The proposed URBNSURF surf park in Perth appears to be hitting a political roadblock. With the emergence of the lease details last month, local activists have formed a coalition called the Alfred Cove Action Group (ACAG). Their objective is to stop the development of the park. They currently have two petitions in circulation, which have garnered over 3,000 signatures. One of their objections is the way city officials in Melville (the hometown of the park) moved the proposal forward.
“The City has acted to suppress public criticism of their reports and actions and repeatedly provided incorrect or confusing responses to ratepayer questions,” said ACAG head David Maynier. “Quite apart from its unhealthy determination to place the wave park in a highly unsuitable location, there was also the matter of a senior City officer owning shares in the proponent’s company from the outset.”
One of the petitions deals with Melville’s manager of health and leisure services, Todd Cahoon. Until September 2016 he owned shares of the Wave Park Group, the company behind the development. Additionally, he reportedly played a role in drafting the URBNSURF lease, which will remove the Melville Bowling Club, a lawn bowling organization, from their current greens. Cahoon says he declared his involvement with the company back in 2013 and the presently the City of Melville is following his lead. The Public Sector Commission is also investigating for any potential misdeeds. The original URBNSURF proposal was presented as an unsolicited bid in June 2016.
“I’m not sure the council and its chief executive appreciate the extent to which they have lost the trust and confidence of ratepayers and residents in the course of this unfortunate saga,” continued Maynier, who says ACAG intends to present the petitions at an upcoming Legislative Council. “It’s time for a higher authority to review the Council’s conduct and to take some necessary action.”
To be continued…