Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Shark mitigation measures including increased beach patrols utilising helicopters, drones and jet skis are being considered by the City of Mandurah and Councillors in preference to a fixed physical shark barrier for swimmer safety.


Council has been looking into the suitability of a beach enclosure at Falcon Bay to provide a safe area for swimmers following a commitment from the State Government in 2017 to part fund the proposal.


City of Mandurah Mayor Rhys Williams said the State Government’s $287,500 offer to part fund a beach enclosure is very generous.  However, it only addresses one of the City’s swimming areas and recent events have shown that the effectiveness of the technology is in doubt.


“The safety of our local community and visitors is our priority.  It is important that we are not reactive and make an informed decision to ensure the best outcome to keep our beaches as safe as possible.


"The installation cost for one shark barrier is estimated at $575,000 plus ongoing scheduled maintenance of more than $100,000 annually, with an expected lifespan of potentially only 5 years.

“Research and development of non-lethal shark detection and deterrent technologies is rapidly changing and it’s in our best interest to continue to monitor the progress until a suitable solution is identified.


 “It is now proposed that the State Government’s funding be reallocated to support a greater emphasis on beach patrols.


“This recommendation has bipartisan support from the Member for Dawesville, Zak Kirkup and the Member for Mandurah David Templeman.


“We are also conducting an online community engagement process to gauge support for the proposal before a final decision is made,” Mr Williams said.


The proposal would see beach life guard patrols conducted at four key beach locations within the City, over the peak Summer period beginning in December 2019.  This option would cost an estimated $681,150 over a 3 year period.


The four proposed beaches are Pyramids Beach at Dawesville, Falcon Bay at Falcon, Town Beach at Mandurah and San Remo/Madora Bay.

City of Mandurah CEO Mark Newman said the City has taken into consideration the performance and associated costs of installing shark barriers, based on the installations across other local government areas, and believes that this new beach patrol proposal is the best outcome for Mandurah residents.

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