CITY of Subiaco, Fresh Start and residents are now embroiled in simultaneous battles, with residents filing a Supreme Court application while proceedings are underway at the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT).
Judge David Parry raised concerns at today’s SAT directions hearing that there would be clashing outcomes.
“I know this matter has been referred by (minister Rita Saffioti), but I have real concerns about inconsistent determinations between the tribunal and the Supreme Court,” he said.
“We have a real risk of two different decisions being made.”
Chantelle O’Sullivan and Phil Cresswell, representing residents at the hearing, said the group wanted the quickest possible resolution, hence their reason for taking two paths.
“Time is of urgency for all parties in this,” Ms O’Sullivan said.
She was concerned any mediation proposed by SAT would revolve around running the property rather than including the option to revoke Fresh Start’s intentional use for the York Street site that currently complies with Subiaco’s zoning.
Julius Skinner from LSV Borrello, representing Fresh Start operators Australian Medical Procedures Research Foundation, said the Supreme Court documents had not been served yet, and he had obtained them by chance last night.
“It’s a little unusual to proceed in front of SAT while the Supreme Court is also proceeding,” he said.
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Representing the City of Subiaco, Craig Slarke said the applicants needed to make it known what they wanted to happen.
“In the event the matter is progressed, we request submissions include what recommendations the tribunal should make to the minister,” he said.
SAT will reconvene for a directions hearing on February 23 to check in on the status of the case in the Supreme Court.
Outside the hearing, Ms O’Sullivan said Supreme Court papers had been filed this week with eight residents involved, and had been served on the City of Subiaco.
“The residents have been faced with very little options,” she said.
“We’re pursuing all avenues.”
She encouraged all concerned residents to join in with the new Subiaco Community Association; interested parties can contact firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.
Fresh Start director Mark Burns, who was a Subiaco councillor during the time of the controversial zoning decision in question, said drug rehabilitation at Fresh Start was only a small part of their addiction recovery work and nothing of a medical nature would be done at the York Street location.
“Fresh Start is going to be operating a lodging house; everything else is malarkey,” he said.
“I can understand the neighbours’ concerns, but what will alleviate those concerns is seeing it operate.
“Anyone that makes it to Fresh Start is looking for a fresh start, they’re on the way to fixing something.”
He said in any case, the SAT decision would eventually result in a report and recommendation to the minister rather than an enforceable ruling.
Mr Burns said the facility would be open to the public to anyone requiring accommodation; in certain circumstances people may be referred from the Townshend Road clinic, but anyone was able to stay at the location, including with family members.
“We’ve also made the offer to house excess Ronald McDonald House residents,” he said.
“We’re not here to ruin the lives of our neighbours.”