Call for quick sand ac­tion

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS - Lau­ren Pi­lat

AN avid surf skier had a “fright­en­ing” ex­pe­ri­ence when she sunk into “quick­sand” as she in­ves­ti­gated the depth and safety of a “mas­sive sand­bank” in As­cot.

Bella Schar­fen­stein was pad­dling ear­lier this month in the Swan River near Red­cliffe Bridge by Ayres Bush­land with her part­ner when she no­ticed the sand­bank had ex­tended dra­mat­i­cally.

The Red­cliffe res­i­dent of eight years pad­dles about once a week and said the sand­bank had ex­panded much far­ther into the river in the last year due to silt de­posits from the south­ern main drain of the air­port es­tate.

“I am very fa­mil­iar with the area and the sand­bank, which has grown two-thirds larger than its orig­i­nal size,” she said.

“If the sand­bank con­tin­ues to grow, it will be­come a boat­ing haz­ard.”

Ms Schar­fen­stein said she walked on the sand­bank a few weeks ago to check if it was ex­tend­ing far­ther un­der the wa­ter and couldn’t be seen from the river’s sur­face.

“I dis­cov­ered the bank ends abruptly so one goes from about 12cm depth to about 1.5m depth,” she said.

“Where the sand­bank ends the silt is like quick­sand; I started to sink into it and was able to push my­self out with the aid of my pad­dle. “It was quite fright­en­ing.” Hav­ing seen chil­dren and dogs play on the sand­bank, Ms Schar­fen­stein said she wanted to raise aware­ness about the po­ten­tial dan­ger at the site.

“Luck­ily the weather has been quite cold and the chilly wa­ter is a de­ter­rent, but with warmer weather ap­proach­ing, the sand­bank is a po­ten­tial haz­ard,” she said.

“A sign warn­ing that the bank ends abruptly, in suck­ing silt and into deep wa­ter, should be erected on the sand­bank as soon as pos­si­ble.”

Ms Schar­fen­stein said the rapid growth in the sand­bank had made her more con­cerned about the amount of silt com­ing from de­vel­op­ments such as the DFO and the fu­ture Costco store where the open­ing of the drain starts and runs to the river.

Bella Schar­fen­stein at the sand bank close to the Red­cliffe Bridge near Ayres Bush­land.

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