City tests water for Sorrento beach enclosure

There is plenty to consider regarding installing an enclosure at Sorrento beach.
There is plenty to consider regarding installing an enclosure at Sorrento beach.

THE City of Joondalup will seek tenders for a beach enclosure at Sorrento to enable further negotiations with the State Government to increase its funding.

Councillors at Tuesday’s meeting voted unanimously to start the process to get a more accurate idea of the cost to construct and install it.

In July, the State Government announced it would contribute $200,000 to the project, but as reported in last Thursday’s Weekender, the City’s investigations have found the funding is not enough to create a suitable enclosure at Sorrento beach.

Mayor Troy Pickard said at the meeting he had since had conversations with Premier Colin Barnett and his advisors to highlight the challenges of the site.

He said though it was an ideal location given the popularity of the beach, the depth of the water was twice that of other existing closures so it would need more infrastructure.

It would also need to be anchored to the south wall at Hillarys Boat Harbour.

A council document said an enclosure at the site could cost between $470,000 and $840,000.

Mr Pickard said the State Government had indicated a willingness to consider providing more money because of the engineering challenges and the wider regional population the enclosure would cater for.

“We have had some very fruitful discussions with the State Government after indicating a need for a bigger financial contribution on their behalf and we will continue to work collaboratively,” he said.

“The City is considering an enclosure of sufficient size that will operate all year round, which in some respects becomes a facility that will appeal to the broader region and attracts visitors from outside the City.

“The beach enclosure is likely to be a major attractor for families, swimmers and the general public looking for protection against potential shark encounters.

“There are no other similar options available in the northern metropolitan area.”

Three different-sized enclosures will go out for tender and once each option is properly costed, the City will work with the State Government to decide on a preference and a final proposal will go to the council next year for endorsement.

In the interim, there will be more negotiations with the State Government about its financial contribution.

Councillors will consider allocating City funds in its 2015-16 mid-year budget review to complete the project in time for next summer.

The City is also prepared to consider paying for annual maintenance costs (at least $15,000 a year) and may need to construct new public infrastructure such as car parking to accommodate the increased use of the beach.