Cottesloe council: shark barrier rises from the depths again

A swimmer at Cottesloe Beach. Picture: Jon Bassett.
A swimmer at Cottesloe Beach. Picture: Jon Bassett.

COTTESLOE Council will tonight again consider an environmentally-friendly shark barrier to stop a downturn in visitors and business caused by fears about swimmers’ safety.

Since 2000, at least 15 people have been killed in shark attacks in WA, including Bryn Davies off Cottesloe Beach in 2011 and Ken Crew at North Cottesloe in 2000.

The attacks contributed to the installation of barriers leased to councils by a private company at Coogee and Sorrento, as well as government-backed netted enclosures at Busselton and Dunsborough, which can be lethal to marine life.

“A shark barrier (not a net) is an ecologically acceptable, safe and relatively inexpensive alternative for open ocean swimming,” Cottesloe Mayor Phil Angers said.

Mr Angers said the attacks had caused a reported drop in visitors to Cottesloe, which correspondingly had a negative impact on beachside business, but swimming and visitors had increased where barriers had been installed because they created “peace of mind” among the public.

He said modern designs allowed barriers to be removed for winter surfing at Cottesloe.

The proposal for the barriers to return has Cottesloe Surf Life Saving Club support because it improved nippers junior lifesaving and swimming programs, and it could be an interim measure before any of the sea pools being investigated might be built.

However, a 2015 attempt for a barrier at Cottesloe failed when the former State Government failed to contribute $130,000 towards its cost.

Tonight, Mr Angers will ask council staff to report in five months on funding choices, permits, the best size and location, costs and if it can be installed by October 2019.

In other motions, councillors will also consider the second stage of the investigation into a permanent sea pool either side of Cottesloe groyne or at North Cottesloe, and progression of an overall plan to revamp the foreshore.