Cloud 9 smoke stores too close for comfort


Perth MLA Eleni Evangel outside Highgate Primary School. Picture: Andrew Ritchie        www.communitypix.com.au   d451114
Perth MLA Eleni Evangel outside Highgate Primary School. Picture: Andrew Ritchie        www.communitypix.com.au d451114

PERTH MLA Eleni Evangel has called on councils to amend their planning schemes to prevent restricted shops from operating near schools and houses.

The call comes after seizure of suspected drugs from Cloud 9 Smoke Shop in Mt Lawley – the Guardian Express broke the news of the police raid on February 9.

Ms Evangel said the State Government’s restricted premises clause (passed in October 2015) allowed local governments to amend their planning schemes to provide community safety nets.

“From my perspective as the State Member for Perth, I am concerned that such a premise is located near two of my primary schools and many residences,” Ms Evangel said.

“It is the responsibility of local governments to include these amendments in their planning schemes.”

Under the clause, adult stores and stores selling R-rated material and smoking-related implements are classified as restricted premises.

City of Vincent chief executive Len Kosova said council was already waiting for a new scheme to be adopted.

“We wouldn’t look to amend our existing planning scheme (Town Planning Scheme 1) as we’re waiting for our new scheme to be adopted by the minister,” Mr Kosova said.

“Whether or not this definition is one day included in the new scheme will be for council to decide.”

Ms Evangel said the laws were not retrospective so they would not affect current premises but would provide future proofing.

Highgate Primary School principal Steven Ivey said illicit drugs were of great concern at the school.

“We had a P&C meeting recently and I’m confident the parents are not in support of Cloud 9,” Mr Ivey said.

“As the leader of the school we would say our kids’ lives are precious and we want to send a strong anti-drug message.”

The Cloud 9 store is 220m away from Sacred Heart Primary School and 500m from Highgate Primary School.

Late last week, a WA Police spokesperson said more than 3000 bags of a substance suspected to be synthetic cannabis were still being chemically tested.

Cloud 9 has been contacted for comment.