EXCLUSIVE: THE installation of a beach enclosure at Sorrento has progressed following a special Joondalup council meeting last night.
Councillors voted to accept a $910,000 tender from Eco Shark Barrier for the supply, installation and maintenance of an enclosure at Sorrento Beach, subject to receiving a State Government grant to help with the initial costs.
The City will seek a $400,000 capital grant as part of the 2016-17 budget.
The vote was passed 10-2, with Councillors Nige Jones and Russell Poliwka against.
The State Government announced last July that it would contribute $200,000 towards an enclosure at Sorrento Beach.
However, with deep water and the need to anchor the enclosure to the south wall at Hillarys Boat Harbour, it was acknowledged the site had some challenges.
Discussions with the City have indicated the State Government would consider providing greater funding because of these construction challenges and because the enclosure would cater for the broader north-west region.
Mayor Troy Pickard said Sorrento Beach attracted “tens of thousands of people each year from the local community and across Perth, as well as interstate and overseas visitors”.
He said being next to Hillarys Boat Harbour, Sorrento Beach was ideal for an enclosure that would be in place all year round.
Kingsley-based Eco Shark Barrier has designed similar beach enclosures for City of Cockburn at Coogee Beach and for NSW’s Ballina Shire Council at Lighthouse Beach.
The 660m-long barrier would be made from nylon, with a clip together interlocking system hung between a nylon float line on the water surface and an anchored line along the seabed.
The mooring system is designed to keep the barrier in place year-round, ensuring it remains in good operational condition and providing a safer swimming environment.
“The Eco Shark Barrier at Coogee Beach has been in place for 18 months and has weathered winter storms and seaweed without any damage and the limited growth on the barrier has served as a food source for marine life,” Mr Pickard said.
Mr Pickard said the proposed enclosure would be the biggest in WA and one of the largest in Australia.
“The City favoured an enclosure of sufficient size to cater for the demand of what is expected to be a heavily-patronised regional facility,” he said.
“It will provide a safe swimming area for residents and visitors, with no negative impact on the operations of the Sorrento Surf Life Saving Club, even allowing for some of the club’s activities to be held within the enclosure.”
He said the City would continue to work with the State Government and hoped to have the enclosure installed before the start of summer.