CITY of Rockingham Mayor Barry Sammels admitted council had “stuffed it up” with dredging at Waikiki Beach and promised to fix the problem, at a cost of $230,000.
Cr Sammels met with about 100 people who were angry about dredging spoil being dumped on the beach.
He opened by apologising to the residents.
“We need to resolve the issue. We started for what we thought was the right reasons,” he said.
“We did it from an engineering perspective. I’ll be honest; we didn’t take it into account from an amenity perspective as much as we should have.
“We apologise for that and we have learned our lesson.
“We didn’t think we were going to get as an enormous reaction as we did from the community.
“We should have engaged with the community and the beach users a lot earlier than we did.
“It’s no good hiding behind a tree and trying to make out everything’s good when it’s not. We understand there’s an issue and that’s why we are here today, so we thank you for raising the issues with us.”
His assertion that the council’s action would be immediate was met with loud applause.
“Starting this week and from this end of the Waikiki beach, we are going to remove all that spoil,” he said.
It is estimated it will take about three to four weeks and Mr Sammels asked residents to be patient while it was done.
The City will obtain about 11,000 cubic metres of stockpiled white sand from Point Peron to restore the beach.
“Before we go ahead and do that, we will trial a section first. Then after that we will get your feedback,” he said.
“We want to make sure you’re as happy as possibly can be with that and then we will continue to work back through the beach.”
He said it would cost about $230,000 and again apologised to the group.
Mr Sammels said the City was investigating other options, including closing Bent Street Ramp.
“The dredging is going to have to continue here but we will review it; the future of it is unknown,” he said.
Residents asked if there had been proper testing and could a boat ramp be built at Donald Drive.
Mr Sammels said they had worked with the Department of Parks and Wildlife, who said a ramp was not a viable option.
“We will certainly look at all options. We admit it, we’ve stuffed it up, OK?”