The Swan River is pretty to look at but its mud and menagerie of jellyfish plus algae doesn't make it the most appealing place for a swim.
Its ability to host events are also pretty much limited to debaucherous hen's and buck's party boats that probably cause the nutrient overload in the river that feeds the algae.
Enter the Swan River Deck – an enormous 100-metre long floating facility featuring a swimming pool/lagoon filled with chemical-free filtered river water, public open space and venues for events and exhibitions.
The deck is an ambitious plan by a group of developers, architects, engineers and planners to reconnect people with one of Perth’s most important natural resources.
Swan River Deck founder and director Grant Oldfield said the team had been working on the idea for a few years with the aim of leveraging the value of the Swan River.
“In today’s society people are looking for that fusion of the urban environment with the natural environment,” he said.
“It’s not just about being in a city, it’s about how you experience nature in the city. That’s where the idea comes from.
“By being on the deck you’re thinking about the Swan River, you’re thinking about the condition of the river, what’s going on there, the history of it, the cultural aspects of it and basically its getting people involved in the outdoors.
“At the moment you could say that if you don’t have a boat or you don’t have a surf ski or paddle board, the question is how do you actually go and enjoy the river?”
The deck would be settled just to the west of the entrance of Elizabeth Quay.
Mr Oldfield said one of its features would be its small environmental footprint.
He said with filtration equipment the deck would help improve water quality in the surrounding area.
“We would like to see the deck even just in its local area as much as possible working and improving that situation,” he said.
The team has submitted the deck proposal to the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions’ Perth Water Precinct Plan public consultation and have spoken to government and industry authorities.
Unlike the mothballed Elizabeth Quay to Kings Park cable car and other fanciful Perth projects that never got past the artist impression stage, Mr Oldfield isn’t promising the world. He said in order to proceed they needed public input.
“We’ve tried to take a slow and steady approach to this idea and see if anybody says an outright no,” he said.
“No one has turned around and said ‘no there’s just no way you can possibly do that’.
“What people have continually emphasised to us is that yes it is interesting but what about the people. Is this something that they want?
“We’re actively seeking community feedback on this.
“It’s about discussing the principle. How big do we want it to be? How extraordinary do we want it to be?
“Ultimately if this is something that people want then they can tell us they want it.”
Tourism Minister Paul Papalia said the McGowan Government was supportive of private business ventures that diversified the state’s tourism offering and had the potential to make Perth a more vibrant destination.
“While we are yet to receive a formal proposal, an in-river swimming pool venue on the city’s doorstep would add to the variety of experiences available to locals and visitors to Perth,” he said.
Mr Oldfield urged people to visit the Swan River deck website and share their thoughts on the project.
Hamish Hastie is a Fairfax Media business reporter writing from the WAtoday offices in Perth. He was raised in Armadale in Perth's south east and covered the area for four years at the Examiner Newspaper before a stretch writing for the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA's business magazines.