Falcon Bay: No progress on shark net as councillors slam politicians

There has still not been any decision on if a shark net will be installed at Falcon Bay.
There has still not been any decision on if a shark net will be installed at Falcon Bay.

SUMMER is on the way, but it is still unclear if there will be a shark net at Falcon Bay with City of Mandurah councillors slamming local and Federal politicians at Tuesday night’s council meeting.

Cr Caroline Knight said she was disappointed a political issue had been made out of a tragic situation.

She said statements the council was standing in the way of a shark net were untrue and she criticised “cheap derogatory comments in the press.”

Cr Dave Schumacher claimed the council had been put in a bad light by politicians who had not done their research while Cr Fred Riebeling said it was difficult to deliver a proposal with no information and “hard sitting here and being slagged off by politicians.”

“Comments that we are not pulling our weight are ridiculous,’’ he said.

Councillors were told Fisheries Minister Jon Kelly had advised a one-off grant of $200,000 would be made available for a beach enclosure at Falcon Bay.

Any extra cost would need to be borne by the City of Mandurah.

But councillors claim there is a huge lack of information on which to make an informed decision.

As Falcon Bay is a popular family swimming beach, there could be heightened expectations in the community that such a proposal could be implemented by simply accepting the grant and buying a suitable barrier.

Rick Gerring, whose brother Ben was killed by a shark while surfing at Falcon last year, told councillors the community had called for a shark barrier promised by the Barnett Government before the election.

Although there had since been a change of Government, he hoped the new State Government had the goodwill to continue with the project.

“The community is still hurting from the tragedy and families and children do not want to go in the water,’’ he said.

“A barrier would be a big asset for the area.”

Mr Gerring accused “people outside the council of making a big noise for personal reasons.’’

Councillors endorsed community consultation and a feasibility study being undertaken.

A council analysis and review of other projects indicate a shark net would cost around $350,000.

A typical shark barrier costs around $1000 a lineal metre and does not include various items required for installation.