Barnett lobbied to give more money to shark-proof enclosure

COTTESLOE MLA Colin Barnett has been lobbied to give more money to Perth’s second shark-proof coastal swimming enclosure at Sorrento Beach in the City of Joondalup.

“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,” Joondalup Mayor Troy Pickard said.

In July, Mr Barnett announced Joondalup and Albany councils would each get $200,000 for an enclosure of an undecided design.

The announcement effectively stopped bids for a shark barrier at Cottesloe Beach that could have provided swimmer safety and confidence, and potentially boosted beach business.

But subsequent investigations into the Sorrento site found the $200,000 was not enough.

Mr Pickard said water depth was twice that of existing enclosures, which currently comprise an Eco-Shark Barrier operated by the City of Cockburn at Coogee, and a net enclosure funded by the Government at Dunsborough.

He said the Sorrento enclosure needed to be anchored to Hillarys Boat Harbour’s seawall, leading to an estimated cost of between $470,000 and $840,-000.

Unlike the summer-only Eco Shark Barrier investigated by Cottesloe Council, the Sorrento facility will operate all year.

The 300m-long plastic Eco-Shark Barrier leased and maintained by Cockburn Council is in its second summer at Coogee.

Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett said community snorkelling and swimming clubs now met weekly and nearby businesses reported boosted trade.

The Government did not back the barrier, which costs Cockburn $85,000 annually, while Joondalup’s Sorrento facility is mooted for greater Government support.

“That’s quite amazing because we couldn’t even get $40,000,” Mr Howlett said.

Last week, Joondalup councillors agreed to get accurate costs for their enclosure.

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