Concrete poured onto Sunshine Coast beach after truck gets bogged in sand


August 28, 2019 13:55:25

A Sunshine Coast business has defended its decision to dump concrete on a beach north of Noosa, as the Department of Environment launches an investigation into the matter.

Key points:

  • A cement mixer was delivering concrete when it became bogged at Teewah Beach
  • Cordwell’s Concrete called tow companies for help but none could arrive in time
  • The load had to be lightened otherwise the mixer risked tipping over and spilling fuel and oil into the water

The concrete mixer, which is owned by Cordwell’s Concrete, was captured on camera dumping its load into the ocean on Tuesday afternoon.

It had been delivering concrete to a client at Teewah Beach — an area at Noosa North Shore that can only be accessed via the beach — when it became bogged in the sand.

Production manager Martin Cordwell said the company did the right thing by releasing some of its concrete on the beach.

He said the rising tide put the concrete mixer at risk of toppling into the waves, which could have seen fuel and oil enter the water.

“What [stopping the truck from tipping] would do is prevent obviously, any other environmental concerns … such as oil spills or fuel spillages,” he said.

Cordwell’s Concrete initially rang towing companies for help but they couldn’t reach the site quickly enough.

Mr Cordwell said the company’s trucks travel along the beach about once a week and precautions are always taken.

“When someone orders concrete up there, they make sure they have crews in place to help the truck get on the beach and up the beach,” he said.

“Obviously, if anyone gets stuck, they have trucks there to get them out, with diggers as well.”

He said on Tuesday there were four 4WD trucks as well as a backhoe all racing to free the concrete mixer before the tide came in.

As the water approached, the decision was made to lighten the load by pouring the “block fill mix” concrete on to the sand.

“The main thing as well was to keep everyone safe because everyone was working pretty frantically on the sand,” he said.

“That ended up being the best decision at the time.”

Once lighter, the mixer was able to continue up the beach.

Site being assessed

A spokeswoman for the department said it is investigating the incident and rangers have attended the scene.

Rangers are also being sent to assess the site today while it is at low tide.

She said if an offence had occurred, the company could face a fine or prosecution.

Mr Cordwell said Noosa Shire Council was aware of the matter and he was also happy to speak with the Department of Environment about the incident.

Nick Hluszko from the Noosa North Shore Association, which represents residents and landowners around Teewah Beach, said by this morning the only sign of the concrete was a small line of gravel at the tide line.

He said that would probably disappear with the next high tide.

Mr Hluszko said a tour bus that became bogged and was destroyed by the waves on Fraser Island in June caused far more environmental damage.

He opposed a ban on vehicles on the beach, but said there ought to be protocols for when things went wrong.

“What if this truck had been carrying pool chemicals? Would you dump pool chemicals?” he said.

“There has to be some protocols around that — who do you ring, what’s the process around evacuation and how do you protect the environment?”

Noosa Shire Council has been contacted for comment.









First posted

August 28, 2019 12:55:29

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