By Hannah Cross
Cottesloe Town Council is looking into a shark barrier for future summers.
At a Council meeting last month, Mayor Phil Angers asked the Administration to assess the feasibility of installing a barrier at Cottesloe Beach.
The Council meeting was told a drop in beachgoers has prompted the Council to take action to make the public safer. As well, the drop in numbers has hit local businesses in the area.
A spokesperson for the Town of Cottesloe says as the motion’s been deferred for now, the Town won’t be answering any questions about the proposed barrier.
But, the spokesperson did say the draft resolution for the motion wants the Administration to assess the best size and location for the barrier, cost estimates for building and maintenance, funding alternatives and compatibility with other beach activities.
The Council has also requested a timeframe that would allow for the area to be ready for public use by October next year.
The results of this assessment are to be published in a report ready for a Council Meeting scheduled for February.
Surf Club Support
The Cottesloe Surf Life Saving Club has thrown its support behind the barrier.
Club President, Michael Franz, says authorities should be doing whatever they can to prevent loss of life.
“If we could help preserve [safety] why wouldn’t we?
“Given the nature of shark attacks in WA over the last few years and the media attention it’s attracted,” he says.
Franz says an added attraction for the barrier is that it’ll allow the Club’s Nipper Program to be taught in a safe environment.
Franz says the benefits certainly outweigh the costs.
“It’s a community cost isn’t it – if you lose a life what does that cost?” he says.
But the barriers aren’t always effective at keeping out marine life. In October a number of dolphins managed to swim inside the enclosure at Sorrento Beach.
City of Joondalup resident, Carolin Scriba, says she saw work being done a couple of weeks ago on the enclosure, which was installed at Sorrento Beach in 2016.
“I wasn’t sure exactly what they were doing. But … it made me wonder how [the enclosure] got damaged,” she says.
City of Joondalup Acting CEO, Dale Page, says the enclosure had been damaged by storms in July and the City is in the process of repairing it.
Signs have been placed in the area to notify beach goers about the repairs.
Page also says dolphins and other marine life regularly go in and out of the barrier during repairs.
“I don’t think there’s much stopping the sharks getting in while the barriers are damaged,” says Carolin Scriba.
She says shark barriers seem pretty reliable when they’re not damaged.
“I think they serve more as a way to instil peace of mind for the public than being 100% safe and protective,” she says.