Last re­sort for re­hab

SHALOM HOUSE TO RENT AC­COM­MO­DA­TION IN SWAN VALLEY DUR­ING COURT AC­TION

Midland Reporter - - Front Page - Sarah Brookes

SHALOM House is con­tin­u­ing to ex­pand its res­i­den­tial re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ser­vice, with plans to house a fur­ther 46 men at a re­sort along a ma­jor tourist trail in the Swan Valley.

Owner Peter Lyn­don-James, who is locked in a Supreme Court bat­tle with the City of Swan over plan­ning is­sues, said he was rent­ing Swan Valley Oa­sis Re­sort on West Swan Road to cope with the over­whelm­ing de­mand for his ser­vices.

”Cur­rently I have 85 men in my pro­gram and we are about to go to 131 men,” he said.

“Both my phones con­tinue to ring with fam­i­lies need­ing help, with men close to the point of sui­cide and want­ing to change their life but with no place to go to do it.

“I re­spect and obey the rules of our land to the best of my abil­ity, but what do I do when all of my houses are full and ev­ery re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre across Perth has a three to six-month wait­ing list?

“I have cho­sen not to turn those in need away.”

Mr Lyn­don-James said he had put the City of Swan on no­tice that he had se­cured the prop­erty.

“The prop­erty has been locked in and I will be putting an­other ap­pli­ca­tion in to the City for its use,” he said.

“I am again ask­ing Mayor Mick Wain­wright and the City of Swan to come out to Shalom House to look over our pro­gram, not our prop­er­ties.”

City of Swan chief ex­ec­u­tive Mike Foley said Mr Lyn­don James had in­formed the City via email that he was op­er­at­ing sev­er­alf re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tres.

“As it stands, none of Mr Lyn­don James’ prop­er­ties within the City have the re­quired plan­ning ap­proval to be op­er­at­ing as a re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion fa­cil­ity,” he said.

“With­out ap­proval, the City has the op­tion to take com­pli­ance ac­tion, in­clud­ing re­quest­ing the fa­cil­ity to cease ac­tiv­ity.”

De­vel­oper Gerry Hanssen, who bought Swan Valley Oa­sis Re­sort in 2010, said he did not ex­pect any trou­ble while Shalom House rented the re­sort’s cot­tages.

“Peter’s drug treat­ment pro­gram is very suc­cess­ful and his dis­ci­pline is so strict we don’t an­tic­i­pate any prob­lems,” he said.

“As peo­ple want to be treated from him all over Aus­tralia, we can help him with short term ac­com­mo­da­tion. We can also help get the res­i­dents get back into the work­force through his labour hire com­pany un­til they are ready to re­turn to their fam­i­lies.”

Mr Lyn­don-James said he hoped to se­cure a per­ma­nent place for all of clients within two years and was grate­ful the City had al­lowed Shalom House to con­tinue op­er­at­ing un­til the court ac­tion was re­solved.

“Shalom House has been go­ing just over four-and-a-half years. What we are do­ing is work­ing, not just at chang­ing lives but restor­ing fam­i­lies and it costs our Gov­ern­ment and com­mu­nity noth­ing, not a sin­gle cent,” he said.

Shalom House in Hen­ley Brook was told to shut down in 2015 af­ter the City re­jected its ap­pli­ca­tion to change the use of its ru­ral block from res­i­den­tial to com­mu­nity pur­pose.

Shalom House ap­pealed the de­ci­sion in the State Ad­min­is­tra­tive Tri­bunal and sought to have the build­ing re­clas­si­fied. SAT found Shalom House did not fit the clas­si­fi­ca­tion ei­ther party were seek­ing and asked the City to con­sider re-clas­si­fy­ing the prop­erty to an­other clas­si­fi­ca­tion al­to­gether.

The City re­jected SAT’s de­ci­sion, say­ing it could jeop­ar­dise its lo­cal plan­ning scheme.

The mat­ter was heard in the Supreme Court in Jan­uary, with a de­ci­sion ex­pected to be handed down soon.

In a Q&A posted on­line by the City of Swan late last year, the City said it did not want to stop Shalom House from op­er­at­ing.

“The City of Swan has taken no ac­tion to close Shalom House and be­lieves the not-for-profit fa­cil­ity does an ex­cel­lent job in the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of drug and al­co­hol-depen­dents,” the post said.

Pic­ture: David Baylis www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d468014

Peter Lyn­don-James has dou­bled in his ef­forts to help drug ad­dicts.

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