Islamic group launches plans for major new mosque
UPDATE: Plans are under way to construct a purpose-built mosque in the Lockyer Valley to replace an existing Islamic community centre.
The Lockyer Valley Islamic Association has purchased a block of land in Gatton for $250,000 to build a permanent community centre at 225 Woodlands Rd.
Another Islamic community centre has been operating behind Gatton Halal Grocers in North St since 2013 with about 70 people attending weekly.
A letter by the association, appealing for donations of money, stated it had been trying to establish a permanent mosque "to ensure that new migrants and their families are able to practice and maintain our Deen, during these very difficult times".
Gatton has a Muslim community of about 300, made up of mainly migrants and refugees from Burma, Bangladesh and Sudan as well as students and seasonal workers.
The letter stated that the association had attempted to get approval for a mosque at another site in Gatton last year.
"The application was made with the full support of the local council planning department and we compiled with all their requirements, and during this process spent almost $25,000 in costs. Unfortunately, the application was unjustifiably declined," the letter stated.
The new 2.57ha property on Woodlands Rd is zoned as industrial and has an old home. The association believes it will suit the needs of its community.
The letter stated the current Musallah, or place of worship, had recently been subject to complaints lodged with Lockyer Valley Regional Council by residents.
Settlement for the property is scheduled for June 7. A Lockyer Valley Regional Council spokesman said no development application had been officially submitted.
EARLIER: Residents in a small town near Toowoomba who are up in arms over "new plans" to build a mosque in their community appear unaware one already exists.
Gatton residents contacted The Chronicle concerned about the new development at Woodlands Rd in Gatton.
But the Lockyer Valley Islamic Association already has a community centre in North St, behind the Gatton Halal Grocery which is open daily for prayers.
The association was established in 2011 and in June 2013 established a Musallah and community centre.
There are reports that the association plans to develop the centre in a 400-seat, purpose-built mosque.
The Chronicle understands that there is a contract on the land with the development due to be settled in June.