Subiaco: Residents taking on City in Supreme Court over Fresh Start lodging house

Stock image.
Stock image.

SEVEN Subiaco residents are set to take on the City of Subiaco in the Supreme Court.

On Thursday, residents will challenge a decision made by councillors last year against officer advice to extend non-conforming use approval at 16-20 York Street, previously the Ronald McDonald House base and now Fresh Start lodging house.

At a council meeting last week, local Jim Davies read questions and a statement on behalf of Chantelle O’Sullivan and the Subiaco Community Association.

He said residents did not feel safe at home and were dealing with “used needles thrown over local fences and footpaths, theft, regular police, medical and ambulance attendance with patient outbursts, drug dealing and taking, warrants for drug and criminal arrests” and other anti-social behaviour.

“It’s a hell of a lot of money and stress that we are all enduring to fight the City and protect the amenity of many,” he said.

The council decision is also being reviewed by the State Administrative Tribunal after a referral from Planning Minister Rita Saffioti.

Subiaco chief executive Rochelle Lavery said City staff had meetings with the lodging house, conducted a full site inspection, and “saw nothing untoward”.

Police Minister Michelle Roberts responded to questions in State Parliament last week from Nedlands MLA Bill Marmion, and said there had been 24 incidents reported to the Police Assistance Centre regarding situations at or near the lodging house between the start of November and end of June, 16 of which had resulted in police attendance.

Eleven incidents involved tenants or regular attendees of the address, with five incidents involving visitors or individuals in close proximity.“There is no clear link with regard to drug detections in the Subiaco area and the Fresh Start clinic,” Ms Roberts said.

Fresh Start chief executive Jeff Claughton said the group had started operating the lodging house in early December and the premises were closed for renovations until mid-January when the first lodgers were received.

He said there had been 15 police attendances noted by the duty manager since February 8.“Without providing specific details it is unfair and untrue to characterise the visits by police as being in response to bad behaviour or incidents,” he said.

“The great majority of these were for general enquiries or to execute warrants on residents.

“There have been two incidents only that have required police intervention to control and remove residents outside of the lodging house.”