A LEGAL fight between drug rehabilitation facility Shalom House and City of Swan over zoning issues could almost be over after the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) found in favour of the facility.
The three-year battle has been over whether the facility was classified as a ‘residential building’ and therefore prohibited or ‘community purpose’ and capable of approval under Local Planning Scheme No. 17.
Shalom House applied for development approval under the City of Swan LPS 17 in 2015 to authorise its use of a site on Park Street in Henley Brook, but the City refused.
The Supreme Court sent the matter to SAT in September last year, with a determination made on Friday that the facility is properly classified as ‘community purpose’.
The tribunal’s decision was that the site is being used as a rehabilitation centre and provides educational and social services for community benefit.
Shalom House chief executive Peter Lyndon-James said the case had gone on for far too long and had cost ratepayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“We are happy and excited about the outcome. This case has gone on for far too long and it’s cost both sides far too much money,” he said.
“We are fortunate to have our lawyers represent us to no cost to the organisation, but the ratepayers are paying the cost accumulated by the City of Swan.”
Mr Lyndon-James, who is also a City of Swan councillor, hoped the City would now work with Shalom House.
“From here, we ask the public to hold the City accountable, to watch how our case is handled and put pressure on their local representatives to do the right thing,” he said.
“Communication is key and that’s what we’re asking for; no more courts, no more arguments and conflict.
“We ask the City to work with us in restoring the lives of men and families in our community.
“We ask the City to take a different approach to this matter, other than ‘let the courts decide’. The key to change is communication; courts should be the last resort.”
Swan chief executive Mike Foley said the City would review the decision.
“The City is in the process of reviewing the decision handed down by SAT over the weekend. The City will be invited to reconsider the matter on its merits and it will be presented to council for a decision in due course,” he said.
The City will now have the chance to reconsider its decision to refuse the development.