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Council investigates Nitschke's euthanasia clinic

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Euthanasia advocate Philip Nitschke did not seek consent from Walkerville Council for his clinic in Gilbert St, Gilberton, the council says.

Walkerville deputy mayor Carolyn Wigg briefed council last night at its regular monthly meeting, advising councillors that “while Nitschke has moved in, nothing’s happened yet”.

Wigg said Council had not received any application to run a medical clinic.

Councillors were told last night that an investigation will take place in accordance with its Development Enforcement and Compliance Policy.

Nitschke leased out the site last week for an unknown period and then told media he was setting up a clinic to advise people on various methods of voluntary euthanasia.

The move caught councillors by surprise, several of whom told InDaily the first they knew about it was when reports emerged in the media.

The council told InDaily 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.”

OPINION: Euthanasia bills keep failing, despite public support.

Yesterday, councillor Sinead Bernardi told InDaily she was disgusted at the notion that such a clinic could operate in a small suburban street that was almost wholly residential.

The corner shop site is estimated to have been built in the 1890s and most recently operated as a bottle shop.

The renovated and extended cottage is attached to a corner shop with cellar.

At its most recent sale the shop was listed as a studio/ home office with living room or waiting area.

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