By Melissa Sheil
NOTED by City of Kalamunda staff as one of the most “topical issues in recent times”, popular opinion on the fate of the Zig Zag Scenic Drive remains divided according to a community consultation survey.
Despite more than 1300 responses to the City’s Future of Zig Zag Drive survey, the question of whether to permanently reopen the popular lookout to vehicles is still unanswered, with 767 saying yes and 567 saying no.
Though the majority voted to reopening, a large portion of these respondents reported living in suburbs outside the City of Kalamunda.
The Zig Zag has been closed to vehicles since May 2020, due to an ongoing period of extreme behaviours such as animal cruelty, dangerous hooning, illegal camping, environmental damage and harassment of residents.
Set to be lifted on June 30, the year-long trial closure has seen a decline in littering and illegal behaviours but an increase in frustration amongst tourists and locals wishing to drive the scenic route.
Following the end of the trial, Council have been recommended to begin a new 12 month trial of opening the gates to vehicles from 11am each day and closing them one hour after sunset, having a contract security guard to usher loiterers out for the night.
A resident said dangerous behaviours are still ongoing even with the vehicle closure.
“Last Easter Monday I was outside my house near the Zig Zag gate and saw five or six shirtless men ramming down the gate with their Landcruiser,” a resident wishing to remain anonymous told Echo News.
“They were wearing their shirts over their head like balaclavas and had masking tape over their registration plate’s so it was obviously premeditated.”
Zig Zag user Adam Hacker recalled a particularly harrowing experience that occurred last Sunday.
“I was cycling down the Zig Zag in the late afternoon and saw a rope at least one inch thick strung across the road,” he told Council.
“It was black and green so it was hard to see and was attached to two large trees with carabiners and lever ratchets levelled exactly at neck height for a cyclist.
“If I hadn’t managed to see it in time, there’s no doubt in my mind I wouldn’t be here speaking with you today.
“Luckily I stayed there to call the Council and the police because another man in his 80s came down on a bike and he wouldn’t have seen it because it was getting dark.
“An 80 something year old man coming down and hitting a rope in the neck at 40-50 km/hr just before dark – at best he would have been seriously injured and stuck there all night and at worst he would’ve been murdered.”
In a deputation to Council, member of the Zig Zag Improvement Reference Group Victoria Laurie said they need to make it a place that people respect.
“We need to get people visiting the Zig Zag for the right reasons and our suggestion is to make it an asset, create a place people are proud of and respect,” she said.
“Adding a steel lookout platform, a Zig Zag boardwalk, a sitting place of reflection and other amenities may make people treat it better as well as allowing it to be more accessible for seniors and people with disabilities.
“Right now it’s a bit rough but I think we can create something Perth is proud of, a Kings Park of the Hills.”
A decision will be made at Council’s next monthly meeting on April 27.