Mouritz acknowledged the fear that some South Perth residents might have about any impact on their amenity but maintained Barge Co’s proposal should be the least of their concerns.
“We have had issues ourselves with small ‘party’ vessels already operating in the Swan River,” Mr Mourtiz said.
“They are out there every weekend in summer playing loud music, over-supplying alcohol and often encouraging lewd and indecent behaviour.
“For clarity, the Barge Co proposal will not be a small ‘party vessel’, rather a world-first entertainment venue.
“We will not be hosting drunken ‘buck’s nights’ and strip shows like other vessels currently do, nor will alcohol be the primary focus of our venue.
“Our vision is to create a well-managed, uniquely West Australian eco-tourism venue that is also available for events that showcase our amazing environment while providing discerning patrons with the incredible outlook that only a small section of our community can afford from their living rooms.”
City of Cockburn planning and development services spokesman Daniel Arndt said the approval granted by the Department of Parks and Wildlife to Barge Co. only covered the installation of moorings and the development of a barge event venue in Perth Water, Swan River.
He added Mr Mouritz’s supporting statement indicated the barge would be mobile and therefore would not be a permanent feature on Perth Water.
According to the statement the barge would also be anchored off Coogee and Port beaches, as well as stored at a berthing in Fremantle Harbour when not in use and moored at Perth Water for approximately 196 days per year.
“The applicant has not provided any further details on where or when they intend to anchor the barge off Coogee or Port beaches, nor does the approval cover either of those locations,” Mr Arndt said.
“It should be noted that such a proposal does not require the City’s approval, as it would be located offshore of Coogee Beach and therefore outside of the City’s boundaries.
“Any proposal would require approval from the Department of Transport and as such the Department would normally refer the application to the City for comment.
“At this stage the applicant has not applied to the Department of Transport for approval for a mooring at either Coogee Beach or Port Beach.”
Mr Arndt added the City would have to look carefully at the proposal to determine whether the impacts could be satisfactorily addressed before they could make any further comment.
South Perth Foreshore Group committee member Peter Carter said the group was not necessarily opposed to the application but felt the lack of community consultation and transparency surrounding the application was unacceptable.
“We are not anti anything as a group but we would like to have some engagement in things that happen on our front door step just as anyone would want; that’s all we are asking for; for our issues and input to be heard,” Mr Carter said.
Environment Minister Stephen Dawson received the $7.3 million proposal from Barge Co., which he said would be considered in due course.
A competitor company, Old Salt, also has a pending application to set up a 36.5m vessel about 400m from Elizabeth Quay.
Mr Mouritz said he hoped the venue would be operational by summer 2018.