City of Mandurah calls on state government to consider Peel for off-road vehicle track

Photo: File Image.
Photo: File Image.

An off-road vehicle track gained the attention of local councillors again last month when it was back on the City of Mandurah agenda.

In an effort to put an end to a long-running issue, councillors approved for the City to continue working with the state government on the Off Road Vehicle Committee (ORVC).

As part of the recommendation, Mandurah mayor Rhys Williams will continue to advocate for the ORVC to consider Mandurah as a suitable site for an off-road vehicle track and help to identify any potential commercial opportunities.

The move comes after a significant increase in complaints about off-road vehicles, including trail and quad bikes, in public areas.

In the 2018/19 financial year, the city received more than 400 complaints regarding off-road vehicles, up from 372 the year before that and 326 in 2016/17 - representing the highest non-dog related complaint category for City of Mandurah ranger services.

Weighed down by the constant complaints, in November 2019 councillors approved a motion to crack down on off-road vehicles and investigate creating an off-road vehicle facility.

Since then, the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, through the ORVC, has been providing updates to the City about the availability of possible local off-road vehicle use areas.

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A report prepared for councillors said the City was "seeking to resolve" issues related to illegal off-road vehicle use.

"An issue that is regularly highlighted, is the lack of legal places to ride that are reasonably accessible to people from Mandurah," it read.

"At present, the process being undertaken by the... [ORVC] represents the best opportunity to successfully identify a suitable site to service the off-road vehicle needs of the Mandurah community.

"Council is recommended to proactively seek the progression of this site selection process."

The motion was met with unanimous support from councillors, including Peter Jackson who moved the recommendation and Peter Rogers who seconded it.

"This has been a long time coming... it seems to be incredibly hard to get going," Mr Jackson said.

"I know we've seen this come up before but... this is a good thing," Mr Rogers added.

Councillor Don Pember said he still had concerns for unlicensed vehicles "running around in our bush and in our city".

"I get many phone calls from people distressed about the noise that it brings to them and loss of amenities," he said.

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In an interview with the Mandurah Mail, mayor Rhys Williams said the state government was working closely with the City, and other local governments, to determine the best site for the off-road vehicle track.

"We hope that the state government looks favourably upon a facility like this being located in or around Mandurah, because we know there are a lot of off-road vehicle users here," he said.

"It needs to be done at a state government level... we're right behind them in terms of the work that they are doing.

"The state government is also looking at licencing and other elements, which is why they are taking the lead on this issue."

Mr Williams said the facility would be put to good use in Mandurah, but that more would need to be done to tackle illegal off-road vehicle use around the City.

"Of course I'd love to see [a track] in the Peel region," he said.

"The off-road track is just one component of this issue - it will provide a venue for people to use, but it is not necessarily the silver bullet in terms of stopping illegal off-road vehicle use."

Riding off-road vehicles in the City of Mandurah is illegal with significant penalties also applying under the Control of Vehicles (Off-Road Areas) Act 1978 and the City's Local Government Property and Public Places Local Laws.

Residents are encouraged to report off-road vehicles breaking local government regulations by identifying bikes and riders where possible.

To report off-road vehicle use, call Ranger Services any day of the week on 9550 3777.