Keeping beach safe for all

Under the council proposal, kitesurfing and windsurfing would be moved from the narrow beach at the Telephone Box surf break.
Keeping beach safe for all
Under the council proposal, kitesurfing and windsurfing would be moved from the narrow beach at the Telephone Box surf break.

A PLAYGROUND would be moved to make way for windsurfers and kite-surfers would get a new shower facility if the governing bodies of both water sports adopt a Cottesloe Council proposal for them to stop using a beach opposite Deane Street, on Marine Parade, all year round.

“This is not a question of taking Deane Street away from them, it’s about keeping the general area available for generations of kiters to come, and stopping accidents,” WA Kite Surfing Association (WAKSA) president Drew Norton said.

In 2013, East Victoria Park kiter Marc Sprod was killed at the Deane Street site, known as the Telephone Box surf break, and there have been frequent reports of kites falling on cars, the road, roofs of nearby homes and narrowly missing other beach users.

Despite the dangers, Telephone Box remains popular with kiters because of its surf breaks, off-street parking and shower, despite the beach about 150m south being the unofficial zone for the sport in a handshake agreement between the council and WAKSA.

At the council’s December 14 meeting, it was agreed to seek public comment on changing local laws to make the unofficial zone – between Rosendo Street and the Dutch Inn Groyne – a formal kitesurfing and windsurfing area.

Mr Norton said WAKSA wanted commonsense to prevail and for kiters to move to the formal area so no bans or fines would be needed.

He said WAKSA’s submission to the council would ask that no kites be allowed to launch or land at Telephone Box, but they could use the area 200m offshore.

The association will lobby for another formal area south of Swanbourne SLSC to prevent overcrowding.

Since the late 1970s, windsurfers have used the grassed area beside a more recent playground near the Dutch Inn Groyne, 500m south of Telephone Box, and used a gentle beach path to carry rigged boards to the beach.

The proposal for a formal water sports area followed a report that a person in the playground was hit by windsurfing equipment recently.

WA Windsurfing president Tim Brazier said he would have to fully consider the council’s proposal for a formal zone, but moving the playground would benefit windsurfers and other beach users.

The council will budget for the shower and moving the playground, and is expected to consider comment about the proposed change in March.