Grape Growers WA calls for City of Swan to reject planning approval for Shalom House tomorrow night

Peter Lyndon-James from Shalom House. Picture: David Baylis d486508
Peter Lyndon-James from Shalom House. Picture: David Baylis d486508

A PEAK industry group in the Swan Valley is calling on members to lobby councillors to reject approving Shalom House as community purpose saying it will open the door to other inappropriate uses in the food and wine precinct.

Since 2015 there has been a legal stoush over whether the Henley Brook facility was classified as a residential building and therefore prohibited, or community purpose and capable of approval under the local planning scheme.

City of Swan Council will reconsider the application tomorrow night after the State Administrative Tribunal found in favour of the drug rehab facility.

Grape Growers WA president Kevin Peterson said Shalom House had continually used emotive tactics to garner public support and seek approval for their illegal operations.

“Last Wednesday there were more than a dozen deputations presented to council from a mix of business owners and residents opposing these applications,” he said.

“Some of the representatives live in the same street or operate businesses nearby.

“Some were concerned that an organisation is bullying its way into the Swan Valley without any regard to the objectives and vision of Swan Valley Planning Act 1995 or respect of zoning laws and believed they needed to stand up and be counted.

“The City has a duty to legally defend the Swan Valley Planning Act when opposing these applications.”

Mr Peterson said Shalom House had deliberately started and expanded their operations in violation of the Act and local planning scheme.

“There is no need for this organisation to operate in a food, wine and tourism precinct,” he said.

“The Act was put in place for the express purpose of protecting the Valley from inappropriate and unsuitable planning and has objectives in place to achieve this.

“Shalom House chose to invest in these two rental properties without the correct approvals and now are trying to say it will be too costly for them to move.

“That is the risk they elected to take and should not be part of the reason they gain approval to stay.

“There are applications for other community purpose ventures, like places of worship, waiting in the wings for the outcome of this decision before they proceed further.”