Thursday, November 24, 2005

Petition signed to make beaches safer

PEOPLE of Eyre Peninsula want to swim at the front beach again; but only after signs and sirens to warn of sharks are installed, according to three local mothers.

Katrina Wright, Kaylene Dufek and Delise Sheehy started a campaign to have signs on the Port Lincoln foreshore with a shark response plan and a siren to notify swimmers of a shark sighting.
In just five weeks 3491 people have signed their petition.

Kaylene Dufek said a letter was presented to the city council two weeks ago calling for signs and sirens to be placed at the foreshore.

"Our reasons for this are to let people make an informed decision and alert them to an emergency plan," the women state in a letter to state parliament.

"The threat of shark attack is very real in the minds of the community in Port Lincoln and for those family and friends who have experienced a near miss or a tragic loss of a loved one," the letter concludes.

Mrs Wright said the feedback from the petition indicated the community would feel safer if there was signage on the beach.

"Signs would make people more aware and alert them to an emergency plan," she said.
The signs would tell people who to call if a shark is sighted and if the siren is sounded everyone will know to get out of the water.

Education of the emergency plan is an important part of the signs and sirens with Mrs Dufek saying it was envisaged schools and media outlets would play a role.

"It's such a simple thing, why have we not got it?," she said.

"We are the home of the great white shark.

"Shouldn't something be done here?"

Their letter to Parliament highlights the moves made by the government to make the Adelaide beaches safer.

They say it is important something be done to make Port Lincoln beaches safer also.
Local marine industry workers also raised concerns with the women about the number of sharks in the bay.

There has also been strong support for a larger and safer enclosed swimming area at the front beach.

Mrs Dufek said on the northern side of the town jetty a tidal pool could be built.

Benefits of a tidal pool are that it would require very little maintenance, would not look ugly, would be safer than the current net enclosure and would be tourist friendly.

"It may be costly initially but it will be there forever," she said.

Member for Flinders Liz Penfold will present the petition and letter to state parliament this week.


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