[This is like the start of a TV program which reminds you what happened last week]
The WA Rowing Club launch deck has become increasingly treacherous in the past two years and has started to rack up a pretty impressive injury tally, not least Bella's impressive leg scars and a rather memorable incident involving firefighters, ambulances and such servicemen when a wayward leg was caught between the planks.
We secured a grant from the State Heritage Office worth more than $50,000 to help replace the launch deck. This replacement will allow us to extend the deck to the edge of our lease zone, which will mean we can launch eights without having to feed out the span of a rigger. Woohoo!
Heritage Architect Bruce Callow, who has a long history with the Club, has been working together with Clem Williams, John Vos and the committee to draw up plans for the new deck.
For those who have often asked why we're not getting a floating deck, the answer is two-fold:
1. The anchor points are problematic in the long term and with unpredictable prevailing wind conditions, would ultimately lead to damage to the club
2. The tides mean at low tide, reasonably common in summer, the floating deck could in fact get "stuck" in the mud in the bottom of the river and not come back up when the tide rises... or when it does, it'll become unstuck and hurtle to the surface.
So... no. there is not going to be a floating deck.
Our development application has been submitted to the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority. The MRA has not yet accepted the submission - they are seeking a few little bits of clarification but so far, it's looking pretty good.
From here they have a 42-day referral period during which they'll talk to other groups, perhaps the Swan River Trust, the City of Perth, Department of Heritage and/opr Department of Aboriginal Affairs and anyone else who might need to be consulted on the works. This might change, so don't take this blog as gospel. We've already engaged with the SRT and Heritage so we're hopeful this process will be relatively smooth.
If the works are considered major or controversial requiring more input, we may face a 90-day comment period - including the first 42 days - but that not mandatory. It's at the discretion of the MRA and we're optimistic we won't need to go through that process.
Here's some FAQs:
Q: When will construction start?
A: To be honest, we're not sure. Almost no one we are dealing with has been through this sort of approvals process since the MRA was formed. We do know we want to get it done and dusted this year before our lease expires in 2017.
Q: What colour will it be?
A: Something pretty neutral, perhaps a grey. We probably won't get away with something too loud due to heritage, however we're looking for a safety line around the edge to make it easier to see.
Q: How will we get speedboats up?
A: There will be a sloped front mid-section so we can get speedboats more easily up onto the ramp. HOORAY.
Q: What is the total cost?
A: Total cost is currently looking at the far side of the $100K mark. So we are expecting we'll need to put in some decent fundraising work to cover the cost of it this year. We'll need help not just with fundraising but probably also with construction. To get in early and help coordinate this, contact Janet on firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope this gives you a bit of update on the deck. This is real, and it's happening to us, gang. Exciting times.