Clean up the beaches


Cockburn Gazette - - OPINION -

FRE­MAN­TLE’S Port Author­ity and coun­cil both need to dig in and clean up Sand­tracks and Port beaches of rub­ble, con­tam­i­na­tion and old sea de­fence boul­ders.

It will not be long be­fore some­one dives in and hits their head on one of the large un­der­wa­ter rocks from the de­fences.

Un­con­scious­ness and sea­wa­ter do not mix.

The two beaches are no longer stink­ing or­phans near a rough port and are in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar for fam­i­lies, swim­mers and din­ers, while surf skiers and pad­dle board­ers have made Sand­tracks their own spot re­cently be­cause of its shel­tered wa­ters where win­ter surf will draw a good line-up of long and short­board hope­fuls.

As Perth’s pop­u­la­tion has grown, they have be­come re­gional beaches for south­ern and some western sub­urbs, whose pow­er­ful res­i­dents could be equally un­happy if the con­tam­i­na­tion con­tin­ues its cur­rent northerly progress and gets washed to their shores.

Whether the ero­sion that has ex­posed the rub­ble is nat­u­ral or am­pli­fied by the 2009 ex­pan­sion of Rous Head has to be de­ter­mined so the FPA and coun­cil can re­pair the coast and make it safe for all.

Any­one who watched con­struc­tion of the ex­ten­sion had to ask how it would af­fect the ad­ja­cent coast­line over time, and this has to be re­con­sid­ered given the re­cent un­cov­er­ing of the de­bris and nar­row­ing of Port Beach.

This is im­por­tant be­cause in the decade since the ex­ten­sion, global warm­ing, resulting sea rises and storms have all been recog­nised, in­clud­ing in the coun­cil’s own re­port­ing, as real and oc­cur­ring events that will af­fect the beaches and ad­ja­cent in­fras­truc­ture.

The land behind Port Beach could be­come apart­ments but no one is go­ing to pay a mil­lion dol­lars for a beach­side pad from which as­bestos shards, bro­ken rocks and glass bot­tles can be seen strewn across what was once al­most pris­tine sand.

It’s time to clean up the de­bris, dig it out of the sand dunes, re­store their pro­tec­tive ca­pa­bil­i­ties and aes­thet­ics, and start think­ing if coastal in­fras­truc­ture should be pulled back to en­sure the com­mons of wide open beaches are kept for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

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