Storm churns up debris at North Fremantle beaches

Port Beach is gone. Photo: Jon Bassett.
Port Beach is gone. Photo: Jon Bassett.

WOODEN fence posts, buried rubble, debris and coastal plants litter the surf zone after heavy swells battered sand dunes at Sandtracks, Port and Leighton beaches, North Fremantle overnight.

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Since January, erosion has exposed the buried debris, including asbestos and rocks, from the dunes, which in some parts cover the sites of former port operations including a truck depot and sheds demolished about 30 years ago.

Port Beach is gone and dunes are being hit. Photo: Jon Bassett

This morning, with high tide about 10.30am, a few hardy early morning swimmers braved the dangerous obstacles, and wash form waves reached the dunes as far north as the Fremantle Surf Lifesaving Club.

At Port and Sandtracks beaches, the waves could be seen slamming into the dunes, exposing new debris, and walking paths already degraded by heavy overnight rain provided routes for the water to wash into other dunes.

At Sandtracks, the swells coming up the paths reached within 4m of the car park , while waves had halved the width of some remnant dunes and dragged any debris back into the surf zone at Port Beach.

Wild waves hit Port Beach. Picture: Jon Bassett.

Wash reached the former paddling pool as swimmers and a lone surfer took on the whitewash at Cottesloe Beach, where the pylon was still standing.

In North Fremantle, the previous erosion prompted the port city’s council and Port Authority to start regular inspections, install warning signs and seek funding for a long-term study into the causes of the damage.

A council spokesman said the city had closed beach paths after a storm warning, which included a directive not to swim, and a warning was circulated by social media yesterday.

Port Beach is gone. Photo: Jon Bassett

“When the current storm event has passed the City will inspect the beach and take whatever action is necessary to ensure public safety,” the spokesman said.

The swells and waves closed North Mole at Fremantle Port, but no other damage was reported across the State’s prime shipping facility this morning.

A port spokeswoman said it would inspect the adjacent eroded beaches after the bad weather, and it would continue working with the council and State Government departments to develop future management of the erosion.

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