Council to make major decision on Gladstone Islamic centre

Racist graffiti at the proposed mosque site.
Racist graffiti at the proposed mosque site. Mike Richards GLA020317MOSQUE

A DECISION on whether the controversial Islamic Centre in Toolooa will go ahead is expected to be made tomorrow.

Approval of the planning application will come up before tomorrow's Gladstone Regional Council meeting.

Members of the public are expected to fill the gallery, when the meeting begins at 9am at council chambers on Goondoon St.

The proposed centre has caused a divide in the community, with many people against the proposal, and others saying they did not see a problem with it.

Late last month, graffiti reading 'stop the mosque' and 'no child brides' was spray-painted on the boundary fence at the Anson Cl site.


DIVIDE: A Gladstone property where the proposed Islamic Centre will be built if it gets approval from Gladstone Regional Council.
DIVIDE: A Gladstone property where the proposed Islamic Centre will be built if it gets approval from Gladstone Regional Council. Paul Braven GLA080217MOSQUE

Mayor Matt Burnett said he expected a decision would be made at Tuesday's council meeting.

However, he said it was possible that councillors might defer the decision if they felt they needed more information.

"The only reason they would do that is if they don't think there's enough information, or the officers can't clarify something," he said.

Cr Burnett said there was no urgency to make a decision on the project.

"At the end of the day it's no different to any other planning application," he said.

"This is a decision based on zoning."

The Islamic Society of Gladstone is behind the proposed Islamic centre.

The centre will include a prayer area, a multi-purpose hall, library and nursery room.

The society aims to host open days, youth development activities and multi-faith dialogues at the centre.

The proposed site, which is owned by the society, backs onto a railway line that separates it from Toolooa State High School.

It is zoned industrial use.

In its application, the Islamic Society suggested the location of the centre was "considered appropriate" and "consistent with the key planning controls applicable to the locality".

The council invited submissions to the centre, and there were more than 100 responses.

The proposed centre would not include any "minarets or domes typical of similar places of worship" nor are there plans for an amplified call to prayer.

Several Facebook groups, opposing the centre, have been set up.

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