The Carnarvon council will consider costs to install 43 BEN signs along the coast to improve emergency response times, but Shire president Eddie Smith said covering costs of maintenance would be a struggle. The Beach Emergency Number system, named in honour of fatal shark bite victim Ben Gerring, aims to improve emergency response times with the installation of signs containing specific codes used by emergency service navigation systems. The signs are reversible with a uniform red and green sign on the front and a beach closure alert on the back so staff can quickly close beaches in the event of emergencies such as shark attacks or detections. Shire president Eddie Smith said it was a great initiative but was concerned about who would pay to maintain the signs. “It’s a great idea where people can contact for help if services are available, but it’s another thing that we’re on a very harsh coastline, and who’s maintaining them,” he said. Cr Smith said although the State pays for the signs to be installed, there was an ongoing cost of maintaining them that would come at a cost to ratepayers. “There’s an ongoing cost for all these sorts of things and it’s just another cost to local governments, and local governments like Carnarvon who are on a low rate base, it’s a struggle,” he said. The council supported the submission of a grant application for the BEN system at last week’s council meeting and will consider the project income and expenditure as part of the 2023-24 budget. The motion was carried 7-0.