Pontoon threat

SOUTH BEACH users are worried they might lose access to their daily dose of sunset if Fremantle council doesn’t remove the pontoon.

Following last week’s further tightening of gatherings, WA premier Mark McGowan ordered police commissioner Chris Dawson to close beaches if people didn’t follow the rules.

It follows outrage after Sydneysiders packed Bondi Beach last month when 

their state was recording the highest rate of infection and Coronavirus-related deaths in the country.

Local clinical psychologist Rachael O’Byrne said while most people were following social distancing rules, when she was there recently the pontoon was “full with teenagers”.

She fears that will earn the wrath of police who’ve said they’ll use drones to ensure people comply with restrictions.

“Losing access to South Beach – as an open space with few manmade surfaces – would be detrimental to our community’s mental health,” Ms O’Byrne said.

She also wants rangers to 

patrol the beach and signs to be installed warning users to stick to the rules.

As of Wednesday morning the pontoon was still in place, but the council did issue a release on Tuesday warning beach users to “keep your distance to keep your beaches”.

Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt said the “overwhelming majority” of people were doing the right thing.

“At the risk of stating the obvious – by all means go for a swim or a walk or a run, but ensure you minimise contact with other people and stay at least 1.5 metres apart,” Dr Pettitt said.

“When you’re done with your swim, run or walk, don’t linger – go home.”

by STEVE GRANT

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