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Port Beach buildings on verge of collapse in Fremantle after storms erode Perth coastline

By Nicolas Perpitch, Thursday June 13, 2019 - 19:58 EST
ABC licensed image
The Port Beach coastline has been hammered by recent storms, leaving buildings in danger. - ABC licensed

The City of Fremantle has started dumping tonnes of sand in front of buildings teetering on the edge of collapse into the ocean, after recent storms severely eroded the beach and much of the dunes at Port Beach.



A series of storms over the last week washed sand further north towards Leighton Beach.

The sand it is now being dug up by a front-end loader and tipped back in front of the Coast bar building, changerooms and Fremantle surf club annex at Port Beach.

It is a temporary move to give immediate protection to the buildings as the Council considers making a sea wall.



Part of the retaining wall near Coast has completely collapsed, and large slabs of concrete have fallen onto the sand.

The path leading from the beach to the change rooms has also caved in and is blocked off.



The council said it was aware the new sand could be washed away in the next storm.

"We're also looking into the possibility of building some temporary rock walls to provide more protection to the facilities at the beach in the event of further storms," Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said.

The Bureau of Meteorology is not forecasting any major storms for Perth over the next week.

Beach remains closed as damage assessed

City of Fremantle staff, coastal engineers and representatives from the Department of Transport have assessed .

Port Beach, including nearby Sand Tracks Beach, remains closed and signs have been put up warning people to stay away and out of the water.



In May last year, .

Large chunks of the carpark fell away, walkways collapsed and sand dunes disappeared, exposing potentially hazardous metal and wooden poles at the water line.

Industrial debris and rocks — dumped there from port-related infrastructure over the decades — is still visible in the shallows along the reclaimed coastal stretch.

A 2004 Department of Planning and Infrastructure study on coastal erosion at Port Beach found Sand Tracks was eroding at a rate of about two metres per year and Port Beach by 0.8 metres per year, while Leighton Beach was growing.



It said Port Beach had previously been expanding, mainly because of 10 million cubic tonnes of dredge material dumped along the shoreline and further offshore between 1890 and 1970.

"This dredge material has been moving onshore and providing an artificial supply of sand to Port Beach for many years. This sand feed has now stopped," the report said.

"This erosion trend is expected to continue.

"This will progressively reduce beach amenity and leave car parks and existing buildings increasingly vulnerable to storm erosion."

The council said a draft report providing long-term options to manage the erosion at Port Beach was expected to be released for public comment later next month.


- ABC

© ABC 2019

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