Meander ratepayers share rehab centre worries

Meander Area Residents and Ratepayers Association members discussed the next phase of an appeal against a Meander Valley Council decision at a MARRA general meeting on Saturday.

MARRA president Bodhi McSweeney said she was surprised Christian organisation Teen Challenge gained approval to build a rehabilitation centre at Meander’s old primary school. 

The Meander Valley Council approved the development application for a rehabilitation centre for women and their children on Tuesday.

“It is in the hands of a legal representative to work on the next step, but we will be lodging an appeal,” Ms McSweeney said. 

She said community members were concerned for potential residents of the rehabilitation centre, as emergency services were not immediately accessible from the town if required. Teen Challenge Tasmania executive director Tanya Cavanagh said policies, procedures and security measures would be in place to mitigate risk. 

“Home of Hope is an abstinence program, all residents have detoxed and completed a six week transition program prior to entry,” she said. 

Ms Cavanagh said the organisation received support following the DA’s approval, and continued to welcome conversation with anyone who held concerns. Ms McSweeney said the association thought the site should remain open for the community to access instead. Meander Valley mayor Craig Perkins said the planning process allowed people the right of appeal, and the independent umpire would make a decision on planning grounds.