Beach wars over shark barrier


MLA John Quigley with Quinns Mindarie Surf Life Saving Club members.
Picture: Martin Kennealey               www.communitypix.com.au   d450468
MLA John Quigley with Quinns Mindarie Surf Life Saving Club members. Picture: Martin Kennealey               www.communitypix.com.au d450468

Responding to a grievance by Butler MLA John Quigley last week, Mr Barnett said the State Government and City of Joondalup had not yet reached an agreement about $250,000 allocated to Sorrento.

Mr Quigley said the response was disappointing as the City of Wanneroo had offered to meet the shortfall if it received funding for a barrier, while Joondalup had asked for more money from the State Government.

He said the Sorrento site was close to a safe swimming beach within Hillarys Boat Harbour, but a shark barrier farther north would benefit people in his electorate.

“In May 2015 the City of Wanneroo undertook a feasibility study as to whether or not they could install a shark eco barrier at Quinns Beach and embarked upon community consultation,” he said.

“When they surveyed the community, 72 per cent said they would use the beach more, 73 per cent said that they would use Quinns over any other beaches and 82 per cent said that they would be more likely to swim.”

Mr Barnett said discussions with Joondalup were ongoing as Sorrento had deeper water and larger wave action than other beaches with barriers – Dunsborough and Busselton – meaning stronger nets were needed.

“It’s going to be more expensive,” he said.

The Premier said Sorrento was likely to attract more people, so they were also discussing whether to make the enclosure larger.

Mr Barnett said he had received Wanneroo Mayor Tracey Roberts’ December letter requesting the funds transfer but that would not happen.

Instead, he said they would consider Quinns in the next budget as they had a policy to fund an extra one or two barriers in every future budget, depending on cost, location and suitability.

“There is a lack of locations and safe swimming areas on those northern beaches; they are fairly exposed,” he said.

“They’ve got reef structures that provide some protection, but you’ve also got some rips that are quite dangerous in those areas.”

initiated a tender process, which closes today, for three different sized enclosures at Sorrento to ascertain the cost of construction and installation.

Mayor Troy Pickard said the Sorrento Beach site posed challenges not applicable at other beaches in WA, including the deeper water depth and the need to anchor the enclosure to the south wall at Hillarys Boat Harbour.

“Rather than fishing net-style barriers that have significant annual maintenance costs and need to be removed each winter and re-installed each summer, the City favours an enclosure of sufficient size that will operate all year round,” he said.

Mr Pickard said the City remains prepared to cover the costs associated with annual maintenance of the beach enclosure and costs associated with building public infrastructure, such as car parking and public amenity.

Quinns Mindarie Surf Life Saving Club president Neil Rigby said the club supported having a barrier and would patrol the water inside and outside it.

“We are all for the shark barrier,” he said. “It would attract more people to the beach, which is certainly a safe part of the coast.

“We just noticed the area and beach is getting busier anyway – it’s busy for most of the day when the weather is good.”

Mr Rigby said the club’s membership had increased by 10 per cent to almost 600 this season, and the number of people visiting the beach was growing too.

He said the club expansion to include a community centre, and the redevelopment of the neighbouring Quinns Rocks Caravan Park would lead to more people on the beach as well. Last month, Wanneroo councillors unanimously agreed to list $300,000 in the long-term capital works program to install a barrier at the southern end of the beach off Quinns Road, Mindarie.

According to the council agenda, it would be possible to install the barrier by summer 2016-17.