Shalom House wins
A LEGAL fight between drug rehabilitation facility Shalom House and the City of Swan over zoning issues could almost be over after the State Administrative Tribunal found in favour of the facility.
The three-year battle was over whether the facility was classified as a ‘residential building’, and therefore prohibited, or ‘community purpose’, which would make it eligible for approval under Local Planning Scheme No. 17.
Shalom House applied for development approval from the City of Swan in 2015 to authorise its use of a site on Park Street in Henley Brook, but the City refused.
The Supreme Court sent the matter to SAT in September last year and a determination was made on Friday that the facility was properly classified as ‘community purpose’.
The tribunal’s reasoning for the decision was that the site was being used as a rehabilitation centre and provided educational and social services for community benefit.
Shalom House chief executive Peter Lyndon-James said the case had gone on too long and had cost ratepayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“We are happy and excited about the outcome,” he said.
“We are fortunate to have our lawyers represent us to no cost to the organisation, but the ratepayers are paying the cost accumulated by the City of Swan.”
Mr Lyndon-Jame, who is also a councillor at the City of Swan, said he hoped the City would now work with Shalom House.
“From here, we ask the public to hold the City accountable, to watch how our case is handled and put pressure on their local representatives to do the right thing. Communication is key and that’s what we’re asking for. No more courts, no more arguments and conflict,” he said.
“We ask the City to take a different approach to this matter, other than ‘let the courts decide’. The key to change is communication; courts should be the last resort.”
Swan chief executive Mike Foley said the City would review the decision.
“It will be presented to council for a decision in due course,” he said.