A total of 99 beach emergency signs could be installed at local beaches as early as December, after the Esperance Shire Council unanimously supported a budget variation for the state government’s signage grant.
The signs, named after shark attack victim Ben Gerring, have been designed with unique numbers in a bid to improve emergency response times and will be installed from Geraldton to Esperance.
As part of the state government’s shark mitigation strategy, a program was launched to financially assist local governments to implement the system, covering the cost of the sign, frame, fittings and posts.
Shire of Esperance chief executive officer Matthew Scott said the state-wide initiative would act to create a uniform system and hoped to install the signs before the busy tourist season.
“Our plan is to get them out as quickly as possible – hopefully before summer,” he said.
“We’ve had briefings with council over the Beach Emergency Numbers for the last nine months, when the funding was first announced by the state government.
“Now that it looks as though we will receive the grant from the state government, it needed to go back to council to be able to spend the grant. As soon as that process begins, we can start putting the numbers out to our beaches.
“I think the state government wants to create a uniform system – even if you’re from Perth and you’ve never been to Esperance, you still recognise that sign.”
Fifty-nine signs will be installed at shire beaches, with a further 40 to be installed at sites managed by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, the Department of Transport and Southern Ports at a cost of $37,000.
Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly said time was critical in an emergency and that the signs would be vital for first responders in identifying the quickest route to a precise location.