Premier open to funding a shark barrier in Cottesloe

Cottesloe Council is seeking expressions of interest for shark barrier north of Cottesloe Groyne.
Cottesloe Council is seeking expressions of interest for shark barrier north of Cottesloe Groyne.

THE State Government will consider helping pay for the shark barrier its predecessor would not back at Cottesloe Beach.

Premier Mark McGowan said his government was open to a joint proposal with the council in an interview with communitynews.com.au on Tuesday.

“If the Cottesloe Council came to us with a proposition we’d consider it, but obviously we haven’t budgeted for it at this point,” Mr McGowan said.

The barriers are non-lethal floating structures, often made of plastic, which have already been installed at Coogee, Sorrento and Albany beaches.

They are cited by their supporters for bolstering swimmer’s confidence about shark safety and a corresponding increase in local business because of crowds attracted by their use.

Cottesloe is currently seeking expressions of interest for a shark barrier and its maintenance, just north of Cottesloe Groyne, until February 22.

A barrier is part of a renewed investigation by the council into shark protection and safe swimming devices.

It is separate from its ocean pool feasibility study, which faltered when councillors rejected spending up to $126,000 to complete that inquiry last October.

The previous State government did not back a barrier, citing problems with winter weed and swells, despite two fatal shark attacks and a kayak bitten in half in the area since 2002.

Mr McGowan said his government had funded a Dawesville barrier in 2018, smart buoy trials in the South West, extra helicopter patrols and personal protection devices.

A council spokeswoman said the council would investigate government funding if a barrier was to be installed after a wider tender process decided by councillors.

“The Town is interested in finding out what could be possible in terms of a shark barrier being installed at Cottesloe Beach, just north of the Cottesloe Groyne, which is the aim of calling for the expressions of interest,” she said.

Cottesloe Mayor Philip Angers has previously said he would like a barrier installed by this spring, but the spokeswoman said timing would be determined by the type of barrier, if one was chosen.