City of Joondalup decision to close Hillarys Horse Beach may be overturned by Parliament

Muchea resident Sarah Bevan with Lucy. Picture: Martin Kennealey.
Muchea resident Sarah Bevan with Lucy. Picture: Martin Kennealey.

THE fight to re-open Hillarys Horse Beach has taken a big step forward.

In Parliament on August 16, North Metropolitan MLC Martin Pritchard moved to disallow the City of Joondalup’s local law amendment that would prohibit horses on the 160m stretch of beach on Whitfords Avenue.

Though the Joondalup council had the final vote on December 13 to create the Animals Amendment Local Law 2016, which came in to effect on January 24, the law was made through delegated legislation.

This means that the Legislative Council gives power to local governments to make local laws.

The Delegated Legislation Committee then views all laws passed to “make sure they are appropriate”.

Mr Pritchard said he moved the motion for disallowance because he knew the law was “controversial”.

He said there was a “real concern” of the impact on “not just the racing industry or people exercising their horses but also people who use the beach to rehabilitate their horses and people with disabilities who visit with their horses”.

“There has to be one in some locality,” he said.

“Closing it disadvantages too many people in the northern suburbs.

“There’s no other opportunity north of Fremantle, with the closest beaches in Kwinana and Cockburn.

“I don’t want someone to drive all the way to Cockburn to exercise their horse for half an hour; it’s ridiculous.”

He said when looking into the issue he saw “some positives and not too many negatives”.

“We started receiving petitions and I tabled a couple earlier this year with about 6500 signatures between the two,” he said.

“I also attended a couple of rallies and saw it’s a big issue.”

The Legislative Council is expected to debate the motion on November 2, giving members the opportunity to “get acquainted” with the issue.

“It is possible the amendment will be disallowed and the City will be required to allow horses back on the beach,” Mr Pritchard said.

He said he understood the City of Joondalup made the decision for its constituents but his constituents were “broader, covering all northern suburbs”.

Lead petitioner Kirrily Beer said she hoped Mr Pritchard’s motion would proceed uncontested.

“Retention of access to the ocean will be of huge relief to not just horse-owners in the northern suburbs but to all who enjoy the interaction with horses on the shared access,” she said.

“For me, it will mean that I can once again enjoy the ocean with my horse and use the ocean for my horse’s ongoing training, development and wellbeing.”

Joondalup Mayor Troy Pickard said the City was aware of the motion to disallow.

“The local law is currently being reviewed by the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation,” he said.

“It is the City’s understanding that the Amendment Local Law passed through the Joint Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation without issue and now rests with Parliament to consider.

“The City is not in a position to make any comment about the private member’s motion at this time.”

The law was made in line with a 2010 council decision to phase the closure of the horse beach over four years, after which the horse float carpark would be reconfigured to allow for more car bays for dog beach users.

This decision was in response to increasing community pressure to provide improved opportunities for coastline activities, especially for the significant number of dog owners within the City.

MORE: City of Joondalup to close Hillarys Horse Beach