NO VOTE COULD AF­FECT

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - By JON BAS­SETT

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.

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