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Council puts brakes on railway restoration proposal

By Breanna Inferrera

KALAMUNDA council has knocked back a  a pre-feasibility study on the long-gestating Kalamunda Zig Zag Railway Restoration project.

At last Tuesday’s council meeting, Councillor Dylan O’Connor moved the motion, calling on City chief executive Rhonda Hardy to provide a cost estimate for the study.

Opportunities, constraints and the social, environmental and economic impact on the City of Kalamunda community would have been considered by the study.

Four deputations were presented by community members.

Carlisle resident Peter Wright and Kalamunda resident Peter Bolden from the Perth Hills Zig Zag Railway Association were supportive of Cr O’Connor’s motion, while Gooseberry Hill residents Vicki  Laurie and Andy Farrant were not.

Arguments for included local, national and international tourism and the revitalisation of the Kalamunda town site and hills area.

Arguments against included environmental and amenity concerns and an opinion the idea was outdated.

Speaking on his motion, Cr O’Connor said to date, the City has not undertaken any technical analysis of the proposal which has been around, for many years.

“What I’m proposing is the City has a look at the big things that might prevent us from supporting the idea,” he said.

“We know this project will affect our community.

“Some things might impact our community so much the City decides it can’t support it.

“At least we will know.”

Speaking against Cr O’Connor’s motion, Cr Kathy Ritchie said before council thinks about a pre-feasibility study, it needs to know if it has community support.

“It concerns me we have a proposition in front of us that has the potential to be incredibly divisive right across the City,” she said.

Cr O’Connor’s motion was ultimately lost 3-9.

Cr John Giardina’s alternative motion to defer the undertaking of any investigation  regarding the Zig Zag until after the current community consultation – a survey about the future of the Zig Zag – is completed and reported to council, was carried 10-2.

Cr O’Connor put forward a new motion that council request Ms Hardy bring a report to the December 2020 OCM, detailing the issues and major constraints the City would need to have addressed in any subsequent proposal from a proponent for the Zig Zag Railway.

Cr Sue Bilich said she disagreed Cr O’Connor’s new motion should be allowed.

“It’s actually, from my point of view, in direct contradiction to [motion] we’ve just passed,” she said.

“We’ve just passed one where it said we will defer any undertakings of any investigations or actions and what we are doing here is we are asking for actions.

“Even though it’s from staff, it’s still an action, I think it is wrong.”

City mayor Margaret Thomas said she would still allow Cr O’Connor’s new motion.

“The first [motion] is about the survey about the Zig Zag,” she said.

“This motion is asking for more information about the railway.”

Cr Thomas used her casting vote to carry Cr O’Connor’s new motion following a split decision from council.

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  1. Hi Breanna; as CEO of Perth Hills Zig Zag Railway Assoc Inc; I think you for your timely and very accurate article. Our original “submission was prepared FOR Kalamunda Council; for presentation to their tourism committee in 2018. it was never even acknowledged!!!!
    Since that time we have grown in numbers, we are now almost 3000 people who can see the sense and the absolute protection, offered by this proposal…..we are not cutting down trees or destroying habitat, we are offering to build a restaurant at the top of the zig zag, an Art Centre in Kalamunda, A permanent Market site in behind the soon to be abandoned water park (so we are told).
    Yet we get absolutely no help from Council or Councillors…some support us……apparently yet they will not say so? some do not like me!!!! I am sorry I seem to always tell people what they do not want to hear……I tell the truth and see no point in messing about with emotions….that is what has destroyed Kalamunda…we need people that think not people who sit on fences afraid to speak for fear of losing votes!!!!
    We are asking Council to support us, say its a good idea, that is all…no money…yet we are not even going to get asked to submit any data for this supposed “review,” so we are to be reviewed by people who cannot think of ideas like this….or if they can…where the hell are those ideas? these people will guide us to…..bankruptcy? or a glorious future doing what exactly?
    see that’s why Council and Councillors do not like me, its rude to tell the truth!!!!! 🙂 in their world…in our world we have to survive and work for a living….who is it that you people support/
    John the Trainist

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