Shark barrier won’t be fixed for Easter

Talitha WolfeAlbany Advertiser

Swimmers at Middleton Beach will not be protected by the recently installed shark barrier over the Easter long weekend, after strong tides and seaweeds tore through the enclosure last week.

The strong southern tides caused an accumulation of seaweed to break through the barrier, 150m off shore near the Albany Surf Lifesaving Club, last Tuesday, just a week after the barrier was installed.

Repair works will not be completed for the busy long weekend, despite hundreds expected to descend on the popular beach.

Engineering contractors Global Marine Enclosures lead consultant Edward Khoury said Ellen Cove’s unique conditions caused the break but said he is confident once repaired the barrier will be stronger than previously.

“The beach at Ellen Cove is very unusual in the amount of seaweed that accumulates at the beach,” he said.

“The early stages of the trial at Ellen Cove we identified a problem area for the barrier in the surf zone and shallow section

“With a better understanding of the unique conditions at Middleton Beach our engineers have implemented modifications for this area which requires a portion of the barrier to be removed and replaced with new material.”

Mr Khoury said rather than repairing the torn barrier, GME will replace the 170m section.

“What we are doing now is we are over-engineering it so this will never happen again,” he said.

“What it’s done is it’s actually taught us how we should do it and what we should do.”

The barrier has been stabilised with mooring ropes to the chains and anchors but is not secure.

Local contractors Garry Wellstead and Paul Hepworth are monitoring the enclosure daily.

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