Swan council defers decision on church ban in Swan Valley

The Swan Valley. Photo: David Baylis
The Swan Valley. Photo: David Baylis

A DECISION on whether to ban churches in the Swan Valley has been deferred by councillors overnight

The proposed amendment to the City of Swan’s local planning scheme also seeks to prohibit restaurants, roadhouses and taverns from being built in the Swan Valley Rural zone.

Mayor David Lucas argued stand-alone commercial development with no linkage to traditional agricultural and horticultural activities were at odds with the rural character of the Swan Valley.

Ban on churches ‘North Korea levels of crazy’

“In one generation the Swan Valley has seen a 75 per cent loss of horticulture and more than 4000 hectares of vines have been lost due to development,” he said.

“This is unsustainable.”

Cr Lucas said the City had been waiting more than a decade for the State Government to strengthen the Swan Planning Act, introduced in 1995, to protect the region.

“The current review is years away from being finalised and the City had to draw a line in the sand,” he said.

Agreement signed for handover of Pinjarra church

“The City is not anti-church.

“In fact the City has more churches and places or worship than any other local government in WA.”

However Former WA Law Reform Commissioner Augusto Zimmermann said the proposal constituted a violation of our constitutional rights.

“Any attempt to suppress or restrict places of worship constitutes undue interference of religious freedom,” he said.