In the wake of media reports announcing the establishment of what Dr Nitschke calls 'a facility' in the Adelaide inner-suburb of Gilberton, local council member Sinead Bernardi raised questions about the initiative in the Adelaide Independent News.
The news report said that:
Councillor Sinead Bernardi told InDaily (AI's online version) she was “disgusted” to
read revelations about the clinic in the media.
“It was the first I heard about it, and frankly I’m disgusted,” Bernardi said today.
“I have had no notification about this … setting up a euthanasia clinic in a suburban street … it’s very, very scary.”The report, published on the 18th of November, also said that Councillor Bernardi would be raising the issue at the Walkerville Council meeting to be held that night.
Today, the Adelaide Independent News reports that the council will investigate the use of the premises for the purposes outlined by Dr Nitschke in the press; the article stating that, according to Walkerville deputy mayor Carolyn Wigg, Council had not received any application to run a medical clinic.
A council spokesman told the Adelaide Independent that, the site was approved for use as a dwelling and office.
“No subsequent consent has been sought for a change in land use, and, more specifically, no subsequent consent has been sought for a change in land use to that of a consulting room,” the council’s spokeswoman said.
“Notwithstanding, a consulting room is able to operate from a residential premises without consent in certain circumstances.
“It is not currently clear as to whether the business in question fits this criteria, however it is important to note that council’s powers as a planning authority are limited to controlling planning issues (i.e. amenity, parking, noise etc) as opposed to the essential nature of the practise itself.
“As such, and given the emergence of the matter in the media, council will investigate the issue further in accordance with its Development Enforcement and Compliance Policy.”Nitschke told the Adelaide media that the premises would be called a 'facility' rather than a clinic. This would seem to be an attempt to indicate that there would be nothing in the business conducted in that place that could be considered to be of a medical nature.
However, again according to the Adelaide Independent report: He (Nitschke) had told local media last Tuesday the clinic would test drugs, distribute nitrogen kits and “provide services” to terminally ill patients. Sounds like a clinic, doesn't it?
Clearly the council's ability to determine whether the stated usage of the property is appropriate is governed entirely by their development and compliance policy and, therefore, would not take into account the macabre nature of the proposal.
However, Council should consider the proximity of the property to the Adelaide Clinic - a private psychiatric facility only a short walk away.
The broader question - the same question we pose in regards to legislation - is, 'is this safe'? The answer - again similar to legislation - is , NO.