The city of Kalamunda voted against a proposal to permanently ban vehicles from the beloved Zig Zag Scenic Drive and gazebo, opting instead to keep it open every day with an 8:30 p.m. curfew.
- The Zig Zag Scenic Drive was closed to vehicles in May 2020 due to concerns about antisocial behavior, drugs and goons
- Kalamunda town council voted this week to keep it open during the day after testing the curfew over the past year
- The city says the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions should pay opening and closing costs, but the DBCA denies the road is on its land
The route is a steep one-way road that offers stunning views of the city of Perth as it winds along the Darling Scarp in Gooseberry Hill National Park.
Prior to the introduction of the curfew in June 2021, the road had been closed to vehicles for over a year due to anti-social behavior and safety concerns over hoons sharing the road with hikers and cyclists.
Mayor Margaret Thomas said the city wants to maintain the long-term curfew.
However, she said they plan to start lobbying the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), which owns the land, to take over access management.
“They actually own this park, we don’t, so it’s kind of unfair to our taxpayers to have to pay for this,” Ms Thomas said.
“We will put pressure [the DBCA] hard to improve amenities, maybe put a toilet and maybe a terrace where you can go down and look at the view.”
But there seems to be some controversy over the exact identity of the route.
DBCA says it only owns the surrounding land, not the property where the road is located.
“The Zig Zag Scenic Drive is located on a road reserve operated by the City of Kalamunda,” a DBCA spokesperson said.
Road previously closed to vehicles
The road was originally closed in 2020 when the city decided the drug, goon, and litter issues had gotten too extreme.
“I was that person who never wanted to close the Zig Zag, but even I realized we lost it,” Ms Thomas said.
“And because there are no toilets there, you can imagine the kind of trash that was there.”
She said people had even killed kangaroos along the road and others had flattened the native flora as they drove through the bush in their four-wheel drive vehicles.
Ms Thomas said the temporary road closure had significantly reduced this type of behavior and it had not reappeared after it reopened to vehicles with a curfew.
The city then introduced a one-year curfew trial.
With the trial due to end in July 2022, the elected officials were faced with three choices this week: maintain the curfew for vehicles, completely reopen the road or close it permanently.
Although city staff recommended the latter option to permanently close the road and avoid the cost of the curfew, councilors voted to continue opening and closing the road daily.
Push for DBCA to manage curfew
“The only thing that would make us change is if the behavior went back to what it was before, where we had no choice,” Ms Thomas said.
“But I don’t see that happening because this kind of behavior happens really late at night.”
However, Ms Thomas said they plan to push the DBCA to absorb the management costs.
“It’s more about money now than safety, although some people still think it’s not safe,” she said.
The DBCA said it only manages land surrounding Gooseberry Hill National Park.