Cottesloe Surf Life Saving Club could give up beach watchtower because of location

A proposed watchtower between the Dutch Inn playground and groyne is causing controversy.
A proposed watchtower between the Dutch Inn playground and groyne is causing controversy.

COTTESLOE Surf Life Saving Club (CSLSC) threatened to give away a State Government-supplied beach watchtower after criticism of its proposed location a kilometre south of Cottesloe Beach.

“The City of Perth requires a tower urgently, so I’ll send it there, because by the time it could be allowed for Cottesloe summer will be over,” CSLSC president David Hounslow said.

The club wanted the tower at Dutch Inn to monitor offshore kitesurfers, but Cottesloe councillors thought it may not be able to provide the best service for other beach users at their meeting last week.

Mr Hounslow said he had talked with council staff for about six months about putting the 4m-high structure on grass near the Dutch Inn groyne for offshore surveillance, first aid and advice and faster response times along the increasingly used south Cottesloe coast.

Currently, only inflatable dinghy and occasional dune buggy and walk surf patrols can occur south from Cottesloe Beach, past Dutch Inn, to Cable Station at Mosman Park.

A tower in place on weekends until April would have radio contact with ambulances, rescue helicopters, the main beach patrol and Water Police.

Mr Hounslow said the tower would give volunteers low-glare vision from 400m to 1km offshore where more kitesurfers needed rescuing, and to treat the public onshore when summer traffic blocked Marine Terrace.

“By the time the lifesavers on Cottesloe’s main beach get the message and respond, 15 minutes has gone by, and by the time lifesavers arrive on the scene, with defibrillator and oxygen, another 15 minutes has passed, and the patient could be dead when the ambulance arrives five minutes later,” he said.

Windsurfers have used the intended site for the tower since the late 1970s and Windsurfing WA president Tim Brazier said while greater safety was supported, a tower would affect windsurfers’ use of the foreshore, and not give lifesavers beach views beyond 300m to the north.

However, councillors’ concerns included whether neighbours had been told, if lifesavers’ views covered both the Dutch Inn and South Cottesloe beaches, and if the structure designed for sand could topple on grass.

Cr Sally Pyvis said a tower could be needed north of Cottesloe Beach, at swimming spots known as Peter’s Pool and Slimey’s.

“I don’t think the sight lines have been dealt with, and there’s been no consultation with the public, the windsurfers and kitesurfers, and other locations could be a priority,” Mayor Jo Dawkins said.

Councillors decided to defer a decsion until their December 13 meeting, but the club withdrew its proposal yesterday.