Massage business owner supports introduction of use in City of Wanneroo planning scheme

Paradise Massage owner John Moore. Photo: Martin Kennealey
Paradise Massage owner John Moore. Photo: Martin Kennealey

A MASSAGE business owner who won an appeal to operate in Wangara hopes the planning scheme will change to allow massage uses.

John Moore (72) owns Paradise Massage with his ex-wife, who is a trained masseuse and one of two women that work at their Arrigo Street premises offering sports and remedial massage.

They originally leased an Irwin Road site two blocks away from 2013 to 2017, but when they decided to buy the strata unit and applied to run the business there, the City of Wanneroo said the unlisted use was not permitted in the service industrial area.

Mr Moore and his lawyer Tristan Cockman appealed through the State Administrative Tribunal and after six months, the tribunal determined that the massage premises was permitted.

It also reiterated a 2010 decision that advised the City to amend its planning scheme to include a massage premises use.

Last November, the council agreed to initiate a district planning scheme change to allow massage premises in business and commercial zones, which is out for public comment until March 26.

Lawyer Tristan Cockman (Justice Legal) with Paradise Massage owner John Moore. Photo: Martin Kennealey

In his submission, Mr Moore said massage premises should be permitted in service industrial zones and discretionary in business zones.

“Remedial massage is much more naturally suited to the uses commonly found within the service industrial zone, such as martial arts, gyms, fitness centres and dance centres since these uses are the main source of our clients,” he said.

Mr Moore said the proposed requirement of five parking bays per practitioner was excessive, which the City said would accommodate that practitioner, support staff such as a receptionist, and three clients.

“Consultations for remedial massage usually last at least an hour,” Mr Moore said.

“Car parking requirements should be at most three bays per practitioner: one for the practitioner, one for the departing client and one for the waiting client.”

The proposed change would cover premises offering remedial or traditional massage, sports massage, reflexology, acupuncture and aromatherapy.

Mr Cockman said the planning rules could affect several other businesses in the area that offered relaxation uses and may not have appropriate approvals in place.

He and Mr Moore said local governments should consult directly with affected industries.

Mr Moore, who has a background in engineering, said the legal process had taken a personal toll, resulting in he and his wife separating although they remain business partners.

“My partner is highly skilled,” he said.

While it cost their small business about $50,000, Mr Moore said he did not regret pursuing it as he knew they had a good case.

“I would like people to go into a situation like this to be appraised of their rights and the costs if they go up against the (City’s) refusal,” he said.

Mr Moore invested his superannuation in the strata building, which they renovated to create four massage rooms.

“I just moved my super out of shares and into bricks and mortar,” he said.

The City’s proposal to introduce a ‘massage premises’ use to the scheme would allow massage premises in business and commercial zones.

Massage premises could also be allowed on a discretionary basis in mixed use and service industrial zones.

The proposed definition is “premises involving the manipulation or other treatment of body parts for therapeutic or remedial purposes, but does not include the provision of any sexual service”.

A November council report said the City had considered 20 applications for massage premises since 2011, excluding home businesses that offered massage, and each time it was considered an unlisted use.

Visit www.wanneroo.wa.gov.au/yoursay for more information.