City of Mandurah proposes more patrols rather than fixed shark barrier

Westpac Life Saver Rescue Drone.
Westpac Life Saver Rescue Drone.

THE City of Mandurah is considering shark mitigation measures including increased beach patrols using helicopters, drones and jet skis rather than a fixed physical shark barrier for swimmer safety.

The council has been investigating the suitability of a beach enclosure at Falcon Bay to provide a safe area for swimmers following a commitment from the State Government in 2017 to part fund the proposal.

Mayor Rhys Williams said the State Government’s $287,500 offer to part fund a beach enclosure was generous but only addressed one of the City’s swimming areas.

He told last night’s council meeting that recent events had shown the effectiveness of the technology was in doubt.

“The safety of the community and visitors is our priority,’’ he said.

“It is important that we are not reactive and make an informed decision to ensure the best outcome to keep our beaches as safe as possible.

“The installation cost for one shark barrier is estimated at $575,000 plus ongoing scheduled maintenance of more than $100,000 annually, with an expected lifespan of potentially only five years.

“Research and development of non-lethal shark detection and deterrent technologies is rapidly changing and it’s in our best interest to continue to monitor the progress until a suitable solution is identified.

“It is now proposed the State Government’s funding be reallocated to support a greater emphasis on beach patrols.”

Mr Williams said the recommendation had bipartisan support from Dawesville MLA Zak Kirkup and Mandurah MLA David Templeman.

He said the council was also holding an online community engagement process to gauge support for the proposal before a final decision was made.

The proposal would see beach life guard patrols at four key beach locations – Pyramids Beach, Falcon Bay, Town Beach and San Remo/Madora – over the peak summer period starting in December.

The option would cost $681,150 over three years.

City chief executive Mark Newman said the council had taken into consideration the performance and associated costs of installing shark barriers, based on the installations across other local government areas and believed the new beach patrol proposal was the best outcome for Mandurah residents.

To have your say visit https://www.mandurahmatters.com.au/proposed-falcon-bay-shark-barrier.