BARRIER TO SURFING: About 200 people attended a protest on Friday, March 18, about the positioning of the planned Shark Eco-Barrier at Lighthouse Beach.Photo Graham Broadhead / Ballina Shire Advocate
BARRIER TO SURFING: About 200 people attended a protest on Friday, March 18, about the positioning of the planned Shark Eco-Barrier at Lighthouse Beach.Photo Graham Broadhead / Ballina Shire Advocate Graham Broadhead

Enlarging Lighthouse Beach shark barrier could prove costly

THE West Australian company constructing the Ballina Lighthouse Beach shark barrier says enlarging the planned enclosure would be far more costly.

The current plan for the barrier is for it to be attached to fixed points at North Wall in the south and the headland separating Lighthouse Beach and Shelly Beach in the north.

Construction is expected to start as early as Thursday.

But local surfers have protested the placement of the barrier, arguing the placement would interfere with the surf break and potentially preclude surfing off the famous break of North Wall entirely.

At a protest last week they called for the barrier to be moved further offshore and run from off the wall at a 45 degree angle out to sea before turning parallel 50m further out.

Surfers have said they weren’t consulted on the barrier at any stage while the Department of Primary Industries was in the planning phase.

The current plan has the barrier in 7.5m of water, with it rising up to 10m from the ocean floor to allow for high tides and storms.

Craig Moss, director of WA company Eco Shark Barrier, said installing the barrier tanother 50m out to sea would require more weight, more chains, and a larger barrier – and cost much more.

All the components would need to be scaled up a level again, as well as being more of them. Mr Moss said it have to be an estimated 14m deep to allow for high tides at the deeper location.

The barrier is kept in place by a main line of concrete with an anchor point and cross chain every 20m, plus an additional 300kg weights attached to the anchor points outside the barrier to hold the structure in place in heavy swells.

A team of four divers are expected to be in the water for rotating three-hour shifts for 25 days of the planned 35 day construction period.

Mr Moss said the barrier was engineered to ensure it would stay in place, and was much more heavy-duty than the original eco barrier at Coogee Beach in Perth.

“I’ve had to upgrade everything for this barrier,” he said.

“It’s not a cheap barrier.

“It’s a high energy beach… and if you put anything out there that’s cheap it’s not going to last.”



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