Wave park ap­peal ‘worth it’

Melville Times - - News - Aaron Cor­lett

COM­MU­NITY group Swan Fore­shore Pro­tec­tion As­so­ci­a­tion (SFPA) has paid the price for its at­tempt to chal­lenge the ground lease for the pro­posed wave park in Al­fred Cove in the Supreme Court.

Af­ter the Supreme Court dis­missed the SFPA’s ap­pli­ca­tion for a ju­di­cial re­view into the lease in July, the group has now paid $61,250 in le­gal case costs to wave park pro­po­nents URBNSURF.

SFPA chair­man Clive Ross said de­spite pay­ing the money, he did not be­lieve it was an er­ror to go to court.

“In tak­ing the mat­ter to court, apart from es­tab­lish­ing that the City of Melville did in fact breach the ap­pli­ca­ble leg­is­la­tion, SFPA has pro­vided a com­mu­nity service to all West Aus­tralians by dis­cov­er­ing a pre­vi­ously un­recog­nised and un­known sig­nif­i­cant fail­ing in leg­is­la­tion, which is de­signed to ‘pro­tect’ the com­mu­nity and en­sure trans­parency,” he said.

“The fail­ing be­ing that ac­cord­ing to the Supreme Court, there is no avail­abil­ity of a court-or­dered con­se­quence for non-com­pli­ance.”

The SFPA ar­gued the City of Melville failed to ad­ver­tise the name of the lessee in its busi­ness case for the $25 mil­lion pro­posed project. Shayne Sil­cox, who was the City of Melville chief ex­ec­u­tive at the time of the de­ci­sion, de­scribed it as a tech­ni­cal er­ror but one that was “in­con­se­quen­tial”.

The ground lease was ticked off by the City of Melville and the Wave Park Group in April 2017.

Mr Ross said it was im­por­tant to un­der­stand that the court found the City was re­quired to com­ply with a pro­vi­sion of the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Act.

“Jus­tice Al­lan­son found that the penalty or sanc­tion for the non-com­pli­ance falls within the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the Min­is­ter for Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment,” he said.

“It is there­fore now up to the Min­is­ter to de­cide what, if any, ac­tion will be taken to en­sure that fail­ure to com­ply with leg­isla­tive pro­vi­sions have ap­pro­pri­ate con­se­quences.”

URBNSURF founder and ex­ec­u­tive chair­man An­drew Ross said while Mr Ross was en­ti­tled to his own opin­ion of the court de­ci­sion, he was not en­ti­tled to his own re­con­struc­tion of the de­ci­sion.

“The court made no find­ing that laws were be­ing ig­nored or dis­re­garded,” he said. “What the court found was that the ar­guably tech­ni­cal ob­jec­tion aris­ing from a non-com­pli­ance with s 3.58 of the LGA did not af­fect the va­lid­ity of the de­ci­sion to en­ter into the lease.”

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