No religious issues in mosque: councillors

CITY of Greater Bendigo councillors are not opposed to plans for a new mosque on religious or cultural grounds.

But there are planning concerns around the height of the $3 million building, and council staff are seeking more information from GKA Architects and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

All nine councillors said they did not have any issues with the religious aspect of the proposal.

Councillor Rod Fyffe said he had only received positive feedback from the community

“We are a multicultural society in Bendigo,” he said.

“We need to acknowledge that and celebrate it.

“People have their faith, have their religion and certainly have a right to practice it and that’s fair enough.”

Cr Peter Cox noted the development needed to work through any issues with planning regulations, amenity and traffic management.

“But I don’t have a problem with any religious group applying for a planning permit to erect such a centre for themselves,” he said.

“It demonstrates diversity within our community and I think that’s a very encouraging aspect of Bendigo."

Cr James Williams said a mosque would be positive for Bendigo and said it was “great to see it happen”.

“I think it’s great we celebrate other cultures,” he said.

The site is covered by an airport overlay and council director planning and development Prue Mansfield said the council would seek advice from CASA over the 25-metre minaret tower.

But she said the council had ultimate say over the height of the tower.

“It’s a normal process as for any planning permit,” she said.  

“We’ve asked the applicant for some more information about traffic, the impact on vegetation and some questions about the minaret and its implications on the airport."

Cr Helen Leach said she had some concerns over the minaret but said it was “a free country” in regards to faith. 

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