CITING long-term illegal and severe abuse, the City of Wanneroo says it could close Dewars (Durrs) Track earlier than January 15 for safety reasons or if any irresponsible or illegal use is observed.
After the council decided to close the track at its special council meeting on December 15, the City released a statement saying the Local Government Act allowed it to close it earlier if necessary.
The City set up the easement agreement with private landowners to enable cars to access a car park at the end of the track so that fishers, surfers and swimmers could walk from there to the beach.
Mayor Tracey Roberts said residents had lodged more than 100 complaints over the past year about repeated misuse of the track.
“Public nuisance, hooning, vandalism, trespassing, illegal dumping and littering are unacceptable behaviours,” she said.
“The City is not prepared to put the safety of residents and visitors in jeopardy – unfortunately the majority of irresponsible track users have abused the privilege.
“Most four-wheel-drives are using Dewars to access the dunes and beach and drive off-road as a thoroughfare between the City of Wanneroo and the Shire of Gingin.
“Rapid growth in our coastal suburbs means more young families are using beaches on weekends and many of them are afraid to do so if 4WDs and quad bikes are present.
“Serious abuse of Dewars Track has caused deterioration and substantial environmental issues including erosion.
“The City has tried to regulate track use and engage with users to minimise harm, but keeping it open is untenable because of significant cost implications for City ratepayers.”
The statement said maintenance since March 2014 had cost about $110,000, and an upgrade would have cost about $800,000.
It said that works, maintenance and compliance over 10 years would have cost $2.75 million to $4.49 million.
People who want to surf and fish at Dewars will still be able to walk there from the beach adjacent to Sovereign Drive.