SEVEN social groups in Perth and the South West have teamed up to encourage responsible four-wheel driving in WA.
Wanneroo resident Mark Petruzio created the online 4WD’ing Responsibly page in 2013, which now has more than 3000 Facebook followers.
After an off-road working group created by the City of Wanneroo failed to make progress, Mr Petruzio said he teamed up with other online groups that promote sustainable four-wheel-driving, including the Wilbinga Shacks 4×4 Crew.
Each has its own membership, and their founders are spread across Perth, with AIR DOWN south of the river, Troopy Carriers of Australia’s WA Chapter in Fremantle, Over The Edge 4×4 in the Perth Hills and Perth Girls 4×4 in Bullsbrook, plus Rigs and Ruts in the South West.
“There really aren’t any new developments and there haven’t been for a long time,” he said. “That’s why I have decided to create an online (social media) council and continue to push for access and promote our sport, or lifestyle, positively.
“A lot of the stuff we do is charity-based.”
Mr Petruzio said whenever the groups had club runs or events, they would fundraise for charities, and they organised track clean-ups at places like the Wilbinga Conservation Reserve.
“Regardless of where people go, they still need a safe environment; need it to be rubbish and litter-free,” he said.
The off-road enthusiast said they were planning to hold collection days for people to donate old camping gear to the northern suburbs-based group HAND (homeless, at risk, needy and disadvantaged).
While most families cared for the environment and respected the rules, Mr Petruzio said there were some drivers who gave the off-road community a bad name.
“A lot of people through social media believe that they can go where they feel like going – it’s vacant land as far as they are concerned,” he said.
“They want more places to four-wheel-drive yet they won’t do anything to actively construct and do something about it.
“In the City of Wanneroo there’s no place to four-wheeldrive along the coastal line.
“It’s not a right.”
State law has not allowed people to drive on beaches within the City of Wanneroo and metropolitan area since the 1970s.
Mr Petruzio said the challenge was finding space for the growing number of fourwheel- drivers to go, with places like Wilbinga “already overcrowded”.
“Eventually what’s going to happen is we will lose Two Rocks,” he said. “We will lose part of the pine plantation.
“At some stage we are all going to have to go driving two or three hours.
“The government doesn’t want to give us any more areas.”
He said they were lucky to have Wilbinga and, due to its conservation status, would keep it “as long as we take care of the area”.
“There’s a big push towards stewardship,” he said.
“People that come on the beach, generally want to take their families out there.
“It’s like the great Australian dream, because people don’t have a back yard anymore.”
Report shows working group met only once
A REPORT on the Wanneroo City Council meeting agenda this month says the 4WD off-road working group that formed in 2014 has met only once.
“The working group was intended to be made up of key members of off-road clubs or groups and organisations and was formed to provide the off-road community a platform to voice their opinions for future off-road recreation,” it said.
“One of the key functions of the working group was to provide a five-year strategy to the City which would outline a sustainable and responsible off- road use/plan for the off-road driving community.
“At this stage, there have been no alternative routes suggested or identified by the working group regarding changes to the track.
“To the best knowledge of the City, the working group has not met since its first meeting, and the City has not adopted an off-road strategy.
“The City does provide an ‘Off Road Vehicles’ brochure which contains a list of permitted locations for this activity.
“There was also an undertaking that 4WD clubs and groups would assist with educating the users on safe usage of the track.
“However, despite their efforts, non-compliant, illegal and destructive use has continued.”
The council will consider permanently closing Dewars (‘Durrs’) Track in Two Rocks on December 8 and surrendering the existing access to the surf beach to the private landowners.