Melville Times - - Opinion -

IN re­sponse to Pe­ter Nee­sham’s let­ter (Melville Times, Au­gust 22), he makes so many un­sub­stan­ti­ated and plain wrong claims, I felt like I was lis­ten­ing to a Trump speech. My top four in­clude: ■ A loss of ground space to field sports. Wrong, there is no net loss of sports fields as­so­ci­ated with the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment (see the new Tomp­kins Park Master Plan).

■ The area is cur­rently avail­able to any mem­ber of the pub­lic” who can have “un­re­stricted ac­cess”. Wrong, the site for the surf park is largely oc­cu­pied by the ex­ist­ing Melville Bowl­ing Club, which is only ac­ces­si­ble by its mem­bers and is sur­rounded by a 2.4 me­tre chain link fence.

■ The com­mu­nity will lose 4.4ha of pub­lic open space. Wrong, this is not pub­lic open space, it is an ac­tive sports re­serve within a ma­jor sports hub, that is used by lo­cal res­i­dents to walk their dogs when sports are not be­ing con­ducted. There are more than 75sq m of pas­sive pub­lic open space within 1km of Tomp­kins Park.

■ A com­mer­cial ven­ture on our prime river-front land makes no sense. Wrong, there are a num­ber of other com­mer­cially op­er­ated sport­ing and recre­ation clubs lin­ing the Swan River. A few that in­stantly spring to mind are the Swan Yacht Club, South of Perth Yacht Club, Swan River Row­ing Club and the Melville Wa­ter Polo Club. All of th­ese clubs are built along­side the river, take full ad­van­tage of the sur­rounds, and pro­vide both sport­ing and recre­ational fa­cil­i­ties for mem­bers and guests to en­joy.

They bring peo­ple to­gether, en­cour­age par­tic­i­pa­tion in phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity and en­joy­ment of the out­doors, and would not be vi­able un­less they were com­mer­cially op­er­ated.

Melville Wa­ter Polo Club is a great proxy for the surf park as they have a num­ber of strik­ing sim­i­lar­i­ties.

Both venues cater to Olympic sports, both are on the river’s edge, both hold long-term leases from the City of Melville, and both of­fer even­ing com­pe­ti­tion un­der lights, func­tion rooms and bar fa­cil­i­ties.

The wa­ter polo club is an in­te­gral part of the Melville com­mu­nity, and brings with it much spirit and com­pe­ti­tion.

I see so many sim­i­lar­i­ties here, so why Pe­ter is it OK to have a wa­ter polo club on the river’s edge but not a surf­ing fa­cil­ity? NATHAN MARR At­tadale haven’t swayed my mind.

The out­come of the project will be a large piece of our pre­cious river-front pub­lic land go­ing to a pri­vate com­pany for 50 years.

It seems the City of Melville is propos­ing to spend over $9 mil­lion of Melville ratepay­ers’ money to re­con­fig­ure the Tomp­kins Park play­ing fields and re­lo­cate lawn bowls to ac­com­mo­date the pro­posed pri­vately-run wave park.

The artists’ im­pres­sion of an ae­rial view of the wave park high­lights the la­goon with our beau­ti­ful river in the back­ground. How­ever, from ground level all we will ever see are high walls and fences to keep peo­ple out and wa­ter in.

I pre­sume the views are for the pro­posed func­tion cen­tre, cafe and bars that will ac­com­pany the wave park.

A search of wave parks in other part of the world shows that users can pay $50 to $100 per hour to use th­ese fa­cil­i­ties.

So why would fam­i­lies pay hun­dreds of dol­lars for every hour at a surf park when the free beach is not very far away?

As Urb­n­surf has no his­tory in op­er­at­ing wave pools, we should not be risk­ing our pre­cious pub­lic land on a high risk pri­vate ven­ture.

Per­haps a surf park near Perth Air­port would be more ap­pro­pri­ate as it can be sim­i­lar in size to the one near Mel­bourne’s air­port, bet­ter road net­work, eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble to all met­ro­pol­i­tan sub­urbs. DEB FERRARO Bic­ton

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