Architect warns climate change could erode plans for Cottesloe foreshore

Architect warns climate change could erode plans for Cottesloe foreshore
Architect warns climate change could erode plans for Cottesloe foreshore
Architect warns climate change could erode plans for Cottesloe foreshore

AN architect has warned the Town of Cottesloe needs to consider the effects of climate change as part of its plan to refurbish the foreshore.

Swanbourne-based architect and sea pool supporter Garry Baverstock said retaining walls could be used as seawalls if increases in the sea level because of climate change are not considered in a proposal to build a seaside swimming pool opposite the Ocean Beach Hotel at the north end of Cottesloe.

“I know for a fact that in front of the OBH it’s all sand that could be sucked out by sea rises,” he said.

Mr Baverstock modelled what effect annual 1mm increase in the sea level would have on beachfront development while consulting for Cottesloe Council in 2010.

He said while the Indiana and Cottesloe Beach Hotel sites were “quite stable”, the OBH and south along the foreshore to Napier Street were “vulnerable” to the sea encroaching an average 50m because the building and parks were on large sand dunes.

“I’m sceptical that it’s geologically stable,” he said.

His modelling using the council’s seismic survey at the time indicated 7m seawalls could be needed along the Cottesloe foreshore north of the Indiana by 2100.

Mr Baverstock said the council and residents were still “indifferent” to considering climate change’s effect on the council’s $26m foreshore refurbishment plan and any new private high-rise developments.

“We should plan for the natural ingress of the sea and allow natural beaches to form, because otherwise we will have to build seawalls,” Mr Baverstock said.

North Cottesloe sea pool proponent Chris Shellabear would not comment on Mr Baverstocks’ concerns specifically, but he said any pool would be build on bedrock, not dunes, about 6.5m above sea level.

He said a pro-bono coalition of planners, oceanographers, architects and pumping experts was seeking seismic data on the bedrock’s location from the council.

He said its advice would be sent to the council when it held a feasibility study for sea pools.

Cottesloe Mayor Jo Dawkins said the council would not comment on specific pool sites until the study, which would consider “very relevant” sea rises, expert advice and “constructive” scientific evidence for several locations from North Cottesloe to Cottesloe Groyne.