Church of Scientology takes aim at $9.3 million Perth home

The West Australian/June 24, 2017

By Nick Butterly

The Church of Scientology says it hopes to open a $9.3 million centre with a capacity to hold almost 200 people next year, as it looks to expand in Perth.

The secretive organisation was given final approvals this week to construct a place of worship in Rivervale, with plans showing the two story building will contain a café, classrooms a library and a “purification room”.

The church was given permission to build its giant new centre in 2015, but for reasons never explained did not go ahead.

The Department of Planning granted a two year time extension for construction and signed off on altered plans on Wednesday. Previously the centre was scheduled to cost $6 million, but the new facility with improvements is now slated to cost more than $9 million.

A spokesperson for the Church in said building would start “imminently” and the centre would open to worshippers sometime next year.

“The property will be primarily used for the teaching of Scientology theological studies, which will have (up to) 196 persons accommodated at one time,” the spokesperson said.

The church says it has been operating in Perth since the 1950s and the new larger facilities were to cater for an expansion in WA.

Scientology was created by American science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard and boasts many high profile followers, including actor Tom Cruise and Australian singer Kate Ceberano.

Recruits are inducted into the organisation through a series of personality tests.

The church also offers a purification regime, in which involves a detoxification program, normally for a sizeable fee.

The new Rivervale building will convert a vacant warehouse on Belmont avenue. Plans show the inclusion of four class rooms, offices and “education rooms”.

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