No free crown land for wavepool developers in Perth, Western Australia.
Four years ago, the former investment banker and self-appointed “hard-core” surfer Andrew Ross announced a masterplan to dot Australia with Wavegarden-powered pools.
The first of the ten pools, which is being built near Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport, is going to get its tank filled in a few weeks with testing to follow before it opens to the public in time for the southern hemisphere summer.
It’s an interesting play. The tech, Wavegarden’s Cove, has never been built to this scale.
Will it work?
Will it thrill?
Nobody, not Wavegarden nor Ross’ company Urbnsurf, knows.
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Here’s our Founder Andrew Ross, standing proudly on the central plinth wall at @urbnsurf #melbourne. It’s hard to believe that we’re mere weeks away from filling the world’s first full-scale @wavegarden_official Cove, having commenced construction less than 12 months ago! If, like Andrew, you’re itching to score perfect waves just a hop, skip and jump from @melbourneairportau, register your interest to #surfitfirst via the link in our bio #surfmore
A second pool, which was going to be built in the Perth suburb of Alfred Cove and, importantly, a few hundred metres from my parents’ house, has hit a potentially fatal roadblock.
The state government has refused to kick Urbnsurf a chunk of crown land for the build.
From the national broadcaster,
Lands Minister Ben Wyatt announced yesterday that a proposal by the City of Melville to utilise a portion of Crown land for the project had been rejected.
Urbnsurf founder and executive director Andrew Ross said he only found out via a phone call from Mr Wyatt yesterday afternoon.
“We have been progressing with this project for a number of years now and I think the reasoning that has been given, I don’t know that it makes a lot of sense to me,” he told ABC Radio Perth.
“They felt that the Crown land needed to remain available to the general public.
“We are deeply disappointed that we have put so much time and effort and money into this, to have it all sort of end at this point.”
Mr Ross said Perth was “screaming out” for the wave park.
“We need to have big, clever ideas about how to reinvigorate Perth,” he said.
“Perth has a wonderful climate, we have a huge surfing population of 80,000 people, but we do not have a dedicated surfing facility.”
The waves in Perth, of course, do suck. It’s unimaginably bleak.
Blown out and small in summer; blown out and small in winter.
Question: should the Western Australian government turn over a parcel of land owned by the citizenry for the profit of a private company if it gives pleasure to the aforementioned citizenry?
And, if you live in Perth, does the idea of getting out of the reach of the many Great Whites that patrol those waters thrill you beyond measure?