Red Hill Quarry: Authorities warn against illegal use of site

Road Safety Commissioner Kim Papalia at the edge of Red Hill quarry.  Picture: Lynn Grierson.
Rubbish abandoned at Red Hill quarry. Picture: Lynn Grierson.
Road Safety Commissioner Kim Papalia at the edge of Red Hill quarry. Picture: Lynn Grierson. Rubbish abandoned at Red Hill quarry. Picture: Lynn Grierson.

TRESPASSERS are breaking through barriers damaging fencing and trees to use an old water-filled quarry as an illegal water park.

Hidden cameras last weekend recorded drivers using four-wheel drive vehicles and winches to remove giant tyre barriers to an unsealed area of Toodyay Road, in order to access the site.

Red Hill quarry manager Garry Price said other forced entry points were visible despite efforts to deter unauthorised entry to the disused land owned by Boral/Midland Brick.

“During the warmer weather, illegal use of the site has peaked, there are break-ins every day with people trying to gain access with jet skis, motorbikes and four wheel drives,” he said.

“Trespassers will be prosecuted, but the main concern is we don’t want this to end in a tragedy.”

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The landowner’s frustration over the damage bill and the risk of a drowning or a road accident reached breaking point this week.

Boral/Midland Brick joined forces with the Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council, owner of the waste facility opposite the quarry, and the Road Safety Commission to appeal for common sense.

Road Safety Commissioner Kim Papalia said trespassers faced a criminal conviction and heavy fine.

“This is not just about people trespassing on private property, there are risks relating to drowning and road safety,” he said.

“What otherwise looks like an oasis is a death trap, the quarry is a dangerous environment and was not designed for use by the public.”

The former police diver pointed out abandoned beer cartons and bottles dumped at the water’s edge.

“The combination of excessive alcohol and water is a recipe for disaster,” he said.

Drivers access the site from a 100 km/h point along Toodyay Road – one of the State’s most notorious accident routes, which is currently undergoing an upgrade.

Boral Clay regional manager Greg Smith said news of the ‘oasis in the bush’ had spread like wildfire in recent months, following a radio station broadcast and via social media.

He said he was not aware of any reported accidents, but there were several near misses posted on social media.

“The dam is required as an environmental control, allowing water to naturally drain, capturing silt as it reaches the base of the quarry,” he said.

“There is a huge risk of someone getting stuck in the soft mud clay accumulating at the bottom.”

“We’ve seen people entering the site with young children and we urge them to think again because there are more than enough places to swim safely in Perth.”