CITY OF SWAN HITS BACK AT SHALOM HOUSE:
THE City of Swan has hit back at “misinformation” it says is being spread by Shalom House founder Peter Lyndon-James over a longrunning dispute about the residential rehab facility.
Swan Mayor Mick Wainwright said “incorrect information” was being communicated in the public realm.
The City of Swan and Mr Lyndon-James have been embroiled in a battle since 2015 after the residential facility in Henley Brook was told to shut down because it did not meet residential zoning requirements.
The matter is now before the Supreme Court following a hearing in January this year after an unsuccessful mediation at the State Administrative Tribunal.
Cr Wainwright said the “misinformation” being spread had become a concern.
“First of all, the issue is not and has never been the Shalom House program. Council and I continue to believe it plays an important role in the rehabilitation of drug and alcohol dependents,” he said.
“The issue is that it is our job to make sure all members of the community, not just a select few, continue to be protected by and benefit from the City’s local planning laws.”
He said the council had to ensure local laws were upheld.
“If the City were to change its planning laws in the manner suggested by the State Administrative Tribunal, to allow Shalom House to operate in the Swan Valley, there could be ongoing consequences for all residents... as it could open the region up to adverse development,” he said.
Cr Wainwright said once the Supreme Court handed its decision down, the council would work with Shalom House to find an option to satisfy both parties.
“Contrary to recent opinions expressed publicly, the City and council have been in communication with Shalom House since receiving the first complaint in 2015,” he said
However, Mr Lyndon-James said the statements made by the City of Swan were “incorrect, misleading and untruthful”.
“From the very beginning, meeting requests were placed to speak with the Mayor, the CEO and councillors about where we can move,” he said.
“Two years, multiple refusals to meet with me, 70 additional residents and 45 more staff later, the mayor is saying we could operate elsewhere within the City of Swan.
“This would have been very helpful when we had 30 residents and five staff had they agreed to meet with me.
“Unless the mayor can come up with 10 other properties big enough to fit all of this and a way to fund this relocation, I am afraid his option of moving ‘elsewhere’ is too little, too late.
“I believe the City has handled our case dishonestly, unethically and behind closed doors. They have not done what they are elected to do – represent me, my staff, my residents and other community members.”