City of Swan refuses Shalom House again despite SAT advice

Peter Lyndon-James from Shalom House. Picture: David Baylis www.communitypix.com.au d468014
Peter Lyndon-James from Shalom House. Picture: David Baylis www.communitypix.com.au d468014

THE City of Swan has rejected retrospective approval for rehabilitation facility Shalom House, despite advice from the State Administrative Tribunal to approve it.

The three-year legal stoush between the City and Shalom House came to a head in May when the SAT found in favour of the facility, classifying the property on Park Street in Henley Brook as a community purpose and therefore capable of approval under the Local Planning Scheme No. 17.

The cost so far to the City has been more than $185,000.

Councillor Charlie Zannino moved at Wednesday night’s council meeting that the council refuse to grant approval to a change of use to community purpose.

He said despite the good work the facility was doing in the community, it was not a community purpose and did not fit with the Swan Valley Planning Act.

He said if the City was to approve the application, it would open the floodgates for other applications that did not meet the planning grounds of the Swan Valley.

“My definition of a community service is that it’s open to community members on the street. You have to put an application in for Shalom House; it’s a private facility, not a community facility,” he said.

“The law is the law. This application is not appropriate for the Swan Valley.”

Mayor Dave Lucas said the Shalom House application had been one of the most difficult decisions the council had faced.

Shalom House chief executive Peter Lyndon-James said on the Shalom House Facebook page that he was disappointed with the decision.

“I believe it should always be communication first and Courts as a last option. Well it looks like we are going back to Court, SAT here we come again, more rate payer dollars down the drain,” he said.