HomeWorld NewsFounder of controversial drug rehabilitation centre Peter Lyndon-James to run for City of Swan again
Founder of controversial drug rehabilitation centre Peter Lyndon-James to run for City of Swan again
September 5, 2023
The Perth founder of drug and alcohol rehabilitation centres branded as the biggest and strictest of their kind has again thrown his hat in the ring to run for local government.
Peter Lyndon-James resigned as a councillor for the City of Swan at the end of 2018 after serving less than half of his three-year term in the Altone ward.
He also abandoned his Federal Senate seat campaign to focus on work with the residential rehabilitation facility Shalom House, which now has centres in the Swan Valley, Kalgoorlie and Melbourne.
“I’m really looking forward to running in this year’s 2023 local elections as a candidate for the City of Swan in the Pearce ward,” Mr Lyndon-James posted on Facebook.
He said he would be driving up his social media as part of his election campaign, which included a combined total of nearly 56,000 followers between his organisation and personal Facebook groups.
In his candidate statement, Mr Lyndon-James said that his mission was to ignite positive change, prioritise people and unite the community.
“A community leader with a two-decade legacy, (Peter) is dedicated to uplifting lives in the City of Swan,” the statement said.
“His deep ties to the area, from Lockridge to Bullsbrook, offer a profound understanding of local challenges. As the founder and CEO of Shalom House, Peter has transformed countless families, showcasing his commitment to the well-being of the local community.
“Peter’s passion for families and communities drives his public service aspiration. He envisions representatives as sources of information and advocates of inclusive decision-making.”
The final nail was put in the coffin for Mr Lyndon-James’ long-awaited plans to operate a women’s drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility in Craigie when the centre was listed on the market for offers.
Shalom House decided not to lodge a development application to seek permission for a change in use at the Camberwarra Drive site after losing a case in the State Administrative Tribunal in July that confirmed the City of Joondalup’s approval was needed.
The SAT overruled arguments that Shalom House had the right to turn the facility into a rehab centre without council approval, which was purchased by the organisation late last year with the knowledge it was zoned for community purposes.
Then came council and community objections to the 36-place $3 million facility because of its location next to a primary school and childcare centre.
Shalom House opened its first centre in the Swan Valley 11 years ago but was recently taken to court by the City of Swan for breaching building rules.
After putting the Craigie property on sale, Lyndon-James maintained the group had the legal right to pursue their plans but did not want to waste any more time.
“We have been through legal battles with the City of Swan (over our facilities) for five years, and we are not in a position to do it again,” he said last month.
“We just want to ask the State Government, where do you want us to go? We’ve had years of fighting — just tell us where we can go.”
In his letter of resignation to Swan five years ago, he cited frustrations with government bureaucracy. The city spent $55,000 on an extraordinary election to replace him.
A former local business owner, a newly moved resident and a Uganda refugee camp-born 29-year-old are so far among the mix against Lyndon-James.
Electors will cast their vote on October 21 with an optional preferential voting system in force for the first time — similar to State and Federal elections by ordering candidates in order of preference.
The Shalom House founder will travel to New Zealand until next Friday to host a series of seminars and presentations promoting his program.