City Concerned About River Walls

Media Response 25 May 2012
South Perth Foreshore
Please attribute the following comments to City of South Perth Mayor Sue Doherty:

When did the City first notice the deterioration of the walls?

The river walls along the foreshore have been gradually deteriorating over a long period of time. The most affected river walls are on the northern foreshore along Sir James Mitchell Park in the most popular and high profile area of the park.

What are the City's concerns regarding the walls?

The Swan and Canning River surround the City of South Perth, enhancing the natural amenity of the City and providing an exclusive tourist attraction for the area.

It is vital for the City to maintain and protect the river system and to enhance the community facilities.

As an area of great cultural, historical, economic and recreational significance, this amenity is in desperate need of improvement for the benefit of park users, the community and visitors to Western Australia. Sir James Mitchell Park is very popular with local, national and international visitors and is one of Perth’s highest profile parks, second only to King’s Park.

The park is often frequented by visitors to the Perth Zoo and is easily accessible to ferry users, which total approximately 600,000 each year.

These upgrades are necessary due to regular inundation and overtopping of the walls which has resulted in erosion of the walls, erosion of the foreshore, ‘blowouts’ where the walls no longer protect the foreshore, lifting of the path and sinking of the grassed area between the walls and paths.

Flooding of low-lying areas of the park and paths is also becoming a more regular occurrence as existing infrastructure continues to deteriorate. These issues have resulted in a significant increase in operating costs for the City through more regular repairs and maintenance.

The City also needs to take into account the potential impacts of climate change on the Swan and Canning Rivers when planning for future works of this nature.

How long has the City been seeking funding for the project? When did the City approach the Swan River Trust with their concerns?
The City has sought funds to repair and replace the river walls on a continuous basis from both the State and Commonwealth government.

What was the Trust's response to the City's concerns?

Whilst the Swan River Trust is sympathetic to and supports the City’s concerns, the Trust is not allocated adequate funds to address all priorities around the whole river.

The Trust is allocated less than $1m per annum for river capital improvement works. These funds are subject to grant applications from the 21 local governments that have a river boundary and local river community groups.

How much of the estimated total $6.4million cost for approx 400 meters around the Mends St Jetty will the City fund?

The City acknowledges that it will be responsible for the majority of costs associated with this work.

How much of the estimated $2million cost for construction of the river wall for approx 330 meters around the Mends St Jetty will the City fund?
The City is seeking a 50% contribution or $1million from the state government to fund the replacement of the river wall.

What structural changes to the walls are presented in the project?
The walls around the Mends St Jetty have deteriorated so badly that they need to be completely replaced.

As far as I know, the City is most concerned with the sites around the Mends St Jetty, are there plans to seek funding for the area left of the Narrows Bridge?

There are a number of areas along the foreshore that the City is concerned about including the site around the Mends Street Jetty. The most urgent work to be undertaken is the upgrade of the river walls east of Mends St Jetty to the viewing platform, and west of Mends St Jetty to the Narrows Bridge.

The section of the river wall west of the Narrows Bridge to the boat ramp also needs urgent replacement or significant treatment. The area around the Narrows Bridge section is still very important but is not in the same high profile area and does not have the same public traffic as the Mends Street area.

Media contact

For media enquiries, please contact the City’s Communications Officer.