(17/12/2019) Council to seek funding for Port Beach rock wall | City of Fremantle

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17 December 2019
(17/12/2019) Council to seek funding for Port Beach rock wall

The City of Fremantle will seek state government support to co-fund a rock wall as an immediate solution to protect assets at Port Beach.

The purpose of the wall is to shield the Coast Café and other coastal assets, including the car park, from surging seas. Council has agreed to the wall subject to a funding partnership with the state government on the basis that a cross-government approach is required.

Council has also adopted managed retreat as its preferred long-term strategy for responding to the erosion problems at the iconic local beach.

The City will now develop a detailed plan that looks at the costs and timing for the eventual relocation of public assets including car parks and change rooms away from the erosion risk zone.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said: “The Council has taken a practical approach that includes important short term protection for coastal assets like change rooms, Coast Café and the surf club annex which also houses the Polar Bears. We are also ensuring that, as we plan for the longer term, we situate new infrastructure further back from the ocean so that rock walls aren’t required and sandy beaches remain for the many residents and visitors who flock to Port Beach, not just now but for generations to come.

 “So while we are committed to pursuing funding that would enable immediate protection in the form of a rock wall, the evidence is that the best way to ensure a beach is maintained over an extended timeframe is via managed retreat which includes larger foreshore reserves and setbacks.

“This especially applies to the area north of Tydeman Road where new planning and development is expected in coming years. The foreshore reserves in front of the Leighton developments were best practice in their day that we hope to improve on for the next generation of development.”

Mayor Pettitt said the winter storms that resulted in major erosion events and significant damage at Port Beach both earlier this year and in the previous year had shown how relentless Mother Nature can be along the coast.

“Both times the City responded with temporary measures to protect the buildings and facilities at Port Beach, but we really need to get serious about a long-term solution to address this issue,” he said.

“What we’ve decided is to accept the recommendations of the Coastal Adaptation Options Report and progress the evaluation of the options included in the report, including how much it will cost and who will pay for it. 

“At the same time we’ll be developing a long-term strategy to remove City assets like the car parks and change rooms from the erosion risk zone post 2040.

“Issues like when these facilities will be moved and where they could be moved to will all be addressed in this strategy.

“We’ll also look to engage with the WA Planning Commission to develop a precinct plan for the area to resolve issues such as coastal setbacks, transport and access and recreational needs. All this is with a view to ensuring that we continue to have the white sandy beaches enduring for future generations.”

Port Beach topped the list of WA’s coastal erosion hotspots in a state government report released in August this year.

During 2016 and 2017 the City of Fremantle – in partnership with the Town of Mosman Park and the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage – undertook a Coastal Hazard Risk Management and Adaptation Planning (CHRMAP) process to assess the vulnerability of the coastline along Port, Leighton and Mosman beaches.

The CHRMAP process identified the Port Beach area, including Sandtrax Beach, was vulnerable to immediate and future coastal change.

The earlier this year the City and Fremantle Ports commissioned coastal engineering experts MP Rogers & Associates investigate a range of erosion adaptation options using funding from a state government Coastal Adaptation and Protection grant.

The Port Beach Coastal Adaptation Options Report can be found here.