Mayor Vergone: Falcon shark barrier ‘a massive win’

Saving lives: Mandurah mayor Marina Vergone says the installation of the shark barrier at Falcon Beach and the creation of grants for councils to roll-out the BEN system is a massive win for Mandurah. Photo: Marta Pascual Juanola.
Saving lives: Mandurah mayor Marina Vergone says the installation of the shark barrier at Falcon Beach and the creation of grants for councils to roll-out the BEN system is a massive win for Mandurah. Photo: Marta Pascual Juanola.

Related: Shark barrier to be built at Falcon Bay.

The announcement that the state government would fund a shark barrier at Falcon Beach by fisheries minister Dave Kelly on Saturday was met with the seal of approval of Mandurah mayor Marina Vergone.

The commitment came almost one year after Mandurah surfer Ben Gerring lost his life following a tragic shark attack on Gearies Beach, Falcon, and only a few weeks after the City of Mandurah officially launch their new Beach Emergency Number (BEN) system.

Ms Vergone, who is a keen diver herself, said the barrier was a ‘massive bonus’ and would show other people that it is worth the investment in protecting human life.

“Everybody comes to live here for the uniqueness of it, we’ve got the estuary system, we’ve got the beach,” she said,

“If you can’t use the beach because you are afraid of going in the water for shark that’s a terrible thing to happen to us.

“It affects the whole community when an accident like this happens, if we can stop that with something as simple as a net, as a barrier, that won’t harm any marine life and protect human life I think it’s a massive win.”

Ms Vergone, the mind behind the creation of the BEN system, also celebrated the government’s decision to offer grants for local councils to roll-out the coding system.

“It’s been a lot of meetings, a lot of behind the scenes work to make this a reality and to see it happening now and have the McGowan government come on board and to help other councils to get the system up and running I think well done for the City of Mandurah,” she said.

“We are not inventing the wheel, this is plain logic you need to know where a location is along the beach because they are so vast.

“This is a system which is simple, it is not a huge expense and it can save somebody’s life.”