COTTESLOE Beach surf-lifesavers will receive $300,000 from the State Government towards the cost of a shark and safety watchtower at the popular beach.
“This would give an almost 270-degree view and allow volunteer surf-lifesavers and full-time lifeguards to look out over Cottesloe Beach as far north as Peter’s Pool and south to Dutch Inn,” Premier Colin Barnett said.
Announcing the funding last Saturday, Mr Barnett said the tower was part of his Government’s $6.8 million shark attack mitigation program, but it could also house rescue equipment and a first-aid post.
Lifesavers want a tower so their view is unaffected by sunset glare while they look for rips, dumping swells and swimmers in distress.
It would also allow monitoring of beachgoers’ behaviour, drinking on the foreshore and offshore marine safety.
Cottesloe Surf Lifesaving Club president Ben Stephens pitched a tower proposal to Mr Barnett in September.
Mr Stephens welcomed the funding injection, but said the tower’s design, capability and location had yet to be determined, so meetings of the club’s management and with the council would be organised by the end of this month.
“The ideal location of the tower for the club is at the stairs on the (Cottesloe) groyne, but if that is determined not to be the best site, because it is a tough marine environment, it could go near Mudurup Rocks, which may affect the cost,” Mr Stephens said.
More funding sources would be investigated if the cost increased, but the club wanted the tower operating by next summer.
Cottesloe Mayor Kevin Morgan said he was concerned that $300,000 may not provide a well-designed tower that fitted with the beach’s aesthetics, given the engineering difficulties of the suggested sites.
The council had no funds budgeted for a tower and a contribution from the proposed sale of the town’s depot could be outside the beach project’s timescale.