Bird park given cold shoul­der

Melville Times - - Front Page - Aaron Cor­lett

THE City of Melville will not con­sider a con­cept plan for a bird sanc­tu­ary at the site of the pro­posed wave park from the Al­fred Cove Ac­tion Group (ACAG).

ACAG has pro­posed the Tomp­kins Park site be used for a Melville Bird Sanc­tu­ary and Dis­cov­ery Cen­tre, which would in­clude an “en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly” cafe, play­ground, board­walk and bird view­ing plat­form.

A pe­ti­tion has been started on the Con­ser­va­tion Coun­cil of WA’s web­site with more than 500 al­ready pledg­ing their sup­port. The plan will be pre­sented to Plan­ning Min­is­ter Rita Saf­fi­oti.

City act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Marten Tiele­man said the City was not in a po­si­tion to con­sider any al­ter­na­tive pro­posal for the Al­fred Cove site at this stage as the coun­cil had com­mit­ted to a legally bind­ing ground lease agree­ment with Urb­n­surf.

ACAG spokes­woman Jane Edinger said it was the early days of the con­cept plan.

“In re­la­tion to the fi­nances for the project, we are hop­ing the City of Melville would fi­nance the cap­i­tal works re­quired to make the bird sanc­tu­ary and dis­cov­ery cen­tre a re­al­ity, with a Trust be­ing es­tab­lished for on­go­ing man­age­ment,” she said.

“We be­lieve it is very fea­si­ble; the coun­cil is plan­ning on spend­ing $9.4 mil­lion on the Tomp­kins Park re­de­vel­op­ment and we be­lieve this will cost less.”

Con­ser­va­tion Coun­cil of WA di­rec­tor Piers Ver­ste­gen said his or­gan­i­sa­tion had been sup­port­ing com­mu­nity groups that were op­posed to the wave park project.

“We don’t feel it’s an ap­pro­pri­ate de­vel­op­ment for the site,” he said.

“I be­lieve the more sus­tain­able op­tion is for a bird sanc­tu­ary, which would cre­ate tourist de­mand.”

Urb­n­surf and Wave Park Group founder and chair­man An­drew Ross said the com­pany be­lieved de­liv­er­ing im­prove­ments to the lo­cal en­vi­ron­ment was a great idea, which was why its project in­cluded fund­ing to re­ha­bil­i­tate the “highly de­graded fore­shore edge” in front of the surf park site.

“We will also cre­ate a liv­ing stream out of an ex­ist­ing stormwa­ter drain that runs into the river, so our project will re­sult in real im­prove­ments to the river fore­shore,” he said.

“It makes lit­tle sense to pro­pose de­vel­op­ing a bird sanc­tu­ary, to build a dis­cov­ery cen­tre and re­move an area of ac­tive recre­ation space in a place where there has never been any ex­ist­ing sig­nif­i­cant bird habi­tat.

“Habi­tat of sig­nif­i­cance is in fact lo­cated fur­ther to the west of the project site and around in front of Troy Park.”

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