5 Feb 2015 - Narconon have taken Yarra Ranges Council to VCAT and lost
(see more news since then)
The Order by VCAT
1 The decision of the Responsible Authority is affirmed.
2 In permit application YR-2013/142, no permit is granted.
See our Media Release Feb 5, 2015 - VCAT ruling supports Community that says No to Narconon
Think about going to Narconon? Think again. See this useful, site regarding Narconon: http://narcononreviews.net/
Background to this two year campaign:
While Narconon have been based in East Warburton for some 13 years - more than 10km from Warburton - they wanted to relocate into residential Warburton.
A summary from the March 11, 2014 decision by Yarra Ranges Councillors as below.
- Councillors received this Précis of FOI documents (PDF 367 KB) - detailing 17 cases where escalations in onsite incidents required Police call backs. Remember - Narconon were repeatedly on the record as saying there had only been '1-2 incidents in over 13 years' and nothing outside the centre in East Warburton. Community safety comes first - that was the decision of Councillors on March 11.
- It should be noted that incidents detailed in the FOI (Freedom of Information) documents above are likely only the tip of the iceberg. There are other events that occurred (local robbery by Narconon student) that were submitted by local Police but were removed by the FOI process because it was óffsite'
- Community safety and loss of amenity were the reasons 300 local residents and businesses objected to this proposal.
Councillors also found that:
- Narconon are not running an education program – they are running an unaccredited drug and alcohol rehab centre.
- They do not fall under the jurisdiction of the health department or work, health & safety – they are not certified or regulated in any way.
- If someone wants to leave - or is forced to leave - Narconon ask that a family member come and collect that person. If there is no family member to collect, a staff member will escort the individual to the bus stop and put them on a bus - or as stated last night - give them a myki card and put them on a train in Lilydale.
- When pressed 3 times by a councillor – the applicant – after trying to intimate they were somehow under the jurisdiction of the health department – had to admit ‘they had no certificate on the wall.’
- They have no formal training for staff to handle escalations or acts of violence – beyond – an internal staff training program.
- Councillors were quite blunt in their disappointment that after 3 months - and with a specific invitation to raise the bar - the Risk Management Manual supplied by the applicants (written by Miller I Merrigan) was essentially a '3 page draft' (after the intro and table of contents) with no viable specifics on managing risk at the new location.
- Councillors and Police found that community safety must come first.
- Councillors and Police were clear that the isolation of the current facility is an asset. Police remarked that the 3km driveway plus the 10km walk required to get into Warburton – from East Warburton – is a valuable buffer that would let an agitated person cool their heels. That buffer would be removed if Narconon were installed 750 m from the main street / township of Warburton
- Councillors were clear however in their offer to help Narconon find another suitable, isolated location OR even stay at East Warburton. Whether Narconon will accept this offer remains to be seen.
- However the local councillor for Warburton suggested there is now not just concerns about the applicants moving to Green Gables in residential Warburton – but for the current operation in East Warburton.
- Link to current online story in Upper Yarra Mail - 'More light on drug rehab centre'
- Link to the agenda for March 11 which also contains 2nd town planners recommendation to refuse - a link to the relevant page on the Yarra Ranges Council website
Previous homepage updates:
On Feb 4th Narcocon submitted their risk management plan and some rehashed documents in response to the invitation by councillors to 'provide more information'. As objectors we have been able to obtain these documents and the risk management plan. SayNoNarcononWarburton believe the new submission to be yet another collection of weak documents that remain incomplete. These documents have been sent to the town planners and Warburton Police - who will now review.
The recommendation that went to the December 10 meeting was a comprehensive recommendation against the permit application. The permit application is fundamentally flawed and the location is inappropriate for the Narconon business model. The application is non-compliant with six clauses in the Yarra Ranges planning scheme. The application is not in accordance with two further clauses in the Yarra Ranges Planning Scheme.
SayNoNarcononWarburton team member
Feb 10, 2014
Upper Yarra Mail Story link: Dec 16, 2013
Centre bid on ice
Narconon applied for a planning permit to change the use of Green Gables Conference Centre - from use as a conference centre - to use as an 'education facility'. This education actually means 'drug and alcohol rehabilitation'. Narconon (get off drugs naturally) use no medication. The 1st decision from town planners is contained within the Dec 10 agenda available online here - it states:
"The application has been assessed under the relevant State and Local Planning Policies, the Low Density Residential Zone and relevant Particular Provisions of the planning scheme. The use of the land as an Education Centre is considered inappropriate given the scale, location, uncertain risk management and nature of the use. This would result in unnecessary and extensive risks to public safety and amenity in the residential area. This would not achieve a net community benefit and thus, is considered unacceptable. It is recommended that the application be refused and a Notice of Refusal to Grant a Planning Permit be issued."
DEC 3, 2013 - Front page news again - there must really be something wrong with this application to have so much attention.
NOV 26, 2013 - Front page news - again - there must really be something wrong with this application to have so much attention.
Nov 5: Certification Denied: Read why a Narconon application for certification to run a drug and alcohol rehab centre in Oklahoma was denied in Dec 13, 1991. The Board of Mental Health, State of Oklahoma, provides a detailed report. Read this line by line. This document is about as clear, precise and analytical as we might hope Yarra Ranges town planners should be.
"Scientology is not a religion. It is a criminal organization that hides behind its so-called religious beliefs"
Editor note: Standard Scientology business practices are copy and pasted into Narconon. See our new Narconon in the News page
INITIAL PITCH FOR COMMUNITY SUPPORT in AUGUST 2013
This website has been established by an alliance of Warburton residents opposed to this application. We are opposed on the basis of
The challenge for our community and anyone who objects to this proposal is to get your voice heard in a way that town planners will hear. Town planners essentially wear blinkers. They can hear and understand perceptions of community safety and increased traffic on a poorly constructed shared driveway - but are tied to a planners check list. We need to communicate the real issues around the proposed use and how it will affect you, how it will have a financial impact on property, on the amenity of our community and how it will deliver real challenges to the local school nearby.
Click here for resources like template objection letters or here for information we have uncovered as we try and sift through the Narconon PR spin and Council red tape.
It is important that any objection you make focuses on the USE of Green Gables as a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre AND how it will negatively affect you, your children, your property, your feeling of safety in your own home OR other impacts. Narconon Warburton objections.