The Cockburn City Council resolved at its monthly council meeting last Thursday night to allow the free trial of the barrier at the beach from September until March next year.
The barrier, designed by Form Designs in Bibra Lake, would cover 300 metres of coastline north of the jetty, and sit roughly 75 metres out to sea. It will be inspected on a weekly basis. The City will be able to remove it at any stage.
East ward councillor Lee-Anne Smith said she was unsure if it would have any real benefit for Cockburn.
‘I have concerns over parking. Having the barrier may attract residents from outside the City and I don’t think the City can cope with this demand,’ she said.
‘We have been given no briefing on the barrier. I would have preferred to see the item deferred for one month so a more informed decision could have been made.’
There have not been any serious or fatal shark attacks at Coogee Beach since records commenced in the 1800s, so it is unlikely that the trial will provide any real evidence that the barrier would be effective against such attacks.
The City will therefore use the WA-first trial to test the structure’s ability to withstand ocean conditions, see how people accept it and investigate whether or not it traps marine creatures and impacts on coastal processes.
‘The purpose of the trial is to put it in the water and see what impact it has on the marine life and coastal processes,’ engineering director Michael Littleton said.
‘It’s a new product and one we believe represents a choice worthy of trialling. If we believe it to have a detrimental effect we can have it removed.’