Fight on for re­hab

Eastern Reporter - - Front Page - Sarah Brookes

THE founder of a men’s drug re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre says he will fight a de­ci­sion by City of Swan coun­cil­lors to refuse chang­ing the cen­tre’s zon­ing to com­ply with plan­ning laws.

Shalom House founder Peter Lyn­don-James said he was dis­ap­pointed with the de­ci­sion to re­ject his ap­pli­ca­tions to re­zone two prop­er­ties in Hen­ley Brook as com­mu­nity pur­pose be­cause it was in­con­sis­tent with lo­cal plan­ning ob­jec­tives (Swan Val­ley Plan­ning Act 1995).

“This means we must re­turn to the State Ad­min­is­tra­tive Tri­bunal (SAT) to make the de­ci­sion, a place we have been to mul­ti­ple times,” he said.

“While this is a set­back, we main­tain our strength of con­vic­tion to get this ap­proved and to work within the reg­u­la­tory frame­work.

“We will con­tinue to do what we do, for as long as SAT agrees we’re within our rights, the Supreme Court agrees we’re within our rights, and the City’s plan­ners agree we’re within our rights.

“We con­tinue to be frus­trated by the lack of sup­port and proac­tive as­sis­tance from lo­cal and State gov­ern­ment to as­sist us in this im­por­tant work to re­ha­bil­i­tate those in our com­mu­nity with ad­dic­tions, es­pe­cially given the epi­demic we face with metham­phetamines, al­co­hol and other sub­stance abuse.”

Mr Lyn­don-James said the City had spent $201,105 on the court case.

“Some of the coun­cil­lors are go­ing out of their way to make this as dif­fi­cult as they pos­si­bly can,” he said.

Coun­cil­lors ac­knowl­edged Shalom House was a com­mu­nity pur­pose use as de­ter­mined ear­lier by SAT.

SHALOM House again lost its bat­tle to keep its doors open in the Swan Val­ley.

City of Swan coun­cil­lors voted 8-5 last week to refuse chang­ing the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre’s zon­ing to com­ply with plan­ning laws.

City of­fi­cers rec­om­mended the coun­cil ap­prove Shalom’s re­quest for change of use from res­i­den­tial to com­mu­nity at its Hen­ley Brook prop­er­ties de­spite be­ing in­con­sis­tent with lo­cal plan­ning ob­jec­tives, in­clud­ing the Swan Val­ley Plan­ning Act 1995.

The pro­gram run by for­mer drug ad­dict and coun­cil­lor Peter Lyn­don-James claims to be the strictest re­hab cen­tre in Aus­tralia and has been locked in a three-year bat­tle with the City over zon­ing rules.

Cr Cate McCul­lough said while Shalom’s pro­gram was in­valu­able in help­ing men beat ad­dic­tion, plan­ning laws could not be ig­nored.

“The men in the pro­gram know they must fol­low the rules. Equally, the City has strict plan­ning reg­u­la­tions and there are con­se­quences for not fol­low­ing these rules,” she said.

Cr Char­lie Zan­nino com­mended Cr Lyn­don-James and his team for their valu­able work but said the re­hab cen­tre did not com­ply on plan­ning grounds.

There were more than 20 pub­lic dep­u­ta­tions, in­clud­ing a Park Street res­i­dent who said she felt ex­tremely in­tim­i­dated by the res­i­dents in the pro­gram.

Those in sup­port of Shalom said the cen­tre was an as­set to the com­mu­nity and did not de­tract from the tourism re­gion.

Swan Cham­ber of Com­merce pres­i­dent Gerry Hanssen said Shalom posed no threat, but Mayor David Lu­cas said op­po­si­tion came from es­tab­lished vine­yards in­clud­ing Man­doon Es­tate and Edge­combe Broth­ers.

Cr Zan­nino called on Plan­ning Min­is­ter Rita Saf­fi­oti to out­line her depart­ment’s po­si­tion on Shalom’s zon­ing bat­tle in light of the Swan Val­ley Plan­ning Act re­view.

A spokesman for Ms Saf­fi­oti said the Min­is­ter would con­sider writ­ing a sub­mis­sion to SAT on the in­ter­pre­ta­tion of “com­mu­nity pur­pose” in gen­eral.

“Any de­ci­sion by the SAT in­volv­ing an in­ter­pre­ta­tion of “com­mu­nity pur­pose” could have broader plan­ning im­pli­ca­tions,” he said.

D486508

Peter Lyn­don-James plans to de­velop a Bulls­brook prop­erty on Great North­ern High­way for Shalom House.

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