A tender to build the Albany artificial surf reef should be close to being awarded by the end of the year following a finalised $5 million funding commitment from the Federal Government. The City of Albany is now a step closer to putting the long-awaited project out for tender with the Government saying the funds are now “ready to flow”. The reef will be a 165m submerged rock reef situated about 140m offshore from Middleton Beach and 50m north of the Surfers Beach carpark. Funds from the State Government plus the City of Albany and Albany Boardriders have all been put towards the creation of the $11.5 million reef. Competition officer and former Boardriders president David Beeck said the club had been keeping the pressure on so the project remained front of mind for all those involved. “We didn’t want to see this opportunity slide by, so it’s good to see they’ve finally released the funds,” he said. He said it the artificial reef would be a major boost to the sport in Albany upon completion. “Those kids who have parents who don’t surf often don’t have the opportunity to get out there,” he said. “Once this is done, they’ll have opportunities to just ride their bikes down after school or during holidays, so that’ll be perfect. “We’ve always been relying on sandbanks which aren’t always there and that means no consistent surf. “During significant swell events, we’ve had nowhere to go and this has been designed to suit something like that.” Mayor Dennis Wellington said he hoped the tender process would start by the end of the year and “actual work on it” would start early next year. He said people could now start to “see what the realities of the job are” which involves sourcing plenty of rocks and a barge to put them all in place. “It is quite a convoluted exercise, so it will take some time,” he said. “Hopefully the tenders come within the figures that have been laid out and then we can take it from there.” The Federal funds are coming from the Priority Community Infrastructure Program. Federal Infrastructure Minister Catherine King said local coasts could be vital places to gather, have fun, exercise and make lasting memories. “That is why we are getting on with the job of delivering on our election commitment to support Albany’s Southern Ocean Surf Reef,” she said. WA Senator Glen Sterle said the Great Southern was well-known for its quality surf locations. “The Southern Ocean Surf Reef is a grassroots-driven project designed to address the current lack of shoreline, to allow the surfing community to better enjoy the swell,” he said.