Tower of strength on the beach

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - By JON BAS­SETT

LIFESAVERS say the shel­ter from heat, wind and glare pro­vided by new semi-por­ta­ble tow­ers will im­prove swimmer safety at Cottes­loe, North Cottes­loe and City beaches.

“Their po­larised win­dows give bet­ter vi­sion, there’s bet­ter pro­tec­tion from the sun and blast­ing sand, and we can scan the en­tire beach from one spot,” Cottes­loe Surf Life Sav­ing Club res­cuer Bruce Simp­son said.

Last Fri­day, Premier Colin Bar­nett opened the one and two-man 4mhigh tow­ers on the beach, funded by the State Gov­ern­ment.

A third, one-man tower pur­chased by Cottes­loe Coun­cil will go on North Cottes­loe Beach, while a fourth will be op­er­ated at City Beach by Surf Life Sav­ing WA.

Mr Bar­nett said tow­ers for other beaches along the WA coast would be con­sid­ered if the struc­tures were suc­cess­ful.

The Gov­ern­ment al­lo­cated $175,000 to buy and main­tain the Cottes­loe tow­ers, cost­ing $35,000 for the one-man model and $65,000 for the two-man ver­sion. The tow­ers re­place plans for a per­ma­nent watch­tower that the Gov­ern­ment al­lo­cated $300,000 from its Shark Haz­ard Mit­i­ga­tion Strat­egy for two years ago.

How­ever, the watch­tower’s de­sign process failed to ap­pease Cottes­loe com­mu­nity con­cerns about aes­thet­ics and Cottes­loe SLSC’s de­sire for greater lifesaver fa­cil­i­ties in the struc­ture. There were also con­cerns about the abil­ity to with­stand storms and Abo­rig­i­nal her­itage is­sues at the po­ten­tial lo­ca­tion near Cottes­loe Groyne.

Cottes­loe SLSC pres­i­dent Ben Stephens said it would be in­ves­ti­gated if the US im­ports could be adapted to sit on the groyne and pro­vide greater south­ern views for lifesavers. How­ever, it will have to be de­cided if hav­ing a tower fur­ther from the surf break would in­ter­fere with the time needed to get to emer­gen­cies, in­clud­ing po­ten­tial spinal in­juries, caused by crash­ing waves.

The tow­ers ar­rived just in time for Aus­tralia Day and an­nual Sculp­ture by the Sea ex­hi­bi­tion crowds.

Cottes­loe SLSC lifesavers James Jenkin and Bruce Simp­son first manned the tower.

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