Kirkup commits $4.5m for Albany artificial surf reef in State Election cash splash

Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
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Liberal candidate for Albany Scott Leary and leader Zak Kirkup with surfers Zephyr, 13, Jethro, 11, and Kalgan Simmons, 11, at Middleton Beach.
Camera IconLiberal candidate for Albany Scott Leary and leader Zak Kirkup with surfers Zephyr, 13, Jethro, 11, and Kalgan Simmons, 11, at Middleton Beach. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

A long-awaited artificial surf reef could be built off Middleton Beach within the next four years after Opposition Leader Zak Kirkup pledged $4.5 million to fund the project if elected on March 13.

Visiting Middleton Beach yesterday, Mr Kirkup also committed $2m to expand Albany Surf Life Saving Club.

The announcement comes after Premier Mark McGowan last week pledged $1.6m towards upgrades at the club as part of Labor’s plan for Albany.

Mr Kirkup said an artificial surf reef would get families away from their screens.

“We know that there is a massive amount of community support for this important project and $4.5m will go towards constructing what will be an amazing community facility,” he said.

“(It will) become a beacon of attraction in the Great Southern to make sure we get kids and families and surfers from all different levels here in Albany to surf what will be an amazing experience.”

Liberal Party leader Zak Kirkup at the Albany Surf Life Saving Club.
Camera IconLiberal Party leader Zak Kirkup at the Albany Surf Life Saving Club. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

In September City of Albany councillors backed a design for a 165m submerged rock reef about 140m offshore from Middleton Beach.

It is expected to provide consistent surf breaks of up to 100m for about 41 per cent of the year.

A business case prepared by the City estimated the project would have a price tag of $9.5m, of which the State Government had already committed $5m.

Mr Kirkup said the Albany Surf Life Saving Club was the “beating heart of Middleton Beach”.

“When people come to this beach, we want to make sure they have a safe experience, and the best way to do that is by investing into our surf lifesavers,” he said.

Liberal candidate for Albany Scott Leary and leader Zak Kirkup with keen surfers Ari Oostdam, Zephyr, Jethro and Kalgan Simmons at Middleton Beach.
Camera IconLiberal candidate for Albany Scott Leary and leader Zak Kirkup with keen surfers Ari Oostdam, Zephyr, Jethro and Kalgan Simmons at Middleton Beach. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

The expansion is expected to include an outdoor undercover area, additional storage facilities, first aid room, office, and a training and function space.

Albany Surf Life Saving Club president Sarah Bowles said the club had been fighting to secure State Government support.

“Basically, we have outgrown the operational use of the club; the key factor is safety as we have a lot of equipment,” she said.

“We are kind of bursting at the seams and when you add 500 members to this space, we have got nowhere to go.

“It is urgent that we need to address our facility.”

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