Shalom House founder vows to fight council decision

THE founder of a men’s drug rehabilitation centre in the Swan Valley says he will fight a decision by City of Swan councillors last night 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.

“Unfortunately this means that we must now return to State Administrative Tribunal 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 are within our rights, the Supreme Court agrees we are within our rights, and the City’s professional planners agree we are within our rights.

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

Mr Lyndon-James said to date 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.

“While Shalom has a number of lawyers who have agreed to work pro bono, as a ratepayer and as a councillor, it is disappointing that councillors would embroil the City in further litigation and further expense.

“At the last hearing, the City employed not only an external solicitor, but also a senior counsel barrister from the Western Australian Bar.”

Prior to voting councillors acknowledged that Shalom House was unequivocally a community purpose use as determined earlier in the year SAT. However both applications were refused 8-5 on the basis that they did not comply with numerous planning objectives within the Swan Valley Planning Act 1995.