Cautious support for place of worship

Councillors approved the application to use the hall at Langford Islamic College on Southgate Road for evening prayer for students and College community members.

They voiced concerns over the staff recommendation to approve the application despite 36 objections from residents that questioned the appropriateness of the use, and voiced noise and traffic concerns.

People attending the meeting shared worries about ‘disharmony’.

‘This has nothing to do with religion, simply the amenity of the area,’ Gosnells District Ratepayers Association president Sandra Baraiolo said.

The council staff report said it was normal for faith-based private schools to have a place of worship, and this one would be small-scale. It said the site had enough parking, it was unlikely the extended operations would cause traffic congestion or noise, and though close residents might notice activity, this was no different to other community facilities.

The nearest house is 40m away.

Cr Ron Hoffman said councillors had to consider their role in the ‘quasi-judicial’ process of planning approvals.

He said they had no option but to approve this one, but assured the gallery they would ensure the school complied with conditions limiting worshipper numbers to 60.

Councillors then approved the application unanimously.

Langford Islamic College head of Islamic Studies Yahya Ibrahim said the school was part of the community and worked to produce upright, socially conscious citizens that further enriched it.

He said the approval from all of the councillors was the right decision and stemmed from a relationship of trust built over years.

‘All visitors to our school campus make note of our multicultural and multi-faith school community,’ he said.