Paid surf life saving patrols delayed

Police at Falcon Bay where Ben Gerring was fatally mauled by a shark in 2016. Picture: Daniel Wilkins.
Police at Falcon Bay where Ben Gerring was fatally mauled by a shark in 2016. Picture: Daniel Wilkins.

THE City of Mandurah has again stalled on plans to bolster swimmer safety just days out from summer.

Despite having nearly $300,000 in State Government cash in its pocket for the past two years, the council last week delayed plans for paid patrol services at its most popular beach spots.

Council decided to take action following the death of Ben Gerring, who was fatally mauled by a shark at Falcon Bay in 2016, along with several shark attacks at Pyramids Beach between 2014 and 2018.

While it was initially planning to install a shark barrier at Falcon Bay after receiving $287,000 in Government funding, council instead redirected the money towards a plan for paid surf life saving services at four beaches.

The council was due to accept a tender for a paid lifeguard service at Pyramids Beach, Falcon Bay, Town Beach and San Remo Beach, but at a special meeting last week it voted to decline all offers.

City of Mandurah chief executive Mark Newman confirmed the tenders were declined after the service delivery specifications were reviewed to ensure the service to be delivered would meet the community’s needs.

“The review found the specifications outlined in the tender did not match the initial service delivery expected from the community and that the specifications would need to be revised,” a report to council said.

The council is keeping details of those proposed specifications under wraps with the report saying, “due to the expectation that the tenderers who submitted an offer will again submit another offer to the proposed tender, the summary is confidential.”

Mr Newman said it was “unfortunate” the service start date would be delayed by a few weeks but that it was a service not previously offered in the city.

“With the tender being for up to three years, it is vital that the scope of services are correct,” he said.

It comes as Mandurah was last week revealed as topping the list for personal shark deterrent subsidy claims for surf devices.

The tender has been readvertised and the council hopes to start patrols at the four beaches from January 20 next year.