Sharks no barrier for visitors to Cottesloe

Ballina tourist Mick Wilson at Cottesloe yesterday.
Ballina tourist Mick Wilson at Cottesloe yesterday.

IT did not take long to find local, interstate and international visitors to ask if a protective shark barrier was needed at Cottesloe Beach.

“I don’t really fear sharks when I come to the beach. It’s the risk you take,” Gidgegannup resident Jake Wood said yesterday.

Jake Wood.

Cottesloe Mayor Phil Angers cited his own conversations with swimmers and beachside businesses about a claimed reduction in beach use when the council renewed its investigation of a barrier for next summer last Tuesday.

“So many friends have said to me, during swim training, and I’ve swum to Rottnest Island six times, that people are still nervous even if they are just 30m out,” Mr Angers said.

The council’s 2015 bid for a barrier failed when the previous State government did not provide $130,000 for its cost.

Mr Angers said it was time to again ask the State Government because the council was revamping the foreshore and an undisclosed individual had shown interest in assisting.

“If the environmental impact of a barrier is minimal and it’s cost-effective, then it sounds like a reasonable idea,” Kalamunda visitor Diane Sappl said

Diana Sappl.

Mount Hawthorn visitor Mary Droste said only spring’s cold water and not sharks deterred her from swimming at Cottesloe.

Mary Droste.

“Everything is trying to kills us here – snakes, spiders and sharks – so you’ve just got to be aware of your environment,” Michigan, USA tourist Katie Schmitz said.

However, Ballina, NSW tourist Mick Wilson said Cottesloe should consider what happened after his community suffered several shark attacks, including one that injured a surfing mate.

“They put in a barrier at our Lighthouse Beach, but the problem at Ballina was the storm surges pushed it off the beach and it wasn’t effective, so they had to sort that out there,” Mr Wilson said.