Upset over beach pool design

Pool supporters Jorg Imberger, Tom Locke and UWA emeritus professor John Bloomfield. Picture: Jon Bassett
Pool supporters Jorg Imberger, Tom Locke and UWA emeritus professor John Bloomfield. Picture: Jon Bassett

‘All of you loud-mouthed surfers, you’ve got loads of places to go and I’ve got nowhere, so where do I go to I swim?’ wheelchair-bound Cottesloe resident Hilary Rumley said.

Beijing Paralympics basketballer Kathleen O’Kelly-Kennedy (27) said she moved to Cottesloe seven months ago and was given a ‘warm reception’, but she was crying by the end of the robust briefing.

‘A comment that said ‘Are we just doing this for the disabled?’ really offended me,’ Mr O’Kelly-Kennedy said.

‘It was as if a facility for the disabled is not enough reason.’

About 120 residents, surfers, the disabled and councillors were briefed by University of WA-based Centre for Water Research director Jorg Imberger on a computer-tested concept for an Olympic-sized, $1.6 million pool on the north side of Cottesloe Groyne.

The concept uses a j-shaped rock wall protecting swimmers from the sea breeze, swells and sharks.

‘Sharks are a perceived threat, but it would be great too for mums and dads to have a coffee while their kids have a great time in the pool,’ Dr Imberger said.

Surfers were concerned the beach’s main surfing break would be altered, despite centre data indicating wave heights would be increased by a proposed underwater extension to the groyne, to flush water through the pool daily.

‘The lefthander is going to break into the Cottesloe Pylon,’ said resident Murray Jacob, who was also worried the wall would be undermined by currents like the rock jetty at Garden Island.

Other critics with analytical or engineering backgrounds were concerned about the pool becoming shallow.

‘It cannot work in that location as it will fill up with sand,’ resident Toby Walsh said, citing a report by a Centre for Water Research student that indicated more sand at the sea end of the pool in winter and early spring.

Pool proponent Tom Locke said a focus group, which could include the critics, would be created to broaden public consultation on the concept that now needed a period of design engineering.

Read Opinion here.