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Surf park concept floated

02 Dec 2014

Surf park concept floated Image

A surf park at Central Pier could be built within three years if  current support is maintained.

Proposed by Damian Rogers Architecture and engineering and design firm Arup, the concept achieved plenty of attention last month, with many saying it could be the missing piece of the Docklands puzzle.

Arup’s Phil Carter said there had been plenty of interest from potential partners and wave pool operators.

The surf park is proposed to float next to Central Pier, spanning 16,000 sqm and capable of producing waves up to 160 metres long and 1.8 metres high.

It would feature a deep sandy beach and treated water drawn from Victoria Harbour itself.

News reports last month suggested the surf park would cost $8 million to build, while industry sources told Docklands News the cost would be closer to the $80 million mark.

Mr Carter said the surf park would cost more than $8 million but did not believe it would cost as much as $80 million.

He said cost estimations were difficult but it would “certainly be in the tens of millions”.

Mr Carter said the team was awaiting cost estimations and was working on a business development model.

The next phase would be to lock in funding partners, which Mr Carter hopes will happen next year.

If approved and funded, Mr Carter says the project could be realised within two to three years. “That’s totally achievable,” he said.

The project is currently unfunded and would require the approval of both Places Victoria and the City of Melbourne to go ahead and would be privately funded.

Places Victoria is currently developing plans for Harbour Esplanade and last month lodged permit applications with the City of Melbourne.

It’s understood that Places Victoria has had no input into the surf park idea and that it is not part of any current plans for Docklands.

“Places Victoria wants Docklands to become a significant public waterside destination that is used every day of the year,” Places Victoria general manager Simon Wilson said.

“Places Victoria has developed a master plan for Harbour Esplanade to guide its future development, with the aim of making it a flexible and changing event space by the water.”

A City of Melbourne spokesperson said council had not committed any support for the project and had only been advised informally of the private sector initiative.

“Our feedback to Arup was that it was an interesting concept, if private funding were available for the infrastructure,” the spokesperson said.

According to Mr Carter, the surf park would enhance Docklands by providing a space the public will want to use and attracting events and businesses.

“From a livability and wellness perspective, the surf park idea also offers a place for Docklands workers and residents to de-stress and bring massive potential health benefits,” Mr Carter said.

The design of the surf-park would also offer the opportunity for activities such as swimming, kayaking and beach sports.

According to architect Damien Rogers, Melbourne should make better use of the water at its fingertips.

“Melbourne has some amazing attractions, but we don’t tend to use the water that surrounds us as well as we could. This surf park concept would create a beach lifestyle in the heart of the city,” he said.

Surfing Victoria has also backed the concept, with CEO Max Wells lending his support.

“To bring the surf to the city is a great idea, especially to a site like Central Pier in the Docklands,” Mr Wells said.

“I can imagine having surfers in suits heading for an after work session and kids coming to the Docklands carrying surfboards on Melbourne’s trains and trams.”

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