THE City of Swan last week voted to unanimously refuse a Place of Worship application from a Muslim community in Caversham.
The development application for lot 1271 on Benara Road was for a Marzak, the focal point for the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community, with the land under the control of section B of the Swan Valley Planning Act.
The application said the Markaz would be used primarily on evenings and weekends, and would accommodate up to 60 people, possible extending to 80 people during holy days such as Ramadan and Moharram.
While the officer’s report recommended granting the application, Councillor Charlie Zannino moved an alternative motion to refuse the application, as it was inconsistent with the objectives of the Swan Valley Rural zone and did not comply with planning objectives for Area B of the Swan Valley Planning Act.
Cr Zannino’s motion was passed unanimously, without debate.
The fact Council refused the development is not surprising, given the Council’s previous stance on developments which fall outside the objectives of the Swan Valley Rural zone and do not comply with the planning objectives of the Swan Valley Planning Act.
What can be considered surprising is that Shalom House CEO, councillor Peter Lyndon-James, voted for refusal of the application.
Shalom House have previously had a planning application for retrospective approval of a development under Section B of the SVPA unanimously refused by council, and Cr Lyndon-James did not return to the council chambers after council made their decision.
While Cr Lyndon-James is unable to vote on motions relating to Shalom House due to his obvious interest, it is not clear why he voted with a motion that had in the past refused the retrospective development of his own rehab centre.
Councillor Lyndon-James did not respond to a request for comment.