Op­po­si­tion to shel­ter aired again

Southern Telegraph - - News - Stu­art Horton

Mersey Point res­i­dents op­posed to a pro­posed men’s home­less shel­ter on Pen­guin Road, Shoal­wa­ter, again took their dis­plea­sure to the City of Rock­ing­ham coun­cil last Tues­day night.

It was stand­ing room only in the coun­cil cham­bers, with dozens of res­i­dents in at­ten­dance and some us­ing pub­lic ques­tion time to raise ques­tions and con­cerns once more about the pro­posal. The City has re­ceived an ap­pli­ca­tion from St Pa­trick’s Com­mu­nity Sup­port Cen­tre seek­ing devel­op­ment ap­proval for a change of use for Penola House, Lot 28 Pen­guin Road, to a com­mu­nity cen­tre (home­less ac­com­mo­da­tion).

Penola House is the for­mer lodg­ing house of The Sis­ters of St Joseph of the Sa­cred Heart and is owned by St Joseph’s Con­vent and Chapel on the neigh­bour­ing prop­erty. The plan pro­poses a max­i­mum of 31 men to be ac­com­mo­dated at the prop­erty, with two head lodgers to li­aise with hous­ing staff and deal with any is­sues that arise and a mem­ber of St Pa­trick’s hous­ing ser­vices staff to be on­site Mon­day-Fri­day from 8am-4pm, with a staff mem­ber on­call out­side of­fice hours.

Last Tues­day night, Mayor Barry Sam­mels said the City had re­ceived more than 200 sub­mis­sions on the pro­posal and, be­cause of this high vol­ume, had ex­tended the pe­riod to con­sider the ap­pli­ca­tion, now likely to come be­fore the coun­cil for a de­ci­sion in Fe­bru­ary or March.

One Shoal­wa­ter res­i­dent asked if more suit­able sites in the City could in­stead be con­sid­ered for the shel­ter, such as the dis­used Mur­doch Uni­ver­sity cam­pus on Dixon Road but Mr Sam­mels said the ap­pli­ca­tion dealt specif­i­cally with the Pen­guin Road site. City di­rec­tor of plan­ning and devel­op­ment Bob Jeans said it was not pos­si­ble to con­sider the cam­pus be­cause it was within the city cen­tre precinct and pro­tected by pol­icy in the City’s town plan­ning scheme.

When quizzed if the City would re­ceive rates on the prop­erty, Mr Sam­mels said be­cause the site was owned by St Joseph’s Con­vent and Chapel, the City re­ceived no rates on it.

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