View Comments
Govt funds shark-spotting tower
WA opposition leader Mark McGowan and architect Sam Martin show of a proposal for an ocean pool near Bathers Beach in Fremantle. Picture: Mogens Johansen/The West Australian

The State Government will fund a shark-spotting watchtower at Cottesloe beach which is expected to be up and running by next summer.

Premier Colin Barnett, who is also Cottesloe’s local member, announced the funding injection of $300,000 for the observation tower this morning.

The structure will give surf life savers 270 degree views of the surrounding ocean.

The funding is in addition to the Government’s $6.85m pledge in September to boost shark research and patrols of Perth’s beaches.

The announcement comes as five metropolitan beaches were closed this morning after sightings of Tiger sharks near the coast.

The premier said the new tower will also boost surf life savers’ ability to spot swimmers in distress.

“A lot of people do get into trouble at Cottesloe, even though it is one of the safest beaches,” he said.

He said tourists favoured Cottesloe but often underestimated the dangers of rips and dumping waves.

Mr Barnett also rejected suggestions of pork barrelling in his own electorate in the lead-up to the March election.

"Yes it is my electorate and as the member for Cottesloe I’m delighted the Government is going to help the club build a much needed patrol tower and I think beach users at Cottesloe will appreciate that," he said.

"Most of the other surf clubs do have adequate facilities at this stage, Cottesloe doesn’t."

He stressed the money was not an election promise and had already been approved by treasury.

The West Australian revealed in October local surf life savers asked the State Government for the tower in response to a spate of fatal shark attacks they fear may be deterring people from going to the beach.

Meanwhile the State opposition unveiled another plank in their plan for tackling the shark issue – an ocean pool at Fremantle’s Bathers Beach.

Opposition leader Mark MacGowan this morning announced $5m in funding for the construction of two ocean pools at the quiet swimming beach, inspired by similar structures in Bondi and the East Coast.

WA Labor also plan to build a pool ocean pools at Cottesloe and the South West town of Albany, part of a $15m election promise should they take office later this year.

He said West Australian families are “crying out” for a safe way to enjoy the ocean.

He also hopes the facility will help revive the area, near the historic roundhouse, as a tourist destination.