Residents relaxed about proposed mosque

NEWS: Bendigo's first mosque in pipeline

RESIDENTS in East Bendigo seem unperturbed by a proposal for Bendigo’s first mosque.

The Bendigo Advertiser went door knocking in Rohs Road on Saturday and could find no one bothered by the idea of a mosque being built on Rohs Road.

A planning application was submitted by Tomkinson Group to the City of Greater Bendigo last week  for a multi-use Islamic centre  including two prayer halls, education facilities, a community sports hall, caretaker house and office.

The proposed mosque, funded by the Australian Islamic Mission, will offer prayer facilities for 150 families who are outgrowing rooms they are using for prayer at La Trobe University. 

In its application the Tomkinson Group said the centre would “define Bendigo as a welcoming multicultural city”.

Saturday’s initial story prompted mixed reactions, some negative, on the Advertiser’s Facebook page.

Melissa Stewart wrote: “What a stupid idea! How about putting that money into something that will benefit the WHOLE community.”

Staz Wilson wrote: "Keep it in Melbourne don't being this Bendigo." (sic)

Many were supportive, however.

Geoff Brown posted: ” Everyone hating on this seems to think that Bendigo money is paying for this. It's a planning application. NOT an application for funding. Think about it. Read the article before you jump on with your hatred.”

Bart Wrobel wrote: "Are those who object to this project also opposed to Muslims living in Bendigo? What about Bhuddists? Or Taoists? Hindu? Sikh? Druid? Atheists? Homosexuals? Where does your bigotry end?"

The few residents at home on Rohs Road Saturday were sanguine or had not heard about it.

Jacinta Quin said if the mosque was approved she didn’t think it was going to hurt anyone.

“It’s not going to bother me,” she said.

”Everyone has a right to their own religion.”

Karen Kalms said it was not a concern. “I wouldn’t have a problem with it,” she said.

City of Greater Bendigo planning director Prue Mansfield said the council was working with the applicants on the proposal. 

"We are asking the usual questions about traffic impact and with it being close to the airport we want to make sure the height requirements are okay," she said.

"Once we've sorted out that, we will formally advertise the application."

Ms Mansfield said if the application was approved, construction would get underway immediately.

"In terms of another service for Bendigo, it is fantastic to see the community developing and us increasing our services for the changing community."

The Bendigo Airport supports the proposal, despite concerns regarding the height of the minaret and the centre's proximity to the runway. 

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