Dewars track set to be closed

MAINTAINING Dewars Track for another 10 years could cost up to $4.5 million, the City of Wanneroo says.

With the council due to decide tonight whether to close or upgrade the popular track in Two Rocks, assets director Harminder Singh said the City had spent $110,000 on maintenance since March 2014.

“A consultant’s report has indicated that an upgrade would cost approximately $800,000,” he said.

“Continued works and ongoing maintenance and compliance over 10 years would cost between $2.75 million and $4.49 million.”

Mr Singh said since the track was first registered in March 2008, the City had spent about $300,000 on maintenance and upgrades, and more on compliance costs such as safety inspections and ranger patrols.

“Dewars Track was set up to enable cars to access a carpark at the end of the track so that fishers, surfers and swimmers could walk from there to the beach,” he said.

“While the minority of users do so responsibly, it is disappointing that the majority are irresponsibly driving 4WDs to access the dunes and beach and also drive off-road between the City of Wanneroo and the Shire of Gingin.”

Mr Singh said the primary issues included safety, people ignoring signs and fencing, damage to public and private property, trespassing, illegal dumping and littering, public nuisance, illegal beach access and traffic volumes.

After a temporary closure in March 2014 caused an uproar in the off-road driving community, the City developed a four-wheel-drive working group that included community members and interest groups.

“The group last met in December 2014,” Mr Singh said.

“The City contacted members in June this year to arrange further meetings but was advised by these members that they had resigned from the working group and it was no longer in operation.”

A report on the December 8 council meeting agenda cites extreme risks to justify the proposed closure of the track.

Mr Singh said the City wanted to close the track “as a matter of urgency” due to those risks, and staff have recommended closing it on Friday, December 18.

“There have not been any incidents along the track in the past two years that resulted in members of the public making claims against the City,” he told the Times.

Mr Singh said the City had received more than 100 complaints since January 2014 about illegal and inappropriate use of the track.