NO VOTE COULD AFFECT
SOME Cottesloe Beach businesses say having no eco-friendly shark barrier at the tourist hotspot will be bad for business after Cottesloe Council and the State Government scrapped a proposed three-year trial of the WAdeveloped device.
“It seems counter-intuitive for a council to have come so close to lifting business for its constituents by the reinstatement of beach confidence for locals and tourists, to then baulk, leaving Cottesloe beach-going in decline,” Il Lido restaurant operator Dan Wegener said.
Mr Wegener said tourists talked of shark fears “far too often”, and there was not enough discussion about effective methods to combat the fear.
At its meeting last week, the council rejected spending about $130,000 a year to trial a floating plastic Eco Shark Barrier from the end of Cottesloe Groyne to near the Indiana restaurant because the Government would not contribute.
A Coogee Beach barrier paid for by the City of Cockburn has attracted swimmers from across Perth, resulting in greater trade for the operators near the structure.
At Cottesloe, Frozen Culture icecream vendor Vickie Hills said a Cottesloe barrier would attract beach users and help compensate for the current economic downturn.
Amberjack fish and chip shop owner Tim Wood said although other factors, including skin cancer awareness, had contributed to fewer beach visitors, a barrier could benefit trade.
“I think a barrier would change those people’s minds who longer come here because of fear of sharks,” Cottesloe General Store co-operator Lynda Kenny said.
Since October 2014, Cottesloe council had its barrier permits and licences, but in July the Government announced it would fund Sorrento and Albany barriers, and rejected Cottesloe because a study suggested the beach had too much swell and waves.
Council’s past decisions included a provision there would only be a trial with government funding because the beach was used by people from all the state and was internationally known.
“Our argument was you don’t get on a Qantas jet and find Joondalup as part of the Tourism WA brand, because you find Cottesloe is,” Cottesloe Mayor Jo Dawkins said.
Eco Shark creator Craig Moss said he was disappointed with the decision but the Government had funded two other barriers and he would apply for his device to be at both sites.