Swimmers stumble as beach paths crumble at Port Beach in North Fremantle

Senior swimmers (l-r) John Deacon (86), Eleanor SgherzaOK (82) and Leo Monaco (82) have to negotiate degraded steps at Port Beach.  Picture: Jon Bassett.
Senior swimmers (l-r) John Deacon (86), Eleanor SgherzaOK (82) and Leo Monaco (82) have to negotiate degraded steps at Port Beach. Picture: Jon Bassett.

ELDERLY and injured swimmers say they have been left high and dry by steep and undermined beach steps and paths after winter erosion at Port Beach, North Fremantle.

The swimmers say Fremantle Council-placed sand at steps nears the beach’s toilets has moved, leaving dangerous drop-offs, impeding wind-blown sand and crumbling concrete.

“Three weeks ago they were even worse, and at each end you have to walk so carefully,” Winthrop swimmer Leo Monaco (82), who has an injured knee, said.

Beach campaigner Peter McLarty said elderly swimmers’ attempts to use the paths were “heroic”, including one man disabled by a stroke who “staggered” on to get to the water.

“There is no disabled ramp or handrails to help him or other seniors or disabled, and in fact it took about six months to even dump a few Bobcat bucket-loads of sand on the main beach access way to make it safe,” Mr McLarty said

He said any swimmer could be injured on the faltering paths and loss by erosion of an old vehicle access ramp may prevent an injured person being brought easily up from the beach.

A council spokesman said there was a disabled ramp at nearby Leighton Beach, while Port’s paths were maintained regularly for sand build-ups and erosion.

He said six of that beach’s 11 paths had been restored, but the remainder required “significantly” more work into next month, after a fortnight of other repairs that included a new pedestrian access and barriers started on November 6.

“The works the council will be undertaking over the next few weeks will remove the undermined sections of the car park, provide for additional dune establishment and install a new walkway and fencing,” parks and landscapes manager Ryan Abbott said.

Mr Abbott said removing industrial remnants and beach path repairs would be done at nearby Sandtrax Beach in December.

Sets on the Beach concert organisers have changed their site so that it is not in the Port Beach car park’s damaged area this month.