Shark barrier nets funds from State

By Michael Roberts | posted on June 11, 2020

IT HAS taken less than two weeks for the WA Government to come through with the goods on a new swimming enclosure at Middleton Beach, with Premier Mark McGowan announcing the State would go halves with the City of Albany on costs.

Late last month Council voted to seek funding for a replacement shark net at Ellen Cove, and 14 days later the move was met with a swift tick of approval.

The WA Government will now match every dollar spent by the City of Albany to construct a new enclosure, up to $200,000.

The current barrier at Middleton Beach, which was put in place in March 2016, has deteriorated beyond repair and will be removed in the coming weeks.

Citing insurance advice, the City of Albany said it may be liable for damages if the enclosure remained in the water.

Ellen Cove is a popular area for swimmers, and an enclosure has made people feel safe, according to keen swimmer Georgie Walker.

The existing barrier cost $340,000 in 2016, of which the State Government provided a $200,000 grant for a three-year trial.

Ms Walker, who swims in the enclosure almost every morning, said she didn’t feel comfortable exercising far from shore.

“The fact that the net is here now has made me feel totally secure.

Before the net, we used to swim parallel up the beach with our hands grappling on the sand,” she said.

A survey of the Albany community in 2017 found 93 per cent of people saw value in the City installing and maintaining the enclosure.

City of Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington said he hoped the new barrier would last longer than the current model.

“The technology has improved in the past four years,” he said.

Mr Wellington said early estimates showed the enclosure would cost between $350,000 to $400,000.

With just nine months till the next election, he said it was a great time for local government to get other projects approved for funding.