Shalom House says it is facing legal and financial crisis ahead of SAT trial

Peter Lyndon-James. Picture: David Baylis   d468014
Peter Lyndon-James. Picture: David Baylis d468014

SHALOM House says it is facing a legal and financial crisis as it prepares for another obstacle in its long-running fight to continue operating in the Swan Valley.

The organisation has been locked in a legal battle with the City of Swan since 2015 when the City ordered it shut down one of its properties on Park Street in Henley Brook because it did not meet residential zoning requirements.

The ongoing matter, which has for five years revolved between SAT hearings, court hearings and the City of Swan council meetings, is set down for a one week trial before the State Administrative Tribunal starting on February 11.

Shalom House chief executive Peter Lyndon-James said to compound matters the rehabilitation centre’s main property on Park Street has recently been put on the market.

“Unfortunately, Shalom House does not have the funds to purchase the property, as much as we would love to,” he said.

“Ideally, we would hope for an investor to come alongside our organisation, purchase the property and enter into a long-term lease with Shalom House.

“The risk, however, lies in the ambiguity around the outcome of the court hearing.”

Last year the West Australian Shalom Group purchased a property in Bullsbrook with plans to build a $7.5 million hub including offices and a large auditorium for the rehabilitation centre.

The development application is expected to be heard by the Metro East Joint Development Assessment Panel later this year.

Mr Lyndon-James said if the development application is not approved the sale of the Bullsbrook property won’t go through.

He said he did not want to continue fighting endless court battles over properties.

“Shalom House currently has three law firms representing them pro-bono in this case,” he said.

“I don’t want to spend my time in courtrooms. We are a largely volunteer based not-for-profit organisation doing our best at restoring the lives of men and families in our community.

“We have broken men, broken families, people dying from overdoses, suicides… I want to focus on them, not on needless court battles.

“We cannot thank our lawyers enough for the man hours and effort they have put in helping us fight this case.

“Without Belinda Monarich, Martin Flint, John and Simon Steenhof, Shalom House would be non-existent, we would have been swallowed up in the bureaucratic processes and shut down in the blink of an eye.”

Mr Lyndon-James said operators from rehabilitation centres across Australia have spent time at Shalom House and opened up new centres in the eastern states using the Shalom House model.

“This isn’t only about Shalom House any longer, it is about the whole industry trying to help people overcome addiction and restore their lives,” he said.

Mr Lyndon-James said the program and its documentation has intellectual property rights and has been copyrighted throughout Australia.