RESIDENTS petitioning Planning Minister Rita Saffioti claim the Subiaco Council incorrectly extended the lodging house use of the former Ronald McDonald House in York Street for sick children.
The petitioners say they are concerned the vacant site could be used by private drug rehabilitation clinic Fresh Start.
“Did you also know that this decision removes our right for consultation and makes it easy for any wholly unsuitable interested organisation – such as Fresh Start acute drug rehabilitation centre – to move into the site and start operating?” the petition’s preamble being circulated in the community claimed.
Angry residents stopped the council’s meeting for a short period last week.
The site’s former owner the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation is now the Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation (PCHF), and it rejected the petition’s claim “commercial advantage” was sought to sell it with residential and lodging house uses allowed.
“The claim in that petition is incorrect, and the foundation does not own or have any interest in the land at all,” a PCHF spokeswoman said.
PCHF records show the site was sold to Ronald MacDonald House in May 12, 2016.
The petition also claims the council’s May 23 decision using discretionary powers to extend the allowed uses failed to enforce the council’s own rules.
It said a 1989 designation of the site as lodging house no longer existed as a category in the city’s Town Planning Scheme No.4.
It was claimed councillors had ignored council staff’s advice to seek neighbours’ opinions, and the site’s approved use needs to be reconsidered, given nearby proposals for 2000 teenagers at the new Subiaco high school and redevelopment of Princess Margaret Hospital.
A council spokeswoman said the decision from May’s meeting had been sent to the owners of Ronald McDonald and there was now no opportunity for it to be rescinded.
“Unless there is a development application that requires public advertising, the extension to use the property as a lodging house applies,” the spokeswoman said.
Fresh Start chief executive Jeff Claughton and the PMH Foundation did not return calls before deadline.