Plea to share beach space

Four-wheel-drivers Nathan White, Brayden Hayes, William Case, Mark Bovenkerk, Scott Anderson and Kyle Wittstock
Four-wheel-drivers Nathan White, Brayden Hayes, William Case, Mark Bovenkerk, Scott Anderson and Kyle Wittstock

A group of residents who enjoy four-wheel-driving along the coast told the Weekender they have enjoyed accessing the isolated coastline between Jindalee and Yanchep for about 20 years.

Alkimos resident Mark Bovenkerk, who administrates four-wheel-driving Perth groups on Facebook, said there should be a solution where both 4WDs and the general public could use the beaches.

Mr Bovenkerk said he was down at the Alkimos beach at 10.30am on a Saturday recently and there was one family there.

‘They want to stop the whole 4WD (community) to go on the whole 20km of the beach for one person or one family,’ he said. ‘I would like to see a way we could both be users here, so we can have 4WDs and have it safe.

‘For all us four-wheel-drivers, it’s a lifestyle ” we drive on that beach in winter, we 4WD here all year round.’

Butler resident William Case said if plans were already prepared for development, landowners and local government should allow 4WDs on the areas that would ultimately be cleared.

‘There’s all this land between here and Yanchep ” we know it’s all going to get developed,’ he said.

‘They are going to bulldoze the area regardless (but) they are not going to take 20km of coastline away overnight.’

Mr Bovenkerk said if there were rows of rocks on either side of the beach, vehicles would not be able to drive past, creating a safe space for other families to use the beach for swimming.

Hocking resident Scott Anderson agreed, saying areas should be sectioned off so 4WDers could ‘still have fun’.

‘How many places in Australia can you go close to the city and go driving on the beach?’ he said.

The men also said the 4WD community encouraged responsible behaviour and many families got involved in clean-ups in the dune areas, with one planned in Two Rocks this weekend.

Mr Anderson said 4WDers should be able to use Pipidinny Road, which had become a dumping ground, to access the coast.

‘All this rubbish ” that wouldn’t happen if this was a 4WD track,’ he said.

Mr Case said until recently, there had been no enforcement of the laws about off-road vehicles on private land and beaches in the area.

‘The laws haven’t changed but the enforcement has,’ he said. ‘There’s a severe lack of signage and there’s a severe lack of education as to where we can and can’t go.’

Mr Case said he wanted to be able to take his family of five to the beach to go fishing and four-wheel-driving.

‘There’s so much other beach up this area that there’s no-one at ” no-one is going to walk 1km to get to a beach,’ he said.

Mr Case said they had started an online petition for access to northern suburbs beaches.

‘We are not chasing the whole area, just pockets of land that is set to be developed in the future,’ the petition said.

A City of Wanneroo spokeswoman said there was plenty of information on its website, which indicated no vehicles were allowed on environmentally sensitive areas, such as beaches, foreshores or dunes.

Wanneroo Mayor Tracey Roberts told the Weekender’s sister publication the Times that strong population growth meant it was natural to support landowners in not allowing 4WD access in the interest of public safety. Mrs Roberts said the City would continue to work with land developers and landowners to educate 4WD owners.

For information on off-road vehicle regulations, visit www.wanneroo.wa.gov.au.

– Alkimos residents and the Alkimos Progress Association are holding a beach rally this Saturday, March 1, to discourage off-road driving on the beach.