City considers response

New store tipped to be opened soon.
New store tipped to be opened soon.

The City will vote on its response to the request at this Tuesday’s council meeting after the corporate and engineering services committee passed the response this week.

In December 2010, two men aged 37 and 31 drowned while attempting to cross the sandbar from Penguin Island to Mersey Point.

An inquest led by coroner Dominic Mulligan began in February. A letter to the City said the coroner was initially considering recommending the City provide a small parcel of land at the Shoalwater Point to allow Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) to erect storage for equipment.

It also said it could recommend the City make the point accessible to lifeguards by the road and provide a ‘permanent financial commitment’ with the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) so SLSWA could operate in the area.

Volunteer lifesavers and paid lifeguards patrol the beach and sandbar during busy summer months, but many visitors to the island still cross the sandbar despite quickly changing wind and tide conditions.

The proposed response from the City said it was willing to work with the DEC to manage the area and any coronial recommendations, and would consider any requests for funding or space for storage at the point for SLSWA.

However, the report said it considered any arrangements between the DEC and SLSWA were not a City matter.

It said the beach at the point required extensive annual maintenance, including excavating and removing sand accretion.

Mayor Barry Sammels said it was a sad incident.

‘We all probably remember this day, I certainly do,’ he said.

Cr Sammels said the proposed response showed the City was willing to work with the DEC and SLSWA.