Controversial religious development wins major approval
THE CONTROVERSIAL development of an Islamic Centre in Toolooa has received major approval from the Gladstone Regional Council today.
Councillors voted to approve the planning application, which included a material change of use at the Toolooa St site.
The council imposed a raft of additional conditions on the approval, including that there would be no amplified call to prayer and that after school activities would not exceed a maximum of 10 children each day.
But the vote wasn't unanimous, with deputy mayor Chris Trevor and councillor Glenn Churchill voting against the application, both raising concerns over traffic and that it was an industrial zone.
A Gladstone resident stormed out of the council chambers when the decision was made, telling councillors, "you've backed a cult".
Cr Kahn Goodluck supported the development, voting to approve the application.
"I'm a firm believer that everyone in this country and the region is entitled to a fair go - that's the Aussie way," he said.
"That's part of what makes our country great.
"We have to assess this on planning grounds, not religious ones like other people's concerns."
At most there could be up to 150 people at the centre, which includes a prayer area, a multi-purpose hall, library and nursery room.
LISTEN | Mayor Matt Burnett says community concerns were listened to
The Islamic Society of Gladstone, which is behind the proposal, aims to host open days, youth development activities and multi-faith dialogues at the centre.
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.
The council invited submissions from the public ahead of today's meeting. Of the 430 submissions 326 were properly made.
Of the 326 submissions, 109 were in support of the development.
LOOKING BACK | Gladstone Islamic Centre proposal