Shalom House wins

The Advocate (Perth) - - FRONT PAGE - Lisa Thomas

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.

Pic­ture: Bruce Hunt­mu­ni­ d473262

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