Shark barrier bring swimmers a sense of security

Cottesloe SLSC member Joelle Matier next to the new shark barrier at Cottesloe Beach. Picture: Andrew Ritchie
Cottesloe SLSC member Joelle Matier next to the new shark barrier at Cottesloe Beach. Picture: Andrew Ritchie

LONG-DISTANCE swimmers are lapping up a new sense of security from the shark barrier installed off Cottesloe Beach last week.

Cottesloe Surf Lifesaving Club member Joelle Matier, 21, said installation of the barrier had made her consider doing beach laps herself.

“I feel more confident, and I’d say I’m doing more laps, and people are swimming out further,” Cottesloe daily lapper Glen Gurney said.

Cottesloe Council decided in June to spend $835,000 over four years for the installation and maintenance of the 310m-long Eco Shark Barrier from Cottesloe Groyne to the beach near the old pylon.

Cottesloe SLSC member Joelle Matier next to the new shark barrier at Cottesloe Beach. Picture: Andrew Ritchie

The barrier was initially earmarked to be installed in 2015 but negotiations stalled because the Barnett government refused to help fund the project.

Beachside businesses are reporting increased interest in Cottesloe and that locals are coming back.

“What we heard from customers were people felt a bit safer about swimming out,” Gelato Bar Cottesloe owner Vickie Hill said.

Cottesloe General Store owner Lynda Kenny-Cassell said she heard supportive comments from local residents last weekend.

“Regular customers were saying they were coming back to Cottesloe to take a swim,” Ms Kenny-Cassell said

The shark barrier at Cottesloe Beach. Picture: Andrew Ritchie

Town of Cottesloe mayor Phil Angers said last week he hoped the long-awaited shark barrier would boost business and tourist confidence in the beachside suburb.

The barrier, which comprises sections of reinforced plastic grids with gaps for fish and other marine life to swim through, attracted a small seal that slipped passed wires attached to the groyne on the first day of operation.

But the 3m area was filled with another section of barrier on Tuesday.

Eco Shark Barrier inventor Craig Moss said a shark would not attempt the gap washed by waves across submerged rocks.

Long-time Cottesloe ocean pool proponent Tom Locke said he would now take his ideas to another coastal area saying a pool offered a facility for water sports, the elderly, the disabled and children.

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