Surf observation tower installed at Yanchep Lagoon

Observation tower at Yanchep Lagoon.
Observation tower at Yanchep Lagoon.

YANCHEP Lagoon has a new surf patrol tower to keep beachgoers safer, but not everyone is happy about it.

Yanchep Surf Life Saving Club welcomed the arrival of the observation tower this month Oct, which will help volunteers and life guards keep watch over families swimming in the lagoon.

President Billy Prinsloo said the tower would improve safety at the beach, giving patrol members a better view of people in the water.

“It’s really going to make a huge difference to us,” he said.

Hi members and friends,As you may have seen, we have a new addition to our lovely lagoon with a brand new, state of…

Posted by Yanchep Surf Lifesaving Club on Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Surf Life Saving WA lifesaving coordinator Nick Pavy said the installation, due to finish this week ahead of the first patrol on November 3, was part of a roll-out of 10 towers across WA funded by Lotterywest.

“Towers have been installed across the State to improve surveillance at each selected beach,” he said.

“We strongly encourage people to swim between the flags but our lifesavers regularly need to rely on the mantra of ‘if we can’t see you, we can’t save you’.

“These towers provide elevation above the beachgoers, umbrellas, tents, etc that can often be seen on the beach and obscure vision of the water.”

Mr Prinsloo said the club previously used a mobile observation structure, which they towed onto the beach during patrols using a buggy and that posed collision risks with beachgoers.

“Yanchep Lagoon will benefit from the tower to not only improve surveillance at a location that can be exposed to strong currents but also reduce the mobilisation or demobilisation of infrastructure on and off the beach every patrol,” Mr Pavy said.

Two Rocks Yanchep Residents Association (TRYRA) members raised concerns about its “prime location” at their October 28 meeting.

“It’s been dumped in the middle of the beach,” secretary Lorraine Jackson said.

“How much more of the lagoon are they going to take away?”

Ms Jackson said lifesavers “do a great job there” and president Alex Figg said he was keen to get the rationale behind the location chosen.

TRYRA members agreed to contact the City and surf lifesavers for more information about why the location was chosen rather than a spot farther north where rips occurred.

The group has previously discussed the visual impact of development at the lagoon, including the design of the surf lifesaving building and limestone retaining wall on Brazier Road.

Mr Pavy told Community News the location maximised the vantage point from the elevated platform into the lagoon to the north as well as onto the reef.

He said they also considered tidal movements and erosion, land use limitations and ways to minimise “impact on beach real estate”. “The tower was modified with side access stairs to further reduce the impact,” he said.

Mr Pavy said the seasonal structure would be removed after the last patrol of the season, which falls on April 30 in 2020, and be reinstalled in about September or October for the next season.

Outside the Lotterywest grant, a similar structure was installed at Quinns Beach last season following public consultation run by the City of Wanneroo and others have been installed at Sorrento and Mullaloo in the City of Joondalup.

The City of Wanneroo did not respond to questions, referring Community News back to SLSWA.

Yanchep Lagoon vision endorsed