Rubble barney

A RETIRED sea container surveyor who worked next door to the old CBH grain silos on North Quay reckons the rubble from their demolition is the source of Port Beach’s rock problems.

But Fremantle Ports says that’s impossible.

Paul Gabbedy chronicled the demise of the silos in 2000 with his camera. He says his images show all the elements that are now creating a summer hazard on the popular family beach; concrete, asbestos and hot mix.

• Paul Gabbedy with some of his Port Beach rock and concrete collection and one of his photos from the demolition of the old silos. Photo by Steve Grant

• Paul Gabbedy with some of his Port Beach rock and concrete collection and one of his photos from the demolition of the old silos.
Photo by Steve Grant

Popped up

“Me and my friends have been going there for 60 years — we used to surf there — and the rocks only popped up from when the silos came down,” he says.

The Palmyra resident says the rubble was dumped in “mountains”, then groynes built around it and the whole lot flattened to create what has become container storage and a bird sanctuary.

“What you put in the back pushes through the groynes; after all, it’s just rocks, it’s not sealed with concrete so it would have to.”

Mr Gabbedy says the base of the reclaimed land sits on sea bed, so it would be soft and also allow rocks to be squeezed down and out, adding to the mix.

• The grain silos being demolished. Photo by Paul Gabbedy

• The grain silos being demolished. Photo by Paul Gabbedy

He reckons most of the limestone rock is actually fused with concrete or hot mix – and he’s got a collection at home to prove his point.

“If you look closely at it, you see that 70 per cent is concrete and 30 per cent is limestone, and that makes sense, because if you were building a hard stand, that’s what you’d do; put down a base of limestone and then pour your concrete over the top.”

Ports spokesperson Jeanette Murray says the seawall was made of compacted fine limestone core protected by a layered granite outer shell and mostly lined on internal faceds with geotextile fabric.

“It is not possible that concrete lumps or rocks have migrated through these seawalls to the beach,” Ms Murray says.

She says the asbestos from the demolition was sealed with PVA then sent off-site to an approved landfill site.

Mr Gabbedy says he regularly has to fish elderly friends out of the water at Port Beach after a tumble, despite the regulars swapping advice on where the rocks are worst each day.

Mr Gabbedy says signs recently put up warning about submerged rocks are inadequate and says the port should own up to its responsibility and send in machinery to rake out the rocks.

by STEVE GRANT

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