Questions raised to Victoria Park council. Opinion

A PROPOSAL to go before Victoria Park council this month is that the Furqan Islamic Association’s community centre at 1019 Albany Highway is to become a place of prayer or mosque.

This proposal changes the present approval to use the premises as a community centre with a maximum attendance of 30 people and the use of eight car bays mainly at weekends, to host up to 186 people and nearly 100 cars for one to two hours every Friday.

The council’s planning department sent a letter advising adjacent businesses and residents of this proposal and asking for comments about parking.

Every adjacent large business has opposed the proposal because the present parking problems are detrimental to their trade. Several residents on Alday Street and other residents of Victoria Park have opposed the application because of the parking problems and other reasons.

Council has twice before rejected this application on the grounds of inadequate parking, adverse effect on the amenity of the area, it does not enhance the intent of the precinct and council does not have the capacity to enforce any changes.

However, after another appeal the application is to go for yet another vote.

Despite the council’s rejection of the proposal and community objections, council officers still recommend that the proposal be approved.

That action raises two questions: what is the point of community consultation if the views of affected people and businesses are ignored?

And why does the planning department continue to support a proposal that neither has the backing of the council or the residents?

P.J. BRIDGE, Victoria Park.