City of Mandurah: Falcon shark barrier not ready for summer

The long-awaited Falcon shark barrier won’t be ready for the upcoming summer season, a report by the City of Mandurah has confirmed.

The interim report, written by waterways and marina manager Neil Carrol, stated that the approval, public consultation, tender and construction processes would delay the installation of the barrier to mid-2018. 

The shark barrier is set to be installed in Falcon Bay, around the corner from Gearies Beach, where local surfer Ben Gerring was mauled by a shark in May 2016. 

“In the event that council make a decision on progressing with the project, it is unclear how long the approvals process may take,” the report read. 

“Council has resolved to undertake community consultation and this is subject to council endorsing the appropriate methodology, this will take time to deliver.”

The report also estimated that the tender process and the construction of the barrier would take up to five and three months respectively. 

“It would not be possible to install a shark barrier prior to summer of 2017/18, more likely such facility, if approved, it would be installed mid-2018.” 

The City of Mandurah is also considering three net options for the Falcon Bay site, varying from 265 to 680 metres.

According to the report, the design and installation of the barrier would cost between $312,000 and $768,000, depending on the length of the net, and between $50,000 and $100,000 a year to maintain. 

There are currently two companies capable of installing shark barriers in WA, Global Marine Enclosures – responsible for the installation of a barrier in Albany-  and Eco Shark Barriers – responsible for the barriers in Coogee and Sorrento.

Fisheries minister Dave Kelly committed $200,000 in May to get the protective barrier built, but it is understood it would be up to the City of Mandurah to fund the remaining cost of the project. 

During the council meeting on Tuesday night, City of Mandurah councillors voted in favour of continuing the City’s investigations on the matter, with a new report outlining the findings of a feasibility study set to be presented to council in November.

The report would also outline potential impacts to the area and the community consultation process to be carried out by the City.

At this point in time, it is understood the City hasn’t budgeted any funds for the project.