LOCAL horse riders could soon have to travel to Gingin, Kwinana or Cockburn if they want to exercise their animals at the beach.
City of Joondalup councillors at next Tuesday’s meeting will consider a recommendation to finalise the closure of the 160m Hillarys horse beach.
In April 2010, the City released a draft beach management plan in response to several petitions, including one that claimed car parking at Hillarys dog beach was inadequate.
The plan included a proposal to resolve the issue by prohibiting horses on the adjacent beach and reconfiguring the horse float carpark to allow for more car bays for dog beach users.
This was done in 2010 with new line markings, while still providing six horse float bays.
Community consultation was undertaken, with 68 per cent of responding regular beach users agreeing car parking at Hillarys dog beach was inadequate, 56 per cent believing the horse carpark was under-utilised and should be made available to others, and 62 per cent believing it was important the City provided areas for horses to exercise on the beach. During public consultation, the City also received a petition to retain the horse beach.
In September 2010, the council endorsed the beach management plan.
Councillors resolved to phase out the closure of the horse beach over four years and restrict access to Mondays to Saturdays from daybreak to noon, after which the area becomes a dog beach. The phase-out period ended in September 2014 but restrictions have still been in place.
“It is therefore recommended the council confirms its commitment to close the Hillarys horse beach,” a document from Tuesday’s council briefing said.
It said retaining the horse beach would “reduce opportunities for the City to reconfigure both carparks to improve access for dog owners, who are the predominant users of this section of coastline”.
According to the document, vehicle count information was collected this year during February and March.
“The only recorded period in which both carparks were over capacity was between 10am and 11am on a public holiday,” it said.
“At all other times, the carparks were under capacity, though still well utilised during the peak times of mid-morning and early evening.
“While individual days throughout the year may see the dog beach carpark reach or exceed capacity, the adjoining horse float carpark still remains under-utilised during these times, despite the reconfiguration of the carpark.”
If councillors vote to close the horse beach, a local law amendment is required and will occur in 2016-17, with $105,000 listed for consideration in 2017-18 for parking improvements.
When endorsing the phase-out closure of the horse beach, councillors also requested the City engage with the City of Wanneroo to establish a horse beach in its district.
The City of Wanneroo conducted community consultation in 2011, with 71 per cent of respondents supporting a horse beach in the area.
The City conducted a feasibility study between 2012 and 2014 to consider the environmental effects and suitability of a horse beach at Tamala Park.
“The recommendations of the report are yet to be made publicly available, however, given the extent of infrastructure required and the absence of a council decision, it is unlikely that a horse beach will be established within the City of Wanneroo within the foreseeable future,” the Joondalup council document said.
REQUESTS FOR ADDITIONAL DOG BEACH
THE City of Joondalup continues to receive requests for an additional dog beach or to extend the existing one.
In February, the City received a 178-signature petition for a dog beach in Burns Beach and another 110-signature petition to amend the amend beach management plan to reduce congestion at the Hillarys dog beach.
“There have also been recent discussions on the City’s social media platforms campaigning for more beach space within the City to exercise dogs,” a council document said.
“This indicates a continued demand for beach areas that accommodate dog exercising within the City of Joondalup.”