Thursday, December 01, 2022

Perth’s Zig Zag Scenic Drive to stay open with a night-time curfew, but Mayor wants WA government to pay

The City of Kalamunda has voted against a proposal to permanently ban vehicles from the beloved Zig Zag Scenic Drive and lookout, opting instead to continue opening it daily with an 8:30pm curfew.

The drive is a steep, one-way switchback road that provides sweeping views of Perth city as it winds down the side of the Darling Scarp in Gooseberry Hill National Park.

Prior to the curfew being introduced in June 2021, the road had been closed to vehicles for more than a year due to antisocial behavior and safety concerns about hoons sharing the road with bushwalkers and cyclists.

Mayor Margaret Thomas said the city wanted to continue the curfew long-term.

However, she said they planned to start lobbying the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), who owned the land, to take over managing access.

“They actually own this park, not us, so it’s sort of unfair for our ratepayers to have to pay this,” Ms Thomas said.

“We’re going to lobby [the DBCA] hard to improve the amenities, maybe put some toilets in and maybe a deck where you can walk down and look at the view.”

But there appears to be contention over who the road belongs to exactly.

DBCA says it only owns the surrounding land, not the property where the road is located.

“The Zig Zag Scenic Drive is located on road reserve that is managed by the City of Kalamunda,” a DBCA spokesperson said.

Road previously closed to vehicles

The road originally closed in 2020, when the city decided issues with drugs, hoons and rubbish became too extreme.

“I was that person who never wanted to close the Zig Zag at all, but even I realized that we had lost it,” Ms Thomas said.

“And because there’s no toilet facilities there, you can imagine the sort of rubbish that was there.”

She said people had even killed kangaroos along the road, and others had flattened native flora by driving through the bush in their four-wheel drives.

Ms Thomas said the temporary road closure had significantly reduced that type of behaviour, and it had not re-emerged after it was reopened to vehicles with a curfew.

The city then introduced a year-long trial of the curfew.

Perth City Skyline From The Top Of The Zig Zag Drive At Gooseberry Hill
The Zig Zag drive is a popular spot to watch the sunset because it provides views of the Perth city skyline.,Wikimedia Commons: JarrahTree,

With the trial set to end in July 2022, councillors were this week faced with three choices: continue the curfew for vehicles, reopen the road completely, or close it permanently.

Despite city staff recommending the latter option to close the road permanently and avoid the cost of running the curfew, councillors voted to continue opening and closing the road daily.

Push to make DBCA manage curfew

“The only thing that would make us change it is if the behavior got back to where it was before, where we had no choice,” Ms Thomas said.

“But I don’t see that happening because that sort of behavior really happens late at night.”


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