Residents withdraw objection to the project
After their efforts to develop a Gurdwara at 33 Officer Road were thwarted by the objections of 24 residents who approached the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) on the matter, the Sikh community has finally been given the green light to build their 123-capacity temple.
The objectors decided to go to VCAT end October of 2017 challenging a unanimous decision by the Councillors to grant a development permit.
Council have confirmed that the VCAT hearing, fixed for Thursday 3 May, had been withdrawn.
“VCAT has notified council that the appeal has been withdrawn. Council has now issued the planning permit,” Council’s Manager Development and Compliance Services Debbie Tyson said.
The news comes at a great relief for the local Sikh community, who have been struggling for years to find a permanent place of worship, said community spokesperson Harpreet Singh, adding that he hoped on the project, estimated to be developed at a cost of $300,000-400,000, would get underway soon.
Ms Macdermid said the objector groups’ main concern was that a green wedge zone was not a suitable area for a place of worship. “We didn’t believe it was the correct area for it—the road outside is not built for large amounts of traffic. Pushbike riders and horse riders frequently use that road, as well as kids walking home from school, and my husband had a near-miss with a car pulling out of that driveway. It’s a dangerous spot. We just hope there are no accidents with the increased volume of traffic,” she explained.
Harpreet Singh contests that all information was provided to objectors on several occasions. The project has received immense support from various community and environmental organisations such as, Living and Learning Pakenham; Cardinia Interfaith Network; Cardinia Environment Coalition; Local Landcare groups. Most of these groups strongly feel that the Sikh community and the temple will become an asset to the area.
Around 650 members of the Indian, Sikh and other communities have signed a petition requesting the Council and Honourable Councillors stating needs of the Sikh community and the need for them to have a permanent temple in this region.
The Sikh community plans to organise events to thank supporters who have understood the project and provided useful inputs as well as the objectors for taking a decision that promotes social cohesion and multiculturalism.
The Sikh community will also be thankful for any financial contributions to help them renovate the existing building and put equipment in the Community Kitchen. Please contact Harpreet Kandra @0447 02 8688; Harpreet.firstname.lastname@example.org for details.