Opposition to shelter aired again
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.