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Volunteers fight to protect Geraldton Marine Rescue Base at Point Moore from rapid erosion

Jamie Thannoo and Lachlan AllenGeraldton Guardian
Sandbagging efforts at Point Moore on Saturday.
Camera IconSandbagging efforts at Point Moore on Saturday. Credit: Geraldton Marine Rescue

The Geraldton community produced a mammoth effort over the weekend, building a temporary wall made out of thousands of sandbags to help protect the Marine Rescue base at Point Moore from large swells.

The stopgap measure comes after 15m of coastline has been lost in front of the building in the past six months because of rapid erosion. The headquarters near the lighthouse is now within 10m of the encroaching shoreline.

Four- to five-metre swells forecasted for Sunday threatened to further erode the coastline and the decision was made to sandbag the area.

Sandbagging efforts at Point Moore on Saturday.
Camera IconSandbagging efforts at Point Moore on Saturday. Credit: Geraldton Marine Rescue

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Marine Rescue Geraldton commander Damien Healy said it was fantastic to see the turnout and effort on Saturday morning.

About 50 volunteers from three bushfire brigade units, volunteer SES, Marine Rescue Geraldton, Point Moore residents and general members of the community turned up to assist.

“It was volunteers helping volunteers, we couldn’t have done it without them” he said.

Volunteers spent their Saturday morning filling piles of sand into bags, before stacking them and forming a wall to protect the base.

About 2000 sandbags went into building the wall, which took the group 2½ hours to finish.

Volunteers Paul McKenna and Bryn Warnock help fill sandbags
Camera IconVolunteers Paul McKenna and Bryn Warnock help fill sandbags Credit: Jamie Thannoo

Mr Healy said the sandbags were protecting the dunes from the 4½m swells when he checked on Sunday.

“We put a heap of sand there first before we did the sandbagging which brought us a few more metres,” he said.

The group’s attention now turns to Tuesday’s City of Greater Geraldton council meeting, where they are set to discuss the long-term future of the base.

SES volunteers came to the rescue
Camera IconSES volunteers came to the rescue Credit: Jamie Thannoo

“In the short term we wanted council to help save the base, in the long term we will play it by ear,” Mr Healy said.

“If it kept eroding the base wouldn’t have been there much longer.”

Marine Rescue Geraldton’s committee will meet on Wednesday to discuss council’s decision.

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