Fire risk increase at Dewars Track

Fire risk increase at Dewars Track

Councillors and about 55 four-wheel driving enthusiasts attended a March 25 briefing about the proposed closure of the track.

The track, also known as Durrs, was built in 2008 to provide access to a parking area at Dewars Beach so surfers and others could access the area.

City businesses director Chris Morrison said access to the area had multiplied tenfold, increasing the fire risk from low to medium.

He said closing the track would not present an issue for firefighters as they could access the area through landowners’ private tracks.

Cr Dot Newton said no financial implications were presented for providing alternative access and asked if estimated costs could be provided before the next council meeting.

‘It’s going to be really difficult to pick an option without knowing what it will cost,’ she said.

City infrastructure director Dennis Blair said he was not in a position to provide any costs at this stage as it would require detailed studies, but they would be significant.

Mayor Tracey Roberts asked whether 4WDs had found other ways to get to the beach and what would happen if they closed the track completely.

‘There is access through various other tracks (but) I can’t comment on that because that’s private land, which our rangers are unable to monitor,’ Mr Morrison said.

‘We run the risk of users still forcing ways to drive over private land (so there is) still the risk to the community.’

The briefing report recommended the track be permanently closed but outlined alternatives to provide safe access, including gazetted beach access, building two-way tracks, widening the existing track or putting in controls, such as gates or traffic signals.

Councillors will consider a revised report at tonight’s meeting that recommends approving $120,000 for a detailed review of the Dewars Beach access track and alternative access tracks.