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Australia ‘Tough love’ rehab Shalom House faces new battle front in move to northern suburbs

10:21  06 december  2022
10:21  06 december  2022 Source:   smh.com.au

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Northern suburbs residents are gearing up to fight plans by a controversial rehabilitation facility to use a former nunnery to run the women’s arm of its “tough love” program.

Shalom House confirmed it purchased the Mercyville Hostel in Craigie so it can move its women’s program from Bullsbrook, where it has faced opposition from nearby residents and the local council for failing to comply with planning laws.

Concerned Whitford Catholic Primary School parent Ellen, who asked her surname not be used, said it was inappropriate to locate such a facility between a primary school and a childcare centre.

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“Having recovering and recovered addicts in such close proximity to young, vulnerable children is highly questionable,” she said.

“The double-story buildings of Mercyville overshadow and overlook the outside play space of the Nido daycare and walk paths are shared between the school and the Mercyville buildings.”

City of Joondalup Mayor Albert Jacob said community consultation would be undertaken once Shalom lodged a development application for the site.

In an open letter to Craigie residents and the local council posted on Facebook on Monday night, Shalom House founder Peter Lyndon-James said the property was suitable for the facility given it was already zoned community purpose under the local planning scheme.

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Shalom House was founded by self-proclaimed ex-drug addict Peter Lyndon-James. © Nine News Shalom House was founded by self-proclaimed ex-drug addict Peter Lyndon-James.

He said the not-for-profit organisation would lodge a development application within the next two weeks.

Lyndon-James said no one wanted Shalom House next door to them and the former nunnery was the only suitable location he could find in metropolitan Perth.

“I am happy not to move to Craigie but I must if I have nowhere else,” he said.

“Our first two properties in the Swan Valley the locals in the area also did not want a rehabilitation centre in their community so they took us to court.

“[Then] the government changed the Swan Valley planning scheme to effectively force us out of the Valley.

“So we purchased a 40 acre property in Bullsbrook to set up our office and workshop and a 100 acre property for the ladies.

“This was like going from the frying pan to the fire as the very rich neighbours who are next door to these properties also started making a great deal of untrue statements about us and would continually get the City of Swan compliance team out as well as the RSPCA, dangerous goods etcetera.”

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Lyndon-James said he had tried repeatedly to work with the state government to find a suitable location but was fobbed off.

“To all the people in Craigie I am sorry to bring these problems your way but that’s the only building I can find that is zoned for our use,” he said.

“I have beds in the hallways, beds in the carport, we are full. There are hundreds of people out there that need help.

“They have been victims of domestic violence, rape, child abuse, homelessness, molested as a child, they come from backgrounds of addiction to cover up their pain.

“While you sleep in your nice warm bed all they want is a roof over their head and their children back into their care.”

Whitford Catholic Primary School principal Mark Marando said in a letter to parents the school advisory council had expressed concern about the potential location of the program.

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