The Advocate (Perth) - - FRONT PAGE - Sarah Brookes

AF­TER seven months of de­lib­er­at­ing a de­ci­sion re­gard­ing the City of Swan’s ap­peal against the State Ad­min­is­tra­tive Tri­bunal’s (SAT) clas­si­fi­ca­tion of Shalom House has been handed down in the Supreme Court.

The court found in favour of the City’s ap­peal and Shalom House’s cross ap­peal and the mat­ter will be re­turned to SAT for fur­ther con­sid­er­a­tion.

City of Swan Mayor Mick Wain­wright said the City orig­i­nally re­fused the Shalom House de­vel­op­ment ap­pli­ca­tion be­cause the build­ing was clas­si­fied as a ‘Res­i­den­tial Build­ing’, which did not al­low the or­gan­i­sa­tion to be run from there.

“Shalom House then ap­pealed that de­ci­sion to SAT and asked for the build­ing to be re­clas­si­fied as ‘Com­mu­nity Pur­pose’ so that the or­gan­i­sa­tion could con­tinue to op­er­ate from that lo­ca­tion,” he said.

“How­ever, SAT found that the build­ing should in­stead be clas­si­fied as ‘Use Not Listed’ and asked the City to re­con­sider the clas­si­fi­ca­tion.

“The City be­lieved al­low- ing this clas­si­fi­ca­tion could im­pact the Lo­cal Plan­ning Scheme No. 17 and the en­tire City, so ap­pealed the de­ci­sion to the Supreme Court.

“The Supreme Court has now found that SAT made er­rors in the in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the def­i­ni­tion of both the ‘Res­i­den­tial Build­ing’ and ‘Com­mu­nity Pur­poses’ clas­si­fi­ca­tions and has sent the mat­ter back to SAT for fur­ther con­sid­er­a­tion.”

The mat­ter is sched­uled to be re­turned to SAT on Au­gust 25.

Mayor Wain­wright said while the City was re­lieved a de­ci­sion had been handed down, it would be some time be­fore next steps could be de­ter­mined.

“This process will take some time. How­ever we will en­sure the com­mu­nity is kept up to date with any progress or in­for­ma­tion as it comes to hand, via the City’s web­site.”

Shalom House founder Peter Lyn­don-James said the Supreme Court de­ci­sion was a good re­sult for Shalom House.

“It means that it stays open, and we are able to con­tinue our work in restor­ing the lives of men and fam­i­lies in our com­mu­nity,” he said.

“This de­ci­sion is one step to­ward an out­come.

“Our res­i­dents, staff and vol­un­teers are hope­ful that the City will ap­prove the pro­gram, agree to work and com­mu­ni­cate with us to­wards find­ing a favourable so­lu­tion for all and come on board with as­sist­ing those in need.”

Mr Lyn­don-James said when the case first started, they had just over 30 res­i­dents, one prop­erty and some five or six staff mem­bers.

“We now have 120 res­i­dents, over 50 staff and vol­un­teers, across 10 prop­er­ties,” he said.

“The cir­cum­stances have changed sig­nif­i­cantly, so it would be great for the lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the City of Swan to open.

“We are op­ti­mistic about the fu­ture and look for­ward to this mat­ter be­ing re­solved.”

El­len­brook Ward coun­cil­lor David McDon­nell said he wanted clar­ity for both the City and Shalom House.

“For two years we have both been walk­ing on shift­ing sand which has been in­cred­i­bly frus­trat­ing, es­pe­cially for Peter’s fast­grow­ing op­er­a­tion,” he said.

“Now, both par­ties have the op­por­tu­nity to come to­gether to get the best out­come for our com­mu­nity as a whole.”

Steen­hof Broth­ers lawyers Si­mon and John Steen­hof flank Shalom House founder Peter Lyn­don.

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