THE owner of popular Port Beach restaurant, bar and conference venue Coast is pessimistic about its future.
“If there was good news someone would have told me already,” Ian Hutchison told the Herald on Thursday after Fremantle council’s decision to stage a “managed retreat” from the receding coastline.
Having recently sunk around $4 million into upgrading Coast, Mr Hutchison notes it has been a “source of millions in rent to the council” over his lease.
“The maths [of managed retreat] just don’t add up,” he said.
When Mr Hutchison renewed his lease four years ago, he says erosion was never brought up.
“Apparently there was a lot of talk in the background but I never heard anything.”
Mr Hutchison agrees with many regular morning swimmers who lay the blame for increased erosion on Fremantle Port Authority’s Rous Head extension.
“Three to four years ago we were having big parties on the beach; now we can only fit a few people,” he says.
The Port Authority denies any link, repeatedly claiming over the years that changing weather patterns, natural sand flows and buried 20th century dredging debris all play their part, and noting that multiple reports support its position.
Mr Hutchison also bemoaned the lack of any concrete action to hold back the sea.
“They’ve been writing reports for 20 years – they could have used that money to build a sea wall already,” Mr Hutchison joked.
by JUSTIN STAHL