Council commits $500k to fix cliffs
YOUNG daredevils are risking their lives by jumping railings and clambering over the crumbling limestone cliffs of Arthur Head.
Locals say they’ve noticed a spike in climbers recently, with online climbing forums describing the area as good for “bouldering”.
One poster said he was once stopped by five local cops who decided he was doing nothing illegal and walked on; though he was referring to the man-made wall on the northern side of the rocky protrusion.
The Herald spotted two teens climbing over the seaward edge of the cliffs on Sunday. They sat on the narrow ledges below, some 20 metres from the ground where recent rock falls were clearly evident.
The pair were warned off by a homeless man, but when he later wandered off (to get dramatically wrestled to the ground and arrested by four police on Marine Terrace) they simply returned.
Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt said standing on the edge of the cliffs was dangerous and urged people to stay behind the railings.
“There are signs all around Arthur Head warning that the cliffs are unstable and there’s a risk they could collapse,” he warned.
“We’re going to continue to pressure the state government to provide some urgent and much-needed finding to carry out the works required to make the cliffs safer and prevent further erosion.”
On Wednesday the council voted to commit $500,000 towards works to improve the safety of the cliffs and will ask the McGowan to match it.
“The Round House is Western Australia’s oldest public building and arguably our most important historical site,” Dr Pettitt told the Herald.
“Over the past decade the City of Fremantle ratepayers have spent more than $3.5 million on the management and maintenance of Arthur Head and the Round House, but the scope of the works now required to make the Arthur Head cliffs safe after decades of erosion goes above and beyond what would normally be expected of a local government.
“This will finally allow us to take down the unsightly fencing and scaffolding that has been needed to protect people from falling rocks at one of our most popular tourist attractions.
by JUSTIN STAHL and STEVE GRANT