In a Council Meeting this morning, the plans submitted by the Islamic Society of Gladstone for the construction of a Masjid (place of worship) or “Mosque” have been approved.
The Islamic Society of Gladstone received an approval for the development of an Islamic centre, this morning, from the Gladstone Regional Council.
During what seemed to be quite a tense meeting, many questions and concerns were discussed amongst councillors. However, although not unanimously, the Councillors felt the concerns they had were aptly addressed and had sufficient resolutions, leading to a majority vote to approve the planning application.
The main concerns voiced by Councillors were in regard to the suitability of the area for a place of worship. The land plot owned by the Islamic Society is in a Light Industrial Estate and is heavily trafficked by articulated, heavy vehicles that pose a safety threat to residents attending the Masjid.
The council invited residents to have their say on the development ahead of today’s meeting, receiving 430 submissions, observed as being one the highest witnessed responses. At the beginning of the address one resident attempted to express his opinion to the council, however, the opinion went unheard, as Mayor Matt Burnett had informed the man the residents had had their opportunity to express themselves and now it was time for the Council to make a decision.
The Islamic Society of Gladstone’s website states “The facility planned, will be of an Australian Islamic architecture and will have a dedicated praying area, a lecture and meeting room, community centre/function hall, library, class rooms and IT infrastructure. An open courtyard and a meeting space to accommodate the yearly ‘mosque open days’ and Eid gatherings. General amenities such as administration, kitchen, and onsite ample car parking are included in the construction plan.”
Cnr Kahn Goodluck voted to approve the development and expressed “I am a firm believer that everyone in this country and the region is entitled to a fair go – that’s the Aussie way.” However, these sentiments were not felt amongst all attendees with one man yelling “You’ve backed a cult!”
This has been an issue of great sensitivity amongst the Gladstone region and although Cnr Goodluck included an uplifting sentiment prior to his moving the proposal, residents are urged to remember Councillors are required to vote on the proposal on the basis that it meets the conditions of the criteria in accordance with the relevant Acts.