Rock and a hard place

ANOTHER summer, more rocks on Port Beach.

But this year, while swimmers continue to tumble and Fremantle authorities refuse to take responsibility for the rocky debacle, a Palmyra local has taken matters into his own hands.

Part protest and part clean-up, Paul Gabbedy has been leaving buckets down at the beach and inviting users to collect rocks and add them to a pile he’s started near one of the pathways.

“My missus got gashed, so I started taking buckets down there and I’ve started a pile of rocks and left a sign saying ‘fill your bucket’,” Mr Gabbedy told the Herald.

He says he’s been thrilled with the response.

• Paul Gabbedy says he’s thrilled locals are helping his rock mountain grow at Port Beach, but not so happy at the stony silence from authorities.

“The pile’s now 1400 long and 700 high, and even the kids are filling the buckets.

“I came back a couple of days after I’d left the first bucket and it wasn’t there, so I thought someone had stolen it; but when I went down to the beach there was a kid about 10 years old and he was filling the bucket.”

Mr Gabbedy is convinced the rubble is largely the remains of the old CBH grain silos which were demolished in 2000 (“Rubble barney,” Herald, February 23, 2017), and while the Port Authority says it believes the smoothed edges prove it’s much older, the former sea container surveyor reckons the combination of asbestos, bricks, concrete and hot mix is a bit too much of a coincidence given that’s what the silos were mostly made of.

Fremantle council staff were left wondering how to deal with the asbestos this week after being given the task of removing three dead tiger sharks (see this week’s story) from Sandtrax Beach.

“What about the asbestos,” one worker asked his colleagues, motioning towards the 500-metre stretch of rock and asbestos-strewn beach they’d have to navigate to get their bobcat in to clean up the shark corpses. No one seemed really sure as they huddled together to try and find an answer.


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