Fremantle council readies for another hit to Port Beach

Swimmers may have to continue negotiating shingle and rubble exposed at Sandtracks Beach, North Fremantle that spread north to Port and Leighton beaches last summer. Photo: Jon Bassett
Swimmers may have to continue negotiating shingle and rubble exposed at Sandtracks Beach, North Fremantle that spread north to Port and Leighton beaches last summer. Photo: Jon Bassett

THE City of Fremantle is getting ready for more potential erosion at Port Beach in North Fremantle with heavy weather forecast this weekend and into next week.

“City staff will continue to closely monitor Port Beach, including daily checks on the condition of dunes,” a council spokesman said.

The city has spent up to $40,000 on car park and dune rockwalls since storm damage closed the beach and highlighted erosion of the man-made shoreline last month.

From this Sunday to next Wednesday, more north west and westerly winds up to 35 knots and 3m-swells are forecast, but an offshore winter sandbank may offer some protection.

Photo: Jon Bassett

The spokesman said the council would take “appropriate” action if the forecast bad weather further damaged the beach.

However, beachgoers may face several more summers of rubble and debris from adjacent Sandtracks Beach while any long-term solutions are sought for the changing coast from adjacent Sandtracks Beach to Mosman Beach, 3km north in Mosman Park.

“The rubble on Port Beach is a historical issue that arises from time to time depending on the prevailing coastal conditions, and it’s simply not possible at this stage to say to what extent this may continue to be an issue over the next few years,” City of Fremantle infrastructure director Graham Tattersall said.

In 2004, a Department of Transport report said dumped dredging material extended Port Beach up to 200m offshore from 1890 to 1970, on which now sits roads, the car park and infrastructure including Coast Restaurant.

Photo: Jon Bassett

Fremantle is now conducting a three-year Coastal Hazard Risk Management and Adaptation Planning Study (CHRMAP), in-part for State Government coast grants, but also to determine if to defend or retreat inland.

“The CHRMAP is not intended to be a specific response to the ongoing issues with rubble on Port Beach,” Mr Tattersall said.

He said new rockwalls and paths would be complemented by more work determined by any winter erosion, and rocks from the walls and car park would be monitored and managed.