Perth FAQs


What is URBNSURF Perth?

URBNSURF Perth is a surf sport and recreation facility featuring a man-made surfing lagoon. The facility is proposed to be built at Tompkins Park in Alfred Cove on the site currently occupied by the Melville Bowling Club.  The lagoon will deliver authentic surfing waves of up to 2.0m in height for up to 84 guests per hour.

How big is the surfing lagoon planned for Tompkins Park?

The lagoon is about 2.0 hectares in area (~4.9 acres), which is about the size of an AFL football oval. The total project area is approximately 4.4 hectares.

What are the proposed operating hours?

Operating hours will be similar to a local gym, or the opening hours of the Melville Aquatic Centre. The use of underwater LED lighting within the lagoon will allow you to surf both night and day.

What are the next steps?

Wave Park Group submitted an unsolicited expression of interest to acquire a ground lease from the City of Melville over the proposed site in September 2016. The City of Melville prepared a business case in respect of the ground lease proposal and advertised it in December 2016 in accordance with Section 3.59 of the Local Government Act 1995, seeking public comment. The public comment period closed in late January 2017, with over 3,000 submissions supporting the project being received by Council.  Council ultimately resolved to lease the site to Wave Park Group, and a conditional ground lease agreement was entered into between the parties in April 2017.

Wave Park Group has commenced all the necessary technical studies required to support the lodgement in early 2018 of a development application as required under the Planning and Development Act 2005.  The development application together with comprehensive supporting information will require referral to several decision-making authorities including, but not limited to:

  • City of Melville
  • Department of Biodiversity, Conservation & Attractions (including the former Swan River Trust)
  • West Australian Planning Commission
  • Department of Planning, Lands & Heritage
  • Department of Water & Environmental Regulation
  • Main Roads WA

Further, Wave Park Group self-referred the project to the EPA under s38 of the Environmental Protection Act 1984.

The development application process is expected to take around 12 months to complete.  From the commencement of first works on site, it is expected that the construction of the facility will take a further 12 months.


Does this proposal rely on State or Local Government funding?

No, URBNSURF Perth will be funded entirely via private funding sources. The proposal will deliver significant leasing income to the City of Melville over the term of the lease. As the site is being leased, it will remain in the long term strategic control of the City of Melville at the conclusion of the lease arrangements.

How much will it cost to build URBNSURF Perth?

The final capital cost for the development is still to be determined, but it will likely cost between $25 and $30 million.

What will it cost for a surf session at URBNSURF Perth?

There will be different pricing offered depending upon which zone of the lagoon a guest is surfing within, whether it is a ‘peak’ or ‘off-peak’ time period, and whether the guest is an adult or student/concession holder.  Final pricing for surf sessions has not yet been set and will be announced closer to the finalisation of construction, but it is intended to be affordable so that users and families can visit regularly.

What if the surf park is not successful - will the City of Melville be left with a financial liability?

No. The lease agreement between the parties will specify that Wave Park Group is required to “make good” the site at the end of the lease, which means to remove all buildings and improvements and return the site to a vacant state. To underwrite this obligation, a cash backed bank guarantee in an amount equal to the site restoration costs will be in place throughout the duration of the lease.

Design & Environment

Why this location?

Tompkins Park is a major 22 hectare sporting hub in the southern suburbs of Perth. It is the largest sports precinct in the City of Melville with the highest number of participants and visitors of any sports precinct in the City. Tompkins Park has been used continuously for over 50 years for sport and recreation activities, so it is logical to include URBNSURF Perthin this regional sporting destination. The site is also appropriately zoned, and the intended use is in keeping with the current Bowling Club use and is compatible with other user groups at Tompkins Park.

The layout of the site is also highly favourable – the lagoon has been oriented in a south-west orientation to take advantage of Perth’s prevailing sea breeze and the northerly vistas.

The proposed site is highly modified and the development requires no clearing of any native vegetation. In terms of off-site impacts, based on the information available (at this stage of the project) the Proposal is not believed to have any significant impacts to adjacent ecologically sensitive areas, including the A-Class Reserve of Alfred Cove (If it did, the project would not be approved).  This will need to be further demonstrated by the necessary impact assessments and management plans as part of a future development application process.

The site is well-serviced by a major arterial distributor, Canning Highway, and four bus services, one of which connects to the Mandurah Train Line and another to the Fremantle Train Line. URBNSURF Perth will be accessible to over 1.2 million Perth residents (including over 100 schools) in under 30 minutes (consistent with the objectives of multiple State Government key planning policies).

Feasibility investigations in relation to the site, together with concept design activities have at this point revealed no significant impediments to the development of URBNSURF Perth at the site.  Further detailed studies are now underway to support the project’s development application.

Will URBNSURF Perth result in a loss of amenity?

No, URBNSURF Perth will increase amenity within the precinct through the inclusion of high quality, family oriented services and amenities (as discussed on The Proposal will diversify and add to Tompkins Park’s current sporting functions, become a tourism attractor for the City of Melville, play host to local events and offer a platform for greater engagement with the existing and future users of Tompkins Park. The project also proposes to implement improved access and car parking to Tompkins Park, and to provide amenities that will service highly utilised dual-use pathways of the adjacent Swan River foreshore. There is also an opportunity to improve the area to the north of the project, interfacing the Swan River and integrate the Atwell Arts Centre & Gallery (please see the latest site plans in the Environmental Assessment Report provided above).

Will URBNSURF Perth be designed with best practice sustainability measures?

Yes, URBNSURF Perth will incorporate multiple environmentally sustainable design measures, water catchment systems, and photovoltaic systems to help minimise any environmental impacts.  A further example is the decision to use a recycled polyethylene plastic liner rather than a concrete shell to form the lagoon base. In addition, the project will deliver a net increase in native flora, new biomass and the rehabilitation of adjacent off-site areas, consistent with the City of Melville’s Urban Forest Strategy.

How much water is used in the lagoon each year?

Water conservation is a very important consideration for the Proposal, and the intention is to use groundwater that is currently being used to irrigate the bowling greens and part of the playing fields that will be displaced with the development.

The net evaporation rate for the lagoon will mean that the lagoon will require approximately 22ML of water replenishment per annum to maintain an operating water depth. This is equivalent to the amount of water used to maintain the bowling greens and turf sports ovals at Tompkins Park that are of a similar size. By replacing the bowling greens and part of the sports playing fields, the project will also reduce the amount of nutrients from the use of fertiliser that currently enter the groundwater and then make their way into the Swan River.

If not used, groundwater at that location migrates into the Swan River and is otherwise lost as a resource. Sophisticated water catchment and inflow techniques to harvest rainfall from the built forms will be installed to further reduce water source usage. Please also note, water from the lagoon will not enter, or be disposed of, in the Swan River. Any waste water and sediment from backwashing the filtration system will be carted from site and/or disposed of via the sewer.

Any future development application will require an Urban Water Management Plan to demonstrate adherence to best practice Water Sensitive Urban Design principals.   This document will need to assess potential impacts, and where possible, management measures to ensure sensitive environmental receptors are not adversely affected.

How much noise is generated by the wave generator?

The wave generator machinery is virtually silent. There is only the sound of the peeling waves, meaning minimal overall auditory impact from the facility, particularly in the context of being located on Canning Highway.  Any potential noise impacts will be subject to a Noise Impact Assessment and Management Plan which considers all sensitive adjacent receptors, including residential homes and local fauna, as part of the development application.

Will URBNSURF Perth suit the surrounding recreation and natural environment?

Yes, with views across the Swan River towards the City, it is intended to create a highly desirable destination for local families, residents and surfers alike that acknowledges the environmental and cultural values of the adjacent Swan River.

At 22 hectares in area, Tompkins Park is the largest sporting and recreation reserve within the City of Melville and one of the largest sports hubs in all of the southern Perth suburbs.  There are over 450,000 cyclists that use the existing bike path adjacent to the site and the shoreline of the river, and around 500,000 sports persons, spectators and other visitors that use Tompkins Park each year. Access for pedestrians and cyclists to the existing bike path and foreshore reserve will not be affected as a result of the Proposal.

The lagoon will be built into the site and will have native vegetated and landscaped banks formed around its northern and eastern perimeter, such that it integrates into the existing landscape.   The amenity buildings have been architecturally designed to consolidate their footprint and remain low scale. The Proposal will also result in a significant increase in amenity for the users of this sporting and recreational hub and residents living in the local area.

Will URBNSURF Perth have any adverse on-site environmental impacts?

No, as the Melville Bowls Club has occupied the site for over 50 years, the Site itself is highly modified and does not contain any habitat for fauna of significance.

More specifically, the Environmental Assessment Report concluded URBNSURF Perth will not have any direct or indirect negative impacts on the ecological values of Tompkins Park or the Alfred Cove Nature Reserve.  Further and more specifically, the Environmental Assessment Report concluded that there will be no significant or unacceptable impacts to any environmental principles, factors or associated objectives that are relevant to the Environmental Protection Act 1986.

A link to the Environmental Assessment Report for the project as used to inform the EPA referral is provided above.

Will URBNSURF Perth have an impact on the birds and other fauna of Alfred Cove?

URBNSURF Perth will be entirely contained within the designated sport and recreation zoned area of Tompkins Park, located on land owned or managed by the City of Melville.  The proposed site is a highly-modified site, which has no sensitive habitat, nor does it support any species of significance.

Alfred Cove, among other things, is a A-Class Reserve and provides important habitat to a host of animals, including migratory wading birds.  The most important fauna habitat near the project is for migratory wading birds is located across Alfred Cove, approximately 400m directly north from the proposed Facility and no impact is anticipated. Notwithstanding, any negative impact to these off-site values is not acceptable; nor is it necessary. A critical design objective for URBNSURF Perth is that it has no greater impact on any off-site values above and beyond that currently created by the existing Melville Bowling Club and the playing fields.

Potential off-site impacts from factors such as light, noise and other hydrological matters are not expected to differ from the existing bowling and sporting field uses.  The Environmental Assessment Report concludes that any potential impacts are manageable (and these will be assessed by relevant WA State regulatory agencies as part of the EPA referral and development application).

Further, a Foreshore Rehabilitation Plan, a voluntary commitment on the part of Wave Park Group offered as part of the Proposal, will provide valued rehabilitation to degraded areas of the foreshore near the site and will see a net improvement to the quality of existing off-site habitat.

Will URBNSURF Perth impact adjacent wetlands and vegetation of Alfred Cove?

A distinction should be drawn between 1) on-site and off-site, and 2) actual or potential, significant environmental impacts that a project may have.  As mentioned earlier, the Proposal site itself is highly modified and has been cleared for over 50 years.  The Proposal does not require clearing of any native species of significance on-site.

The Site is within Bush Forever Site 331, however, no clearing of any native vegetation is proposed.  The project would result in up to two out of twenty planted mature non-native Lemon-scented Gums being removed (but will result in a net increase in the cover of native vegetation).

The condition of the off-site adjacent foreshore and wetland vegetation is variable, with parts being degraded and subject to ongoing threats from erosion and other forms of damage.  The existing, stormwater drain from Canning Hwy adjacent to the site directs untreated stormwater into a nearby wetland and then into the Swan River, and could greatly benefit from improvements.

Notwithstanding, any significant negative impact to these sensitive off-site values is not acceptable.  In summary:

  • Potential off-site impacts from factors such as hydrological, hydrogeological (and other) matters are either non-existent, or manageable, and will be assessed as part of the development application, and will be referred to relevant regulatory agencies for approval (including the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions).
  • A Water Management Plan will demonstrate adherence to best practice Water Sensitive Urban Design principles and will be assessed as part of the development application.
  • Water in the lagoon will be supplied via abstraction from the superficial aquifer (as is currently done for the bowling greens and playing fields). The Wave Park Group’s enquiries into the availability of groundwater suggest that there is sufficient supply.
  • Abstracted and water within the lagoon will be treated to make it suitable for exposure to human health. The quality of water in the lagoon, from an ecological perspective will be of better quality than that in the groundwater beneath (and will comply with the AZECC Marine and Fresh Water Guidelines 2000).
  • There is no need, nor is it planned, for any water from the lagoon to be drained into the Swan River. Any concern over potential uncontrolled lagoon discharge would be managed under the Unauthorised Discharge Regulations 2004. Water abstraction and disposal will require separate approval under the Rights in Water and Irrigation Act 1914 and an Integrated Water Management Plan will form part of the future Development Application, for review by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (as standard practice for urban development)
  • The Proposal includes an offer to assist in the rehabilitation of off-site areas of wetland vegetation and to improve the off-site existing stormwater drain (to create a “Living Stream”), as advocated by the local environmental group, SERAG.
  • A supporting Foreshore Rehabilitation Plan will be assessed and endorsed by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions as part of the development application process.
  • Access to the existing dual use path that currently separates the Melville Bowling Club site from the adjacent wetlands and the Swan River foreshore will not be impacted as part of the Proposal.  The project has been designed to have a minimum setback of 20 metres from the high-water mark of the Swan River.
Is the site known to be contaminated?

Lot 39 and Lot 9789 which form part of the Proposal site are classified as remediated for restricted use under provisions of the Contaminated Sites Act 2003.  Review of available historical records and previous investigations provides no reason to suggest the site is not suitable for the current or proposed land use.

Based on previous investigations, it is understood that inert material (sandy fill and silt, with some non-putrescible material such as plastic, glass, brick) was used in the 1950’s to ‘fill’ large portions of Tompkins Park to lift it up from the Swan River and make it suitable for the current active recreation land use. The results of the most recent detailed site investigation indicated that groundwater is impacted by elevated nutrients from urbanisation and the application of fertilisers and that a 5-10cm thick lens of material, below ground level that may contain some asbestos material.  These results do not affect the site’s suitability for the construction or operation of the proposed surf park. Detailed geotechnical investigations on the site will shortly be undertaken.

Consistent with the site classification and the contaminated sites investigations, the potential for asbestos containing material will be managed during construction.  Because of the site classification, the development application will be referred to the Department of Water & Environmental Regulation’s Contaminated Sites Section and will need to meet the requirements of the Contaminated Sites Act 2003.


What is happening to the Melville Bowling Club and Tompkins Park playing fields?

The existing Melville Bowling Club is being relocated to a new state-of-the-art facility, built 300 metres east within the Tompkins Park Sports Hub. URBNSURF Perth will be developed on the Bowling Club site once the new bowls facility is constructed and the club building is vacated.

There will be no net loss of playing fields at Tompkins Park because of URBNSURF Perth, and all existing sporting functions will be retained as part of the Tompkins Park master planning process managed by the City of Melville. In addition, there will be no impact to the dual use pathway along the river’s edge either during construction or following the operation of the surf park proposal.

I live in the City of Melville. Will I get discounted entry to URBNSURF Perth?

Wave Park Group is looking forward to working with the City of Melville to offer local residents, particularly school aged children, discounted entry rates during specific periods. The facility will also feature a licensed café that will have an uninterrupted view overlooking the surfing lagoon and the Swan River that will be free to be accessed by local resident and the general public.

How is parking and traffic congestion going to be managed?

The surf park has a fixed number of participants that can use the facility per hour, meaning traffic and parking will be self-regulating over the course of a day. The Proposal contemplates the provision of approximately 215 car bays to service the guests of the facility.

The facility is located on Canning Highway which sees an average of 45,000 vehicle movements per day at that location. In this context, the additional vehicle movements resulting from the facility will be insignificant. Any future development application will be supported by a comprehensive Traffic and Parking Assessment.

Are you going to hold any community days?

URBNSURF Perth will host regular events for persons with disabilities, underprivileged groups, and disaffected youth, for which we will need volunteers to assist us.  Free entry to the facility and surfing would be included, and we hope to especially get the support of our local City of Melville residents for these events.

Can the surf lagoon be used for other purposes?

The wave generator can be turned off, which means the lagoon can be used for swimming and other water sport activities.  The facility will offer a range of beach and non-beach related activities and amenities for guests, together with high performance and elite training activities and an events and functions capacity. We also envisage URBNSURF Perth being a home for various art and cultural festivals, events, and potentially outdoor movies.

What are some of the other benefits?

URBNSURF Perth will offer a range of economic and community benefits, including:

  • The creation of multiple new programs and platforms for community engagement.
  • Local employment of up to 250 persons during construction and 45 ongoing fulltime roles during operations.
  • A meaningful long-term source of lease revenue to the City of Melville.
  • Approximately $357M in gross economic contribution to the City of Melville area in the period through to 2048.
  • Increased tourism opportunities for the City of Melville area.
  • A world-class sport and recreation asset and improved amenities on a designated active sports & recreation reserve (multiple features).
  • Net increase in native vegetation, sympathetic to the surrounds. Further, a Foreshore Rehabilitation Plan, a voluntary commitment on the part of the Proponent, will provide valued rehabilitation to degraded areas of the foreshore near the site and will see a net improvement to the quality of existing off-site habitat.
  • Potential realignment of the dual-use path increasing the area available for native vegetation along the foreshore.
  • Improved formalised access to the Swan River foreshore.
  • Improved modern sports lighting with reduced glare and spill.
  • A purpose-built water treatment system removing nutrients and other contaminants migrating towards the Swan River.
  • The improvement of an adjacent stormwater drain and creation of a “living stream”.