Shalom House Q&A

Published on 28 October 2016

Q. Does the City of Swan want to stop Shalom House from operating?

A. No. The City of Swan has taken no action to close Shalom House and believes the not-for-profit facility does an excellent job in the rehabilitation of drug and alcohol-dependents. This is purely a planning issue.

Q. Is the City of Swan taking Shalom House to court?

A. No. The City of Swan is not taking Shalom House to court.

The City has appealed against a planning decision made by the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) and will be heard in the Supreme Court.

The legal action is taking place between the City and the State, not the City and Shalom House.

Q. Why is the City of Swan pursuing this?

A. The City has a responsibility to protect and plan for all of the Swan Valley.

That is why the City’s Local Planning Scheme No. 17 (the scheme) and Swan Valley Act area are in place. They are tools to make sure that the land in the Swan Valley is appropriately used.

The City can’t ignore the rules for one property at the expense of the many businesses, families and farms that make up the Swan Valley. 

Regardless of the outcome, the City will continue to work with Shalom House to reach an outcome that works for the community and everyone in the City of Swan.

Q. What is the Supreme Court case all about?

A. All houses, businesses and facilities require planning approval from their Local Government to be built, or operate.

This approval is usually obtained before a house or structure is built or a business/facility starts to operate.

However, Shalom House began operating without the required planning approval and as a result was required to submit a retrospective planning application.

As with all other properties in the Swan Valley, Shalom House was assessed against the City’s Local Planning Scheme No. 17 and the Swan Valley Planning Act area to make sure it met all of the relevant criteria.

The City’s assessment found that Shalom House did not meet one of the criteria set out in the Swan Valley Planning Act; its building classification.

The City found that Shalom House had the wrong classification to be to be operating (as it stands) in the Swan Valley area, and would need to seek an amendment to the City’s Local Planning Scheme to allow it to be approved.

Shalom House appealed this decision in the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) and sought to have the building reclassified.

SAT found that Shalom House did not fit the classification the City or Shalom House were seeking and asked the City to consider re-classifying the property to another classification altogether.

However, the City did not agree with SAT’s decision. The City believed the classification SAT suggested was ambiguous and could jeopardise the City’s Local Planning Scheme.

The City is now appealing SAT's decision in the Supreme Court.

Q. Did the City of Swan provide Mr Lyndon-James with an alternative option?

A. Yes. Part of the appeal process is to conduct mediation between the two parties.

At this mediation the City did indicate to Mr Lyndon-James that one avenue he could pursue would be to propose an amendment to the City's Local Planning Scheme to allow Shalom House to be considered for approval under the City’s Local Planning Scheme No. 17. Council could then consider the amendment on its merits.

However, ultimately (if pursued) the Minister for Planning would make the final decision.

Q. Have City of Swan staff members met with Mr Lyndon James?

A. Yes. Senior City staff members have spoken with Mr Lyndon-James both onsite at Shalom House and at the City.

The City encourages Mr Lyndon-James to continue to liaise with the City regarding any concerns or issues he may have.

Q. Have City of Swan staff members visited Shalom House?

A. Yes. Senior City staff members have spoken with Mr Lyndon-James both onsite at Shalom House and at the City. 

The City encourages Mr Lyndon-James to continue to liaise with the City regarding any concerns or issues he may have.

Q. Have City Councillors met with Mr Lyndon-James?

A. Yes. Some City Councillors have met with Mr Lyndon-James to discuss Shalom House.

Q. Have City Councillors visited Shalom House?

A. Yes. Some City Councillors have visited the Shalom House facility.

Q. Has the Mayor visited Shalom House?

A. The Mayor respects the need to allow the due process of the court action to occur. He has an obligation to residents and ratepayers to ensure he can impartially consider the merits of Shalom House, if needed to do so.

Once the Supreme Court hearing has concluded, the Mayor will be open to visiting Shalom House.

Q. When will the Supreme Court case be heard?

A. The City of Swan’s appeal against the State Administrative Tribunal’s (SAT) decision regarding the building classification of Shalom House (Park Street) was heard in the Supreme Court of WA on January 27, 2017 and a decision was handed down on August 4, 2017 after several months of deliberation.

The Supreme Court found in favour of the City’s appeal and Shalom House’s cross appeal and the matter was returned back to SAT for further consideration on September 1, 2017 where SAT requested further information be submitted by Shalom House.

Q. What happens next?

A. Another SAT directions hearing has been set for October 19, 2017 to review and consider the extra material. A final hearing has not yet been set.