Sorrento Beach shark enclosure delay a barrier to progress

THE State Government should reallocate funding for a shark enclosure from the City of Joondalup to the City of Wanneroo, according to Wanneroo MLA Paul Miles.

Mr Miles made the call following Premier Colin Barnett’s comments in Parliament last month stating the City of Joondalup had not yet committed to the shark barrier for Sorrento beach, for which the government allocated $200,000 in July.

“I understand the City of Joondalup believes that it should be a larger shark enclosure, so we are prepared to look at that,” Mr Barnett said.

“I certainly urge the City of Joondalup to get on with it.

“We had hoped the shark enclosure would be in place this summer.”

He acknowledged Sorrento beach conditions were rougher than other potential sites for the enclosures but said it was “a good place to have a safe swimming area in the northern suburbs”.

Mr Miles said reallocating the funds to the City of Wanneroo would enable a shark barrier to be installed at Quinns Beach.

Based on the feasibility study the City of Wanneroo is currently undertaking, initial costs for a 300m long barrier could be about $300,000 including planning, design, approvals and installation.

Statement from Joondalup Mayor Troy Pickard

The City of Joondalup welcomes the offer of State Government funding towards a new swimming enclosure at Sorrento Beach.

However, after undertaking investigations, including engaging with the cities of Cockburn, Busselton and Albany, it has been identified that the sum of $200,000 is not adequate to create a suitable enclosure at this location.

A number of options have been investigated to achieve a functional outcome that will not only cater for local residents but also the anticipated high demand from the metropolitan area as a significant regional facility and work in with the operations of the nearby Sorrento Surf Life Saving Club.

The amount on offer is less than half of the expenditure required to progress the cheapest enclosure layout option.

Investigations carried out have indicated that fishing net-style barriers have significant annual maintenance costs because they need to be removed each winter and re-installed each summer.

Given the deeper water depth at Sorrento, compared to other installations in Western Australia, and the complications incurred from the adjoining Hillarys Boat Harbour, the overall cost is higher than either existing or similar net type options, or similar shallow water structures found elsewhere in the State.

The City of Joondalup is prepared to cover the costs associated with annual maintenance of the beach enclosure.

Additionally, the City is prepared to cover costs associated with the need to construct new public infrastructure, such as car parking and public amenity, required to cater for the increased patronage from the broader metropolitan area.

Consequently, the City will continue to work with all stakeholders to progress this project. However, an appropriate contribution will be required from the State Government to cover the capital costs of an appropriate beach enclosure.