Narconon / Scientology:
Land and Environment Court upholds council refusal of drug and alcohol centre in Yarramalong
By David Stewart
The Lakes Mail
December 6, 2015
THE Land and Environment Court has upheld Wyong Shire Council's decision to refuse a development application from an organisation with links to the Church of Scientology for a drug and alcohol facility in Yarramalong.
Council originally refused the DA in April, 2014.
Mayor said the landmark decision was a major win for residents
The applicant, Association for Better Living and Education Inc (ABLE), appealed that decision in the court.
The court dismissed the appeal on the grounds ABLE failed to address concerns of residents about adverse social impacts, and the site not being suitable due to bushfire risk.
Council said the court also noted a "lack of information provided" relating to sewage disposal, flooding risks, adequate water supply, traffic impacts and the works required to develop buildings on the site never been approved.
The DA sought to change the use of a number of existing buildings on the site, on Rose Hill Lane, in order to run a Narconon rehabilitation and life skills program for up to 20 participants.
The Narconon program involves an initial detoxification followed by an education and life skills course spanning several months during which time participants would reside permanently at the facility.
The program has attracted controversy as it is based on an approach to substance abuse treatment promoted by the Church of Scientology.
Mayor Doug Eaton said the landmark decision was a major win for residents.
“Right from the start the residents raised genuine concerns about the impact this facility would have on the local community and didn’t rest in their resolve to fight it,” Cr Eaton said.
“We took up this fight, on their behalf, with a very strong case and belief that this was always the wrong development for this site.”
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